ARRIVING IN BANGKOK
If you’re an international festival goer arriving in Bangkok then this guide is for you! Below you’ll find several options to get you to your destination in the city before moving on to the festival.
Please go to the relevant guide for the festival you’re planning on attending for advice on how to get to that festival!
Please check the visa requirements for your home country HERE. Visa rules and regulations change frequently so do your research ahead of time to avoid disappointment!
No matter what method of travel you decide to take to get to Bangkok make sure you book in advance!
Traffic is notoriously bad in Bangkok so you should take this into consideration when choosing your onward method of travel after arriving in one of the city’s terminals.
TRAVELLING TO BANGKOK BY AIRPLANE
The easiest way to get to Bangkok is by air. There are two airports that serve the city of Bangkok, both of which serve international flight destinations: Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport. Use Skyscanner the world’s best travel search engine to get the best deals from over 1,000 airlines worldwide. Below are listed the simplest ways to travel to the city centre for people just arriving in Bangkok.
For anyone arriving in Bangkok the fail-proof way of getting around which ensures you arrive safely at your destination and that you’re not overcharged for the service is using Grab (Asia’s response to Uber – Note that Uber no longer operate in Thailand). You can connect to WiFi at the airport or purchase a sim card for ongoing connectivity during your stay in Thailand (for the price of a sim card definitely worth doing – you’ll never get lost again!). You’ll have more control over your onward journey and be able to navigate around the city better using these applications. But if you’re not wanting to use these applications I’ve listed the most efficient ways of travelling into the city from Bangkok’s main transport terminals.
LANDING AT SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT
Don’t worry most people don’t know how to pronounce it either! Suvarnabhumi is located on the East side of the city, from there you’ve got several options to get into the city centre which you can find on this page.
GETTING INTO THE CITY BY TAXI
The simplest way to get to your destination in the city is by taxi, but please make sure that you follow signs for the taxi stand located outside the terminal. When you come out from the arrivals hall you’ll be faced with a bunch of car companies who will try to sell you their taxi/car services. These are generally more expensive, for the taxi stand you’ll need to go down to Level 1. You’ll be asked to provide your destination address which they communicate to the driver and then you’ll be on your way. You’ll be charged a small airport surcharge (50THB) and the price on the tollways (about 70THB) on top of what you can read on the meter so don’t be surprised when the driver tallies up the total at the end of the journey! You’ll be looking at a grand total of 400THB depending on where you’re being dropped off. You can work out the cost of your taxi ride using this CALCULATOR.
GETTING INTO THE CITY BY AIRPORT RAIL LINK
You can also opt for the Airport Rail Link (between the hours of 6am and 12:25am only), this method is particularly good for those travelling light. It’s cheap, it’s fast and will get you to various points in the city centre. The trains depart Suvarnabhumi every 12-20 minutes. Once you’ve alighted at your desired station you will be able to easily find taxis at street level.
Note that from of the ARL stations you’ll be able to connect to other modes of public transport. For more information on using public transportation in Bangkok please scroll down to the section on Getting Around the City.
LANDING IN DON MUANG AIRPORT
This airport is located on the opposite side of Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi, on the West side of the city.
GETTING INTO THE CITY BY TAXI
GETTING INTO THE CITY BY AIRPORT BUSES
You can find air conditioned buses running from 08:30am to 11:30pm between Don Muang Airport and Mo Chit BTS Station; Mo Chit Northeastern Bus Terminal; and Ratchadamri BTS Station. These buses depart 1-2 times an hour, they’re a cheaper travel method but depending on where you’re alighting can take up to 80 minutes so bear this in mind when planning your journey to and from the airport.
If you’re alighting at Mo Chit BTS Station or Ratchadamri BTS Station you’ll be able to interchange with the city’s Skytrain (more commonly known as BTS). To learn more about Bangkok’s BTS system and other public transportation alternatives please go HERE or scroll down to the guide on using public transportation in the section on Getting around the City.
For information on how to reach the city centre from Don Muang Airport go HERE.
TRAVELLING TO BANGKOK BY BUS/TRAIN
Travelling to Bangkok by train and by bus is also feasible if you’re coming from a neighbouring country. These may not be the fastest methods of travel but they are safe and you can travel by night which is quite the experience and is definitely worth giving a try if you’ve never done so before! Both trains and buses over the years have got quite the upgrade and you can travel very comfortable at the fraction of the price of flying into Bangkok, particularly at this time of year!
You can find more information on travelling to Bangkok by bus and book your tickets in advance HERE.
If you’re arriving by train you will end up at Hua Lamphong Station, situated in the west end of the city. From there you can get a taxi to complete your onward journey.
You can find more information on travelling to Bangkok by train HERE.
To book your journey click HERE.
GETTING AROUND BANGKOK
TAKING THE BTS
There are two BTS lines that run through Bangkok: the Siam Line and the Sukhumvit Line. Both of these lines connect at Siam station which is one of the most central points of the city.
For a map, stations listings and hours of operation please go HERE.
USING THE MRT
You can change for the BTS at Sukhumvit MRT Station. Alight at Sukhumvit MRT Station and make your way up to street level, then follow signs to Asok BTS Station. From there you’ll be able to jump on the BTS Sukhumvit Line running between Kheha (East) and Kasetsart University (North West). Note that the MRT and BTS are run independently of each other so you’ll need to buy separate tickets to travel on them.
For more information on how to use the MRT and hours of operation please go HERE.
Using the BTS, the MRT and/or taxis you will be able to access all corners of the city. I’ve been living in Bangkok for a couple of years now and I’ve still not braved the bus route system. If you feel like going on an adventure then all the more power to you, you can let us know about your experience in the comments section! If it’s your first time in Bangkok then I recommend sticking to the easiest methods of travel so you avoid getting lost and possibly missing parts of the festival!
USING TAXES IN BANGKOK
Don’t be surprised if your meter isn’t set to zero, all meters start 35THB, which will automatically be displayed on the meter when you start your journey.
Taxi drivers in Thailand have a tendency to try and trick passengers into paying hyper-inflated rates for their journeys. I say passengers because they even try it on the locals too! Always ask to have the meter on, if they say no then wave them goodbye and find another driver, you will find one who will take you on meter, don’t give up!
Also don’t be upset if you’re turned down by a few taxi drivers before you find one, there’s no logic to their method, for the most part they’re just lazy and will say no if you’re asking to be taken to a far away destination.
If this doesn’t sound like your kind of fun you can always download the Grab application (Asia’s answer to Uber – Uber no longer operate in Thailand) to your smartphone. You’ll have more control over the price you pay and sometimes even get discounts on your journeys. And you will definitely be sure to never get lost! Not to mention that both applications also offer food delivery services so you’ll be able to both order food and get around the city!
USING MOTORBIKE TAXIS
My advice is to avoid using motorbike taxi drivers or Grab Bikes (which you can order through the Grab app, same as you’d order a car as mentioned above) if you’re not used to riding on a bike. Particularly if you’re coming home a little worse for wear, you don’t want to rocking the bike side to side and risk getting into an accident. Just make sure you travel safely so you don’t jeopardise your adventures in Bangkok and/or Thailand!