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Bangkok Travel Guide

Getting Here

Air Travel: Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport (pronounced "Su-wan-na-poom") is about 30 km (18 miles) southeast of the city. About 25 km (16 miles) north of the city is the former international airport, Don Muang. It offers many domestic flights and has recently become the terminal for budget airline flights. There's a free shuttle service connecting the two airports.

Inexpensive and available around the clock, taxis are the most convenient way to get between downtown and the airport. Don't forget to have some baht on hand, as you'll need it to pay for your taxi. Get a taxi by heading to one of the taxi counters on Level 1, near Entrances 3, 4, 7, and 8. State your destination to the dispatcher at the counter, who will lead you to your taxi. Allow 30 to 90 minutes to get downtown, depending on traffic. A trip downtown will run about B250 to B300, plus any expressway tolls. Avoid drivers who insist on a fixed price or refuse to turn on their meters.

The Airport Link rail system is your best option during rush hour. Costing B150, the express train takes 15 minutes to reach Makkasan Terminal, next to the Phetchaburi MRT subway stop. A local train that takes 23 minutes and costs B65 takes you to the Phaya Thai BTS Station, convenient for those staying on the Skytrain line. The entrance to the system is on the airport's lower level.

The Airport Bus Express is also an option, and for one person it costs less than a taxi (for two it's about the same as a taxi). The bus runs from 5 am to midnight. Head to the Airport Bus Counter on Level 1, near Entrance 8. The service, which costs B150, operates four routes; ask at the counter which route to take to reach your hotel. Route AE1 serves the Silom neighborhood. Route AE2 serves Khao San Road and the Old City. Route AE3 serves Sukhumvit, and Route AE4 serves Hua Lumphong, the city's main railway station.

Bus Travel: Bangkok has three major terminals for buses headed to other parts of the country. The Northern Bus Terminal, called Mo Chit, serves Chiang Mai and points north. The Southern Bus Terminal, in Thonburi, is for buses bound for Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Phuket, and points south and west. The Eastern Bus Terminal, called Ekkamai, is for buses headed to Pattaya, Rayong, and Trat provinces. There are also minivans to nearby destinations like Hua Hin, Cha Am, Pattaya, Kanchanaburi, and elsewhere, leaving from Victory Monument.

Bus companies generally sell tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. This is seldom a problem, as the service is so regular that the next bus is sure to depart before long. The air-conditioned orange 999 buses are the most comfortable, along with any services from Nakhon Chai Air. Blue VIP buses, though not quite as luxurious, are the next-best option.

Train Travel: The central train station in Bangkok is Hualamphong, located near Chinatown and accessible by subway. Trains from here leave to all destinations in the country.

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