Many people find themselves flying into Bangkok for the very first time and they are wondering what it is like. Bangkok receives million’s tourists every year and is one of the busiest flight destinations in Asia with only Beijing, Tokyo and Hong Kong having more international flights into it than Bangkok in 2009.
Bangkok received over 40 million visitors in 2009 in their new Suvarnabhumi Airport, which opened for business in 2006, 2007, taking over from the Don Muang international airport, which is still in operation as a regional internal Thailand airport, with all the international flights coming into the new airport Suvarnabhumi.
Customs at the Bangkok Airport is very busy. One of the things that you can do is to make sure that you have your immigration form filled out completely that they give you on the flight into Bangkok. When you are in the immigration line and you get up to the Thai immigration officer, make sure to stand behind the line until they motion you forward, and that you have your passport and immigration form ready, and that you stand on the yellow footprints on the floor and look at the camera when they call you forward. You need remove any hat or sun glasses for the picture.
After they stamp you into Thailand, you will proceed to the baggage claim, if you can remember the carousel great, but many times the flight crew doesn’t know which carousel it will be. No problem, as right after you get out of the immigration, before the luggage carousels, there are large screens that will have your flight number and which conveyor line your luggage will come out on. A good idea is if you have lots of gear to get a luggage cart right away which are provided free, normally you might have a 10 min wait at most till your bags come out.
Customs is usually pro forma, if you have nothing to declare they just wave you through. Sometimes they might have you put your luggage on an x-ray belt, but for most foreign tourists you will pass right through.
Now you will move into the part of the airport that is open to the public, this is where, if someone is waiting for you they will be. Some Bangkok luxury hotels & resorts will pick you up at the airport and this is where they will stand with the signs with your name on it.
Access to and from the airport for most tourist is by metered taxi, which can be found on the lowest level. The average cost with the highway tolls works out to less than 300 baht for most locations inside the city proper. Late at night you can save a little money by not taking the freeway, but for most times of the day it actually is cheaper to pay the tolls, rather that get trapped in Bangkok’s very famous traffic jams, which you can stuck in as late as 10PM more times than not. If you are new to Bangkok don’t take a chance and pay the tolls.
One of the things that you absolutely need to remember is always insist on the meter being turned on before the taxi starts moving; a very bad sign is a driver that will not turn the meter on when you are at the taxi stand on the lowest level of the airport.
Some people also take limousines which are promoted inside the terminal by touts, legal and illegal, that offer a much more expensive ride into the city. Buses are also available into the city they are cheaper but most people find the metered cabs to be a very good value as they take you right to your destination hotel or condo and for most first time visitors to Bangkok this would be recommended.
Have a great time in Bangkok!