Mar 15 2011
Arriving in Bangkok on a long-haul flight can be disorienting. Here’s a quick run down of the options to get you from Bangkok’s main airport to your bed as fast (or as cheap) as possible. Suvarnabhumi International Airport (pronounced sue-wan-nah-poom) is located about 25km east of Bangkok. The arrivals hall is located on Level 2; taxis, the Airport Express Bus Service and the shuttle bus to the bus transportation centre depart from level 1. The Airport Rail Link Station is on level B1.
Airport Rail Link
The Airport Rail Link connects Suvarnabhumi to both the BTS system and the MRT subway system, at Phaya Thai and Makkasan, respectively. It runs 06:00-0:00 daily.
Two types of service are available: a non-stop service to Makkasan, taking 15 minutes, and a local service to Phaya Thai, making six stops and taking 26 minutes. If you are headed anywhere on the BTS or MRT systems, or your destination is within a few kilometres of an Airport Rail Link Station, take the train from the airport and connect using the MRT, the BTS, or a taxi.
The express service costs 150 baht and the local from 15-45 baht depending on distance travelled.
Airport Express Bus Service
The Airport Express Bus Service runs four lines to central Bangkok: Sukhumvit, Silom, Hualamphong Train Terminal and Khao San Road. The service costs 150 baht, is well air-conditioned and there is ample room for luggage. Depending on traffic, the journey to Khao San Rd can take between 65 minutes and two hours. Service runs 05:00-0:00 and departs from level 1. The stops are well sign-posted.
Metropolitan and long-distance bus service
Departing from Level 1, a shuttle bus connects the airport to the bus transportation centre. The bus transportation centre has departures for many Bangkok neighbourhoods (Bus No 551 to Victory Monument and 556 to the Southern Bus Terminal being especially useful, both 35 baht, from 06:00 to 22:00), as well as destinations along the eastern seaboard, including Pattaya, Trat and Koh Chang.
Public taxis leave from level 1. Travellers confirm their destination with a dispatcher, who writes the destination on a receipt that is given to the driver. Drivers might try to bargain after you are in the cab; politely say “meter” while pointing to the meter.
If a driver is rude, don’t hesitate to get out and go back to the dispatcher for a new cab. A taxi to Khao San costs around 250 baht on the meter. There is an extra 50 baht charge to hire a taxi at the airport, and passengers are responsible for toll charges if you use the expressway (recommended, adds about 70 baht to the fare, but saves 30 minutes travel time) for a total fare of around 370 baht.
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