The wait is almost over. The long-awaited MRT Blue Line extension from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae will begin offering free rides through five new stations starting Jul 29

According to Pakapong Sirikantaramas, governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA), the free rides will run daily from Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai and Itsaraphap to Tha Phra station from 10am-4pm, for two months (until Sep 28). The MRTA will begin collecting fares of between B16-42 per ride on Sep 29.

To get to the new stations, however, you must board trains at Hua Lamphong station.

The MRTA will use a new fleet of trains—a total of 35—from German manufacturer Siemens to serve the extensions. According to the governor, 30,000 passengers are expected on the first day of the test run. He added that the line could accommodate up to 500,000 passengers when all stations are fully operational. 

The 14-kilometer extension will cover 11 stations, including four underground—Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai and Itsaraphap—before surfacing at Tha Phra and running overground west to Bang Phai, Bang Wa, Phet Kasem 48, Phasi Charoen, Bang Khae and Lak Song, in Phutthamonthon Sai 4.

The MRTA claims that the four underground stations will have the most beautiful designs in the country, paying homage to Thailand's rich tradition and the area's Chinese heritage. 

Wat Mangkon station, for example, takes its name from Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (meaning "Dragon Lotus Temple"), the largest Chinese Buddhist temple in Bangkok. So the station features a staircase leading down to the underground that resembles the underbelly of a dragon, while Sanam Chai station, located directly in front of Museum Siam is also a destination in itself, featuring designs that resemble a Rattanakosin-era state room decorated with Thai art. 

Construction to expand the current blue line began mid-2011, and has been ongoing since. Another extension, which heads north towards Bang Sue, will not open until Mar 2020. The new 13-kilometer elevated line will cover eight stations and connect at MRT Tha Phra, where passengers can also change to the Tao Poon-bound elevated purple line.