Getting from the Bangkok airport to your hotel in the city is easy enough and your best, fastest option is by taxi. There are two airports in Bangkok. One is called Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), the international flight hub. The other is called Don Mueang Airport (DMK) for domestic flights and some flights to and from neighboring countries. Both airports are about equal distance to the city center of Bangkok. For our 15-day Thailand for Lantern Festival trip, you will fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
At some point during your flight, a flight attendant will give you an arrival/departure (TM6) card to fill out. Make sure to fill out the front and back of this card. In the “Arrival” section, there will be a field for your address in Thailand. For those on our Thailand for Lantern Festival trip, refer to the hotel mentioned in your pre-departure notes. Be sure to completely fill out this card because you will be asked for it when going through immigration.
Once you get off the plane, you must go through immigration. Look for the signs that say “Immigration 3” and they will point you in the right direction.
You DO NOT need a visa upon arrival. Some of you will have a layover in China or Taiwan and a lot of your fellow passengers from other countries will be going toward the “Visa Upon Arrival” area. However, if you are American, British, Canadian or Australian, you do not have to go there. Instead, go toward the general immigration line.
After passing through immigration, make your way to the baggage claim area. Take a look at the monitors to find your flight number to see what baggage claim carousel your luggage can be found at.
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 exchange rates. We recommend exchanging a small amount of cash, around $50 USD worth or so. Alternatively, you might select to withdraw cash from the ATM. If withdrawing from the ATM, make sure you still have some cash to exchange on you just in case your bank puts a stop on your card. If pulling from the ATM, we suggest taking out a relatively larger amount as withdrawal fees are usually 220 baht ($6) per withdrawal plus whatever fees your home bank charges you which is usually around $5 per transaction. We suggest pulling out the maximum which is usually 20,000 baht (approximately $565 USD) depending on the machine.
One of our 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. This means you won’t be swarmed by taxi drivers trying to make a quick buck as soon as you step outside. All you need to do is follow the “Public Taxi” signs to catch your ride to your hotel.
Go down one floor and continue to follow the signs that say “Public Taxi” (see below).
You will eventually arrive at the public taxi queue. There, you will find some small computer kiosks. There will also be two attendants standing by if you need help. Watch the video below to help you find the public taxi kiosks.
Push the one and only button in the middle of the computer screen 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 worry about getting ripped off.
Give the driver the name of your hotel and the address written in Thai from the pre-departure notes 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 will cost 25 baht (approximately $0.70 USD). The taxi driver will usually ask you for the money for the toll. 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 (approximately $1.40 USD) to pass through. 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 (approximately $2.10 USD).
Below you can see toll receipt tickets that you’ll receive: One for 25 baht and the other 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 is sufficient. The most common way to tip is to just round up your tab. For example, if you owe 445 baht, just give him 500 baht.
It takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to get to the hotel depending on the traffic and rush hours. That’s it! Your trip is about to start, get settled, relax at the hotel’s pool or explore the surroundings as the hotel is very centrally located.