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Thailand and Laos (and Myanmar if I can manage it)

Hello, Sawatdee kaa and Sabai dee,

My next trip will be Thailand and Laos, and this is all about the before, the trip and the after - similar to my Malaysia/Cambodia blog. I am putting together from start to finish - tickets, do's and don'ts, tours, where to stay, places to see, things to do, as well as useful extras like transport, good places to eat, what to wear, climate, tourist traps, tricks and tips and whatever else I can think of that will be useful.

If you have any tips or advice, please, feel free to leave a comment and add your bit - whatever you think may be helpful or interesting.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

8. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi Airport is Bangkok's new airport. For those travellers who are going to Thailand for the first time, it can be bewildering getting from the airport to your hotel or guesthouse or next destination, so I have put together this information in the hope it will make your time a little easier and less confusing.

As you will see below, it is fairly easy to go from the airport by public transport. Included too are a few little tips on dealing with taxis and drivers that I have gleaned from others more familiar with Thailand.


Bangkok Airport Shuttle Bus Service
Free shuttle bus service is provided for passengers and airport staff. Expess route connects the main terminal directly to the transport center. Ordinary route connects to other airport facilities. For passenger convenience shuttle buses serving Suvarnabhumi airport are low-floor type.

Shuttle Bus Express Route:
1. Passenger terminal
2. Car rental center
3. Public transportation center and bus terminal

Above: Public Transport

24 hour public bus service is provided from the Bus Terminal at the Transport Centre (See photo above). Take a shuttle bus (Express route) to the Transport Centre.

Bus fare is 35 baht.

Public Bus Service to Bangkok and area.

Bus Number 549 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Minburi
Bus No.549 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Minburi via Ladkrabang Road, taking a right turn to Rom Klao Road, cutting left to Sihaburanukit Road, taking left turn to Seri Thai Road. End the route at Bangkapi.

Bus Number 550 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Happy Land
Bus No.550 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Happy Land via Ladkrabang Road, On-Nut Road, turning right to Sri Nakarin Road, turning left to Ladprao Road and turning right to Happy Land.

Bus Number 551 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Victory Monument (Expressway)
Bus No.551 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to the Victory Monument via New Bangkok - Chonburi expressway to Srirat expressway for exit at Rama 9 toll gate to continue further along Asoke-Dindang Road and Rachawithi Road for the final stop at the Victory Monument.

Bus Number 552 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - On Nut BTS station
Bus No.552 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to the On-Nut sky train station via Bangna-Bangpakong Road, taking a right turn to Sukhumvit Road until the On-Nut sky train station.

Bus Number 553 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Samut Prakan
Bus No.553 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Samut Prakan province via Ladkrabang Road, taking a left turn to Kingkaew Road, turning right to Bangna-Bangpakong Road, turning left to Sri Nakarin Road, turning right to Sukhumvit Road, turning left to Sai Luad Road until Samut Prakan.

Bus Number 554 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Don Muang Airport (Expressway)
Bus No.554 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Muang Airport via New Bangkok-Chonburi expressway, turning right to the eastern ring road, taking a left turn to Ramintra Road, Changwattana Road, turning right to Vibhavadi Rangsit Road until reaching Don Muang Airport.

Bus Number 555 - Suvarnabhumi - Rangsit (Expressway)
Bus No.555 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Rangsit via Department of Employment - PTT Don - Muang - Vibhavadi Rangsit Junction - Rangsit.

Bus Number 556 - Suvarnbhumi - Southern Bus Terminal (Expressway)
Bus No.556 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Southern Bus Terminal via Yommarat - Democracy Monument - Thammasat University - Pata Department Store - Southern Bus Terminal.

Bus Number 557 - Suvarnabhumi - Wongwien Yai
Bus No.557 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Wongwien Yai via Rom Klao Junction - Chalarat Hospital9 - Technology Business Administration School, Samut Prakan - Chalarat Hospital 4 - Rung Chareon Market - Suksawat Road - Ratburata Hospital - Wat Sawetchat - Wongwien Yai.

Bus Number 558 - Suvarnabhumi - Central Rama 2
Bus No.558 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Central Rama 2 via Central Park Hospital - Chalarat Hospital 1 - Ramkamhaeng 2 Junction - Srinakarin Junction - Bang Na - Soi Lasan - Rung Chareon Market - Suksawat Road - Lotus Bang Na - Bang Pakaeo - Bhuthabucha Junction - Bang Mod Hospital - Central Rama 2.

Bus Number 559 - Suvarnabhumi - Future Park Rangsit
Bus No.559 connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Future Park Rangsit via Dream World - Ek Prathum Hospital - Future Park Rangsit.

Public Bus Service to other provinces.
Bus Number 389 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Pattaya
Bus Number 390 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Talad Rong Kluea
Bus Number 825 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - NongKhai

Airport Express to Bangkok Hotels
AIRPORT EXPRESS provides air-conditioned bus service between Suvarnabhumi Airport and first-class Bangkok hotels.

Above: Arrivals

Public taxi stand is located on Level 1 (Ground Level)
> Contact Taxi counter, Level 1 - Ground Level, near entrances 3, 4, 7 and 8.
> Pick up area: taxi stand Level 1 - Ground Level
> Taxi fare: metered taxi fare plus 50 Baht airport surcharge, and expressway fees.
> Public taxis serving Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport must be less than 5 years old.
> Public taxi drives must be certified by Airports of Thailand.
> Passenger drop off at DEPARTURES (level 4 - outer curb).

Getting a taxi from the airport:
On floor 1 (not far from the Airport Express kiosk) is the Magic Food Court, the cheapest place to eat at the airport or so I've been told.
Look for a blue colored podium style desk, there is a picture of a taxi on it which says "Public Taxi." The desk clerk will ask you where you are going, tell the driver in Thai, write that destination down on a receipt.

Keep the receipt!
The receipt tells you how to complain about a bad driver, etc. You pay the surcharge of 50 baht and meter fare at the destination (hotel/guesthouse or bus station.) You pay any tolls during the ride. Have small notes and change available, the driver can't change a 500 baht note! (Some drivers claim to not have any change anyway, in the hope tourists will say "keep the change!") Meter starts at 35 baht, make sure that nothing is blocking the meter.

Keep your bag with you on the back seat - if you have to hop out quickly you won't have to wait to get your bag out of the boot! It's quite normal for the driver to ask for toll money during the ride. Prices are clearly posted. Meter taxi desk clerks are supposed to verify that the taxis are safe and record the serial numbers of the taxis.

Take his photo:
For females taking a taxi alone, for added security you can use your mobile phone to photograph the taxi and driver and then have the photo sent to a friend. If the driver sees you photographing his taxi and face he knows that his photo will be on TV or in the newspapers if he does something wrong. Or, you can just fake it by pretending to take a photo of the chap, etc.

Anytime you bargain the taxi fare in Bangkok you pay more! Meter charges are cheaper and fair. No need to tip a lot either! If you want to round off the fare and get rid of some coins go ahead but is not necessary. (These tips are from people living in Bangkok.)

Above: Departures

Above: Ground Level

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