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Bangkok Thailand

Suvarnabhumi Bangkok airport

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is the main international airport in Thailand’s capital. It’s commonly referred to as the Bangkok International Airport with the IATA code BKK used as a popular acronym for Bangkok city as a whole. Suvarnabhumi airport is about 30 kilometers from Bangkok’s centre, such as Sukhumvit Road.

Bangkok airport transportation

  1. Bangkok airport train: SRT – Suvarnabhumi Rail Link
  2. This is a high speed rail service from the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Station (which is underground) and links to the SA Express Service and SA city train. The SA Express takes about 15 minutes (and costs 150 baht) to and from Makkasan and connects with Phetchaburi MRT station.
  3. SA City Line Service:
  4. The SA City Line Service runs from the Suvarnabhumi Airport, through Makkasan, and all the way to the Phaya Thai Station in Bangkok city. The entire route takes about 30 minutes and costs 45 baht.
  5. Airport Express Bus:
  6. Express buses from Suvarnabhumi Airport to downtown Bangkok cost 150 baht and run from 5:30am to midnight. Choose 1 of 4: AE1 to Sofitel Hotel; AE2 to Khao San Rd; AE3 to Sukhumvit and Soi Nana; AE4 to Phaya Thai Station and Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
  7. Bangkok Public Buses:
  8. There are a plethora of publics buses so it’s best to pick up a Bangkok map with bus routs if you plan to navigate the city using public transportation. One bus route to memorize is from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Mueang Airport: number 554.
  9. Bangkok international airport taxi service:
  10. Taxi stands at Suvarnabhumi Airport are directly in front of the Bangkok airport arrivals area on the first floor. It takes up to an hour to get from the airport to downtown Bangkok and can around 400 baht. There’s a surcharge to leave the airport via taxi (50 baht) and passengers are responsible for tolls en route.

Other Bangkok airports: Don Mueang

As of 2012, Don Mueang International Airport, IATA code DMK, is the second Bangkok airport with international flights, but it’s dedicated exclusively to chartered flights and budget airlines. All share terminal 1. It’s situated in Khet Don Mueang district of Bangkok, almost 50 kilometers north of the Suvarnabhumi airport and about 24 kilometers from central Bangkok. Transportation to and from the two Bangkok airports, as well as into the city, will be great once the Skytrain is running (planned to open in 2016), but until then there are three less than perfect options.

Don Mueang Bangkok Airport transportation:

  1. Train:
  2. This is the most unreliable method of getting from Don Mueang into central Bangkok. The train station is easy enough to find, situated alongside the airport, but there’s only one train per hour (the Chiang Mai line) that goes from the airport to Bangkok’s Central Railway Station, in the heart of Chinatown. If you’re on a budget, or wanting an authentic Thai experience, this is the perfect mode of transport, if not, take a bus or taxi.
  3. Bus:
  4. Buses 554 and 555 service the route from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi airport. Bus 29 goes from the airport to the Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong), bus 59 goes from the airport to the Emerald Buddha Temple and bus 95 goes from the airport to Ram Indra and Ramkhamhaeng Roads in Bangkok city. There’s also an air-conditioned bus, number 13, that runs from Don Mueang to Sukhumvit Road.
  5. Taxi:
  6. The airport taxi stand is situated directly in front of the arrivals area. There’s a surcharge of 50 baht (to exit the airport via taxi), and the average fare into central Bangkok costs 250 – 350 baht. The trip can take up to an hour if there’s heavy traffic.

Don Mueang Budget flights from Bangkok to Phuket & other destinations

  1. Nok Air:
  2. Nok Air is the main airline using the Don Mueang Bangkok airport offering low cost flights from Bangkok to Phuket as well as to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Surat Thani and other domestic destinations.
  3. Orient Thai Airlines:
  4. Orient Thai Airlines has low cost flights from Phuket to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and charters to Hong Kong and Seoul.
  5. Air Asia:
  6. Another main budget airline using the Don Mueang airport in Bangkok is Air Asia with low cost flights to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. Thai Air Asia also offers budget flights from Don Mueang International Airport to Krabi, Bali, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Macau, Singapore and Yangon amongst other domestic & international destinations.

Car rental Bangkok airport

There are two ways to rent a car in Bangkok: the standard way: hiring the car and driving yourself (in Thailand it’s called Self Drive); the second option is to hire a car plus chauffer. The chauffer option is available on an hourly or daily rate as well as a “per trip basis” with a flat rate. The car hire Bangkok airport service counters are situated in the main arrivals hall. Car choices include Toyota Minibuses to a BMW convertibles.

Companies operating car hire Bangkok services from Suvarnabhumi Airport

The four car rental companies are:
  • Thai Rent a Car
  • Avis Rent a Car
  • Hertz Car Rental
  • Sixt Rent a Car

The airport in Bangkok has a separate area for rental car parking so it’s necessary to take a shuttle bus to the drop-off and pick-up zone. However, there are flexible pick-up and delivery options at offices throughout Thailand including one way rentals.

Car hire Bangkok requirements:

Most companies have similar car hire policies that include:
  • a minimum driver age of 23 years.
  • drivers must hold an international driving license and have had it for at least a year.
  • to rent a car in Bangkok it’s essential to have a major credit card.
  • buying insurance coverage is mandatory.

Bangkok to Phuket & Phuket to Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi Airport

Don’t panic if arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport without an onward ticket from Bangkok to Phuket. It’s not essential to transfer to the Don Mueang airport to get a good deal on a flight. Air Bangkok, officially Bangkok Airways, is considered a boutique airline and flies directly from Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok to Phuket, and return from Phuket to Bangkok to coordinate with international connections. Even on short notice, Air Bangkok offers deals on one-way flights to Phuket often under 2,500 baht (as of 2012). Air Bangkok flights to Phuket take 1 hour and 25 minutes, with departures from 08:05 to 22:00. Bangkok Air ticketing services (at the Bangkok Airways counter), is located in the departure hall, level 4.

Bangkok weather

Average Bangkok weather is between 21°C & 35°C year round. April to October is the wettest and most humid season. Bangkok is subject to the South Asian monsoon, from mid May to October. September is exceptionally wet. November to March is the best time to visit Thailand because it rains less and Bangkok temperature is around 34°C; it’s Thailand’s high season. The weather Bangkok offers visitors in February is the best of all worlds, with humidity about 70%, very little rain and temperatures averaging 33°C.

Bangkok map – dividing 50 districts into 6 manageable areas

Bangkok city is a massive metropolis with a population of over 8 million (14 million when counting suburban areas). With around 12 million visitors who travel to Bangkok each year, it’s become the third most visited city in the world. There are 50 districts so a good map of Bangkok is essential. Using Sambawalker’s Bangkok map or mobile app, locate the Chao Phraya River, which acts as a natural dividing line through Bangkok city, then choose landmarks within these 6 main areas:

Six Bangkok city Districts
  1. Old Bangkok City – Grand Palace Bangkok, Khaosan Rd.; Wat Pho, Arun Residence
  2. Chinatown – shops, jewelers, temples, night markets, Bangkok Central Train Station
  3. Sukhumvit – Q Bar; Bed Supperclub; Le Fenix Bangkok Nest; Soi Nana: Soi Cowboy
  4. Riverside – luxury 5-star hotels; Lebua at State Tower, Sirocco rooftop restaurant
  5. Siam – mega shopping malls like MBK - Ma Boon Khrong Center; CentralWorld
  6. Si Lom – financial district; gay Bangkok nightlife, Soi 2 & Soi 4; Patpong

To mentally map Bangkok is a daunting task, so have two items in your pocket at all times: a business card with your hotel address and a map of Bangkok or mobile app.

Bangkok nightlife – from regal to raunchy

Nightlife in Bangkok offers everything from regal elegance and luxury indulgence to racy fantasy and raunchy extremes; from the world’s top dinner theatre clubs and high-tech clubbing venues to some of extravagant transvestite shows and seedy go-go bars.

  • Chic Bangkok night life atop rooftop bars and restaurants:
  • Bangkok nightlife includes chic rooftop bars such as Sky Bar in the Lebua at State Tower in Riverside; Three Sixty atop the Millennium Hilton Bangkok also in Riverside; Moon Bar on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel in Sathorn; Red Sky rooftop in the Centara Grand at CentralWorld and the Rooftop Bar on the 83rd floor of the luxurious Baiyoke Sky Hotel in Pratunam. There’s also relaxing clubs like the Nest atop Le Fenix Bangkok in Sukhumvit and jazzy clubs like Gazebo on Khaosan Rd. Some of the sky high Bangkok restaurants also have a variety of nightlife options including bars, lounges and clubs with DJs and live music. But, for a rooftop bar from the past instead of the future, it’s worth coming down to earth at one of the best little Indian restaurants in Bangkok called Bombay Blues. It’s a rickety rooftop terrace with nothing but pillows to sit on; an old Bangkok restaurant and lounge near Khaosan Road.

  • Bangkok Clubbing venues:
  • Aside from dinning at the best Bangkok restaurants, relaxing with jazz, sipping cocktails while marveling over city views, the Bangkok night life scene offers every flavour of nightclub imaginable. There are high-tech dance club venues in Ratchadapisek (RCA); places like 808, Route 66, and Flix and Slim Club, or the most elite Sukhumvit Bangkok clubs and restaurants like Bed Supperclub, BarSu, Q Bar, Narz and Glow.

  • Bangkok go-go bars and ladyboy shows – Patpong, Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza
  • There’s another side to nightlife in Bangkok at go-go bars, with entire areas dedicated to sexy girls and ladyboys, although Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret offers one of the best shows (of its kind) in town. Patpong has long been known for girly and ladyboy attractions (and was the first of such districts), but the red light area of Soi Cowboy offers a nicer milieu without loosing any of the playfully naughty appeal. Nana Plaza delivers more risqué Bangkok nightlife, bordering on seedy, with fantasy themed go-go shows and places that provide onsite “accommodation” by the hour.

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