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If you plan to take a metered taxi, ask for small notes when you exchange currency. The exchange booths are familiar with this request, and will comply willingly. A reasonable supply of 100฿ notes and ideally some 20฿ notes would be best. Many taxi drivers either do not have small change, or will tell you they don't, hoping you will let them keep a large note/bill to avoid a problem or delay.
There are exchange booths scattered throughout the airport-- most are open 24/7 regardless of day. There is even one in the baggage reclaim/Customs Hall area- immediately after passport control. You can easily attend to your money matters while you wait for your bags.
There are also ATMs. ATMs typically dispense 100, 500, and 1000 baht notes, up to 20 notes per transaction. If you choose to use an ATM, it is suggested that you withdraw 9,900฿ instead of 10,000฿ (for example) as this forces the ATM to dispense several smaller denominated notes. Be aware that most ATM's now charge 150฿ for all withdrawals using foreign cards. ATMs are set to dispense a maximum of 20 notes, so withdraw 15,900฿ to get the biggest amount possible with some 100 baht notes.
(If you neglect to get change, all is not lost! If you use the toll highway, the Expressway, the toll booths are obliged to change 1000฿ notes. Pass the driver a 1000฿ note to pay the toll, and voila! You have change. Please count it.)
After you have your Thai baht and have reclaimed your baggage, continue to pass through customs control (Thailand uses the standard Red/Green lane system). Note that there are more ATMs in the general arrivals area if you missed the one in the Customs Hall. After you clear customs, follow the signs to "PUBLIC TAXI" on Level 1, one floor down from the Arrivals level, and join the queue that may form just outside the building.
DO NOT use the LIMO/TAXI services offered by
. They can tend to swarm around you once you have cleared customs. These touts will charge rates that can be as much as 200% to 300% of normal metered taxi rates.
Once you make you way to the taxi desk, tell the dispatchers your hotel or other destination.
*DO NOT ASK ANYONE
It's a metered taxi. The cost is dictated by the meter. Asking HOW MUCH is tacit approval to being charged a flat rate.
They may give you a YELLOW slip of paper with your destination written on it. Take the paper to the line of drivers and hand it over to the supervisor. It will be exchanged for another larger WHITE slip of paper with your taxi driver's name and number written on it and an explanation of the 50฿ airport surcharge (which you will add on to the fare at journey's end - see below).
KEEP this slip of paper, ( there is NO information on this slip of paper that the driver needs, he's already been told where you are going - it's yours, put it in your pocket in case of any difficulties during the trip or when you find you've left some property in the taxi, or for any other issue that may arise ).This slip of paper identifies the specific taxi and driver you are using.
Remember Bangkok Taxi meters ALWAYS start at 35฿ ( see below)
You can ask the driver to take the toll/express way (although this is not always necessary especially in the late hours). If you elect to use the Tollway/Expressway, you will need to give the driver 75฿ for the tolls if the driver pays, you add it to the meter fare at the end of the journey -
see below. (The tollway charges increased to 25 + 50 = 75฿ on September 1st, 2013.)
There is also a mandatory 50฿ Airport tax/surcharge. Notice of this is stamped on the form. It wiill be added to the metered fare at the end of the journey.
If possible, get your hotel name written in Thai, or print out the instructions in Thai for drivers that many hotels put on their websites, Bangkok has thousands of hotels, and no driver can know them all by their English names.
A taxi ride to most hotels in the Sukhumvit, Silom, or Khao San road areas should cost you between 200฿ and 250฿ on the meter PLUS the 50฿ airport surcharge PLUS any tolls paid by the driver (if the Expressway was used that will usually be a total of 75฿).
Your journey should take about 30-60 minutes depending on the day, time of day, and weather conditions, but 35-40 minutes is average for Sukhumvit, Siam or Silom.
If you want to work out "exactly" how much your metered taxi should cost (and you know the distance from the airport to your destination within Bangkok - use google maps) check this link to the rate advertised in all Bangkok taxis;
Taking Taxis from Departures 4th Floor:
It is no longer possible to get a taxi from the 4th floor departures area. One-way, incoming turnstiles have been installed, and these are staffed by guards. Passengers now cannot pass outbound to the area where taxis would be waiting after letting off incoming passengers.
AOT operate "limos" out of the Airport. They have a desk in the baggage claim area and also in arrivals. Rates charged start at around 800฿ for a standard sedan, and go up from there for mini-buses (for more passengers or luggage) or more luxurious options.
There are many well regarded private transfer operators in Bangkok. These can get you from the Airport to your Bangkok Hotel, or almost ANY OTHER place you want to go in Thailand (for a fee). Here are just a few - so DO shop around;
Oriental Escape is one of the most popular transfer services, priced from 900฿
ATT (Airport Transfers Thailand) offers airport transfers beginning at 1080฿. They also organize shared Arrival and Departure transfers.
Siam Resorts Limousines provides professional airport transfers and Fast Track arrival services.
Bangkok Limo For larger groups a VIP minivan goes for around 1400฿.
Thailand Stretch Limousine For those times when you're looking to impress, they have an 8½ meter imported Limo (seats 10).
Departing is even easier.
Avoid taxis parked at the hotel, go to the kerb and flag down a passing taxi available for hire (available indicated by the illuminated red light in the passenger side windscreen - see below)
If you get any resistance to using the meter rate, move on, and walk to the kerbside. Flag down a passing taxi and try again. There is no need to settle for any fixed rate in Bangkok, nor should you.
If you have leftover Thai Baht, you can spend them before entering Passport Control at any number of merchants or food/drink outlets. There are even airport branches of the Family Mart convenience store located on Level 3 and 4 of the terminal building. Prices at the airport are the same as at city-centre branches of Family Mart, which is a real deal compared to the other stores in the airport. This is a great place for a delayed traveller to grab a quick snack. Remember that no liquids, gel or aerosols (greater than 3ozs/100ml) are allowed past security checkpoints (without proper exemption).
If you want a more substantial meal, you can also visit the "locals" food court (located on Floor 1) called "Magic Food Center" which is open 24/7. It operates on a 'coupon' system. You have to buy coupons with Thai baht to cover the cost of your meal. You can return unused coupons for a refund when you leave. Details of the food court here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-...
Many of the international departure gates involve a fairly long walk. Therefore it is a good idea to start heading for your gate well before the time printed on your boarding card.
The ARL Airport Express trains depart every 60 minutes, non-stop to Phaya Thai on the even half hours eg 06:00, 06:30 etc. and take 17 minutes and to Makkasan at 25 minutes past each hour and take 15 minutes. The last train leaves at 23:25/23:30.
The fare for the Airport Express (Suvarnabhumi to either Makkasan or Phaya Thai non-stop) is 150฿. From Makkasan you can get a taxi to your final destination, or walk to the Phetchaburi MRT station (200 metres). At Phraya Thai you can transfer to the BTS Skytrain.
The ARL City Line makes eight stops (Suvarnabhumi to Phaya Thai), takes a total of 27 minutes, and fares range from 15฿ - 45฿ one-way, depending on the distance travelled.
The City Line trains leave the airport about every 15 to 20 minutes (according to time of day), starting at 06:02 and ending at 00:12 on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, trains run every 20 minutes starting at 05:56. The last train leaves at 23:56.
Many stations are handy to areas where travelers tend to stay, for instance Ratchaprarop is near Pratunam, Makkasan is not far by taxi or MRT (subway/underground) from Lower Sukhumvit and Ramkhamhaeng is a 10 minute (60฿) taxi ride from Thonglor.
Although the City Line is a commuter train, it is used heavily by both locals and tourists, with all their luggage, to get to and from the airport. There is adequate space on the cars for luggage to stand, although no dedicated luggage racks. The City Line can also get quite crowded during rush hours. This is more of a problem for those going to the airport. Coming from the airport, it is almost never difficult to find a seat. (But note that both the BTS Skytrain and the MRT are often very crowded at rush hours if you intend to transfer to one of those services.)
The Airport Express has dedicated luggage racks and tends to be underused, meaning cars are almost empty and there are usually lots of seats.
In Suvarnabhumi Airport, head down to the lowest level to reach the Airport Link concourse, where plastic fare tokens must be purchased prior passing through the ticket barrier and descending to the platform.
Here is a MAP showing the airport rail link togther with the MRT (subway/underground) and BTS Skytrain.
Departures : If you take a taxi to Makkasan Station and then take the ARL Airport Express, the difference in overall cost may be minimal compared to simply taking a taxi all the way to the airport, and could actually end up costing more in total if there are several of you travelling together.
Taking the City Line could offer a substantial cost saving, though.
The Airport Link in general is not very convenient if you have a lot of heavy luggage and/or several children. But it is very doable if you are travelling reasonably lightly with the standard rolling suitcase or a backpack.
Phaya Thai Station: At Phaya Thai BTS Station there is no down escalator to the concourse level, meaning 47 steps on two flights of stairs is the only way down.
After going through the ticket barrier you walk over the ramp and up an escalator to the Airport Link concourse. There is both an escalator and a small elevator up to the platform.
Makkasan: There are elevators and escalators to and from the platform at Makkasan station.
Makkasan Station is close to Petchaburi MRT (subway/underground) station. A covered elevated walkway between the stations opened in August 2013. The walkway slopes towards the MRT station so moving a wheeled bag is easy. The only hurdle is the short staircase from the street level to the MRT station entrance. The 2 minute walk is easy with a small amount of luggage, but not recommended for a person with several pieces of heavy luggage. There is a taxi stand at the station.
If you are transferring to the MRT, leave your bags unlocked so they can be checked by the MRT security guard.
Suvarnabhumi Airport provides luggage storage at 100 Baht per piece per day. There are two stations to store your bags, one on level two and one on level four.