In 2017 Bangkok overtook London as the most visited city in the world! This means two things: Bangkok is a great place to visit with lots to offer, and that Bangkok is crowded – very crowded. Thailand’s capital has a population of 8.28 million!
Some enjoy the hustle and bustle and colour of Bangkok, some don’t. If you are looking for a quiet holiday, it’s best to take a flight or a bus directly from the airport to a less busy Thailand destination.
Things To Know Before Going To Bangkok
WHEN TO VISIT:
Bangkok is at its best during the cool season – November to February. The months of April, May and June are uncomfortably hot. The rainy season, starting from mid June is perhaps the best time to visit for backpackers: lower temperature, fewer tourists, and cheaper holidays.
Most people fly to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang International Airport (DMK).
(Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport are roughly 30 miles (50 km) apart. The Airport of Thailand (AOT) offers a free bus shuttle service between them from 5:00 am to 12:00 am. You are required to display your connecting flight ticket to board the shuttle bus.)
Almost all international flights land in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (also known as Bangkok International Airport). If you want to go to another destination right away, the most economical way is by booking a bus from Level 1 in the Arrivals Hall. Buses go to popular destinations including Koh Chang, Chiang Mai, Pattaya (2.5 hours by bus) and more.
If you don’t enjoy long bus rides, you can catch a domestic flight or travel by train. You can check prices and make bookings using the tool below:
SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT TO BANGKOK CITY CENTRE:
You can get to the city centre from Suvarnabhumi Airport by taxi, the Airport Rail Link or minibus.
Cab from Bangkok Airport to City Centre
Although costlier, it is simplest (especially if there are two or more of you and luggage) to take a taxi from the Suvarnabhumi Airport.
To hire a taxi, go to Level 1, collect a ticket from the taxi queue machine, and proceed to the lane number assigned to you. (You will have to pay a surcharge of ฿ 50 if you hire a taxi from either of the two Bangkok airports).
- Total Cost: About ฿ 500 ($ 15).
- Duration: 45 min (subject to traffic).
Airport Rail Link
The quickest way to get from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok City Centre is via the Airport Rail Link. The Airport Rail Link operates daily from 06:00 to 24:00, and leaves every 10-15 min. You will have to board the train from Basement B of the Passenger Terminal.
A 15-min train ride on the Airport Rail Link will take you to Makkasan City Station. From there, you can take the City Line to the Phayathai Station. From Phayathai Station you can catch the Skytrain.
This is what the journey from the airport to Sukhumvit (Bangkok, City) will look like:
BKK Airport – Lad Kbabang – Ban Thap Chang – Hua Mak – Ramkhamhaeng – Makkasan City Air Terminal (change here – take the elevator to the Phetchaburi Station, MRT Blue Line) – Ratchaprarop – Phaya Thai (change here – take the Skytrain) – Sukhumvit.
- Total Cost: ฿ 45 ($ 1.4) for Airport Rail Link + ฿ 15 -฿ 45 for Sky Train.
- Duration: 30 min.
Bus to Bangkok City Centre
Although we don’t recommend it (taking the train is a better option), you can also get from the airport to Victory Monument by mini bus. From Victory Monument you can board the Skytrain.
You can catch a minibus from gates 1 and 8 of the arrival terminal. Buses leave every 20 min.
- Total Cost: ฿ 40 ($ 1.3) for Minibus + ฿ 15 -฿ 45 for Skytrain.
- Duration: 50 min + Skytrain time.
If you are travelling in a group of 6-8 people, the best way to get to the city centre is by hiring a private minibus that will directly take you to your hotel.
VAT Refund at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Bangkok is a shopping paradise. If you purchase goods worth over 5000 Baht ($160) or 2000 Baht ($65) for a single item, from a store displaying a ‘VAT Refund For Tourists’ sign, you can claim VAT.
Remember to take VAT receipts. You can show all your receipts, along with your passport and boarding pass to get a VAT refund (right before you leave Thailand). The VAT counter at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is on the fourth floor.
LAWS AND ETIQUETTE:
- Thailand’s monarchy is deeply respected, do not criticise the monarchy. Disrespecting Thailand’s King can result in a prison sentence.
- To be in possession of drugs will lead to serious trouble and imprisonment.
- When visiting Buddhist temples, remember to dress appropriately. Do not touch monks. Remove your shoes and do not point the soles of your feet at Buddhist icons.
- Do not turn your back on a statue of the Buddha (remember this while taking photographs).
- Here’s a guide to how much you should tip in Thailand.
SCAMS & STAYING SAFE:
Scams in Bangkok are common. To know what to look out for, please refer to our list of Thailand Scams and Staying Safe.
Medical Emergency: 1669, Tourist Police: 1155
Tuk-tuks are a fun and popular way to explore Bangkok. If you travel by tuk-tuk, remember to negotiate. Try to fix the price before entering the auto. (As a guideline, start by offering 60% of your driver’s initial quote, and settle for about 80%. A 15 – 20 min trip on a tuk-tuk should cost about ฿70 ($2)).
Local bus tickets start at ฿7, making it the cheapest mode of transport. Motorbike taxis cost about ฿25 for a short trip. Tickets for the Bangkok Skytrain can be purchased for ฿15 – ฿50.
Avoid renting a car in Bangkok as traffic can be chaotic. Although hiring an ungeared scooter is a good option in Thailand, we would advise against doing so in Bangkok. The roads are crowded and polluted, and driving in Bangkok’s traffic takes some getting used to.
Renting a scooter costs about ฿350 a day ($10). A medium-sized sedan can be hired for roughly ฿850 ($25) per day.
Many more useful tips can be found on our Planning for Thailand page.