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Apr 30

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Our Guide with Travel Tips for Koh Chang – UPDATED APRIL 2018

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Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced ‘Suwanapoom’, airport code BKK) is the main Bangkok International hub, located about 30km east of the capital itself.

Pretty much everyone flying into Thailand will land here, though the old International Airport, in the north of Bangkok at Don Mueang (airport code DMK) now takes all low cost airlines, such as Nok Air and Air Asia as well as many domestic flights.

Suvarnabhumi Airport is often incorrectly cited as the largest single terminal building in the world, but it is actually only the 4th. However, the Thais do retain some global bragging rights with the control tower, which is apparently the tallest.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Lay-Out

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Suvarnabhumi Airport is laid out over 4 Floors, marked as 1 to 4 with the basement, home of the Airport Rail Link (ARL), an additional area marked as 1B.

For both International and Domestic passengers, Departures are on Floor 4, Arrivals on the Floor 2.

Once you clear Immigration on Floor 4 – always factor in as much time as possible for this as it can be very slow – there are the usual vast array of brand name shops as well as more restaurants and places to relax, spend or waste money.

Arrivals on Floor 2 often also have lengthy Immigration queues so be prepared for around 45 minutes to an hour from landing to actually emerging into the Arrivals Hall. You can help yourself by ensuring you have already filled out the arrival/departure card (TM6) handed out on the plane and filled it out very clearly – Thai officials are sticklers for perfectly written letters. In Immigration, Area 2 is smaller and quieter than Areas 1 and 3, which are nearer to the landing gates. Domestic arrivals of course do not require Immigration so passengers are much quicker through emerging into the Arrivals Hall in their own area just past Door 3.

The Thai Tourist Police are on Floor 2, at the rear near Door 3. Their contact number is 1155, operational 24/7.

Mobile phone operators are lined up at Arrivals, Floor 2 as you come though to the main hall. They can set you up to use your phone in Thailand, depending of course on your existing contract, locked, unlocked, sim free and so on. You can get 30 day deals with 4G data coverage and free minutes for around 299bt.

Free wifi is available throughout the Terminal, useful on arrival or if a local package has run out at the end of your trip. In your wifi settings, you need to select AOTFreeWiFibyTrue, then log in via your browser, enter details as requested. Please note this is a public service so best to avoid banking sites.

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On Floor 2, you’ll also find the car rentals, with all the normal companies such as Avis, Budget and Hertz available. See here for more details on self drive.

Money exchange is also possible on Floor 2, though you will find the best rates for buying THB down at the Airport Rail Link, Floor 1B (Basement), once you step out of the Airport’s jurisdiction area, at the K Bank (green) booth.

Left Luggage is on both Floors 2 and 4, 100bt for 24 hours. There is also the Airpotels luggage service down near the ARL on Floor 1B.

Floor 3 is home to all the restaurants and coffee shops (Starbucks, Dean & Delucca amongst others) as well as chemists such as Boots. You will also find a food court on Floor 1 at the far end by Door 8. This is a bustling and busy place, where you buy coupons to the value of say 100bt and then exchange them for your choices from one of the counters, with any unused at the end simply converted back to cash as you leave. The food is quick, tasty and very cheap.

Selected onward buses to Koh Chang, Pattaya and Koh Samet as well as taxis into Bangkok are all on Floor 1, Doors 4 to 8.

Head down to the basement (1B) to join the Airport Rail Link into Bangkok as well as find a few more coffee shops and a couple of money exchanges.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Immigration

If you have not bought a tourist visa from an embassy in your own country or a neigbouring one, the vast majority of visitors will be given a 30 day visa exemption stamp on arrival. Some countries do only get 15 days, whilst some require a visa on arrival (VOA). Check online to see the rule which applies to your country. The desk for VOA is clearly marked as you make your way from the landing gates to the Immigration Hall. Always carry your onward flight ticket in case requested.

If you have the Single Entry Tourist Visa (SETV), then this is stamped on arrival with your date to leave 60 days hence. The visa will also be marked USED as the single entry is done and dusted by you arriving into the country. This does not mean the visa is cancelled or not valid for the next 60 days, just that it cannot be re-used again on another entry.

Always check your passport as you leave the desk to see you have the right stamps and dates.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Onward Travel

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If in transit for International/Domestic and without a boarding pass, on landing, you will need to head to the Floor 2, Transfer Check-in Counter to get one. If you already have the boarding pass, then go through Immigration, Baggage Reclaim as normal and then head to the Floor 4 to go though the Check-in process.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Flights to Trat Airport for Koh Chang

Bangkok Airways is the only airline flying to Trat Airport (airline code TDX) and luckily it flies out from here, Suvarnabhumi rather than Don Mueang. Trat Airport is 20 to 30 minutes from the Koh Chang Piers at Ao Thammachat and Centrepoint and Laem Ngop Pier for Koh Mak. It is an hour from Laem Sok Pier for Koh Kood.

Trat Airport has CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) status. If your original flight is with an Airline partnered with Bangkok Airways, you can check your baggage all the way through from your first origin Airport, so obviating the need to clear Immigration or visit baggage reclaim on landing at Suvarnabhumi. However, please do check and double check this with your origin Airline when you make your bookings. Anectodal evidence suggests it is not always as straightforward as it sounds.

For sure, if you booked the Trat flight separately to your main flight, you will need to pass though Immigration and baggage reclaim on Floor 2 before heading to Floor 4 Departures.

Bangkok Airways has 3 flights per day at 08.20am, 11.20am and 17.00, with slight seasonal variations during the course of the year and maybe some flights being dropped during the low tourist season (May to October).

All three daily flights will always make the ferry crossings for Koh Chang. Share minibuses are on hand at Trat Airport, 500bt per person with ferry ticket and delivery to your resort, 900bt return. If you prefer a bit more comfort, private transfers, car or minibus, are available, with prices from 1,800bt for the car for 2 pax with ferry tickets. We can book either of these services for you.

The morning and mid morning flights will make the connections to Koh Mak and Koh Kood, not the evening one. With those morning flights, you will still need to reserve a private transfer by either car or minibus to the piers at Laem Ngop and Laem Sok respectively. Again, we can organise this for you with the boat tickets.

Suvarnabhumi Airport To Don Mueang Airport

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If your onward flight leaves from Don Mueang Aiport, there is a free shuttle service between the two airports. This leaves from Door 3 Floor 2 at least hourly, sometimes more, from 5.00am to 24.00 and takes about an hour depending on traffic. Allow more, this is Bangkok.

You do need to show a boarding pass and have a printed airline ticket or itinerary for departure from DMK and a passport to use this service. The call centre number is 02 132 9199.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Into Bangkok

Public Taxis

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Leaving from Floor 1, Doors 4 to 6, these are licensed, legitimate and safe. There are 3 clear lanes to help you, and once you get the ticket from the machine, look for the corresponding number above the parked taxis in the lanes opposite. Do not expect any help with bags. Importantly, the taxis use a meter, you pay for tolls on the expressway as you go and you automatically add 50bt for the driver/Airport service. Expect to pay around 350bt with a tip to Sukhumvit Road, maybe a bit more to Khao San Road.

Other taxi services such as the Airport Limousine are found on Floor 2 Arrivals.

We too book private cars or minibuses between Suvarnabhumi Airport and your Bangkok hotel.

Airport Rail Link

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Located at the very bottom of the Terminal at Level 1B (Basement), the Airport Rail Link costs a mere 35bt/45bt to take you into town. It connects with the BTS Skytrain at Phaya Thai Station (45bt) near to Victory Monument and to the MRT Underground at Makkasan (45bt).

It’s a great service if you only have a little baggage, a bit more of a pain with lots of cases because of the walkways and exits at the other end. Open from 06.00am to 24.00, travel time is 30 to 40 minutes to the centre, with 4 to 5 trains an hour. If going the other way from Bangkok, you want Exit 5 at Phaya Thai to get to the ticket hall.

For DMK Don Mueang, you can also take the Airport Rail Link into Makkasan, walk to MRT (the subway/underground rail network) Petchaburi, ride this up to Phahon Yothin (and then walk to Chatuchak Park) or ride it to Chatuchak Park. From there, exit 3 for the A1 or A2 Bus, every 30 minutes 30bt.

Lad Krabang is the stop before Suvarnabhumi Airport and one that you will see advertised as the Airport Rail Link in minibus and public bus services to and from the Koh Chang islands. If you have an evening flight out at say 20.00 or 24.00, with check in around 17.00 or 21.00 onwards, it’s a very handy connection to know.

Khao San Road Bus – S1

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The S1 Bus runs from Door 7 Floor 1 to the top and bottom ends of Khao San Road and then onto Sanam Luang (the park by The Grand Palace), with a fare of just 60bt per person. Hourly from 06.00am to 20.00, the journey use the expressway and takes about 75 minutes+.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – To Koh Chang

Private Transfers

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Private transfers are by far the easiest way down to the piers at Koh Chang, Laem Ngop for Koh Mak and Laem Sok for Koh Kood. The driver meets you at Door 3, Floor 2 Arrivals with a name sign. Journey time to the piers is around 4.5 hours with stops along the way for snacks, toilet breaks, coffee. All details are here or Contact Us for a quotation.

If travelling to Koh Chang, you need to be away from Suvarnabhumi Airport by 14.00 at the latest to make the connections at the Koh Chang Piers, with the last fast boat at 18.30 (the one we use) and the last slow boat (only used if needed) at 19.30.

If travelling to Koh Kood, a private transfer leaving the Airport at 09.30am at the latest is the only way to make the final boat connection of the day at 15.00, Koh Kut Express 600bt.

If travelling to Koh Mak, the private transfer up until 10.30am will make the last boat at 16.00, Panan 450bt. Once again, we can organise all of this for you.

Suvarnabhumi Bupara Company

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With departures at 07.50am (bus), 09.30am (minibus), 11.00am (minibus), 14.00 (minibus), this operates from Floor 1, Door 8 and goes all the way to Klong Son, the first local town on Koh Chang, with transfer then possible to your resort. Prices are 600bt, including ferry and resort transfer, 900bt return (though you do need to pay 100bt for the transfer back from the resort). It takes 5.5 to 6 hours to the ferry. Coming back the other way, times from Klong Son are 07.00am, 12.00pm and 17.00.

The best advice with this service from Suavarnabhumi is to just turn up and get the first one leaving, they will have seats. It is not really possible to book as delays on flights and Immigration can mean you miss the departure time, with the seats non transferable. More details are on our main buses and share minibuses page here

999 Bus

Originating from Ekamai Bus Station (07.45am, 09.00am), the 999 reaches Suavrnabhumi Airport Bus Station at 08.20am and 09.35am respectively. It is 238bt to the ferry piers for Koh Chang, takes 5.5 to 6 hours with a stop for fuel and calls in at Chantaburi Bus Station on the way.

The 08.20am will arrive at about 13.30 to Ao Thammachat Pier. If travelling to Koh Mak and Koh Wai, they will usually run on to Laem Ngop, otherwise hop in a taxi (40bt). You will probably miss the 14.00 Leelawadee speedboat to Koh Mak, but there is another one at 14.30 Seatales, 15.00 Suansuk and then last one at 16.00 Panan.

The 09.35am arrives at 15.00 to 15.45 so it is cutting it very fine for the 16.00 last connection of the day, not impossible but tight.

Coming back the other way, there is 14.30 or 16.30 service only from Centrepoint, so you need to be on the 12.30pm or 13.30 ferry for the former and 14.30 or 15.30 for the latter. With an ultimate destination of Ekamai Bus Station, it reaches the Airport Bus Station at 19.30 or 22.30.

Shuttle Bus

From the Airport Terminal, there is a free shuttle bus to the Airport Bus Station or Transportation Centre, as it more grandly known, from Floor 1, Door 3 Traffic Lane 3 (the white tarpaulin marquee). This goes every ten minutes, use the Express route A (4,2), travel time 5 to 7 minutes, rather than the ordinary route A, which takes you on a fascinating tour of the airport complex.

For budget travellers, buses that may be of interest from the Airport Bus Station are 554 and 555, both very cheap at 34bt to Rangsit with a stop at Don Mueang – every 20 minutes from 05.00am to 23.00, then every hour till 02.00am. There are plenty of public minibuses too, with the 551 to Victory Monument or the 555 to DMK, worth noting. Both are 50bt per person, every 20 minutes. The 555 does sweep by the terminal, with a stop at Door 8 Level 1 – 3rd traffic lane over, look at out for the white tarpaulin and seats.

Public Minibus

There is no longer a direct public minibus from the Airport Bus Station to Trat or indeed the ferry piers.

If you flight arrives after 13.30, you will not make any of the islands that day by public transport, with nothing eastbound out of the Airport after that Suvarnabhumi Bupara Company minibus at 14.00. If you don’t want to stay in Bangkok, you must instead take a taxi back to Ekamai Bus Station (250bt) and then travel out on a public bus, Cherdchai, 238bt hourly or a minibus, Triple TTT up to 18.00, 270bt to Trat and overnight there. More details are on our main buses and share minibuses page here

Coming from Koh Chang, we can organise share minibuses direct to the Airport (800bt with ferry ticket). It leaves two times a day, with hotel collection on Koh Chang from 08.00am to 09.00am or 13.00 to 14.00 reaching Suvarnabhumi Airport around 16.00 to 16.30 or 20.00 to 20.30. Do please contact us as needed or use the booking form here.

Self Drive- Suvarnabhumi to Koh Chang

If you hire a car from one of the desks as you come through on Floor 2, you can drive down to the island. Get onto Route 7 at the Airport heading for Chonburi and Pattaya, take the 344 to Klaeng, Route 3 to Chantaburi and Trat and then the 3156 (Saen Tung junction) to Laem Ngop. This takes you past the turning to Trat Airport and onto the turning for Koh Chang Ferry at Ao Thammachat, the faster one. Centerpoint Ferry is further on as is the turning to Laem Ngop Pier for Koh Mak.

For Koh Kood, do not take the 3156 but continue onto Trat, drive straight through the town in the direction of Laem Ngop. Turn left as indicated to Laem Sok Pier at the traffic lights shortly after the two gas stations, Shell and PTT. It is then another 25 km.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Visa Overstays

Visa Overstay is 500bt per day but you generally are not fined if it is only one day. If you overstay for 2 days, it is 1,000bt as the first day’s fine gets reinstated, 3 days, 1,500bt and so on, with a maximum fine of 20,000bt. This is collected at Immigration as you leave the country, Floor 4. Since the overstday clampdown in 2016, however, the Immigration authorities are are now much stricter and so our advice is avoid overstaying unless absolutely necessary. That way, you avoid the risk.

BKK Suavarnabhumi Airport Hotels

For a good choice of Airport hotels, do please visit our partner here.

From very early morning, we can collect you with a private transfer or hotel to hotel share minibus from whichever hotel you choose.

Airport Call-Center: 00 66 2 132 1888 – There is an English language option. AOL Thai Airports

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