About Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport
Opened in 2006 Suvarnabhumi airport is located 25km east of Bangkok city. The airport services both domestic and international flights. There is another low-cost carrier airport Don Muang which also in Bangkok and it takes anywhere between 1-2 hours between both airports.
Suvarnabhumi means the golden kingdom which is a mythical place that's meant to be located somewhere in South East Asia. At 434ft Suvarnabhumi airport has the world's tallest control tower.
Suvarnabhumi uses the airport code BKK.
Quick tips on how to survive arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport
Flying into Bangkok airport is a straight forward process. Immigration arrival cards are usually handed out an hour or so before you land. Do try to fill them out to save you time and inconvenience when you land.
Suvarnabhumi is a huge airport so getting from your gate to immigration may take quite a while. Be prepared to walk!
Getting through Bangkok airports immigration queues
- Fill out your arrival papers on the plane once they are handed out - at the same time try to fill out your departure card to save time later
- Upon departure from the plane you'll be in an internal tunnel linking to the main airport tunnel.
- As Bangkok airport is quite large there's a high probability immigration control is quite far from your terminal.
- There are moving walkways bringing you to immigration but walking is often faster. There are plenty of toilets en route but nothing in the way of food etc.
- Take note of the queues at immigration as there are Thai national queues and foreign queues all ahead of a long snaking rope line system.
- If you are lucky there won't be a lot of people. However the chances of that are slim. Be prepared to wait. The good news is that the queues do move quite quickly so don't despair too much.
- At immigration do take note of the marks on the ground. Don't cross them until the immigration official says you can otherwise you'll be ushered back and everything will be delayed.
- Once the immigration official motions for you to come forward do so by handing in your passport then stepping back to your floor marks a step or two back from the counter.
- The immigration official will then flick through your passport and take your photo with the small web cam in front of you.
- If all goes well they will then start stamping your passport and arrival card before handing your passport back.
- There are few smiles here, but do try yourself.
- Now quickly walk on and get to your baggage ASAP!
Please note it is mandatory to wear a facemask at the airport.
Transferring at Bangkok airport
Give yourself a lot of time! Due to the size of the airport and the distance between gates it's really a matter of luck not having to walk far to your next gate. If you are booking your flights keep this in mind. Short transfer times might result in not making your flight.
Get to your luggage at the airport quickly
- Baggage claim is directly behind immigration and there are many many luggage conveyors which makes things difficult to locate your bags. Which is bad as the chances are it's already on a conveyor and ripe for being picked up by someone else.
- If you can't remember your flight code number then get your ticket out and find it. After every few luggage conveyors there are large electronic sign boards that display the flight code with the luggage conveyor number. e.g. Flight BA-323 - Baggage counter B15.
- Make your way as quickly as possible to your baggage reclaim counter as it may well already be out from the plane. Or even have the next flights baggage coming out on the conveyor.
- If there's no sign of your luggage there is a lost luggage section. Make sure you have your flight details and luggage code from when you checked in.
- If you have your bags then keep your luggage code from check in ready in case you are asked for it when going through customs.
- If you've nothing to declare proceed through the green "nothing to declare" section otherwise proceed to the "declare" section.
- There's usually no problem going through the "nothing to declare" section and once through you'll be in the darker arrivals hall.
- If you are being met by someone or a hotel pickup service then this is likely where they'll be waiting along with several dozen more people holding up signs with names written on them.
- If you are not being picked up it's best to look like you know where you are going and ignore everyone while walking straight ahead to a quieter area.
- Do watch out for taxi touts as they start from here on out. They were previously chased out of the airport but seem to be making a comeback.
Changing money at Suvarnabhumi Airport
ATM's: There are 24 hour ATM machines in several places at arrivals. Do note that nearly all banks charge 200-250 bhat for foreign cards.
FOREX: There is also a large foreign currency exchange in the arrivals section. As per usual with forex at an airport the rates are not all that favorable.
Getting from the airport to Bangkok city or your hotel
Bangkok airport is 25km east of Bangkok city and there are several ways to get there or to your hotel depending on the time you arrive and your budget.
Cheapest way from the airport to Bangkok city:
Public buses run 24 hours a day from the airport to about 12 different destinations in Bangkok city center. The cost is 35 baht. From the airport take a shuttle bus to the transportation center.Open 24 hours.
Public buses from Suvarnabhumi airport to locations in Bangkok city:
- Bus 549 - Ladkrabang Road - Rom Klao Road - Sihaburanukit Road - Seri Thai Road - Bangkapi
- Bus 550 - Ladkrabang road - On-Nut road - Sri Nakarin road - Ladprao road
- Bus 551 - Chonburi expressway - Srirat expressway - Asoke-Dindang - Rachawithi Road - Victory Monument
- Bus 552 - On-Nut BTS (Sukhumvit road)
- Bus 553 - Kingkaew Road - Bangna-Bangpakong Road - Sri Nakarin Road - Sukhumvit Road - Sai Luad Road - Samut Prakan
- Bus 554 - Ramintra road - Changwattana road - Vibhavadi Rangsit road - Don Muang Airport
- Bus 555 - Vibhavadi Rangsit - Rangsit
- Bus 556 - Democracy Monument - Thammasat University - Pata Department Store - Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal
- Bus 557 - Chalarat Hospital - Samut Prakan - Chalarat Hospital - Rung Chareon Market - Suksawat road - Ratburata Hospital - Wat Sawetchat - Wongwien Yai (BTS)
- Bus 558 - Chalarat Hospital - Ramkamhaeng - Srinakarin - Bang Na - Soi Lasan - Rung Chareon Market - Suksawat Road - Lotus Bang Na - Bang Pakaeo - Bhuthabucha Junction - Bang Mod Hospital - Central Rama
- Bus 559 - Ek Prathum Hospital - Future Park Rangsit
Long distance buses from airport:
- Bus 389 - Pattaya
- Bus 390 - Talad Rong Kluea
- Bus 825 - NongKhai
Cheapest & easiest way from the airport to Bangkok city locations:
The airport city rail line costs between 15-45 bhat and takes 15-27 minutes. It's clean, easy and links to both the MRT and BTS. Open 6am - midnight
Airport City Line to Bangkok city
Turn right when you exit customs at arrivals and walk to the very end and follow the signs to the B1 level for the airport rail link. The ticket machines and counter are opposite Subway or straight ahead and then to your right if you took the travel escalator down. Buy your ticket (15-45 bhat, depending on what station you want) and keep following the signs to the train. It's all very direct and straight forward.
Airport city line destinations:
- Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok airport)
- Lat Krabang
- Ban Tap Chan
- Hua Mak
- Makkasan which interchanges with Phetchaburi MRT Station
- Phaya Thai which interchanges with BTS Phaya Thai Station
Cheapest & easiest way from the airport to Kao San Road & popular Bangkok city destinations:
If you know where you want to go and prefer a direct bus then the airport offers an express bus to 4 popular tourist spots in the city for 150 bhat. Open from 5am-12 midnight.
Express Airport Bus destinations:
Bus AE1 - Suvarnabhumi-Silom
- Petchaburi Soi 30
- Central Wolrd Plaza
- Rachdamri BTS Station
- Lumpini Park
- Surawong Road
- Montien Hotel
- Tawana Ramada Hotel
- Plaza Hotel
- Surawong Soi Kamjai Iamsuri
- Charoen Krung soi 47/1
- Lertsin Hospital
- Central Silom
- Silom Soi 26
- Narai Hotel (Silom Soi 18)
- Sofitel Hotel (Silom Soi 12)
- Silom Soi 6 (Bangkok Bank)
- Saladang BTS
Bus AE2 - Suvarnabhumi-Khao San Road
- Petchaburi Soi 30
- Platinum Fashion Mall
- Petchaburi Soi 20
- Petchaburi Soi 10
- Sapan Kao
- Thai Airways
- Wat Rachnatda
- Democracy Monument
- Royal Ratanakosin Hotel
- National Theater
- Pra A-Thit road
- Khao San road
Bus AE3 - Suvarnabhumi - Sukhumvit - Wireless Road
- Sukhumvit Soi 52-50 (BTS On-Nut)
- Prakanong Market
- Eastern Bus Terminal
- Sukhumvit Soi 38 (Thonglor BTS)
- Sukhumvit Soi 34
- Sukhumvit Soi 24 (Prom-Phong BTS)
- Sukhumvit Soi 20, Soi 18, Soi 10, Soi 6, Soi 2
- Rachdamri road
- World Trade/Central World Plaza
- Phetchaburi Soi 25
- Phetchaburi Soi 35
- Soi Nana
Bus AE4 - Suvarnabhumi - Hua Lamphong
- Victory Monument
- Soi Rangnam
- 99 Hotel (BTS On Nut Station)
- Phayathai (BTS)
- Live Stock Department
- Rachatewee (BTS)
- Siam Discovery Center
- Maboonkrong (MBK/National Stadium)
- Chulalongkorn University
- Mandarin Hotel
- Bangkok Centre Hotel
- Hua Lumpong Railway Station
Fastest & easiest way from the airport to Bangkok city:
If you arrive by plane close to midnight then the rail link, express bus, MRT and BTS stations will be closed. The fastest and easiest way to the center of Bangkok after midnight is by taxi or GrabTaxi.
Taking a taxi from Bangkok airport to the city
There are two taxi stands both located on Level 1 (Ground Level) near entrances 3, 4, 7 and 8. t - one of long-distance and the other for short-distance rides.
Head downstairs at the airport to Level 1 where you will find a taxi booth outside to the left. The first stand is the short distance airport stand and a little further on is the long-distance stand. Tell the clerk where you want to go or better yet have a printout of your hotels address in Thai.
You'll be handed a bit of paper possibly two. Keep one of them, the other one is for the taxi driver that's been assigned to you.
You will be expected to pay the meter plus any toll roads (50 & 70 bhat). If you arrive very late 2am-5am then traffic should be lighter and you can ask the driver to avoid the toll roads.
Taxi fares depend on your destination but an average fare should be around 450 bhat to the weekend market.
Tip: to avoid any excessive queues for a taxi head to the departures area and walk out to the main road. As taxi's drop off passengers you can grab one there. This is not encouraged by the authorities and you may be told to go back. Otherwise there are no queues.
Most expensive way from the airport to Bangkok city:
If you want the most luxurious, comfortable transport with a driver than speaks english and will know the route then an bangkok airport limousine is available.
Airport limos cost up to 3 times that of a taxi. There are limo booths once you clear customs.
If you want to know about how to get around Bangkok then the following guides will help:
- How to get around Bangkok (transport)
- How to use the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok
- How to use the MRT in Bangkok