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The Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link (SARL or ARL for short) provides speedy rail service from the airport to central Bangkok. City Line commuter trains stop at eight stations.
The ARL City Line makes eight stops (Suvarnabhumi to Phaya Thai) and takes a total of 26 minutes. Trains depart the airport every 12 to 15 minutes (according to the time of day), starting at 05:56 and with the last 2 services (non stop only) at 00:15 & 00:30 weekdays. On weekends and holidays, trains run every 15 minutes starting at 06:02. The last 2 services (non stop only) depart at 00:15 & 00:30. Timetable here.
Fares range between 15 and 45 baht one-way, depending on the distance travelled. Many stations are handy to areas where travelers tend to stay, for instance Ratchaprarop is near Pratunam, Makkasan is not far by taxi from Lower Sukhumvit and Ramkhamhaeng is a 10 minute (60 baht) taxi ride from Thonglor and Ekamai. At Makkasan you can change to the MRT (subway - underground) via a 200m walkway. At Phaya Thai a 70m ramp leads to the BTS Skytrain, giving you access to a large part of the city by mass transit.
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.
To take the ARL train from Suvarnabhumi Airport, head down by elevator or escalator to the lowest level. You can purchase a token in a machine or at the ticket booth. The machines give change.
If you are an iPhone user, you can also download the "Airport Link Bangkok" app which provides convenient access to the timetables of each of the Airport Link stations.
Public taxis are the most popular way to get into town, and the most convenient in terms of door-to-door service.
Ignore all touts in the airport terminal offering taxi services. Outside the arrival building on the first floor (one floor down from arrivals) you’ll see a “Public Taxi” desk.
Most taxis are relatively new vehicles, although there are some older cars no longer in prime condition (officially these are not supposed to be permitted at the airport). There are also some van-type or "maxi" taxis ideal for 3-4 people with lots of bags. All taxis run on natural gas and most of the boot (trunk) in the ordinary sedans is taken up with a large tank. Some luggage will still fit there, but quite often suitcases must be stacked on the passenger seat beside the driver.
Tell the dispatcher your destination. He will give you a slip of white paper. Hold onto it, do not give it to the driver, because it has instructions on what to do in the unlikely event of any problem. The dispatcher will give another part of the form to the driver, and should ensure that the driver knows how to get to your destination (but you may wish to confirm this).
Taxi dispatcher's desk
Taxi drivers lined up, waiting for fares from the dispatcher
When you get into the taxi, make sure the meter is on and showing 35 baht. On arrival at your hotel, you’ll have to pay the fare on the meter, plus an airport surcharge of 50 baht that is not shown on the meter. In addition there may be optional expressway tolls of 75 baht which you should pay directly at the two toll stations. Typical cost: 250 to 400 baht in total (including metered fare, surcharge and tolls) depending on distance and traffic conditions. The average seems to be around 300-350 baht to most inner city destinations. Average Time : About 30 to 45 minutes.
After midnight and in the very early morning it is not necessary to use the toll expressway, so you can tell the driver "no highway" and save 75 baht. The taxi will use the ground-level road underneath the elevated expressway, which is just as fast as the expressway late at night.
Taxi drivers are not normally tipped, although rounding of odd amounts (e.g. 97 baht to 100 baht, or even sometimes of 101 baht down to 100 baht!) is commonly practised.
You could arrange in advance for your hotel to pick you up . If you’ve done that you should see someone holding a card with your name on it in the arrivals hall. Typical Cost: Varies by hotel - usually around 1200 baht, but sometimes over 2000 baht.
You could also use the official Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT) limousine service. You’ll see their booths in both the baggage and arrivals hall. They are more expensive than public taxis but you can haggle a bit over rates, and they have modern comfortable saloons (sedans) and passenger vans. Typical cost: Starts around 800 baht to over 6000 baht for top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz or BMW vehicles. Average Time: About 30 to 45 minutes depending on distance and traffic conditions.
There are numerous other private transfer options available that almost always cost less than what a hotel will charge.
Some out of many examples:
12go.asia - compare and choose the transfer that works best for you (starting from 120 baht)
taxiwell.com an airport transfer in Thailand
Bangkok Airport-Transfer offers private transfers starting at 800 baht.
Bangkoklimo.org offers transfers starting at 1000 baht.
Bangkok Shuttle offers transfers with various types of vehicles (car 1000 baht, minibus 1400 baht).
Bangkok Transfers offers car or van transfer services from Bangkok Airport to the city or nearby towns with "well groomed, professional, and very safety conscious" drivers.
Airport Transfers Thailand offers private transfers starting at 1080 baht.
Oriental Escape offers airport transfers beginning at 900 baht. This is a very highly regarded company which is often recommended by the TripAdvisor community.
Bangkok Airport Limousines starting from 900 baht.
You can find many other private transfer providers mentioned in the TA Bangkok Forum, or just search online.
Airport Collections offers private reliable transfers payable in euro.
Transferbkk offers transfers with baby seats, start at 990 baht.
Pattaya To Bangkok Tom Taxi Services Start Ptice 1000 Baht
Local bus fare varies between 12 and 36 baht.
Public Bus Service to Bangkok and area.
Bus Number 553 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Samut Prakan
Bus Number 554 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Don Muang Airport (Expressway)
Bus Number 555 - Suvarnabhumi - Don Muang Airport - Rangsit (Expressway) (24 hrs a day except 2-4am)
Bus Number 556 - Makkasan City ARL station - Southern Bus Terminal
Bus Number 558 - Suvarnabhumi - Central Rama 2
Public Bus Service to other provinces.
Bus Number 389 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Pattaya
Bus Number 390 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Aranyaphratet (Talad Rong Kluea) with Air Aran apparently now only leaves at 08:00 from the Airport Transportation Center, arriving at Aran at 14:30 daily. Cost is 184 baht. Source: Air Aran
Bus Number 825 - Suvarnabhumi Airport - Nong Khai