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Thailand Transportation: Thai Airlines | Bangkok Transfers | Limousine Airport Services | Rental Cars with Driver

► Arriving at Suvanarnabhumi Airport

After disembarking you will need to make your way to immigration. Depending on which gate you arrived at it can be a considerable walk. Lines at immigration can be non-existant to considerable. A wait of up to one hour is possible depending on how many flights arrived before yours. Before approaching the immigration counter have your completed arrival card, boarding pass and departure details handy. When it is your turn to be processed give the immigration officer your passport, arrival card and boarding pass.. You may be asked to show your departure details Your checked baggage is collected from the conveyors shortly after immigration. There are currency exchange booths in this area so you can change money while waiting for your baggage. However, they will only accept cash and not traveller’s cheques. The rates you get here is comparable to anywhere else. Converting money will be discussed in more detail in a later section. Once you have collected you luggage you can make your way through customs. You are unlikely to be stopped at customs. However do not be tempted to carry more cigarettes or alcohol than is permitted as the fines are high and will cause you a lot of inconvenience if caught. After customs you will exit either door number two or three, door number one is for domestic flights. This can cause some confusion should you have a taxi booked. If you have booked a taxi it is probably best to arrange to meet the driver at an exit from the terminal. These are numbered from 1 to 10. Number 1 is at the domestic side of the terminal. Door number 7 would be a good alternative. There are numerous currency exchanges and ATMs on the arrivals level. Below is a map showing the arrivals level of the airport. The baggage carousels are located between immigration and customs. It is also possible to buy a SIM card for your phone.

► Fast Track Immigration

There are not many things in life that are more frustrating than being asked to queue at the back of an 45 minute long waiting line in front of an immigration desk, after finally arriving at Thailand's Suvarnabhumi international Airport. Especially when arriving at, or departing from Bangkok from or to European countries, the lines at Bangkok Airport immigration and custom's can sometimes grow to well over an hour, since nearly all premium airlines demand similar arrival or departure times, thus unloading all their passenger towards the immigration lines at the same time. Not a pleasant way to start, or end, a vacation or business trip: just imagine being late for an important meeting or standing in line with young children for an hour. Fortunately there is now a way around this potential misery: Our VIP meet & greet with immigration and customs fast track service. This Bangkok Airport Arrival & Departure assistance service will make your entry into the Kingdom of Thailand as painless and quick as humanly possible.
  • Our friendly Airport Hostess or host will meet & greet with you at the arrival gate, holding a sign with your name or a more discrete expression like a company name, logo, initials, etc.
  • She or he will help with carry-on luggage and lead you to the exclusive fast track immigration counters, where he or she will assist with immigration documents details to ensure that your official entry into Thailand occurs without any delays.
  • After collecting your luggage from the Bangkok Airport bagage claim area, she or he will then guide you through customs and deliver your bags to one of our limousines that just then pulls up in front of the arrival hall at Suvarnabhumi Airport. If you are traveling by other means of transportation, you will be taken to it in stead. If the pick up vehicle does not hold green or yellow license plates, please ask the driver to park in the parking building and meet at outerdoor number 3 on the 2nd floor of Suvarnabhumi's Airport terminal.

More information: Website

► Getting away from Suvanarnabhumi Airport

There are a number of options available to get to Pattaya from the airport. The first one that will be obvious is that offered by the numerous touts who will harass you after you enter the public area of the terminal. It is probably best to avoid using this service. The most convenient method of getting to Pattaya is by taxi. This may sound expensive but by comparison it is not. The set price from the Airport to Pattaya is 1,400 Baht. It is not considered rude to try to negotiate a lower price and you should be able to get a lower fare. To find a taxi exit the terminal building on the arrivals level. You will see the colourful taxis parked up. Approach any of the people standing at tables near the taxis and tell them that you would like to go to Pattaya. You will find yourself in a taxi and on your way very quickly. You will be expected to pay the highway tolls (unless you have stipulated that they are included in the fare) but they don’t amount to very much. Another, even cheaper option is the use of public busses. To use this service you go to the ground level of the terminal. Look for the medical centre where you can find a white AOT bus that will take you to the bus terminal for free. Once there book an air-conditioned bus to Pattaya. The fair is 110 Baht and the journey will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Bell Travel Service runs a convenient bus service from the terminal to Pattaya. People using it have reported that it is a good service at the cost of 150 Baht each way.  If before you travel to Pattaya you spend some time in Bangkok a cheap option is to catch a bus. The trip takes a little over two hours and the service is regular. This service leaves from Ekamai bus station which is easily reached using the sky train. If you are planning on using this service make sure that you read the section about common scams.

► Limousine Service

Oriental Escape:
Transfer to Pattaya THB 2150.00 | Transportation within Bangkok Area 8-Hours THB 2100.00 | Transfer Airport - Bangkok THB 1250.00
Bangkok Airport Limousine: Transfer to Bangkok City Center in New Camry Limousines THB 900.00
Pattaya Limousine Service: Transfer to Pattaya in New Camry Limousines THB 1200.00 Phone: 085-7394949 or 080-9709944 (Ask for Mr. Ball) Top Service !!
Mr. Dream Transportation: Transfer to Pattaya THB 1200.00
Mr. Tiger: Private Limousine Service Bangkok (New Camry) 081-9351631 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Note: Negotiate Rates !!
Mr.Surachai Taxi Service: Transfer to Bangkok and Pattaya. New Camry LImousine. Phone 08-56619412 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

► Airlines
 
Thai Airways: Flights within Thailand
Bangkok Airways: Flights within Thailand. Excellent Business Class: Comfortable Seats, Great Meals, Good Airport and Lounge Service, Priority Luggage Delivery
Nok Air: Cheap Flights within Thailand
Qatar Airways: Flights to/from Thailand

 

► City Transfers

From 6:00 to midnight, the Suvarnabhumi Airport Express rail link runs to a new terminal in Makkasan, which is not particularly central but connects to Petchaburi underground (MRT). Journey time 15 minutes, fare 150 baht. A slower Suvarnabhumi Airport Cityline goes to the more central Phaya Thai station, which connects to Phaya Thai sky train station (BTS). Journey time 30 minutes, fare 15-45 baht depending on distance travelled. For visitors heading to downtown Sukhumvit Road or the backpacker enclave of Khao San Road, an airport taxi, which rarely costs more than 250 baht, is more convenient – but insist on the driver using the meter. A 50 baht airport taxi surcharge must be paid on top of the fare. Airport limousines charge about 600 baht. A number of airport express buses run to the city: AE1 heads for Silom Road, AE2 goes along Petchaburi Road to Khao San Road, AE3 serves Sukhumvit Road and AE4 passes via Siam Square to Hualamphong Railway Station. Tickets cost 100 baht.

► BTS System

The SkyTrain and Subway are the best way to beat the traffic and pollution, but the trains get packed during rush hour. However, the skytrain and subway cover mainly the central Bangkok area, not the suburbs. The skytrain opened in December 1999 and has two lines covering the central business districts of Sukhumvit, Phloenchit, Silom, and Sathorn (many expats live and work along these 4 roads), and then going up thru Victory Monument and out to Chatuchak, near the Mo Chit provincial bus terminal. The SkyTrain maps and fares are at the Bangkok Transit System (BTS) web site.

The English language version is at http://www.bts.co.th/en/index.asp . The fares range from 10 to 40 baht. Another website of ours, www.ssBKK.com , introduces entertainment and business places near the Skytrain stations and subway stations. SS = Skytrain Stations, Subway Stations, Sukhumvit Sois, Sathorn and Silom and the Suburban Side of greater Bangkok (BKK).

The skytrain is fast, but at rush hour in the morning and the evening, the trains sometimes get packed. You can usually squeeze on, but if you don't like crowded trains then you may want to adjust your schedule accordingly. (Same goes for the traffic in general, as well as the buses.) The skytrain company needs to add more cars. The platform and system is designed for it, and you can see lots of space on both ends of the trains plus the markings for the doors at some stations, but they just won't invest in new cars yet (though they are investing in expansion of the network).

A station worth noting is Victory Monument, which is the big central hub of bus transportation for Bangkok, and also where an elevated expressway intersects the skytrain route. Many smart people who live in the northwestern suburbs take expressway buses to Victory Monument, and the skytrain from Victory Monument. You can transfer at Victory Monument to buses going practically anywhere! For example, I work and live in Muang Thong Thani, a 20 minute minivan ride from Victory Monument, as noted at www.MTTBKK.com

The last skytrain leaves the first station around 12 midnight. However, if you plan on taking the last train, then you should get a ticket in advance. I have found that at some stations, the coin operated ticket machines go Out Of Order around 11pm and the staff won't help you. Thus, you can arrive at the station well before the last train(s), but can't get a pass to take them! This happened to me, and the staff were not helpful, unless I wanted to buy a 1 month pass or somesuch. Thus, if I plan to return on a late train, I buy an extra pass before I leave the station earlier that day/night.

► The MRT

The MRT Subway (Mass Rapid Transit) is run by a somewhat different organization, the MRTA. However, their website at www.mrta.co.th didn't have much information on their subway. The subway runs predominantly thru Thai areas, and intersects the skytrain at the Asoke station and at Chatuchak. The subway mostly runs under the road Ratchadapisek (aka Asoke when near Sukhumvit), then turns west down Rama 4 Rd. The subway has been of interest to only a small minority of foreigners, since there aren't any foreigner residential areas out there nor foreigner entertainment, and the shopping centers tend to be Thai dominated along the subway line. However, I will say that it's less crowded and the cool stations are appreciated in the hot season.

► Taxis

Most taxis in Thailand are metered, i.e., you don't need to negotiate a fare. Just get into a taxi that says "TAXI-METER" on the top. There are a few plain taxis still going around, but the vast majority are either the relatively new taxi-meter fleet or else have converted over. Taxis are economical in Thailand relative to western countries. As of new rates approved in June 2008, the first revision in taxi rates since 1997, the fare starts at 35 baht (approx. $1) and stays there for the first 1 kilometer, and then the rate creeps up slowly at these rates:

5 baht per km for 1+ to 12 km
5.5 baht per km for 12 to 20 km
6 baht per km for 20 to 40 km
8.5 baht per kilometer for 40 to 60 km

For example, a 20 km (12 mile) trip, which is long by Bangkok standards, would cost 35 + 55 + 44 = 134 baht, or still under $5 in 2008. Typical taxi fares in town for going a few kilometers run around 50 baht. If traffic is bad, then the timer becomes more significant than the distance. There is a small charge per minute for sitting in traffic. Sorry, I don't know it, but it's small. It's still very cheap compared to Western countries, though to Thais it's another matter. Around 1992 or so, the city government oversaw an overhaul of the taxi system. A few leading companies with special concessions imported fleets of modern new taxis and equipped them with meters. This made taxis much nicer and easier for foreigners and Thais alike.

Notably, most taxis are fuelled by liquified natural gas, not the usual petrol of ordinary cars, and much of this gas is produced domestically, so the fuel costs of taxis are not as high as for most people. This conversion to liquified natural gas mostly happened after taxi fares were first established. It is a relatively minor conversion, and very standardized for the taxi fleet.

A difficulty with foreigners is that most taxi drivers do not speak nor read English. The taxi drivers generally come from the poor northeast. They are usually pleasant but just limited in education. They will usually recognize the names of places if your pronounciation is close, but be careful that they don't misunderstand you and take you somewhere else. Suggestions:

  • If possible, have the name and location of your destination written in Thai on a slip of paper which you can give them, or
  • Have a map with both Thai and English, and point to the place on the map.
  • If one taxi seems to have difficulties, then say never mind and try the next taxi.

Of course, these suggestions are not required, and most foreigners get by without paper, but you take your chances.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019