Airport Travel, Bangkok
"Letters of complaint to the papers here in Thailand make it clear that passengers are regularly detained at the airport for alleged shoplifting, and then made to pay middlemen to win their freedom."
Read the rest here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8154497.stm
The new airport is extremely large, the immigration lines are long and so are the check-in lines. If you expect to arrive at the last minute and get to a plane, forget it! Remember, most airlines cancel your ticket if you arrive too late to get to a plane.
Immigration backs up rather far during peak travel times. It can take 20 minutes or more to get through. Once through immigration, you must walk a substantial distance through the large airport shopping mall before you can get to the gate area. Some of the gates are rather far out, so plan on 15 to 35 minutes to get to security at the gates. Then you go through security, and everyone knows how long that can take.
My last trip to Cambodia, I left the hotel 3 hours ahead. I got to the gate with 10 minutes to spare, before boarding started. Since I was on the small Bangkok Airways flight, it boarded early, because we had to take the bus to the plane.
As I am Turkish, many countries apply visa to me. Thailand, to my surprise, doesn't apply visa on Turkish. Unfortunately, this time it wasn't me , but my Hungarian girlfriend who had to suffer.
We checked and saw that she could get visa on arrival. I thought it shouldn't take much time. Normally, you give your passport and money, you get your visa in 5 minutes. It didn't work that way in Bangkok. There was a long queue and only two counters working really slow. My girlfriend needed to fill a form, attach her photo, show return ticket, pay 1000 Baht for application and also show how much money she got. The minimum acceptable amount is 10000 Baht or equal currency. The officers were so rude and corrupt. They were shouting at some people on the queue. Throwing back the papers they have given and so on. There was a third guy who wasn't in the counter and he was taking extra money from people who didn't want to wait so much and he arranged their paperwork and everything. But he was doing it so openly, you could see how he was getting the money from some people and then going into the counter to arrange the paperwork with his other colleagues. I am sure they were finally sharing the money amongst them.
So it took us more than 2 hours to get the application accepted, but it wasn't over. My girlfriend joined a queue for the people who has visa on arrival. I got my passport checked in 5 minutes and I was on the other side for getting our luggage. She came 45 minutes later. On that queue, there was again this torturing process where your passport and you were checked several times.
We lost around 3 hours for this visa on arrival torture. If you are coming to Bangkok, I strongly suggest getting the visa from embassy in your country rather than suffering 3 hours in queues and feeling frustrated.
Bangkok is such a beautiful city with the temples, food and shopping possibilities. Bangkok is a must see, just try to avoid wasting your time on visa issues.
Like every tourist in Bangkok you will hire a boat and will enjoy your ride on the river. But be prepared! Whenever you plan to go off board along your journey you have to pay a landing fee of 20 Baht. We had to pay at Wat Arun's pier and at Tha Chnang. Keep some small bills in your pocket in order to pay them.
Be aware that it is illegal to transport Thai Buddha images out of the country. It is also illegal to treat Buddha images with disrespect. There are severe penalties for doing so. No joking.