Thank goodness for Suvarnabhumi Airport. Bangkok was in dire need of a new airport. Even though it opened late last year (after years of delays), but it still is a work in progress.
Once you come out of customs-you will see lots of tour agencies trying to hook you up with taxis, tours and accomodation. If you need a place to stay this place may be helpful. Don't book a taxi with them, unless you have 4 or 5 people plus lots of bags and need a mini cab.
Just follow the signs for public taxi (these are the only metered cabs at airport) and get in the line. Just go downstairs from the arrival hall the taxi lines. The taxi lines move much faster than at the old airport, Don Muang. There is a 50baht surcharge from the airport. To the city, we paid around 300 or so baht. During busy times or if you want a faster ride into the city. Take the toll roads (recommended). You pay the driver 40baht for this toll and 20 or so for another. It's not that much money and you get into Bangkok fast. There is a bus that can take you there, but unfortuantely i have never taken it -so i don't have any info.
When you go through the line. The taxi operator writes your taxi driver's no. on a receipt and gives it to you. If you have any problems or complaints you call the telephone no. on the receipt.
This Airport is huge and may be daunting at first.
To collect your luggage, go to where the 20 carousels are. Here there is a Television screen with the names of the flights that have landed and the number of the carousel that your luggage will be on.
After you have found your luggage, then I found a cheap way to reach my destination, was the AIRPORT EXPRESS BUS, it cost 150 t/baht compared to 300-400 for a taxi.
There are 4 different routes that the Buses service. They run from 5am to 12pm. Be prepared to put your luggage on the Bus yourself as they do not give you help and it goes on the Bus with you.
It is located at Level 1, near doorway 8.
If you are in a hurry, then you are better off to take a taxi, as by the Bus, you may be the last person to be dropped off, but if like me, and not in a hurry, I had a free tour as well as reaching my destination.
You can also catch the Express Bus for your return trip. I only have the details for the area I stayed which was near Khaosan road.
To get this bus (AE2), the ticket is only available at booth infront of the Sawadee Hotel, which is situated between Khaosan road and Rachdamnoen Klang road on Charkophong Road, nearly opposite Wat Chanasongkram.
The new Bangkok airport opened early in 2007 – and promptly ran into major problems when major construction faults led to calls for the old airport to be re-opened while repairs were made. We passed through the new terminal in late May and everything appeared to be functioning properly by then. The terminal is absolutely huge, though as we saw it at night, gaining a clear impression was difficult. The construction of boarding lounge areas appears similar to other new airports, such as Hong Kong, with extensive use of “plastic canvas” roofing. There are vast long concourses connecting different areas, fortunately equipped with moving walkways, and shops grouped at what I would call “nodes”.
Unsurprisingly, it was largely empty when we arrived late at night, local time! We found our way from our arrival lounge through the corridors with fairly few problems, then entered the boarding lounge (go out at the top level, then downstairs to the lounge – see photo). What soon became apparent was that no catering options existed in the boarding lounge area – to obtain some drinks, it was necessary to return to the shopping node.
So, getting to the point, if you are travelling from Bangkok Airport and are looking for catering, I would suggest you shop for nutrition prior to entering the boarding lounge area. Maybe later something will be provided in these areas as the terminal ‘beds in’.
Once you arrive at the airport, the best way to get to Bangkok is via meter taxi. Now, there are two ways you can catch a taxi. The tourist way is to exit the building at the arrivals hall at gate 3 and go to the meter taxi counter to take a taxi. Try very hard to ignore the official and unofficial touts in the arrivals hall. Make sure that the taximan turns on the meter. A B50 surcharge applies on top of the meter fare and tollway charges if used.
The second method whereby most if not all Thais use is to go up to the arrivals hall and take a taxi where a departing passenger has got off. That way, you avoid paying the B50 surcharge.
The airport train is about to be ready as I am typing this but still, I would prefer the more personal and direct door to door meter taxi.
When departing Thailand, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to go through immigration as it can take forever processing a passenger, not forgetting it is a huge airport too.
As of August 2007, this is the system in place for those who wish to use public taxis to the city from the airport. When you emerge in the Greeters area, take the escalator down to the "Public Taxis" area. There is a stand or table there where you tell the person-in-charge your destination and he shall issue you a ticket (see photo) and on it the fare-- in Baht-- to be paid the driver will be written. The fare includes the airport surcharge and expressway toll.
The ticket would also indicate the plate no. of the cab plus a phone no. to call in case you left something in the cab when after you get off.
Transport arrangements to and from the new airport are pretty similar to the old one - but the bad news is that the airport is further out from the city and congestion seems much worse - avoid the rush hour if you can.
Taxi is the best way to and from the airport (at least until they finish building the train line in a couple of years time). Expect to pay about 300 baht from the airport to Sukhumvit - which should include the 50 baht surcharge and the tollway fee (the passenger pays these on top of whatever is on the meter). The taxi stand is on the level below arrivals - signage is not very good at present, but should improve over time.
There's also a pre-paid limo service if you have more cash and are nervous about dealing with a taxi driver - but you'll be paying quite a lot more for a very similar ride.
If your budget is tighter than that, there are also airport buses - but you won't make much saving if there are two or more of you travelling together. Single travellers heading to Khao San will make a fair saving, though - but don't expect it to be quick.
This webpage has some good further information on these transport options:
This page has detailed information on the airport bus:
If you want something better than a meter taxi then I suggest you use the limo serice provided by the airport. No need to book on line, they have plenty of cars. Their desks are in the baggage claim area, just book your car while you wait for your bags.
Another option is to get your hotel to collect you, although this tends to be the most expensive option.
OR, you can do what I do and use Mr Tom - see my Bangkok pages for more info.
Contact your accommodation beforehand to find out how much you should pay to get to your hotel/hostel using a taxi. Taxis charge based on distance traveled, not time spent in traffic, etc, so the cost should be pretty set. You need to know how much you should pay, and make sure the meter is turned on, otherwise you will get screwed (even if you get a taxi from the legitimate taxis at the ground floor of the airport).
Also, avoid the people asking if you need a taxi on the top floor of the airport. You'll pay a much higher cost; follow the Taxi signs to the gound level.
We took a taxi to Suhumvit Soi and paid about 225BHT; on the way to the airport from our hostel, we paid 175BHT because the airport fee only applies when leaving the airport.
If your international flight is on time you should be OK, but remember your flight from London will land at the new airport, Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and your Nokair flight will leave from the old airport, Don Mueang (DMK). I would suggest a cab to get you from one to the other. So even if it takes an hour (unlikely) to clear customs etc at BKK you still have an hour for the cab ride (about twice the usual journey time) to get to DMK more than an hour before your flight to Phuket.
The **new** departure tax is B700, hoewever, it's now build into your tickets and NOT paid individually in cash before departure (as was the old system)...
One notable exception:
Non-Revenue passengers.. You must pay the tax either thru your airline's system (you just get billed) or IN CASH.. This is most common when you are a "guest" on another airline (who cannot bill you for your travel and associated taxes)... so, if you're a non-revenue passenger, I'd keep B700 in hand (cash) just in case you need to pay the fee before departure!
I first came to Bangkok about 22 years ago, on leaving the airport you were greeted by hoards of taxi drivers clamering for your business, bargening was a must. Then they brought in the airport limo, simple set price within the arrival hall, no hasle.
Now arriving at the spanking new airport what are you greeted with......yep hoards of airport limo touts trying to grab you (lots of "very cheap"). Then go to the "official" airport limo to be told that they can't give you a 700 baht limo as they don't have one, I had to take a 900baht one. Not sure why I am charged more depending on what type of car you have, thought petrol was pretty standard price.
Hopefully someone at TTA will read this and try to ensure that the first impression of Thailand improves
Update 2008: first counter said "1000 Baht" outside first tout asked 800 baht, kept walking, second tout asked 600 baht, kept walking to meter taxi - total cost 250 baht.
Had the opportunity to try out this airport while it was in its second day of operation. The airport is huge, one of the biggest if not the biggest in the world. Everything was not completed yet, touch ups was still ongoing. Getting there by metered taxi cost about slightly less than THB290 from Silom area including a toll fee of THB40. Most taxi drivers should know how to get there, however, make sure you alight at the right check in row, otherwise it could be quite a walk. There was no jam on a Saturday, the journey took less than 45 minutes. Given the hotel staff's advice of 2 hours' allowance to reach the airport, I reached there too early for checkin. But prepare 2 hours for your trip to the airport if a jam is expected. If you are claiming VAT Refund, make sure you proceed to the customs for inspection BEFORE checking in your luggage, otherwise you may not get your refund. The refund is done after the immigration process just before the boarding security checks and the counter requires a custom stamp on the VAT invoices before they can give u the refund. Immigration counters are aplenty here, so expect a shorter wait. Security check is very thorough, every cm of your body is scanned carefully - maybe they have plenty of time cos there are not many flights operating out of this airport while I was there. Shops were not ready yet, though it is claimed that there will be a kilometre stretch of shops (u can imagine the size of the airport). Judging from the state of completion, I expect the airport to be fully functional earliest in November 2006, though most airlines will start using the airport from 26 Sept onwards. This airport is supposed to challenge Singapore's Changi Airport as a hub for air travel and I strongly suspect that the Thai planners took quite a no. of learning trips down to Changi cos I see lots of similarity to Changi Airport.
I spent quite a bit of time in the new airport as I had a 5 hour layover on my way to Beijing. There are some pros and cons of this airport, but mostly I found the experience favourable.
The only bad thing I could see was that there are no ATM's in the transit area. I came with no money (only cards) and was unable to buy anything (including water). I soon found that everyone took credit cards so I could buy things that way. There are heaps of shops (including duty free and boots) and eating areas as well as internet to keep you busy for a few hours. The quality of the food is quite good, but expensive.
The whole place is ultra modern and they have decorated the halls with traditional Thai statues and provillions making it a little different from other airports.
There is a transit waiting lounge for economy passengers which is actually very comfortable, although I found the whole airport was too cold due to excessive use of airconditioning - bring a jumper!!
Never, ever take anything but a metered taxi available outside the airport. Those inside will cost you dearly and you'll probably end up somewhere other than planned as you will be convinced that your hotel is booked solid, or has even reciently burned to the ground. A big problem here, believe me as I see it every time I'm ion the airports and constantly warn the unknowing first time tourists. Get in the que outside tell them where you want to go and they will assign you a taxi. If you take the highway you will be expected to pay the tolls. Depending on where in the city your going, typically 2 tolls, less that 100 baht combined and expect your fare to be 200 or so baht. Always take a metered taxi.
In the city they're everywhere with a lit light on the roof. Tell them where your going because many times they will refuse to take you if it will involve a lot of traffic congestion.
Allow me to give the very first tip and feedback on Bangkok's new railway system between the airport and the city. It just opened this month (Oct. 2010) with 2 lines: the express line which goes non-stop between the airport and Makkasan station (travel time - 15 mins., interval between trains every 30 mins.), and the city line which has 6 stops until the terminus of Phaya Thai (travel time - 30 mins., interval between trains every 15 mins.). The intro fare for the city line is 15 baht (about 50 US cents) but this will be increased by Jan. 2011. At Phaya Thai, one could connect to the BTS line to get to other points in the city. Operating hours: 6 AM - midnight.
This airport link is of course far cheaper and faster than taking a cab. While the stops along its route have elevators for those with luggages, you'd have to haul your bags when you transfer to the BTS/MRT lines as they don't have elevators (though a few have escalators).
Upon arrival at the airport, look for the signs (as shown on the photos) for the rail link which is located at B1 level. Buy a ticket at the counter, ride the train and get off at your stop. The train cars however are like any usual commuter trains so while they do not have luggage racks or compartments, each car has an area without seats so passengers with big bags could congregate here.