Whenever you arrive in any new country, your first problem is how to get from the airport to the city. Unfortunately, like many other airports around the world, your quest will be hampered by people who won’t be that honest with you. They will be trying to get you to use their mode of transport which might not be the cheapest or even most convenient method. However, in recent weeks, the Airport Authority of Thailand and the Royal Thai Police have made some remarkable efforts in clearing the arrival lounge of these taxi touts who are trying to scam incoming tourists. I have already told you how to go from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya. Today I will give you some options on how to get into the city. However, having said that, as the new airport is situated close to the motorway and the outer ring road, seasoned travellers don’t really need to waste time by starting their trip in Bangkok. They can catch a shuttle bus to the nearby bus terminal and then a coache to many destinations in Thailand.
For most people heading to Bangkok, the easiest and most convenient method is by public taxi. Don’t be fooled by the people that come up to you asking where you are going. They are more often than not private limousine companies. On average, they will charge about 900 baht for a trip into Central Bangkok. It will be cheaper for you if you take the escalater down one floor and then out to where the public meter taxis are waiting. There is more than one taxi rank, and if the nearest one has a long queue, then just walk a few minutes to the next one. There is a desk here where you are expected to pay a 50 baht surcharge. Tell them where you want to go. If you want to go into Bangkok, then insist that the taxi uses the meter. Say to the taxi driver in Thai “bert meter”. For longer distances, it is common to negotiate a price. For example, to Pattaya it is about 1,400 baht. Some taxis into Bangkok don’t want to put on the meter. They might ask for something like 500 baht. It is actually against the law for them to carry a passenger without using the meter. They have been fined by the police in the past. A trip into Bangkok would cost you at least 250 baht on the meter – this includes the surcharge and the 40 baht tollway if you go that way. It shouldn’t be more than 350 baht. Though that depends a lot on the traffic.
Another alternative from the same floor are the Airport Express buses. These run on four set routes for a fare of 150 baht per person. This is alright if you are alone and the bus passes near your hotel. But, two or three people with not a lot of luggage are advised to share costs of using a public taxi. The three Airport Express Routes are as follows:
AE1 Suvarnabhumi – Silom Rd. (by expressway)
AE2 Suvarnabhumi – Khao San Rd.(by expressway)
AE3 Suvarnabhumi – Central World via Sukhumvit Rd.
AE4 Suvarnabhumi – Hua Lamphong Train Station via Victory Monument
The final method is by normal public buses. It is the cheapest method at only 35 baht ($1) however, it is more inconvenient. You will need to catch a free shuttle bus back up on the arrival lounge floor. This then takes you the short distance to the bus terminal in the airport. Here you will find regular buses into Bangkok. One of them even goes past my house in Samut Prakan. The bus routes are as follows:
549 Suvarnabhumi-Minburi-Bangkapi via Seri Thai Rd.
550 Suvarnabhumi-Happy Land
551 Suvarnabhumi-Victory Monument (by expressway)
552 Suvarnabhumi-Khlong Toei (Customs Dept.) via Onnut BTS station
552A Suvarnabhumi-Samut Prakarn (Praeksa Garage)
553 Suvarnabhumi-Samut Prakarn (Crocodile Farm Garage)
554 Suvarnabhumi-Rangsit via Don Mueang and Ram Indra Rd. (by expressway)
555 Suvarnabhumi-Rangsit via Don Mueang and Central Plaza LadPhrao (by expressway)
556 Suvarnabhumi-Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal via Democracy Monument and Khaosan Rd.(by expressway)
557 Suvarnabhumi-Wong Wian Yai (The Great Circle)
558 Suvarnabhumi-Central Plaza Rama II
559 Suvarnabhumi-Future Park Rangsit via Dream World (by expressway)
Unless you are familiar with bus routes, I would advise you to go by public meter taxi. Just make sure you make a note of the details of the taxi driver. To the left of the front windscreen, on the inside, is the name of the driver in English and Thai and also his registration number. This could be useful later if you forget something in the taxi or you have a dispute with the driver regarding the fare.If you can wait two years, there will also be an Airport Link train with its own station in the basement of the airport.
If anyone has any tips that you think others might find useful then please post a comment below. However, if you have a general question, then please post them on our ThailandQA.com forums. If you do a search there, you might find that your question has already been answered by our panel of experts.