Many tourists in Singapore or Hong Kong, when they have to travel by a train or bus, use stored value cards – EZ-Link in Singapore and Octopus in Hong Kong. In Bangkok too, a similar stored value card – called ‘Rabbit’ is available that can be used for travel on BTS Skytrain system. But for some reason I do not see many tourists in Bangkok buying this card when in fact more than half the tourists who visit Thailand are likely to return to the country within the next few years. A Rabbit Card is valid for a period of five years from the date of purchase and the value stored on it is valid for two years from the date of the last top-up transaction. If another top-up is done within the validity of the card, the earlier stored value also continues to be available. Even better, the card is not issued by name*, that means it is valid in the hands of the person carrying it (*Standard Rabbit – without deposit fee). So, you may give the card to another member of your family or a friend who is visiting Thailand after you. Standard Rabbit is all that a tourist needs to buy. The initial price is 200 THB that includes a stored value of 100 THB while the other 100 THB is the card issuance fee. Just know that each individual will need to have a separate Rabbit Card for travel on BTS Skytrain.
How To Buy Rabbit Card
Rabbit Card is available at the ticket counters of all BTS Skytrain stations in Bangkok. Some stations even have special Rabbit stalls. Rabbit Card can be purchased and refilled using credit cards*. The minimum charge on the credit card transaction has to be 300 THB. No extra fee is charged on use of credit cards and the exchange rate on using international credit cards for Rabbit Cards is not bad.
*The rules for using credit / debit cards to pay for Rabbit related transactions changed with effect from April 1, 2017. As per the new rules, credit & debit cards can be used for:
(i) When purchasing a Rabbit Card with trips;
(ii) When adding trips;
(iii) When adding value and trips in a single transaction;
(iv) Payment via credit or debit card will not be allowed for adding value only to an existing Rabbit Card, . The minimum / maximum amount of a credit / debit card transaction will be 300 THB / 3000 THB.
Buying Fixed Price Trips On Rabbit
A tourist has the option of buying fixed price Skytrain trips on Rabbit Card. Trips are valid for a period of 30 days and can be purchase in lots of 15, 25, 40, and 50 trips. The price of each trip comes down when the number of trips purchased increase:
15 trips 465 Baht Average 31 Baht/trip
25 trips 725 Baht Average 29 Baht/trip
40 trips 1,080 Baht Average 27 Baht/trip
50 trips 1,300 Baht Average 26 Baht/trip
15 trips 360 Baht Average 24 Baht/trip
25 trips 550 Baht Average 22 Baht/trip
40 trips 800 Baht Average 20 Baht/trip
50 trips 950 Baht Average 19 Baht/trip
Sometimes when a tourist’s hotel happens to be a little away from the main tourist areas, buying trips is a smart idea. Many times I pay individual fare of 42 THB on Skytrain. By using the trips facility, I can save 11 THB on each such trip. As an exception, if one has bought trips on Rabbit but is going a short distance that attracts a lower fare than 31 THB, one can buy an individual ticket from the kiosk for that short trip. Single ticket prices start at 16 THB.
When Rabbit Is A Good Idea
Actually it is always a good idea. If you are visiting Bangkok for a minimum of two days and plan to do a lot of travel on the Skytrain, buy a Rabbit. Do not bother with buying trips. Using a prepaid Rabbit will save a lot of time for you as compared to standing in a queue to buy a single use ticket every time. As compared to the 140 THB Daily Unlimited Pass, Rabbit may be a smarter alternative if you cannot spend 140 THB in a day on Skytrain. Rabbit can also be used in some retail shops. But last time I was in Bangkok, it was not possible to use Rabbit for travel on MRT.
Refund of Unused Stored Value On Rabbit Card
An immediate refund on the unused Rabbit stored value can be taken from any BTS Rabbit Counter if the stored value is not more than 250 THB. If the stored value exceeds 250 THB, the refund process takes 15 days and is not viable for a tourist. So, if you somehow have over 250 THB on your Rabbit Card and will not need the card again, try spending some of this balance on shopping.