I am honoured to be writing an article about the extension of the MRT Blue Line. We will combine news about the construction of the MRT Blue Line railway with information about the latest residential developments along this new Skytrain and it is going to be absolutely fantastic. At this point I will reveal that the intersection of the MRT Blue Line and the BTS Silom Line at Bang Wa Station is the new hot spot in town and it has the potential to become a new Central Business District in Bangkok. The foreign community in Thailand has no idea of what is going on in this area and that’s where I come in handy. This is a totally unique article that I am very proud of. If someone has to do it, that someone has to be me. You may call it destiny or whatever you like, I just know I have no choise, the right person is at the helm. The story is in my mind before I have written one word, it comes in two parts and this is part one.
The MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit) Blue Line is being extended. The first section of the Blue Line opened in 2004, it runs between Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue and is an underground electric train system and from Bang Sue it rises above ground to become an elevated skytrain system. The extension is expected to be completed in 2016 and by then the Blue Line will become a loop line around the centre of Bangkok, with the part on the western side of the Chao Praya River mainly being an elevated system and the other half on the eastern side of the river running mainly underground. Outside the blue loop line there will be another blue line extension to Bang Khae on the western side of the river.
The Blue line is being extended from Bang Sue Station and the first new station will be Tao Poon Station that is an interchange station that allows commuters to travel to the Bang Bua Thong district by switching to the MRT Purple Line system.
After Tao Poon Station the Blue Line Extension follows Pracha Rat Sai 2 Road (ถนนประชาราษฏร์ สาย 2) and after crossing the Chao Phraya River it runs along Charan Sanitwong Road (ถนนจรัญสนิทวงศ์) until it reaches Tha Phra at the Phet Kasem and Charan Sanitwong intersection. Phet Kasem Route 4 will take you to Hua Hin, not the fastest way though, Route 35 via Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram is much faster.
From Tha Phra towards Hua Lampong there will be 4 underground stations. You can also choose to leave the loop line at Tha Phra if you wish to go to Bang Khae and this part will have 7 elevated stations.
From Tao Poon to Tha Phra the contractor is the SH-Unique Joint venture, SHUN, comprising Sinohydro Corp and Unique Engineering and Construction. From Hua Lamphong to Sanam Chai the contractor is ITD. From Sanam Chai to Tha Phra the contractor is CK. From Tha Phra to Lak Song the contractor is Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction.
Five contractors were awarded the execution of works with a total value of more than 50 billion baht. Italian-Thai Development is constructing the 2.8 km underground route from Hua Lamphong to Sanam Chai including two underground stations, worth 11.4 billion baht. Ch Karnchang is constructing the 2.6 km underground route including two underground stations from Sanam Chai to Tha Phra worth 10.7 billion baht. The joint venture between Sino-hydro Corporation and Unique Engineering and Construction are constructing the 11 km elevated rail line from Tao Poon to Tha Phra worth 11.3 billion baht. Sino-Thai are constructing the 10.5 km elevated railway from Tha Phra to Lak Song, worth 13.3 billion baht. Ch Karnchang will supply the trackwork system, worth 10.687 billion baht.
We will look at some of the attractions the area has to offer. Let’s face it, in the past you would not dream of visiting this part of Bangkok unless you either lived or worked here. Frankly speaking, the people that live here are a bit baan-ok (บ้าน-ออก), some of the kids looked at me, actually they stared at me as if I was the first foreigner they had ever seen. People were smiling at me, the same smiles you get when visiting a remote village upcountry. “Nice haircut” (ตัดผมดี), a stranger told me. 38 degrees and high humidity, my t-shirt was totally wet and some guy told me I had a nice haircut. A totally cool comment that got me laughing.
There are lots of shopping malls here, nice places where people can escape the heat. The Mall Tha Phra is a quite old mall on Ratchdaphisek Road, but still functioning. At the Phet Kasem intersection Ratchdaphisek Road becomes the famous Charan Sanitwong Road. These are two very important roads that we must get to know well. Phet Kasem Road is National Highway 4 that is the same road running through Hua Hin and actually goes all the way to the Malaysian border. Many thais will have heard of Charan Sanitwong Road and names like Bang Khun Non (บางขุนนนท์) from national television but these are roads and places unknown to the foreign community.
The main changes in Bangkok are taking place along the MRT Purple line up in Nonthaburi and the extension of the Blue Line on the western side of the Chao Praya River and that is why this article is of such a great importance – we will cover all the important issues and it will be fun.
The Mall Bang Kae on Phet Kasem Road near the Outer Ring motorway system is also an older shopping mall. Going from The Mall Bang Kae towards Tha Phra you will find a Tesco Lotus complex on the left hand side and a bit further down Phet Kasem Road you will find the newly renovated shopping mall called Seacon Bangkae that opened 14 september 2012. Seacon Bangkae used to be Future Park Bangkae and Seacon Development Co, the developer of Seacon Square on Srinakarin Road, took over and spent 2.5 billion baht on a renovation that started in august 2010.
Please note that there are practically no hotels along these new mass transit lines yet so if you were to open a hotel you would have no competitors.
12 May 2013: The MRT Blue Line Extension Part 2 is now completed.
Published 28 march 2013.
On 25 march 2013 I left Pattaya early in the morning and I felt like a kid waiting to open the christmas presents. I can’t just leave whenever I want, the weather must be good for shooting pictures because the photographs will do most of the talking.
We start the journey at Wongwian Yai BTS station where we will look at a few projects. The first is Hive Taksin by Sansiri that is a 28-storey building consisting of 365 units located next to Ideo Blu Cove Sathorn that is a development by Ananda. Construction of Hive started march 2009 and the building was completed january 2011 so it was a quick build.
Only 50 meters from Hive Taksin you will find NYE by Sansiri that comprises two 30-storey residential buildings consisting of 636 units. NYE has not started construction yet (march 2013).
FUSE Sathorn Taksin by Pruksa Real Estate Company Limited, a 27-storey tower, construction started June 2010 and the building was completed May 2012, in other words a brand new high-rise constructed in less than 2 years. Amazing that they can do it so fast. Fuse is located on the other side of the road, opposite Hive and NYE.
Next stop is BTS Talad Plu station where we find the 28-storey Casa Condo Ratchada Tha Phra 2 under construction. The developer is Casa Ville Co., Ltd. By the end of january 2012 they had not even started the foundation works. It has taken them about a years time to do what you see on the photo. That is proof of that it can be done quickly.
Life @ Thaphra, an 18-storey building by AP Development, construction started november 2006 and the building was completed january 2008. Life @ Thaphra is located on Ratchadaphisek Road close to BTS Talad Plu and within walking distance of The Mall Tha Phra.
City Home, a 29-storey condominium tower by Supalai, the building contractor was Syntec. Launched july 2007 and completed january 2010. Back then in 2007 they knew that the mass transit lines would come to this area in the near future. City Home is located at the intersection of Charan Sanitwong Road and Phet Kasem Road, this is also the very beginning of Phet Kasem Road and an important intersection. Supalai is active along the Blue Line Extension, I will tell you about another project of theirs a little further down Phet Kasem Road. Supalai is also very active along the MRT Purple Line up in Nonthaburi. There is also a 25-storey City Home condominium tower on Sukhumvit Road near BTS Udom Suk right next to IDEO Mix Sukhumvit 103, construction of that building started in june 2006 long before the BTS extension from On Nut to Bearing opened 12 August 2011. This is an information-heavy article and it may confuse some readers.
This is what the Skytrain looks like at the beginning of Phet Kasem Road on 25 march 2013.
In the background you can see the 29-storey City Home condominium tower.
The equipment is totally rusted up. It is very unusual to use sub-standard equipment. I am not happy with that, it is the first time I see something like this, it is not acceptable for such a prestige project.
This is Klong Bangkok Yai (คลองบางกอกใหญ่) which used to be the Chao Phraya River until a new canal was dug in 1522.
A map of the future mass transit systems in the greater Bangkok area.
Hello there, now what is that we see in the background? It is the construction of Supalai Park on Phet Kasem Road, a 35-storey condominium with 784 units, prices starting at only 1 MB. Construction started august 2011.
Notice the position of the steel bars. None in the centre, instead put in a circle. These steel bars are some big suckers.
Is this not a great sight? I think it is fantastic. When I see something like this I forget about the 38 degrees and the high humidity.
Hello baby, what is this? Hold onto your hats and glasses because this is it, this is the reason I have come. This is the main story, this place is the new hot spot in Bangkok. This is Bang Wa Station, not just any station but the intersection of the BTS Silom Line and the MRT Blue Line. The MRT Blue Line runs above the BTS Line and both lines are elevated unlike on the eastern side of the Chao Praya River where MRT intersects with BTS at Silom and Asoke. Bang Wa Station (สถานีบางหว้า) is what I call a mega mass transit station. Most likely we will get a new Central Business District right here, they will build shopping malls, hotels etc. If logic prevails there is little doubt we will see dramatic changes coming to this area soon. It does not get any better than this. The condos at the 35-storey Supalai Park under construction at this station has prices starting at only 1 million baht. Surprisingly few people know about what is going on in this area. Luckily for the readers it is Pattya’s own construction guru that is writing this unique article, simply the best in the business. Did I tell you I am on foot, the guru himself is walking, too poor to hire transportation. I am probably one of those who become famous after death 🙂
Look to the left in the picture, the grey building, this is the sales office for The President Sathorn-Ratchaphreuk, a 30-storey condominium with 584 units at the BTS – MRT Interchange Station Bang Wa.
The sales office for The President Sathorn-Ratchaphreuk, a 30-storey condominium with 584 units at the BTS – MRT Interchange Station Bang Wa. We also know The President Sukhumvit that is a 20-storey condominium building under construction at On Nut BTS Station opposite Tesco Lotus and right next to Ideo Mobi On Nut.
What am I doing walking up here? There is no room for pedestrians on this road. Well, I need the pictures and nothing can stop me. I am like that. We are looking at the extension of the BTS Silom Line.
It is unbelievable that the Blue Line will pass above the BTS Station that we see on this picture. I am looking forward to seeing that enormous structure.
A good picture of Bang Wa Station and Supalai Park. Supalai and LPN Development are usually targeting the same customers. Guess what, our friends from LPN are also active along the Blue Line extension, a project called Lumpini Ville Bangkae located near Tesco Lotus further down Phet Kasem road, more about that project that was completed in 2010 later. LPN’s developments are easily recognizable from a distance, same style, same colours. Whereever I go in Bangkok I always run into a project from LPN, even in the most remote areas of Bangkok. Probably because land is cheaper these places.
We are looking at the extension of the BTS Silom Line.
Still looking at the BTS extension.
Back on track, this is the Blue Line again.
Price from 1 million baht
In the background we see two projects from CMC Group, on the right hand side the 19-storey Bangkok Horizon P48 and on the left hand side the 28-storey Bangkok Horizon Phetkasem.
In the background we see two projects from CMC Group, on the right hand side the 19-storey Bangkok Horizon P48 and on the left hand side the 28-storey Bangkok Horizon Phetkasem.
Supalai Park in the background
The 19-storey Bangkok Horizon P48 on Phet Kasem soi 46/2, a condominium building with 275 units. A project by CMC Group.
Below is a picture of Bangkok Horizon P48 dated January 2012, the building is about to rize.
Bangkok Horizon Phetkasem, a 28-storey condominium completed january 2012.
Below is a picture from september 2011 of Bangkok Horizon. Almost completed, just about 4 more months to completion. CMC Group also has another project in the neighbourhood, Bangkok Horizon Ratchada – Thapra, a 30-storey high-rise with 565 units. Another project that I am following closely.
This is the newly renovated shopping mall called Seacon Bangkae that opened 14 september 2012. Seacon Bangkae used to be Future Park Bangkae and Seacon Development Co, the developer of Seacon Square on Srinakarin Road, took over and spent 2.5 billion baht on a renovation that started in august 2010.
Inside Seacon Bangkae. The shopping complex is huge, much bigger than the Central Festival Pattaya Beach complex. I was hungry, I hadn’t eaten anything all day but my time was limited. What was I here for? I was on a mission of exploration and I could always eat another day. As I walked past the KFC on the ground floor I did have second thoughts. I needed to wash my face, take a quick look around and that was it, then up on the horse again. Or back on my feet since I don’t own a horse. Anyway, what kind of employer does not allow the staff to eat?
Do I need to say this is the local Tesco Lotus?
To the right you can see Lumpini Ville Bangkae, a 23-storey condominium tower. Only 271 units, a small number for a LPN development. Construction started may 2009 and completed a year later. Very close to Tesco Lotus, actually Tesco is just on the other side of Phet Kasem road.
Bangkaecity, www.bangkaecity.com, prices from 750.000 baht
The Mall Bang Kae, close to motorway route 9 also known as Outer Ring Road or Kanchanaphisek Road. This is where the blue line extension ends. Walking all the way to the outer ring motorway system, that’s not bad but the pay is good. Pay??? Forgive me, I was daydreaming again….
Outer Ring Road, motorway 9
The last pillar
I take the bus back to Tha Phra. It is a blue colour bus and I pay only 8 baht, 8 freaking baht. The driver talks to the guy selling tickets, they are wondering whether this farang knows where he is going (รู้ เรื่อง). Well, this farang can read the thai script written on the bus so he knows a thing or two, they need not worry. ไปใน, he asks, I answer and they laugh. ฝรั่ง รู้ เรื่อง. ภรรยา ไม่เกี่ยว, doing it all alone. They had these busses in Malaysia not that many years ago but now they are gone from the streets. They will also be gone from the streets of Bangkok soon. When I lived in Bangkok many years ago the red busses cost 3 baht and the blue busses cost 5 baht. I like getting value for my money. Don’t waste money if you don’t need to, understand the value of money. Don’t be too snobby to ride these busses, there is money to be saved. And it is fun, there ain’t no windows.
Charan Sanitwong Road. We are following the loop line now.
Time is now 15:35, too early to call it a day. Keep on working guys, you are doing a great job.
Time is 16:16 and that’s it for today.
Time is now 16:55. I always stop by at The Met when I can. The Met is a 69-storey condominium tower situated on Sathorn Road (66 residential floors). It is among the tallest residential buildings in Thailand with a height of 228 meters. The luxurious tower has a rooftop helipad and the 9th floor is entirely reserved to leisure facilities that include an olympic size swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and fitness room available for use by all residents.
The Met is designed by the Singapore-based architectural company WOHA. Construction started in 2005 and the building was completed in 2009. Sometimes somebody gets it right and sometimes somebody gets it to be absolutely perfect. Despite the relatively small balconies The Met is perfect, at least seen from outside. I stand there and look at the building and wonder why I am so attracted to it. Who is watering the trees when the residents are not home? There are trees on the balconies on some the lower floors, trees that need water every day. Bouygues was the building contractor. Construction of The Met is a remarkable achievements that Bouygues Thai can be very proud of. Bouygues is what I call an A+ building contractor, they can build to perfection and I must give them credit for that.
The developer of The Met is Pebble Bay (Thailand) Co., Ltd. The company belongs to the Singapore-based Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), which is an international company renowned for developing and managing world-class hotels, properties and businesses. In 2007 The Met was selling at around 140.000 baht per square meter. This is not a Grade A+ development, I wish it were, it should have been among the ultra luxury developments in Bangkok. They should have focused more on the interior materials but then it would have been more difficult to sell. The Met has nothing to do with the mass transit system extensions but I am the boss and I set the rules. I was tired but I still needed to take a look at my favourite building. There is nothing better that a well designed high-rise.
The time is now 17:16. We cannot vistit The Met without also paying a visit to The Sukhothai Residences, that would be disrespectful. It goes without saying that these two high-rises are located in the same area in Sathorn. Read more about The Sukhothai Residences here.
Time is now 17:44, time to go home.
A peacock in Soi Nantha
Time is now 18:12 and the BTS Skytrain is crowded as usual. Most people had to wait for the next train that was just as crowded. Convenient? No. I would rather take the bus if it wasn’t for the traffic. Time to go home to Pattaya.
This was a very good day for me. 25 March is my fathers birthday so I had him on my mind all day. Time to leave Bangkok, I was so tired and stinky, my feet hurt from walking too much, I needed a long shower and then straight to bed. Maybe not the easy life but I am having fun. That’s the life of a guru. There can be only one doing this, and that’s me.