21st January 2019
By Courtney Ridgel
Bangkok is such a large metropolitan hub that it has two major airports – Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). If you book connecting regional flights on your own without the help of Journeys Within, be sure to look closely at which airport you will transitioning through, as these airports are located across the city from each other and trying to connect between the airports to for a flight is not recommended due to the legendary Bangkok traffic. Most International flights (and many domestic flights) arrive into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), so we’ve focused this blog on helpful hints for this particular airport:
Terminal Arrival in BKK; most signs are printed in English and in Thai – Photo credit: Nicole Long
You can store your luggage in the airport for a fee of 100THB or roughly $ 2.83 per day, on the 2nd floor in Arrivals, and 4th floor of Departures, outside of the immigration. You will be given a ticket and will need to show both the ticket and the passport to pick your luggage up, and will pay the fee at that time. Not many of our guests choose to use this storage option, but it can be helpful if you find yourself with a very long layover or if you are chaining your Southeast Asia trip with another journey and have extra luggage that you won’t need while in Southeast Asia. Be advised – if you are considering venturing into the city between flights, be sure to plan for extra time to pass through Immigration again. It can take as much as 45 minutes to and from the airport to downtown by car, depending on traffic. There is a light rail into town as well, but you will need to be careful of timing with this option as well. If you find yourself with a long layover, we recommend a nice long massage while in the airport, and using your extra time to peruse the many shops and sit down for a nice meal.
Plane to Terminal Transfer – Photo Credit: Nicole Long
Bangkok Skyline – Be advised: the traffic can be quite a challenge – Photo credit: Courtney Ridgel
BKK is a well-organized airport so travelers can easily locate immigration, information counters and kiosks, and the bathrooms if needed, making this an easier airport for families with small children, or inexperienced travelers. We suggest visiting a bathroom before immigration as you won’t know how long the lines will be before you get there – we’ve seen it vary from 10 minutes to over an hour. In order to speed up your transition through the airport, we recommend filling out your arrival paperwork fully before disembarking from the aircraft. (And bring a pen when you travel – it can be difficult to find a spare while on an aircraft or standing around in Immigration!)
The shorter Immigration lines for Fast Track arrivals – Photo Credit: Nicole Long
BKK also offers a Fast Track service to help travelers to pass through Immigration more quickly. A host or hostess will meet you as you depart from the plane, and will assist you in transitioning through the airport and in collecting your bags at the baggage claim. With Fast Track, the process of passing through Immigration is faster, and there is always a shorter queue to pass through Immigration. You can also book a golf cart transfer to expedite the process or help you make quick layovers through this large airport. We recommend Fast Track for guests who have very tight transitions between flights, or for guests that simply want to expedite their Immigration procedures, and receive a little extra help.
The Fast Track Golf Cart Transfer service – Photo Credit: Nicole Long
For Journeys Within guests – If you are not transitioning to your next destination, when you arrive in Bangkok, you’ll pass through Immigration. Thailand is one the most visited places in the world, so the airports tend to be much busier than those found in Laos and Cambodia. For US citizens, if you will be staying less than 30 days, no visa is necessary. Your passport will be stamped on arrival. You should receive the necessary entry and exit forms on your flight into Thailand. (If not, you can always pick them up in the airport when you arrive.) If you are not a US citizen, be sure to check the Immigration and visa requirements for your home country before traveling. Collect your luggage and head outside to meet your waiting Journeys Within guide, who will be holding a sign with your name. Your guide and driver will help load your luggage into the car, and will transfer you to your hotel to check in. Your guide will run through your schedule on the way to your hotel.
Clear Customs and head to the Baggage Claim – Photo Credit: Nicole Long
The Baggage Claim area in BKK is very large – Photo Credit: Nicole Long