Your trips to explore the Old Town will be a breeze this year, as the MRT Blue Line extension from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae is officially slated to open in September, with preliminary test-runs starting as early as April.

As reported by The Bangkok Insight, the long-awaited rail expansion will be offering two months of free rides for commuters between July and August. Fares will then be collected starting in September, which will be between B16-42 per ride. 

The 14-kilometer extension will cover eleven stations, including four underground—Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai and Itsaraphap, before surfacing at Tha Phra and running over ground west to Bang Phai, Bang Wa, Phet Kasem 48, Phasi Charoen, Bang Khae and Lak Song in Phutthamonthon Sai 4.

The Mass Rapid Transportation Authority (MRTA) claims that the four underground stations will have the most beautiful designs in the country, paying homage to Thailand's rich tradition, in particular the area's Chinese heritage. 

Wat Mangkon station, for example, which takes its name from Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (meaning "Dragon Lotus Temple"), the largest Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok, features a staircase leading down to the underground that resembles the underbelly of a dragon, while the walls are decorated with traditional Chinese patterns and tiled dragons. Deep red columns and golden dragon motifs on the ceiling also distinguish MRT Wat Mangkon Kamalawat from the drab underground stations of the past.

Meanwhile, the MRT Blue Line’s second extension, which heads north towards Bang Sue, will not be open until Mar 2020. The 13-kilometer elevated line will cover eight stations connecting from MRT Tha Phra, where you can change to the Tao Poon-bound elevated purple line. These stations include Charan Sanit Wong 13, Yaek Fai Chai, Bang Khun Non, Bang Yi Khan, Sirindhorn, Bang Phlat, Bang Or and Bang Po. In addition, MRT Bang Wa will also interchange with the BTS Silom line.