Description : A place where airplanes full of white or tanned passengers land
or take off
Comments : A fairly nice gate from/to a fairly great country.
What you can do ?
- On arrival : Take off your pullover / Visit the TAT Office for free maps, trains' schedules & other info or leaflets / Change money : the rate is usually fairly similar to the one in town / Study your various transport options
- On departure : Arrive 2 hours in advance to register & get a window seat / Pay the B500 departure tax at an automatic machine / Queue up for the immigration procedure / See the skeleton of your hand
luggage / Spend dollars in numerous duty free shops /
What you may not like ? If coming from a western country, the difference of temperature & humidity / Waiting too long (always too long) at the immigration desk or
luggage delivery area / The expensive departure tax by Thailand standard / Some dishonest taxi drivers and the high cost of the safe regular ones /
The cost of duty-free goods
How long ? From 10mn to a couple of hours if your plane is delayed.
Where to stay ? Either in Bangkok or Ayuthaya. Hotels by the airport are logically expensive.
Where to eat & shop ? If the shops inside the airport are too costly for your remaining budget, two small shops (incl.
7Eleven at the northern platform) are located by the Don Muang Railway station
Internet ? One place at Don Muang Railway station charge the classic 1B per mn with B20 minimum. It cost however B50 only for one hour. Inside the airport, rates jump to B75 for 15mn or B100 for one hour.
To/From the Airport ?
The best overall option :
Airport Bus A2 go straight to Khao San Rd in a smooth 1 hour ride for B70. Operates from 5am to 12pm, every 15mn.
The cheapest : Public Bus No59. Takes twice as long to reach Khao San but cost only B3.5-5 in its non air cond version. The
AC version at B18 might be a better alternative however as it should be less busy. Operates 24 hours (air cond 6am to 10pm). From near the Democracy
Monument near Khao San Rd. This option is recommended outside of peaks hours.
The most ecological : take the train from Don Muang Railway Station (opposite Terminal 1) to Central Hua Lamphong Station. Ask for the schedules at the TAT Office when you arrive (about every hour from 6am to 9pm except at around 12 and at 15) but bear in mind that new trains are sometimes added so it is worth checking at the station directly. Trains cost from
B5 to B45 according to the type of train. The smooth rides should take less than 1 hour, whatever the type of train. Once at the train station, board public bus No53 (B3.5) opposite the station (not on the
east of it) for Khao San Rd, a scenic 45mn ride via China Town and the Grand Palace. It operates from 6am to 10pm. Taxi from the station to Khao San should cost around B60 (negotiate).
To the airport, the simplest option is to take a minibus from Khao San Rd. Prices start at
B50 for the advertised 1 hour trip. If it does not take the highway, it should however take twice as long. Some people also reported crowded conditions and wet bags after it rained. Shop & ask around.
Avoiding Bangkok altogether ? It is possible to go to Ayuthaya by taking a train directly from the
Airport's Don Muang Railway Station. Ayuthaya is also a
more relaxed alternative to Khao San Rd while waiting for your flight.
The trip to Khao San Rd :
S / L&R / B70 / 1 hour / AC Bus
Nothing easier than to take the bus : you follow the signs, wait for a bus to show up, get in, say hello to the helpful "guide" and relax. You pay later.
This mode of transportation advertises a 1 hour journey but the clock start only when the bus leaves the airport. With all the wait at all the airport stations and all the passengers trying to find a space available, it takes easily an additional 30mn. Traffic can also delay a bit,
even so it is not usually a problem.
The road is quite ugly until nearby Khao San Rd where the King's portraits add some color. The bus will pass Khao San Rd on the left and stop in front of Wat Bowonniwet, 2mn further north. You have landed in
The trip to Bangkok
S / L&R / B20 / 1 hour / Train
Problem with the train is that you may have to wait a bit for it. According to
the schedules given to me at the airport's tourist office, there was no train
within the next 2 hours. But schedules in Thailand are never to be taken too
seriously and, indeed, an additional train had been added. Only 30mn
to wait !
The train showed up half empty, the advantage of those unregistered trains.
Thanks to the smooth ride and lack of scenery, the next hour could be
spent reading all those leaflets handed by the TAT Office. Arriving at the
train station also provided the opportunity to gain new reading materials : the
trains schedules !