Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Suvarnabhumi International Airport is one of the largest single airport terminals in the world, where domestic and international areas are situated within the same terminal building. It is a beautiful work of art in glass, a futuristic-looking structure that could’ve come from the imagination of a science fiction author.
Inside, there a big, bright cavernous spaces, long corridors made from glass and steel and dozens of shops, restaurants and other facilities and attractions.
Suvarnabhumi is also known as Bangkok International Airport and was officially opened in 2006. It is situated approximately 25 kilometres from the centre of Thailand’s capital. Excellent transport links means once you have stepped off your plane and cleared customs and baggage claim, you can easily be in downtown Bangkok in under an hour.
For passengers, Suvarnabhumi is organised into four separate levels:
- Level one is the bus and taxi area, from where you can get into the city.
- Level two is the domestic and international arrivals area.
- Level three is where many of the airport’s facilities are located, such as shops and restaurants.
- Level four is for departures and is where you will find airline check-in counters and airport information counters.
Procedures after Arrival
Once you have disembarked from your plane, follow the clearly marked signs to immigration and the baggage claim area. They are also written in English and accompanied by pictures and direction arrows, so you should have no trouble working out where to go. Present your passport and arrival card at the immigration counter and then proceed to the baggage claim hall. The jumbo-sized baggage claim flight board will display the baggage carousel number of your flight.
After picking up your bags and suitcases, make your way over to the customs area. If you have goods to declare, go to the red exit, marked “Goods to Declare”. If you have nothing to declare, go to the green exit, marked “Nothing to Declare”. For the full list of items you need to declare at customs, click here.
Once you have gone through customs, take exits B or C, which will take you to the Arrivals Hall on the second level. Meeting points are here, as are several car rental services.
Transfer and Transit Procedures
International to domestic, with no boarding pass: look for the sign leading to Transfer Counters. Contact your transfer counter on the second level of the east Passenger Terminal building to obtain your boarding pass. Go through passport control on the second level of Concourse building C. Undergo customs inspection, go through the x-ray scanner and wait for your flight in the gate hold room of Concourse buildings A or B.
International to domestic, with a boarding pass: look for the sign leading to Transfer Counters. Then follow the sign for passengers transferring to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Samui or Krabi. Go through passport control on the second level of Concourse building C. Declare any belongings at the customs counter and then go through the x-ray scanner. You will then wait to board your flight in the gate hold room in Concourse buildings A or B.
International to International with a boarding pass: after disembarking, look for the sign leading to Transfer Counters, and then follow the sign for the east or the west transfer counters. If you don’t know whether your connecting flight is on the east or west side, check with your airline. Alternatively, look at the International Transfer Counter Information boards in the airport. Then go through security inspection and wait for your flight in the gate hold room in Concourse buildings, C, D, E, F or G.
International to international with no boarding pass: after disembarking, look for the sign leading to Transfer Counters, then follow signs for east or west transfers. Go through an x-ray scanner and then obtain your boarding pass from the transfer counter on the third level of either the east or west Passenger Terminal building. Then wait for your plane in the gate hold room in either Concourse buildings, C, D, E, F or G.
Domestic to International: after leaving your plane, look for the sign leading to international transfer for C.I.Q passengers. The C.I.Q channel is in Concourse building B. Go through an x-ray scanner and wait to board your flight in the gate hold room in Concourse buildings, C, D, E, F or G.
On leaving your plane, follow the clearly marked signs to the baggage hall. Check the baggage carousel number of your flight on the baggage claim flight board, and once you have collected your cases, take Exit A, which will lead you to the Arrivals Hall on the second level.
Getting to Your Bangkok Accommodation from the Airport
If you are not being picked up from the airport, choose from a variety of transport options to get into the city.
Airport Rail Link
The BTS Skytrain and MRT metro lines do not go to the airport, but there is an excellent alternative. The Airport Rail Link is a super easy and comfortable way to get to downtown Bangkok. The service is between Suvarnabhumi Station and Phaya Thai Station, stopping at six stations en route and taking about 30 minutes for the entire journey. The service is operational from 06:00 to 24:00 and prices start at 15 baht. The maximum ticket price is 45 baht.
A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to get out and about when you want. There are several service providers at the airport, including Avis, Budget, Hertz, National and the Thai Car Rental Association. The minimum age for drivers varies according to the company you hire from. Check with your supplier before making your booking.
Pick up a yellow metered taxi from the taxi stands at Entry Gates 4 or 7 at the first floor of the Passenger Terminal. In addition to the taxi fare and any toll way fees, you will need to pay the driver a 50 baht courtesy fee. Depending on traffic and where you want to go in Bangkok, a taxi journey into the city could take as little as 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours.
Travel in style to your accommodation in an airport limousine. There are several models to choose from, including BMW Series 7 and Toyota Camry. This is quite an expensive way to get around, and prices vary according to the distance and the vehicle. For example, a 25-30 kilometre trip from the airport to Pattanakarn, Bang Na will cost 1, 700 baht in a BMW Series 7. The same journey is priced at 1,300 baht in a Mercedes Benz. The limousine service is available 24 hours a day
Buses are by far the cheapest way to get around, though with several stops on their various routes, they are probably best avoided if you need to get somewhere in a hurry. However, if you’ve got time on your hands, they’re also a good introduction to the city as they pass by some of the sights that may well be marked on your tourist itinerary for further exploration.
There are several routes with prices ranging from 24 to 35 baht, and operating times vary. Some are 24 hours, while others run from early morning until late evening or midnight. You can board your bus from the Public Transport Centre, which is situated outside the main terminal building. To get here, hope on the free airport shuttle from the Airport Shuttle Service stand at Entry Gate 5 outside the Arrival Hall.
These offer a slightly more comfortable ride than the public buses and make fewer stops. Ticket prices vary according to the distance travelled, and you can catch them from the Public Transport Centre.
Other transport options at the airport:
Travel within the airport for free using the 24-hour shuttle bus service: there are four lines – A, B, C and D – all of which make multiple stops and start their journeys from the Public Transport Centre. For more details, telephone: 0-2132-9532
Shuttle between Suvarnabhumi and Don Muaeng Airport: this free shuttle bus service is available from 05:00 to midnight daily.
Buses depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport Passenger Terminal 2nd Floor, Gate 3. Shuttles arriving from Don Muaeng drop off passengers at the passenger terminal 4th Floor, Gate 5.
Arriving at the Airport
There are lots of different ways to get to the airport, including taxis and public and private transport. If you are driving and need to park, there are short and long-term parking options.
Car Parks 2 and 3 are for short-term use and can be found opposite the main terminal building. They are indoor car parks and both are connected directly to the terminal via their fifth floors.
Car parks 1 and 4 are outdoor car parks and provide additional space when needed. The parking fee for car parks 1-4 is 25 baht per hour. Parking for anywhere between 7 and 24 hours costs 250 baht.
The long-term car park is situated opposite the Public Transport Building. The rates here are a bit cheaper than those in the short-term car parks. For example, the 1-hour fee is 20 baht, while the cost for between 7 and 24 hours is 140 baht. If you use this car park, you will need to take the free internal airport shuttle to get to the terminal building.
Life is Made Easy at Suvarnabhumi International Airport
The airport boasts a wealth of facilities, attractions and modern-day conveniences designed to make the travel experience as enjoyable and as hassle-free as possible. If you’ve got time to kill while waiting for your flight, you don’t need to worry about there being a shortage of things to see and do.
Free WIFI and Internet Connectivity
There is free WIFI once you are inside the airport. To enable the wireless connection select the following network (SSID): “.@ AirportTrueFreeWiFi”. Open your browser to automatically connect to the login page, and select your preferred language. Fill-in the short form and then click on “Register Free”. A username and password will be automatically generated and are valid for two hours.
The airport also provides 126 internet kiosks in hold rooms and bus gate areas. Passengers can access the internet for free with no time restrictions. However, after 15 minutes, the system automatically logs you out. All you have to do is login again for another 15 minutes, and keep doing this until you no longer need to use the internet.
Eating and Drinking
Make a pleasant start to your business trip or vacation with some light refreshments or a full meal at one of the airport’s many dining options. From fast food and snack outlets to casual and fine dining options, there is sure to be something to suit your tastes and timescale.
So whether you want to grab a quick coffee, burger or bowl of noodles, or sit down to a 3-course meal with a bottle of wine, your taste buds won’t be disappointed.
Consider carving out some time in your travel schedule to go shopping at the airport. There are more than 250 retail outlets, selling a vast range of goods, including designer fashions, local handicrafts, books, fashion accessories, souvenirs and novelty gifts. If you are looking for some good deals on alcohol, perfumes and brand name imported luxury items, go duty free shopping. Expect to see goods by such names as Gucci, Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Prada, Swarovski, Bvlgari and Chanel.
Be fully refreshed and relaxed for your journey by surrendering your body to a relaxing massage or beauty treatment at one of the airport’s massage parlours or at the Sauna & Spa. Get those knots and kinks ironed out with a foot, head or shoulder massage or give your whole body a treat.
Cash and Money Exchange
ATMs and currency exchange counters are available at the airport 24 hours a day. You will find them in the Arrivals Hall on the second floor and in the Departures Hall on the fourth floor. Additionally, a few counters are located on the third floor.
If your flight is very early in the morning, consider a stay at the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, the only onsite hotel at the airport. The 5-story building has more than 600 rooms and is a 10-minute walk from the Passenger Terminal. Alternatively, guests can use the hotel’s complimentary 24-hour shuttle van service for a 5-minute journey to the terminal building.
Other Airport Services and Facilities
- Information desks
- Lost and Found centre
- Prayer room
- Smoking room
- Luggage storage
- Internet café
- Electric car service
- Medical services and pharmacies
- Postal services
- Meeting points
- Visa on arrival service
To Get to Your Plane
Domestic Flights: take your boarding pass to the check-in counter on the fourth level. Then go to security inspection, which is also on this level. Wait for your flight on the second level in Concourse buildings, A or B.
International Flights: check your boarding pass at the check-in counter on the fourth level then go to the security inspection area on fifth level of the Passenger Terminal building. Following this step, go over to passport control and then wait for your flight in the gate hold room in the Concourse building listed on your boarding pass.
Fascinating Facts about Suvarnabhumi International Airport
- The name of the airport means, “The Golden Land”.
- The airport covers an area of approximately 8,000 acres.
- There are two runways. The east runway is 4,000 metres long and 60 metres wide, while the west runway is 3,700 metres long and 60 metres wide.
- The two runways can support 76 flights per hour.
- The airport can handle up to 45 million passengers per year.
- The Passenger Terminal building has 7 floors and two basement levels.
- There are 7 four-story Concourse buildings – A, B, C, D, E, F and G.
- There are 3 fire brigade stations onsite.