Getting from the Bangkok Airport to your Hotel
There are two airports in Bangkok. One is called Suvarnabhumi Airport, the international flight hub. The other is called Don Mueang Airport for largely domestic flights, but some flights to and from neighboring countries also can be taken here. Both airports are about equal distance to the city center of Bangkok. If you are flying from the West you will be flying into Suvarnabhumi Airport.
At some point during your flight, a flight attendant will give you a departure/arrival card to fill out. Make sure to fill out the front and back of the arrival/departure card. In the “Arrival” section, there will be a field for your address in Thailand. If you are on a Globe Drifters trip, you write “Ad Lib Hotel” followed by the address that you will find on your pre-departure notes. Make sure to include the address as they do ask for it when going through immigration.
Once you get off the plane, you must go through immigration. (Signs such as those in the pictures below will point you in the proper direction.)
You DO NOT need a visa upon arrival, but countries such as China, Latvia, Taiwan and more need a visa upon arrival. Many of you will have a layover in China or Taiwan. A lot of your fellow passengers from other countries will be going toward the ‘Visa Upon Arrival’ area since Chinese do need to get a visa. However, if you are American or from most Western countries you do not have to go there and instead go toward the general immigration line and if it hasn’t changed since I last passed through, it should be exit #3.
DO NOT GO HERE. (Please see the photo below.) You do not need a visa upon arrival.
After general immigration, make your way to the baggage claim area. You will need to look at the computers monitors to find your flight number and this will tell you what baggage claim area is yours.
Once you collect your bags, you may want to exchange some money at the exchange counter. These counters are located generously outside of the baggage claim area.
Remember that the airport currency exchange counters do not usually offer very good rates at which to exchange your money. It might be advisable just to exchange a small amount of cash, maybe $50 worth or so. Alternatively, you might select to withdraw cash from the ATM. If withdrawing from the ATM, make sure you still have cash on you just in the odd case your bank puts a stop on your card. If pulling from the ATM, I would suggest taking out a relatively larger amount as the fees can be about 180 baht ($5) per withdrawal and your home bank can charge you starting from $5 per transaction. In my case, I would pull out around 10,000 baht. I think the maximum that you can withdraw from the ATM in one day is 20,000 baht. That is equivalent to approximately $557 USD. Some ATMs only allow 10,000 baht withdrawals.
One of my favorite things about Bangkok airport is there is almost zero or very limited harassment from taxi drivers like you may have seen in other airports around the world. Thus, you won’t be swarmed by taxi drivers trying to make a quick buck straight after your arrival.
Next, follow the signs that say “Public Transportation” or “Public Taxi”. (Below is an example of a sign that will point you in the right direction.)
Go down one floor and continue to follow the signs for “Public Taxi”. (See below.)
Keep following the “Public Taxi” signs!
You will eventually arrive to the public taxi queue. There, you will find some small computer kiosks. (See picture below.) There will also be two attendants standing by if you need help.
Push the one and only button in the middle on the computer kiosk and you will receive a number between 1 and 25. Locate the illuminated lane number that corresponds with your ticket and go to the car in that lane.
The taxi driver will help you with your luggage. These are all metered taxis, so don’t fret about getting ripped off.
Give the driver the name of your hotel and the Thai language written directions and you’ll be on your way!
Your taxi driver may ask you if you want to take the ‘highway/toll’. The answer is yes! The highway/toll road has much less traffic and is considerably quicker. You will arrive at the first toll and it is 25 baht (.69 cents). The taxi driver will usually ask you for the money for the toll booth worker and you will give him the money. The toll roads provide change so don’t worry about only having large bills. The driver might give you back all of your change or keep 50 baht from the change as there will be another toll to pay in about 5 minutes, which costs 50 baht to pass. He will more than likely just ask for 75 baht at the first toll and use the leftovers to pay for the 2nd toll. In any case, the total amount for the two tolls is 75 baht ($2.09).
Pictured below is a toll station that you will pass.
If you are going on a Globe Drifters trip, your hotel is only one year old and quite small with only 48 rooms, so your driver might not be familiar with the hotel and location. It is also blocked by a big hospital, but don’t worry. The directions that you gave him also have the phone number of the hotel on it. He or she can call if having a hard time locating your hotel. Most taxi dirvers speak some English, albeit limited.
Below you can see toll receipt tickets that you’ll receive : one for 25 baht and one for 50 baht. The total for all toll roads comes to 75 baht.
Once you arrive at the hotel, you will pay the amount on the meter plus 45 baht for the airport surcharge. The driver might ask you for a tip and 50 baht tip is sufficient. The most common way is to just to round up your tab. For example, if you owe the taxi cab 445 baht, just give him 500 baht.
It takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to get to the hotel. Since most of you are coming on the weekend, this will be good because the area in which we are staying will have less traffic. Traffic can get bad, especially if arriving on a weekday and you hit rush hour!
Below is the front exterior of our hotel.
This is the hotel’s lobby where you will check-in.
Water will be provided in your room and if you are jet lagged, you can order food at the hotel although it is a bit pricey.
Have a safe flight and see you in Bangkok!