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For many visitors to Southeast Asia, Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport is their primary gateway. The airport is the largest and busiest in Thailand, and a major hub for international flights. It is easily accessible via an elevated road which connects it to a total of five highways in Bangkok. The ride to Bangkok city centre takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Renting a car is advised for those venturing to Bangkok's outskirts or nearby destinations which are not readily reached by the Thai transport system.
Who to Book With
International companies Hertz, Avis and Budget, as well as the Thai Car Rental Associate, have counters on the second floor, at Gate 8 in the International passenger area. Counters are open 24 hours. The Car Rental Service Office at the airport's Public Transport Center is where cars are retrieved and returned.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- National licence
- International Driving Permit
- Credit card
Bangkok is known for its traffic jams and unprofessional drivers so driving here requires a lot of patience and skill. Police are not strict so foreign drivers can expect local drivers to go over the speed limit and violate other traffic rules. In built-up areas, the speed limit is 31mph to 35mph, while on motorways, it is 52mph to 74mph. The wearing of seatbelts is required. Credit cards can be used at petrol stations. Drivers need to check for parking signs when parking on the street.
Travellers who are renting a car at Suvarnabhumi Airport will find it easy to drive into the city as there is an elevated road connected the facility to five highways, which in turn link with Bangkok's outer ring road. There is a convenient Airport Rail Link which gives passengers the option to hop on a non-stop train to Bangkok. Taxis are available right outside the airport, while public buses depart from the Public Transport Center a few miles away.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is connected to downtown Bangkok via the rapid transit Airport Rail Link. There are three types of trains. City Line Trains run between the airport and Phaya Thai Station, taking 30 minutes one-way and stopping at six stations. A ride costs up to £1. The Airport Express Phaya Thai runs non-stop services from the airport to Phaya Thai Station, which connects to the BTS Skytrain. The Airport Express Makkasan runs non-stop services from the airport to Makkasan Station, which connects to the Bangkok MRT. A one-way trip on the Airport Express costs less than £2.
Metered taxis are available at the first floor of the airport. There is a desk where passengers state their destination to determine fare. A £1 surcharge is levied on the metre in addition to expressway tolls, which cost anywhere from £0.50 to £1 on top of the metre fare. A ride to the city usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Suvarnabhumi Airport to downtown Bangkok is around £5.
Public buses to the city centre are found at the Public Transport Center, a few miles away and easily accessible via a free shuttle from the airport. From the Public Transport Center, a number of public buses take passengers to various parts of the city. Bus number 551 takes passengers to Victory Monument. Bus number 549 takes passengers to Min Buri. Bus number 552 takes passengers to On Nut. A ride from the airport to the city costs less than £1.
Suvarnabhumi Airport has one large terminal building, with international and domestic flights having their own areas. It is one of the largest airports in Asia and the busiest, having handled nearly 50 million passengers in 2011. It is a hub for Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Orient Thai Airlines. The airport connects Thailand to the rest of Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Australia and North America.
The airport has a total of five parking areas. One of these area, the one adjacent to the Public Transport Center, is for long-term parking. One hour of parking here costs £0.50, while three hours of parking costs around £1.50.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal building and access is free for the first 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, passengers will need to pay for access.
There are several information desks scattered throughout the second, third and fourth floors of the airport, on both the domestic and international concourses.
Call Centre: +66 2 132 1888
Facilities for disabled persons exist in the airport but are not as comprehensive as you might expect. Some toilets, for example, are not spacious enough for wheelchairs.
Restaurants and Bars
Around 50 restaurants have locations in various parts of Suvarnabhumi Airport. One of them is Kinramen, a Japanese noodle restaurant at Concourse D. Within the same area is Asian Corner, serving well-loved Asian dishes such as Chinese dumplings and Vietnamese spring rolls. Burger King, Dairy Queen and Cafe Ritazza are located on Level 4 of the International Departures area. Starbucks Coffee can be found on Level 3 of the Main Terminal.
Louis Tavern 1st Class Lounge
Various airline lounges
Louis Tavern 1st Class Lounge
Louis Tavern 1st Class Lounge
Money and ATMs
There are many ATMs as well as exchange kiosks throughout the terminal building, from the basement to the fourth floor save for the first floor.
Shopping can be done in many areas of the airport, specifically on the second to fourth floors, with the best range of good available in International Departures. Designer clothes, accessories, perfume, souvenir items, food and many other goods can be bought here. Cosmetic brands found here include Shiseido, Victor & Rolf, La Prairie and MD Skincare. Designer clothes and accessories sold here include those by Burberry, Fendi, Bvlgari, Cartier, Ferragamo, Chanel and many others. For a Thai shopping experience, visitors can head to OTOP, which features traditional Thai arts and crafts.