Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Guide

There are two airports in Bangkok, Don Mueang airport and Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK). Suvarnabhumi is Bangkok's international airport and often handles most of the international travels to and from Thailand. The airport also hosts domestic flights. Suvarnabhumi was opened in 2006 and has been running since. This airport is one of the busiest airports in Asia and Thailand, and if you are wondering about the name, it means "the golden land". This is derived from a traditional name for Indochina and Thailand.

Suvarnabhumi airport is spread over several floors that you can access through lifts or elevators, and walkways. The lifts and elevators connect each level, and the walkways are best for luggage trolleys and are found on each level. There are attendants at the end of each level to help any passenger struggling with getting their trolley off. The airport is divided into four levels.

 

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport - akyra Thonglor Hotel Bangkok

 

Suvarnabhumi Airport

 

Level 1

Level 1 is the ground floor and also the transportation level. It is the point of departure for the express bus service of the airport, running to various areas in Bangkok. You can also find buses on this level that will take you to the nearby public transportation centre.

Once you get to the public transportation centre, you can get onward connecting bus services and taxi services that will take you to other provinces or the different parts of Bangkok you may want to visit. If you are travelling on an organized tour, your transport may pick you from level 1, and it is worth stating that some limousines also depart from this level. You can also find other services on this level, such as the Thai restaurant and the medical centre.

 

Level 2

Arrivals are on the level 2 floor. This includes both domestic and international arrivals. If you are getting in from an international flight before entering the baggage reclaiming area, you must first clear with immigration. It would be best to ensure that you fill out the Thai immigration bureau arrival card.

Usually, these cards will be given to you while you are still on the plane. Suppose you do not get one. You can get one at the information desk once your flight has touched down. Fill it before you go to the queue at the immigration control. You still have to fill out this arrival card even if you have a Thai travel visa.

You may notice that the immigration control queue is often long. This is a result of most individuals failing to fill out the arrival card. After you are cleared with immigration, you can proceed to collect your baggage and walk through customs. You will then go through doors leading into the arrivals hall. If you do not have transportation arranged, you can find a taxi driver here.

** Ignore taxi and limousine representatives carrying badges that look official, and they are well dressed. They will charge you an exorbitant fee to get you to your hotel or destination. It would be best to plan for transport in advance. Alternatively, ignore them and go to the official public taxi rank.

It is worth stating that since this airport opened back in 2006, the public taxi rank's operations have been moved between level 1 and level 2. From 2010 public taxi meters have left from level 1. There are several services for arriving passengers on level 2, such as:

 

  • Car rentals like Hertz, Budget, and Avis
  • Airport of Thailand limousine desk
  • Tour service
  • Mobile phone service
  • Official hotel reservation
  • Association of Thai travel agents
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand
  • ATMs and currency exchange

 

It would be best to be careful with any person who approaches you offering information or airport services, even if they appear to be genuine. If you need anything, go to the proper official counter.

 

Level 3

Restaurants, shops, and transfers can be found on the level 3 floor. There is a range of food and drink to choose from on this level. For instance, you can select from Japanese, Chinese, and Thai food, as well as the Miracle Food Village, Starbucks, Black Canyon Coffee, and S & P Bakery. You can find just about anything you crave on level 3. Other than food and drink, you will also find a foot massage salon and a hairdressing salon on level 3. You can find ATMs and exchange services offered by both Siam Commercial bank and TMB bank.

 

Level 4

Departures for both domestic and international flights are on the level 4 floor. If you are looking at the airport from the front side, the international departures are on your right-hand side and the domestic ones on the left-hand side. There are also several banks offering ATM and exchange facilities. You will also find a book store, family mart shop, and boots pharmacy on this floor. You will be dropped at level 4 if you use a taxi to get to the airport.

There is level 5, where you can find administration and airline offices, and level 6 has ATM facilities and sky lounge, and sky loft dining.

 

International Departures

The distance from the departure gate for international flights can be a pretty lengthy walk, not forgetting that the passport control queues can also be rather long. Therefore, it would be best to get to the airport at least three hours before your international flight's departure time. Once you check-in, head to the passport control since it will help you beat the queue. Once you are done with passport control, there are several facilities where you can shop, drink, and eat.

 

Domestic Departures

Area A to F is the check-in for domestic flights. It is worth mentioning that the distance between the actual departure gate and check-in is a pretty lengthy walk, especially for the budget carriers. Therefore, you should allow yourself a lot of time. Some airlines have a "buy and fly" counter where you can buy your air ticket. It is also worth mentioning that most budget airlines have baggage weight restrictions and their measures are pretty stringent. Ensure you check the baggage weight limit beforehand to avoid having to pay an excess fee for your luggage.

 

Navigating Suvarnabhumi Airport

The size of the airport is pretty large since there is the main terminal and seven concourses. However, this should not intimidate you if this will be your first time travelling to Bangkok because it will be pretty simple to navigate the layout, and you can always ask for help from the appropriate people. There are several escalators, elevators, and moving walkways to allow you to navigate through the airport efficiently.

This airport is almost H-shaped. The middle line is the main terminal, and each leg is a different concourse. They are labelled A to G. The main terminal building can accommodate up to 80 flights hourly, with over 100 multiple passenger airlines flying into and out of Suvarnabhumi. Its busiest routes are Taipei, Dubai, Seoul, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Note that there are no inter-terminal transportations. You will have to walk from the end of concourse C to concourse G. This takes about ten to fifteen minutes.

 

 

Suvarnabhumi Airport Tips

 

  • You can claim back VAT if you have spent over 2000 baht on purchasing goods while in Thailand. You will need to give the VAT refund office your VAT refund application and your original tax invoice copy. The VAT refund office can be found in the departure area and is often open 24/7.
  • There are several car rental providers on level 2. If you intend to rent a car, you need to have an international driving license.
  • Several banks offering exchange services and ATMs can be found in the airport.
  • There is free Wi-Fi through the terminal for two hours, and you can ask for the passwords of different networks at the information desk.
  • You can also get a free cell phone sim card at the airport on level 2. This is essential if you would like to have cheap data and calls access while in Thailand.
  • You can quickly get into Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi using private taxis, train services, and regular buses.
  • Some of the major airlines flying into Suvarnabhumi include Thai Airways, Singapore Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Qantas, ANA, Air France, Air China, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines.
  • The airport has two arrivals for international flights and one for domestic flights.
  • It would be best to get into the immigration queue immediately you land.

 

Airport Parking

Most people visiting Bangkok do not rent cars. There are several options to select from if you would like to get around as a tourist. This includes tuk-tuks, public transportation, and motorbikes. It is worth noting that parking is located from zone three to zone seven. It will cost you about 25 Thai baht or $0.85 for the first hour if it is short-term parking, so the daily rate will cost around $8.

Long-term daily rate is about $4.50, with the first-hour cost going for approximately $0.66. The long-term lot can be found after a short shuttle ride, while the short-term lots are outside the main terminal building.

 

Taxis and Public Transportation

The bus service goes direct into Bangkok and thee will not be any stops or transfers, and it mainly goes to where several hotels are located. It is also worth mentioning that the bus primarily deals with tourist transportation, so you are likely to be surrounded by your fellow travellers.

You can find the bus outside exit seven, and it takes about thirty to forty minutes. The ride costs $2. However, you will be required to pay in baht, so it will cost 60 baht. It would help to exchange the money you have into smaller currency since most drivers do not carry a lot of change.

The train is the best option if you are staying in the Sukhumvit area. The bus is a better option if you will be staying around Khao San. If you would like to take the train, you can follow train signs, which will lead you to the lower level. The city line will lead you to Phaya Thai station. From here, you will transfer to BTS Skytrain. It is worth mentioning that the airport train usually stops operating at midnight.

If you want to use a taxi, ensure you get one from the official taxi kiosks outside Suvarnabhumi on level 1. Avoid getting taxi offers from individuals in the baggage claim area. It is worth noting that you will have to pay 50 baht as a surcharge other than what the meter reads and all tolls. The whole trip will roughly cost you $20.

 

Layover

If you have a layover, there are different ways you can spend your time. Depending on how much time you have, you could do a sightseeing tour for four to seven hours. You can arrange for this at the arrivals level tour desk, at the intersection of concourse D and E or C and D. There is a left luggage storage area on the second floor to leave your luggage as you take the tour. You will be charged about $3 for each item.

If you would like to stay inside, there is an ‘airport sleeping box’ known as Boxtel where you can spend your time. It is located near the airport link and is the best option for any traveller who would like a quiet place to relax. Alternatively, you could visit the Miracle Transit Hotel where they offer a six-hour stay. However, they are pretty pricey.

 

Where You Can Shop

There are plenty of places you can shop from at the departure area if you would like to buy gifts. Most of them are raising funds for good courses. For instance, on the fourth floor, a shop sells items made by people with disabilities, while another on terminal one says the local villagers make the goods. You can also find luxury stores such as Tiffany & Co., Mont Blanc, BVLGARI, and Mont on level 4.

 

Eating & Drinking

There are several places you can eat and different cuisines to satiate whatever craving you may have. However, despite the several options you can select from, it is worth noting that they are overpriced. Therefore, if you are not too hungry, head into the city where you will find better food at an affordable price. Since Bangkok is known for its amazing street food, this would be a better option since you will try different things.

If you are doing a layover, you can try out some of the available restaurants in the airport. The food court in level 1, closer to gate 8, has the most affordable quick meals.

 

 

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