Suvarnabhumi Airport

Suvarnabhumi Airport (สุวรรณภูมิ, IATA: BKK) is Bangkok's main airport and the busiest airport of Thailand. Thirty kilometres (19 mi) to the east of Bangkok, space-age Suvarnabhumi Airport started operations in September 2006 and is used by almost all airlines, except for Nok Air, Orient Thai and Air Asia, which use Don Mueang Airport.

Flights

Most international flights arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport, but provides an optimum transit hub for connecting flights to domestic destinations. It is a hub for Thai Airways and its subsidiary Thai Smile, as well as Bangkok Airways for both its domestic and international operations.

Ground transportation

More time than money?

Thanks to the Airport Rail Link, Hualamphong train station can provide access to Suvarnabhumi Airport via exceedingly slow and frequently late 3rd class ordinary trains. Any train to or from Hualamphong on Thailand's Eastern Line (which runs to Pattaya or Aranyaprathet) will stop at Lat Krabang (1 hour, 6 baht), which abuts Suvarnabhumi Airport. Lat Krabang conventional train station is directly below Lat Krabang airport link station, from where the journey to the airport can be completed for a further 15 baht. If in a group, consider a taxi from Lat Krabang (about 50 baht to the airport).

There are plenty of ways to get into the city from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Many people opt for the Airport Rail Link as it's by far the fastest way to get into the city, although taxis are also reasonably priced.

By train

On the basement level of the passenger terminal, the Airport Rail Link offers a high-speed train service to downtown Bangkok. It's also a way of avoiding Bangkok's horrendous rush hour traffic, particularly when it's raining. Trains run 06:00-midnight every day and travel at an amazing 160 km/h (100 mi/h). Two different services are operated:

If you're heading downtown, the Airport Rail Link has a good connection to the BTS Skytrain at Phaya Thai, though you will have to buy a new ticket. If Khao San Road is your final destination, you can hail taxis from the main road (around 70 baht), or hop aboard bus 15 (7 baht); this bus leaves from across Central World, BTS Siam, and BTS National Stadium and goes along Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd and Chakrabongse Rd serving both sides of Khao San Road.

By bus

Private Airport Express buses, including backpacker favourite AE2 to Khao San Rd, stopped running in Jun 2011. To take a public bus or minibus, you must first take the free shuttle bus from outside the second floor, gate 5 to the Public Transportation Center a few kilometres away. From there, The BMTA public bus lines are:

These services take about 1–2 hours depending on traffic; frequency is usually every 20 minutes during daytime. At nighttime, it ranges from 20 min-1 hr depending on the route. To give an example, the fare between Suvarnabhumi Airport and On Nut on 552 is 32 baht, and the journey takes about 40 minutes in mid-afternoon traffic. There are also privately-owned BMTA minibuses to many parts of Greater Bangkok, such as Don Mueang Airport, Bang Kapi, Rangsit and Samut Prakan. They charge a flat rate of 50 baht and go directly to the destination, so they are faster than public buses that stop frequently along the way. To get to Khao San Rd, all these services are inconvenient. Though you could take bus 554 to Synphaet Hospital and then public bus 60 or alternatively bus 555 to Din Daeng Road followed by bus 171, both options will take you through heavy Bangkok traffic on normal roads with frequent stops, thus making the Airport Link the best and fastest option.

Long-distance first class bus services connect Suvarnabhumi Airport directly with Chachoengsao, Nong Khai, Pattaya, Rayong, and Trat.

There are free shuttle buses from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Mueang Airport every hour between 05:00-23:00. Everyone can take these buses, you don't need a boarding pass. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, get on the bus at gate 2 or 3. At Don Mueang Airport, get on the bus at the ground floor arrival terminal. The shuttle bus goes directly via the expressway, and does not stop during the ride.

By taxi

Ordinary metered taxis are available on the first floor (one floor below arrivals). Follow the "public taxi" signs that lead to the outside of the airport premises, queue up and state your destination at the desk: English is understood. You'll get a two-part slip with your destination written in Thai on it. The small part is for your driver, the large part is for you. This ticket is for complaints and is how the system is enforced: hold on to it to help avoid arguments later. There is a 50 baht surcharge on top of the meter (not per passenger), meaning that trips to the city will cost 250-400 baht (plus possible expressway tolls of 45 and 25 baht, depending on time). Make sure you have change ready to pass to the toll operators to avoid being overcharged for the tolls later on. The ride takes about 45–60 minutes depending on traffic and location. No other surcharges apply, not even for going back to the airport. If there is a huge taxi queue, consider taking a limousine taxi, or take the free shuttle bus to the Public Transport Center, which has more taxis. Go straight to the "official taxi stand" and wait there. It is rare, but there have been reports of rigged meters that make the ride cost more than 400 baht. These taxis usually appear highly modified and it is a good idea to avoid them, or record the licence plate number of the taxi.

So-called limousine taxis (which charge by distance, e.g., around 800 baht to Sukhumvit) can be reserved at the limousine hire counter on the second floor (just outside arrivals), and aggressive touts will try to entice you on board. If you allow yourself to be waylaid by one of these taxi touts, they might quote you more than double the fare than an ordinary metered taxi would charge (900 baht instead of 400 baht, for example). You'd be silly even acknowledging their existence — ignore and walk straight past them.

Get around

There are two immigration sections, but processing time can be lengthy, at least 30 minutes.

Wait

Suvarnabhumi Airport is huge. By some measures it is the world's largest airport, so allow time for getting around. Suvarnabhumi offers all facilities you would expect from a major international airport. There are a transit hotel, ATMs, money exchange, restaurants, tax-free shops, an observation lounge and even a "redemption booth", very reassuring for karmically challenged passengers. There is not much to see at the observation deck on the seventh floor, since the steel structure of the roof blocks most of the view.

Eat and Drink

There are about 50 dining venues spread over the terminal building. The one that sounds most interesting probably is Panda Ready To Eat, but the cheapest place for a meal is Magic Food Point on level 1, near gate 8.

Buy

Suvarnabhumi Airport: where Thai culture meets tax-free shopping

There are a few shops in the check-in area, including a convenience store and a post office; however, the real shopping experience awaits travellers on the other side of immigration in the departure area, where the number of shops and duty free outlets leaves you wondering whether you are in an airport or a mall.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under 1,000 baht
Mid-range 1,000 baht to 2,500 baht
Splurge Over 2,500 baht

There are plenty of hotels near Suvarnabhumi Airport. Day room facilities for transit passengers are now available at the Miracle Grand Louis Tavern on floor 4, concourse G, ☎ +66 2 134-6565, 2,000 baht per 4-hour block, no reservations accepted. Travellers looking for a free quiet place to doze undisturbed at night can use one of the benches on the bottom floor of the terminal, which seem to be a popular choice with tourists and locals.

If you want an overnight stay within 20 minutes of the airport, get a hotel along Lat Krabang Rd. The Tourist Authority of Thailand and other hotel and tourist agencies have counters on the arrivals floor of the main terminal. You can make reservations at plenty of hotels here. Check for special promotions and also whether the hotel offers an airport pick-up and drop-off service — especially useful for late night arrivals and early morning departures.

As Suvarnabhumi Airport is technically in Samut Prakan, there are also some accommodation options close to the airport in that province.

Mid-range

Hotel map of Suvarnabhumi Airport

Splurge


Routes through Suvarnabhumi Airport


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.