By Johnathan Whitman, Dec 13 2018 08:00AM
For the vast majority of people, the first experience of your Thailand trip will be your arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. One of the most modern and stylish airports in the world, it promises to be an impressive beginning to your Thai adventure.
Despite is cool, glass-walled hallways, spacious concourses, and many welcoming staff, the sheer size of this airport can leave some feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed. So to help you negotiate the Suvarnabhumi halls and make your arrival (and departure) a pleasant one, here’s our guide to Bangkok Airport:
Arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport is usually an okay experience. The vast majority of international flights will connect directly to the main building, meaning you won’t have to experience a shuttle bus and walk out into the heat. And with most halls having long stretches of moving walkway/travelators, journeys through the airport should be quick and fairly painless.
As soon as you depart you flight follow the clearly marked signs for immigration and baggage collection. Suvarnabhumi has a large immigration hall with lots of staffed desks, but during busy hours it pays to head swiftly to immigration with your arrival card already filled out in full.
SuvarnabFast Track Services
For those looking for a super slick and easy way to get through Suvarnabhumi airport, you’ll also find a Fast Track Service on offer (but pre book before your flight). This service promises to get you from your flight, through immigration, and to your taxi within 20 minutes, and with your luggage collected and loaded in your car for you.
Usually priced at 1,500 Baht, this is great value for those on a decent budget who appreciate avoiding the regular hassles and delays of airport arrival.
Getting from Suvarnabhumi to you Bangkok Hotel
We actually recommend booking a taxi in advance, and having a driver waiting for you at arrivals gate 3 or 4. This will be the most painless way to get from the airport to your accommodation. If you haven’t booked a taxi you’ll find lots of agents trying to grab your attention and offer you a ride into the city and hotel accommodation, but this is best avoided unless you wish to pay over the top. instead, once you exit baggage collection head downstairs to the first floor and exit the terminal, here youll see the taxi meter stand where you’ll be assisted to a meter taxi.
Alternatively, if you are traveling light, you can go down one floor further to the basement, where you’ll find the entrance to Bangkok’s new and modern Airport Rail Link. This smart and fast train will link you up with the citys BTS system in just a few minutes. It can be a bit of a daunting experience if you are arriving in Bangkok for the first time and don’t know the city or system very well, but it’s quite straight forward and easy to work out, as well as being a super fast and cheap way to get into and across the heart of the city.
There is only one large departure terminal, so it pays to research ahead of time and find out which entrance of the airport you need to use to get you to your correct airline, or at least tell your driver so he can look out for the sign (it could save you a long walk from one end of the terminal to the other).
Again, immigration on the way out can also get busy at peak times, so it pays to arrive at least 2 hours before your flight departs, even if you have already checked in online. If you don’t have access to one of the airline lounges there are plenty of duty free shops and restaurants, as well as masses of comfortable seating, making your airport wait a pretty OK experience.
Food and drink
There are plenty of restaurants at Suvarnabhumi, both sides of immigration. For those waiting for arriving guests, or just super hungry after a long flight, there is a fantastic mall style food court on the first floor, offering a great variety of Thai food at very cheap prices.
Once checked into your flight and through immigration you’ll find a decent variety of food choices, from Burger King, Dairy Queen, and the usual fast food outlets, to more style eateries with Thai fusion, dim sum, and gourmet coffee bars.
If you haven’t done enough shopping already on your Thailand trip (shame on you!), then there is still plenty of opportunity to get a few Thai style gifts and souvenirs before you leave. I think we all know the days of cheap duty free shopping are long gone and most of the gift shops here are selling products several times the price of what you’d find out in the Bangkok malls and markets, but that’s the price you pay for not thinking of your loved ones until the last minute. There are a few craft style shops and unique boutique stores, so you can at least get something more unusual if you’re going to spend those extra baht.
As you’d expect, there are several spas, massage shops, and a hair salon in Suvarnabhumi. Again, these are quite expensive when compared to the same service out in Bangkok, but still a worthy way to kill some time and forget you’re waiting to catch a long flight.
Suvarnabhumi is also home to a medical care facility, several pharmacies, prayer centers, and a hotel with short term beds available for those with some serious airport time to kill.