Bangkok, Thailand (TH)
Bangkok International Airport lies 25km east of the city. It's also known as Suvarnabhumi Airport, referring to the 'golden kingdom' - a mythical land, supposed to be located in Southeast Asia.
The layout of the airport is very straightforward. It has one huge, airy terminal, with five main levels:
The building has seven concourses in a ‘H’-shaped layout. Concourses A and C serve domestic passengers, while Concourses D, E, F and G serve international passengers. Distances are long, but there are many moving walkways in all concourses to help you move faster.
Be vigilant: Petty thieves, acting as tour guides or taxi drivers, are known to operate in the Arrivals hall, so keep a close eye on your belongings.
Random fact: The airport control tower is the tallest in the world, at 135m.
The train is the best way to avoid Bangkok's chaotic traffic, monsoon rain and potential overcharging by taxi drivers.
There are three Airport Rail Link (ARL) lines, two express and one City Line for commuters, taking you into central Bangkok, running between 06:00-00:00. However, the two express lines are currently suspended until further notice due to a shortage of rolling stock. The City Line commuter service from the airport to the Phaya Thai station takes 30 minutes and stops at 6 stations before arriving Phaya Thai, where you can transfer to the BTS Skytrain.
Cost: Express Lines (currently suspended) THB 90 one-way, THB 150 return; City Line (THB 15-45, THB 45 until Phaya Thai)
Buying tickets: Machines in the station
Location: All lines leave from the station in Basement B
Walk past anyone offering you taxis in the terminal, follow the ‘public taxi’ signs, queue up and give your destination at the desk. Keep the white slip of paper you'll be given, as it contains instructions on what to do in the unlikely event of a problem - the driver will be given another one. Journey time is around 45–60 minutes.
The rush-hour traffic is horrendous, and the driver may overcharge if he senses you're new to the city, so take the train if possible.
Cost: Around THB 250-400 to the city (plus THB 50 surcharge and road tolls)
Location: Level 1, near Gates 4 and 7
Louis’ Tavern Lounges offers dayrooms to get some sleep in for a few hours. They’re open 24 hours a day, with locations on Level 2, near Concourse C, and on Level 4, International Departures. A room costs about USD 90 for 4 hours. There are also public showers, smoking rooms and a hairdresser available. These fill up fast, so it’s often best to pre-book at www.dayrooms-ciplounges.com.
For cheap 3G connection while in Thailand, go to 7-11 or True Move kiosks in Arrivals and buy a True SIM card. This works out cheaper for calls and messaging in Thailand than using your home provider. Prices range from THB 49, and there are various packages. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for promotions staff handing out free cards!
Chang Foot Massage and Spa on Level 3, has great one-hour massage and foot massages for THB 500. You’ll forget you were ever stressed. You can also get a shower and a sauna there – just ask at the desk.
Bangkok Airport has rest areas with very comfortable reclining chairs. You’ll find these on Level 3, Concourse C, just past the Louis’ Tavern Lounge; on Level 4, Concourse B; and just outside the Emirates Lounge.
The airport runs tours aimed at passengers with layovers of 6-12 hours. There are 15 packages, ranging from Bangkok sightseeing to golf, crocodile farms, nightlife and more. You can pre-book at www.orientalescape.com, or go to one of the tour desks at the intersections of Concourses C and D and Concourses D and E, on the Arrivals Floor.
The prices for the tours start at THB 4,400 per person.
You will find car hire desks at the passenger terminal 2nd floor, gate 8, provided by Avis, Budget, Thai car rental association, Bizcar, Hertz, National, Sixt.
You can book a car at the airport, or save money by booking online before you travel.
Location: near the transfer lounges in concourse B and D,west side and on the 4th floor of the concourse C and D, east and west wings.
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