Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Suvarnaphumi aka soo-wan-na-poom
You're tired, weary, groggy and disoriented. Then suddenly your aircraft touches down at suvarnabhumi in Bangkok. No one is meeting you and you need to figure out how to get to your hotel.
Everyone around seems to be speaking some strange language. You need to exchange money .. and look at those long lines at the immigration counters.
Welcome to Thailand!
The unwritten laws of international kick in about now. If you get lucky passing through, customs, your bag will likely get delayed. Be prepared to practice the art of patience.
You will get herded to the immigration area where you will likely spend from 15 - 3 hours waiting for your passport to get stamped. But Thai immigration officials generally ask no questions. So that part, other than the waiting in line, is relatively painless
Next step is collecting baggage and dealing with customs. Part of the experience here will be pleasant since baggage carts are free.
If you only have personal items such as camera, clothing, notebook computer and the like, check "nothing to declare" on the customs declaration form and look for a "green channel". If you have declarable items, list them appropriately and look for the "red channel".
Customs agents in Bangkok are quite lenient, and the chances are you baggage won't even be checked.
You will need Thai Baht to pay for transportation, tips, possibly a deposit at the hotel, maybe a cool libation to help you relax. Several banks have currency exchanges at Don Muang airport where you will get the official exchange rate. Change enough funds to last a day or perhaps two ... until you can get to a bank or currency exchange around your hotel. Your hotel will exchange popular currencies, but you will get a lesser exchange rate, by as much as 10%.
Make sure you have smaller change for the taxi. They will usually claim to have none.
Suvarnaphumi has ATM machines where many western credit cards can draw funds. The ATM machines can normally dispense Bt 20,000 per transaction. The limit depends on prior arrangements nade with your bank.
Need a Room?
Don't arrive without a booking. That will only make a long day even longer. Some folks don't want to experience Bangkok's transportation system until they have a clear head. Fortunately, there are a number of good and reasonably priced hotels around Suvarnaphumi Airport.
Airport Rail Link
Rail link is new and inviting, but some riders have experienced frustrations.
- Has both express line and 'standard' line, each on separate rails
- Express trains run ~ 40 min intervals
- Express fare is Bt 150 but temporarily reduced to Bt 90
- Express stops at Massakam and Phaya Thai stations
- Most journeys to central Bangkok involve a Taxi ride or long walk
Suvarnabhumi International Airport Location Maps
Suvarnaphumi Airport Details
- Located in Racha Thewa in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province, 30 km east of Bangkok
- Airport has 2 parallel runways 60 m. wide. One is 4,000 m. long and the second is 3700 m. long
- 2 parallel taxiways accommodate simultaneous departures and arrivals
- 120 parking bays (51 with contact gates and 69 remote gates). 5 gates can accommodate the Airbus A380
- Capacity to handle 76 flight operations per hour, 45 million passengers per year
- Long-term plans (3-5 years) call for 4 runways, 2 main terminals, 2 satellite buildings to serve up to 100 million passengers
- Limousine, public taxis, an airport express bus and a passenger rail system are available.
- Note: Some comments have been made that suggest that one cannot arrange public taxis near the terminal