sawadee kha... meaning greetings in Thai and it also mean that we have arrived in Thailand.
It was precisely 6 in the morning when we arrived at Bangkok’s international airport – Suvarnabhumi, outside temperature was 35 degree Celsius, hot and humid, city was slowly waking up from its deep slumber.
After a smooth emigration, having picked up our luggage we headed straight to domestic departure for our next flight to Phuket. But the Air Asia flight to Phuket was delayed by almost an hour and in between we had more than three hours time to kill.
Meanwhile let’s have a look at Bangkok’s new international airport – Suvarnabhumi meaning golden land.
Suvarnabhumi International airport is located almost 25 km from Bangkok city in the Samut Prakan province, well-connected by expressways and rail links. It housed world’s tallest control tower and has world’s third largest single building airport terminal and is the fifth busiest airport in Asia.
So naturally it is advisable to pick up the free concourse / terminal map at the kiosk, once you have checked-in. Besides the terminal map, other freebies like map of Bangkok or Thailand, pamphlets of hotels and restaurants are also worth picking up and believe me they are really very helpful. These freebies contain all the necessary tourist information like places of interest, hotels, restaurants (along with deals) shopping malls, handicrafts, important call center numbers, transportation, banking, hospitals , embassies etc.
The airport terminal has roughly four levels. Both domestic and International arrivals are at level 2, transit / airline lounges are at level 3 and both domestic and international departures are at level 4. Public transportation is at level 1, Airport express buses at level 1, exit 8 and Limousines and public taxis are at level 2.
For banking and exchanges, Siam commercial bank and TMB bank kiosk are there mostly at level 2 and level 4, Level 3 has few kiosk though. Rate of exchange is uniform across both the banks, TMB bank though rejects some country’s Master-cards, but VISA cards sees no issues.
Level 3 is where the duty-free shops, convenience and gift stores are located along with lots of snacking and dining options are available. Coffee at Starbucks with some munchies is good option if you are in transit and a serving of pad thai or chicken fried rice will be just right for lunch. These restaurants serves Thai, Japanese and Continental cuisines. Do check the Eat-tion at level 3, we had pad thai there and it was very good. Burger king is at level 4 concourse B and for sushi lovers they has Sushi koku at level 4 and for Indians & Arabians they has one X-press kebab at level 4 concourse F.
For those who want to stay very near to airport, hotel Novotel suvarnabhoomi is just next door in the adjoining building, 10 minutes from the passenger terminal.
Transportation: a newly opened (23 Aug 2010) rapid transit (MRT) rail link joins the airport to Phaya Thai station in central Bangkok via Makkasan.
Airport Express Bus Services to Bangkok operates on four distinct routes. AE 1 : Suvarnabhumi – Silom (by expressway); AE 2 : Suvarnabhumi – Khao San road (by expressway); AE 3 : Suvarnabhumi – Sukhumvit – Wireless road; AE 4 : Suvarnabhumi – Hua Lamphong railway station via Victory monument (by expressway).
The bus ticket has to be purchased on bus itself after boarding the designated bus and cost 150 THB per person.
Check this link for Airport Express to Bangkok Hotels
Besides these Bangkok Mass Transport Authority also operates 12 Air conditioned bus services to different provinces in Bangkok, city bus 554 and 555 Suvarnabhumi stops at Don Mueang airport.
Limousines services are provided by AOT and by licensed companies and rates are flat.
Metered taxis (air-conditioned) are available at ground level and they comes in pink, yellow with green, blue and orange color. The rates are negotiable and passenger has to pay the toll fee at expressways which can amounts up to 70 thb.
Our one way taxi fare from Sukhumvit to Suvarnabhumi airport cost us less than 300 thb, so better to avoid the hotel lobbies and travel agents for booking the taxis.
Some of the domestic airlines that operates in Thailand are: Nok Air (serves Phuket and Chiang Mai from Bangkok); Bangkok airways (serves Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi. Sukhothai and Koh Samui from Bangkok ) ; Air Asia (serves Phuket , Krabi and Chiang Mai from Bangkok) and Thai Airways International serves all the major destinations including Koh-Samui. All the domestic airlines operates from Suvarnabhumi airport except Nok-Air which operates from Don Mueang airport.