Toby Keps

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

Written 42 briefs
I backpacked across Thailand in winter 2019



Asia > Thailand > Bangkok > Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport > Useful Info
Updated on Jan 07, 2020 Useful Info

How to get to Bangkok city center from Suvarnabhumi International Airport

  • Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport (airport code: BKK) is located 25km east of the city center. It's one of the two commercial airports serving the city and the main international airport. The other airport is Don Mueang, which mostly has domestic flights
  • There are 3 main ways to get to downtown Bangkok from the Suvarnabhumi Airport: 1) train, 2) taxi, and 3) bus. In addition to these, there are also some specialized transportation options including prearranged transfers and airport limousines
  • If your hotel is located close to a BTS or MRT station, of if you're on a tight budget, the best way to get in will be to take the train, otherwise I recommend taking a taxi. I'll talk about each of these options in details below

  • Option 1) Airport Rail Link Train
  • There's a skytrain that connects Suvarnabhumi Airport with the city center called Airport Rail Link (often shortened to ARL on various online forums). It's a very cheap and convenient way to get to the city and suitable for budget travelers without too many bagsUser submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • Route: after departing from the airport, the train makes 7 stops towards central Bangkok. This map gives you a sense of the route and stops of the train (red line is the path of the train, the pins are the stops, and green highlighted area is central Bangkok):

  • Travel time: takes 30 minutes for the full journey from the airport to the last station (Phaya Thai Station)
  • Fares: 45 baht ($1.5USD) per person to get to the last station at Phaya Thai. The fares are based on distance so if you're not going all the way to the last station you will end up paying less as little as 15 baht ($0.5USD)
  • How to buy tickets: tickets can be bought at airport train station (see below how to get there). They only accept cash baht, so make sure you exchange money in the arrival hall. You can purchase the ticket with automatic machines or at the service counter
  • Schedule: trains run between 6am and 11:55pm everyday. Frequency is every 10-15 minutes
  • Where to board the train: the airport train station is located on level B, which is 2 levels below the arrivals. Once you've picked up your baggage and exited the customs area, simply follow the ubiquitous signs for "Airport Rail Link" to get to the stationUser submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • After getting off the train:
  • You can transfer to Bangkok's metro system (BTS and MRT) at two stations: Makkasan and Phaya Thai
  • Makkasan Station lets you connect to the MRT Blue Line, which can take you to the historic & waterfront part of Bangkok, like Chinatown, Hua Lamphong Train Station, Grand Palace, Khao San Road, etc.
  • PhayaThai Station is where you can transfer to the BTS Sukhumvit Line, which takes you through the glitzy Siam Square area which is full of fancy hotels and shopping malls (Siam Square, CentralWorld, CentralEmbassy, Gaysorn) and then the upscale Sukhumvit area. The Sukhumvit Line also allows you to change to the BTS Silom Line, which takes you through the party district of Silom which contains the infamous Patpong Night Market and the gay district
  • Here's a section of the Bangkok's metro. The brown line is the Airport Rail Link. The blue line is the MRT Blue Line. The light green line is the BTS Sukhumvit line. The dark green line is the BTS Silom LineUser submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • I recommend using Google Maps to figure out which lines you need to transfer onto before you leave the airport. Input your final destination and then get directions to it using the Transit option
  • If you want to take a taxi from Phaya Thai or Makksan Stations to finish your journey, keep in mind that there are no official taxi stands at these stations. They are both on busy streets so you should have no issue flagging down a moving taxi
  • Here's a pretty good video that shows you exactly how to take the ARL train:

  • Option 2) Taxis
  • Taxis are the most convenient way to get to your hotel from the airport but it's much pricier than taking the Airport Rail Link. At BKK, you have the option to take either a metered taxi or use Grab taxi app
  • Metered taxi:
  • Fare: total 400-500 baht (USD$13.5-$17.5). The amount will vary by traffic condition and which route you opt to take. Included in this estimated amount is a 50-baht airport pickup surcharge and a 75-baht highway toll. The highway toll is frequently paid directly by the passenger so don't be alarmed if your driver asks you to give them cash as you enter the highway
  • Payment method: drivers accept cash baht only so make sure you exchange sufficient amount of cash on you for the ride. Again, don't forget that you'll likely be asked by the driver to pay for the 75-baht highway toll
  • How to take the taxi:
  • After you've exited from the customs area into the arrival hall, follow the "Public Taxi" signs to go to level 1, which is one level below arrival, and get to the taxi queuing area which should be at exit 4 and 7:User submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • Once you get to the taxi queue, you will see a row of kiosks that look like this:User submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • Press the big "Press Here" or 'Get Ticket" button on the screen and the kiosk will dispense a ticket that shows the taxi stall number that you should go toUser submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • Safety & scams: all taxis should be metered so be careful of any driver who tells you to pay a flat fare. Make sure the meter is running before you leave the airport and tell the driver to stop the car and let you out if they refuse to run the meter
  • Check out this video for a walkthrough of how to take the taxi
  • Grab Taxi:
  • Grab is the equivalent of Uber in Thailand and most other countries in Southeast Asia. In Bangkok it's one of the best ways to get around the city as there are lots of cars available
  • In order to use the app you need to download it and set it up, which you can do before you leave your country. Search for the app in the app store for iPhone or Android, or go to Grab's website and follow the download link there
  • I see the main benefit of Grab over regular metered taxi is two fold: you don't risk getting scammed because the fare is fixed by the app, and you can by pay with credit card set up in your app so you don't have to fumble with cash
  • How to call a car: When you get to BKK, use the free wifi offered by the airport to call a car after you've exited the customs. Just like Uber, you enter the final destination into the app and choose the car type. The GrabCar option (comparable to UberX) is the cheapest available, costing you around 400-500 (USD$13.5-$16.5) baht to city center. There's also GrabCar Premium, which will cost 600-700 baht (USD$20-$24) to city center
  • Pickup spot: Grab pickup spot is located on the same level as the arrival hall (Level 2), which is one floor above the metered taxis. The app will tell you which entrance door you should go to to meet the driver (I think it's 7 and 4). Then simply find that door number and exit the terminal buildingUser submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi AirportOnce you've exited, you need to cross the first lane to get to the first median to wait for your driver, like this:User submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi AirportYour driver will be messaging you through the app to confirm your door, so be sure to check your app constantly

  • Option 3) Buses
  • Express buses: there are two express buses that I'm aware of that can take you to the city from the airport
  • Express Bus Option 1 - S1: Suvarnabhumi to Khao San Road. Runs between 6am and 8pm everyday, every 30 minutes. Travel time is 1hr30min. Fare is 60 baht ($2USD) per person, payment method is cash baht only, paid onboard the bus. Buses are orange or blue colored. Boarding point is located on Level 1, which is one level below arrival, outside of exit door 7. You can get to the bus boarding point like this:User submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi AirportThis is what bus S1 looks like:User submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi AirportYou can check out this video that shows you how to take the S1 bus:
  • Express Bus Option 2 - LimoBus: this bus takes you to Phaya Thai BTS Station, Khao San Road, Silom MRT/BTS Station, and Siam BTS StationUser submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi AirportRuns between 8am and 11pm everyday, every 20-30 minutes. Travel time is 40-60min. Fare is 180 baht ($6USD) per person, you can book/pay online (at https://limobus.co.th) or in person at the counter with cash (counter is located on level 1, which is one level below arrival, at exit door 8). They have very bad reviews on Tripadvisor so I don't recommend using themUser submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • Public buses: aside from the 2 express buses, there is a whole bunch of public buses that can take you from Suvarnabhumi Airport to various spots in Bangkok.
  • To take them, you must first make your way to the Public Transportation Center, located about 10 minutes away from the airport terminal (right here). On Level 1 in the terminal (1 level below arrivals), you will find a 24-hour free shuttle bus that can get you to the Public Transportation Center
  • Once you get to the Public Trasportation Center, here are the buses you can take to various spots in Bangkok. I believe they all cost 35 baht ($1.2USD). However, this is second hand information (from here), so I'm not sure how up-to-date it is
  1. Route 549: Suvarnabhumi to Minburi
  2. Route 550: Suvarnabhumi to Happy Land
  3. Route 551: Suvarnabhumi to Victory Monument
  4. Route 552: Suvarnabhumi to On Nut BTS Station
  5. Route 553: Suvarnabhumi to Samut Prakan
  6. Route 554: Suvarnabhumi to Don Mueang Airport
  7. Route 555: Suvarnabhumi to Rangsit
  8. Route 556: Suvarnabhumi to Southern Bus Terminal
  9. Route 557: Suvarnabhumi to Wongwien Yai
  10. Route 558: Suvarnabhumi to Central Rama 2
  11. Route 559: Suvarnabhumi to Future Park Rangsit

  • Other options: besides the 3 main options I talked about above (ARL train, taxi, bus), there are also some additional ways you can get to the city
  • Prearranged transfers: you can Google "Suvarnabhumi airport transfer", or use websites like Viator and Klook to find plenty of airport transfer services across all budget point. They are probably the most convenient form of transportation because your driver will be waiting for you in the arrival hall. Typical prices range from USD$30-$60 depending on the type of car you get. Cars range from minivans to SUVs to luxury cars like Lexus and BMW
  • Limousine: Airport of Thailand, which owns the Suvarnabhumi Airport, operates a fleet of luxury cars that are the official airport limousines. Their cars include Mercedes E300, BMW 7 Series, Toyota Camry, Toyota Commuter, and Isuzu MU-X. The rates vary by car type, and I believe ranges from 1200-2000 baht ($40-$67USD). To get one, you just need to find one of the many counters all over the arrival hall that look like this:User submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi AirportAOT has also produced a map that shows you where all their counters are:User submitted photo of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi AirportCheck AOT Limousine's website for the latest information. You can also book your car directly through this website: https://www.aot-limousine.com