BANGKOK (XINHUA) - Bangkok's MRT Blue Line rail system started a two-month trial run on a new stretch on Monday (July 29), during which commuters can take a ride free of charge to the city's famous tourist attractions such as Chinatown, the Grand Palace and Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob attended the launching ceremony of the first train running between Hua Lamphong and Tha Phra held on Monday morning. He told media that passengers can enjoy free rides until Sept 28.
The train running between Hua Lamphong to Tha Phra will be in service from 10am to 4pm every day during the trail period and would officially open on Sept 29, after which trains would run directly from current Blue Line to the new stretch.
Along the new stretch, Wat Mangkon station is located at Bangkok's Chinatown, a tourist attraction for street food, while Sanam Chai station lies about a five-minute walk away from Temple of the Reclining Buddha and the Grand Palace.
Many Bangkok residents and foreign tourists tried the new stretch of the Blue Line on Monday and took photos at the five new stations.
Four of the stations - Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai and Itsaraphap - have become attractions themselves as they contain features that are in keeping with their surroundings.
Wat Mangkon is decorated with paintings, sculptures of Chinese dragons while Sanam Chai, also hailed by Thai media as the most beautiful metro station of Thailand, is designed to assemble a Thai palace of early Ratanakosin, a period of Thai traditional art which started with the birth of the current Chakri Dynasty.
More stretches along the Blue Line will open later this year and in early 2020.
After opening fully next year, the Bangkok Blue Line will finally run in a loop, thus helping alleviate the severe traffic congestion in Bangkok.