The first time I came to Thailand I was on a three month backpacking journey through Southeast Asia. I arrived from Kuala Lumpur and was ready for a turbulent time at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Walking out of arrivals I was hit by a wall of heat and noise. I took out my Lonely Planet Travel Guide and saw that I could take the newly built Airport Rail Link to the city center.
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I couldn’t believe it, for $2 I rode to central Bangkok in ice cold comfort. But that comfort ended when I got off the train and found that my hotel was still miles away. I had to fight with hundreds of other tourists looking for taxis at Phaya Thai, the terminal station. Frustrated, I jumped into a taxi and paid 300 baht to get to my hotel. Looking back now I realize that I overpaid and could have taken a taxi all the way from the airport for the same price.
- 1 What You’re Going to Learn
- 2 Safety
- 3 Types
- 4 Airports
- 5 Domestic Transfers
- 6 Additional Needs
- 7 Final Thoughts
- 8 Questions?
What You’re Going to Learn
In this guide you’re going to learn about the airport transfers available to you at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang. And depending on the service you pick, how much Bangkok airport transfers cost. You’ll also learn the easiest ways to get from Suvarnabhumi to Don Mueang and vice versa, and how to get from Bangkok to surrounding countries.
Whenever you travel through a foreign country, it’s always a good idea to exercise common sense. Here are a few things to consider when using the transfer methods I mention in this article.
If you’re traveling by taxi, it’s important to check a few things before you head to your destination. Number one, check the name plate on the left side of the dashboard. The taxi driver should have a picture of himself there. If the picture and the person driving the car aren’t the same, politely step out and wait for another taxi. Number two, once you’re in a taxi and headed to your destination, snap a picture of the taxi’s metal number tag on the rear inside doors. Then send it to a friend or post it online.
If you’re traveling alone, avoid trains at night. Especially if your a woman. Although not a regular occurrence, rape does happen on Thailand trains.
Bus and Van Safety
In Thailand, long-haul bus and van drivers sometimes take drugs to keep themselves awake through night shifts. This leads to terrible accidents like this one. If you can avoid it, don’t travel by bus or van at night. In just the first six months of 2013, for example, there were thirteen tour bus accidents resulting in fifty-one deaths.
In this section you’ll find a variety of transportation types you can choose for Bangkok airport transfers. I’ve listed airport transfer providers on both sides of the price spectrum and everything in between.
If you’re looking for an airport transfer to the city, you can’t beat a taxi. The Bangkok airport taxis at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports use meters to set riders’ fares. They also tack on a 50 baht airport fee. From either of the two airports in Bangkok, a thirty minute commute will cost you about 250 baht.
Before you get into any taxi, ask the driver to turn on the meter. If they refuse, try another taxi. If no taxi drivers are willing to turn on the meter for you, low ball them. If they quote you 300 baht, offer 200 baht.
If you want to get an airport transfer to your hotel in Bangkok, some hotels will include the service with your stay. Other hotels may offer you a paid option for an airport transfer when you book your room.
Knowing this can save you headaches, time, and money. You won’t have to deal with dishonest taxi drivers. You won’t have to wait in long taxi lines. And you won’t overpay for airport transfers.
When booking you hotel in Thailand, ask the staff if they offer airport transfers as part of their service. Or ask if you can add it on for an addition charge. Agoda and Booking.com also specify hotels with free airport transfers.
Tourist destinations are a huge selling point for Thailand. You can get to many of these places using common transportation methods. But some tourist areas are quite remote. If you’re staying off the beaten path or on a remote island or in a remote village, you might need to use private transportation.
If you don’t plan ahead, you might find yourself stuck at the airport. Not all taxis will take you from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Hua Hin. Especially if their shift is coming to an end. The BTS or MRT might not stretch themselves to your destination as well.
You’ll arrive in Bangkok with your own budget and needs. So if you want to transfer from any of the airports to remote locations in Thailand, here’s the services you can use:
For those areas beyond the reach of public transportation, Uber is a safe and effective way to get to your destination. If you’re arriving in Thailand alone or with one other person, you can hire a compact car. If you’re arriving with a group, or you want something a bit more luxurious, you can hire one of their black cars or SUVs.
Using Uber is simple and safe. Just download the app for iTunes or Android. Then ask for a car, wait for the driver to accept your offer, and when he shows up, pay and go. Uber is also safe. You get to see the driver’s info, rating, and car details before you accept a ride from them.
There is one downside to Uber. They’re great for urban travel and getting to your destination nearby airports and within major cities. But if you’re heading into rural Thailand, you might want to check out another private transfer services below.
First Class Bangkok aims their luxury airport transfer services at members of the government and Fortune 500 executives. But if you want to ride in style, you can also swoop up any of their luxury cars. They offer transfer services from Bangkok to many popular destinations around Thailand.
When you ride with First Class Bangkok, you’ll get free wifi in each of their cars. You’ll get the option for drinks. And you can even have a bouquet of roses placed in the car, in case you want to impress your love interest.
But compared to the other airport transfer options, Bangkok First Class is expensive. An airport transfer from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Hua Hin is about 8,000 baht. The same ride using a taxi would cost just 3,000 baht.
To get the ultimate VIP experience, consider hiring a stretched limousine for your airport transfer. Stretched limos are great for larger groups. They come with TVs, food and drinks, and comfortable seating—perfect after spending twelve plus hours balled up in an airplane seat.
Most people never consider hiring a limo for their Thailand airport transfer because they don’t know the option is available. But knowing where to look will save you the stress of grabbing a taxi, negotiating with the driver, and paying outrageous fees.
Two companies that offer stretched limos are Thailand Limousine and Bangkok Stretch Limousines. Their services and prices are comparable, so head over to their websites and see which limo service works best for you.
If you’re looking to fly from the airport to your hotel, or vice-versa, think about hiring a helicopter. Helicopters are available in most major cities in Thailand and offer visitors a unique way to experience the country.
Transferring between airports and hotels with a helicopter is the quickest way to get around—or over—the crawling traffic of Thailand’s congested cities.
The service isn’t cheap though. A forty minute flight could cost over 50,000 baht. If you’re interested, check out Skydance, which flies out of Bangkok. You could look into the Thailand helicopter directory, HeliThai, to compare prices on other companies as well.
Fast Track VIP Services
Before you arrive in Bangkok, you might want to look into a meet and greet service. With a meet and greet service, someone will meet you at your arrival gate and take you to immigration. They’ll help you fill in immigration forms and process your arrival at a VIP counter. They’ll assist you with collecting your bags and going through customs. After this they’ll take you to your driver.
This service is good for anyone who wants to skip the long immigration lines that tend to extend far into the airport corridors at busy travel times. The service might also be useful for elderly travelers or travelers needing help.
Assist-Ant, Bangkok FastTrack, and Royal Airport Concierge are three companies that offer this type of service. Prices vary but expect to pay around $70–100 per person. Limo and taxi providers also offer fast track services. Check out Limousine and Holiday Taxis for more info.
Thailand is home to one of the most Instagram-worthy airports in the world: Suvarnabhumi. But it’s not the only airport in Bangkok. Don Mueang is another one.
Knowing which airport is closest to your destination will not only help you land closer to your destination, but also help you decide which airport transfer will help you go from the airport to your hotel or guest house.
I’ll give a quick overview of the main airports in Bangkok and the transfer options they have. Since these prices come from a variety of sources, you should use them only as a guide.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi – BKK
Suvarnabhumi Airport is a traveler’s gateway into the rest of Thailand. You can buy a sim card there. And it also boasts a variety of airport transfer options, no matter where you’re going.
|Transfer Method||Central Bangkok||Khao San Road||Ratchada||Hua Hin||Pattaya|
|Public Taxi||300 baht||300 baht||250 baht||1,500 baht||1,000 baht|
|Private Taxi||600 baht||600 baht||600 baht||1,800 baht||1,500 baht|
|Bus||–||60 baht||–||269 baht||120 baht|
|Airport Link||45 baht||–||40 baht||–||–|
|Luxury Private Transfer||1,300 baht||1,300 baht||1,300 baht||3,300 baht||2,500 baht|
You can get a taxi from outside the airport twenty-four hours a day. The taxi stand is on the first floor. There, you’ll have the choice between a standard size taxi or a larger taxi, depending on the size of your group. Taxi fares start at 35 baht and passengers must pay a 50 baht airport surcharge fee. You will also need to pay any tolls if using the highway.
Buses and vans come and go from Suvarnabhumi to Bangkok, Pattaya, Koh Chang, and Hua Hin. Although, if you land at nighttime, be weary of taking overnight buses or vans. Nighttime accidents involving buses and vans are somewhat or a regular occurrence in Thailand.
The Airport Rail Link is on the bottom floor of the airport. You can take the lift or escalators to reach it after you exit customs. The rail link has eight stops, starts at Suvarnabhumi, and ends at Phaya Thai station. From the rail link, you can also transfer to the MRT at Makkasan Station or the BTS at Phaya Thai Station. The costs ranges from 15 baht to 45 baht.
Bangkok Don Mueang – DMK
Don Mueang Airport used to be Thailand’s international flights hub. Since Suvarnabhumi opened, though, Don Muang has become popular for domestic flights or flights around Asia.
|Transfer Method||Central Bangkok||Khao San Road||Mo Chit BTS||Hua Hin||Pattaya|
|Public Taxi||300 baht||350 baht||250 baht||–||–|
|Private Taxi||500 baht||500 baht||300 baht||3,500 baht||2,500 baht|
|Bus||50 baht||50 baht||50 baht||–||–|
|Luxury Private Transfer||1,050 baht||1,050 baht||1,050 baht||4,000 baht||4,500 baht|
You can join the line for a taxi on the ground arrivals floor of the airport. Taxi rates start at 35 baht and you must also pay a 50 baht airport surcharge. Your other choice is to pay for a private transfer at one of the booths in arrivals, but this will cost more.
You can catch a van outside the airport. You can reach Mo Chit BTS, Minburi and Ramintra with these vans. If you cross over the road you can find vans to Rangsit. But you shouldn’t take these vans if you have suitcases as there won’t be enough space.
Local buses offer convenient routes to Minburi and Rangsit but are not catered to most tourists. If you’re looking for a tourist bus, check out Don Mueang Airport’s guide to public transport. You can take the “A” buses to Mo Chit, Lumpini Park, Victory Monument, and Khao San Road.
The local train line is opposite of the airport. It’s not a subway or sky train but a traditional railway line. The train will take you into central Bangkok at a snail’s pace. If you are traveling to Ayutthaya then the train is worth looking at. The journey takes around an hour and prices start at 15 baht per person.
If you want to transfer between Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, you have a few choices. Your first choice is to take the free shuttle bus, called A1, run by the AOT. Suvarnabhumi Airport has a list of departure times, also listed below. You can catch the bus at Suvarnabhumi Airport’s second floor, exit number three. If you want to catch the free shuttle at Don Mueang Airport, you’ll have to go to the platform on the first floor of the airport.
|Time||Frequency of Departures|
|5:00am—8:00am||every 30 minutes|
|8:12am—11:00am||every 12 minutes|
|11:30am—3:00pm||every 30 minutes|
|4:12pm—7:00pm||every 12 minutes|
|7:30pm—12:00am||every 30 minutes|
If you want speed, a taxi is your quickest option to get between the two airports. Google Maps will tell you it takes forty-six minutes. But I can tell you that is optimistic unless you are traveling between midnight and 6:00am. Allow yourself at least an hour and a half to transfer between the airports. In all likelihood you will arrive sooner, but there are a few major traffic hot spots you will have to pass on the way to get there. You should budget around 300 baht to 400 baht for this trip.
Another semi-local airport transfer you might consider is between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. You can take a bus or a taxi. Buses cost between 170 baht and 220 baht depending on the quality of the bus. The transfer by bus will take you about three hours.
There is no set taxi price for a transfer between the two airports, but people have said they paid between 2,000 baht and 3,000 baht. A taxi ride between the two airports takes roughly two hours.
There may be times when you or someone you’re traveling with has special needs. If this is the case, the next four sections below are for you.
Thai law doesn’t require child seats in cars. You’ll find it difficult to get taxis with child seats. If you prefer using child seats while in Thailand, you’ll need to use one of the companies in private transfer section at the beginning of the article. You must note that you need a child seat at time of booking.
You can bring your own child seats if possible. Or you can get a car with a child seat by renting a car. Budget Thailand offers child seats for just over 200 baht a day.
Accessible Thailand has lots of great info for people traveling with disabilities. The website covers airport transfers as well as hotels, restaurants, and tours catering to the disabled.
For info on bringing pets to Thailand, take a look at our fantastic guide on importing your pet into Thailand. The article has many links to pet import services and a step-by-step guide to bringing your pet with you to Thailand.
When moving to Thailand it is quite possible that you will get some of your belongings shipped across. As such you will need a reliable transfer company to get your things from the airport to your new residence. Thankfully there are a lot of options out there which mean minimal effort for you and a one stop service from your original location to you new home in Thailand. Our in-depth guide on shipping to Thailand covers everything you’ll need to know.
Bangkok has many airport transfer options to cater to every budget. Whether your budget calls for a taxi or a private helicopter, I hope I’ve given you a starting point for your next airport transfer. If you’ve recently transferred from Bangkok to your hotel or destination, tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
Image by Nan-Cheng Tsai.
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