How to travel from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Bangkok city center
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is Thailand’s main airport. Situated about 30km away from Bangkok’s city center, the airport came into operation in 2006. It took over Don Mueang Airport’s role in serving international routes, while the latter was assigned to serve primarily domestic and regional routes. Don Mueang also handed its airport code BKK to Suvarnabhumi, and itself assumed the new airport code DMK.
Check out the transport options that get you to Bangkok city center:
- Public Bus – from THB 35 per trip
- Airport Rail Link (ARL) / Train – from THB 35 per trip
- Airport Shuttle Bus – from THB 60 per trip
- Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle – from THB 350 per trip
- Airport transfers (Meet & Greet) – from THB 800 per trip
Public bus from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Bangkok city center
The public bus is the cheapest transportation to get to the city with costs starting from THB 35.
To take the bus, you will first need to go to Gate 5 on Floor 2 or Floor 4 and get onboard on a free internal ‘Shuttle Bus’ to the Suvarnabhumi Bus Terminal (also known as Public Transportation Centre). Do not confuse this service with the ‘Airport Shuttle Bus’ that goes direct from the airport to the city. You can ask around to confirm that the bus you are taking goes to the bus terminal.
There are two routes for this airport shuttle, an Express route and an Ordinary route. By boarding the bus from Gate 5 on Floor 2 or Floor 4, you will be taking the Express route to get to the bus terminal with fewer stops. The bus for the Ordinary route can be taken from Gate 3 & 8 on Floor 1 and bring you past other airport facilities in the vicinity before reaching the bus terminal.
Once you reach the bus terminal, you may choose from the following routes to the nearest sky train (known as BTS) and metro (known as MRT) stations:
- Route: Suvarnabhumi Airport – BTS Udom Suk
- Operating Hours: 5:00am to 10:00pm
- Frequency: 30 minute
- Duration: 1 hour 19 minutes
- Route: Suvarnabhumi Airport – Sun Building (12-minute walk to Phahon Yothin MRT station)
- Operating hours: 5:00am to 10:00pm
- Frequency: 15-20 minute (may vary according to traffic conditions)
- Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes
Wait for the bus at the designated area and hop on once it arrives. Fares for Thai public buses are paid to the conductor onboard the bus. After boarding, simply inform the conductor where you intend to alight, pay the fare as quoted, and keep the bus ticket issued. Prepare coins and small notes in denominations of 10, 20, and 50 in advance as the conductor may be unable to provide change for higher-value notes.
Airport Rail Link (ARL) Train from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Bangkok city center
This is the fastest and most convenient way to get to the city center and you can avoid the frequent traffic jams on Bangkok’s roads. If your destination or hotel is within walking distance from a metro (MRT) or sky train (BTS) station, all the more you should take the ARL as it will pass by two interchanges of these two major modes of transportation in downtown Bangkok.
The cost for taking the ARL trains ranges from THB 15 – 45, depending on the number of stops. If you are heading to the city center, the cost will be in the higher range of THB 35 – 45.
The ARL train station is integrated into the airport and located on its lowest floor, Floor B. Train tickets can be purchased from the automated ticket vending machines or from the manned counters in cash.
- Airport Rail Link (ARL)
- Makkasan (connected to Phetchaburi MRT station)
- Phaya Thai (connected to Phaya Thai BTS station)
- Operating Hours: 6:00am to 12:00am
- Frequency: 10 – 15 minutes, depending on peak or off peak hours
- Duration: 30 – 45 minutes
Before deciding to alight at Makkasan or Phaya Thai ARL train station, check if your destination is near any of the sky train or metro stations on the BTS system map and the MRT system map.
Airport shuttle bus from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Bangkok city center
If you are going to Khao San Road or the Grand Palace area, taking the air-conditioned airport shuttle bus is your best choice. It will take the expressway straight to the city, have a few stops in between, and costs a fixed fare of only THB 60. You can board the bus outside Gate 8 on Floor 1 of the airport terminal. Follow the signages to the bus stop as it is located further away from the terminal.
- Route: Suvarnabhumi Airport – Sanam Luang
- Operating Hours: 6:00am to 5:00pm
- Main stops:
- Lan Luang
- Phan Fa
- Democracy Monument
- Wat Bowonniwet
- Khao San
- Sanum Luang
- Frequency: 1 hour (may vary according to traffic conditions)
- Duration: 1 hour
Similar to public buses, you will pay the bus conductor after you have boarded. Try to pay the exact fare or in smaller notes and coins as the conductor may be unable to provide change for bigger notes.
For those whose final destinations are in Pratunam, Siam, Chidlom, Sukhumvit, Asok, Silom, or Chatuchak area, consider taking the Airport Rail Link as it is connected to the metro (MRT) and sky train (BTS).
Private Hire Vehicles or Taxis from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Bangkok city center
The simplest way without having to do any route planning is, of course, by taking a taxi or a private hire vehicle (e.g. Grab, Uber equivalent in Southeast Asia). The cost for taking a taxi from Suvarnabhumi airport to the city ranges from THB 350 to THB 700, depending on the distance to your destination, number of tolled roads taken, and traffic conditions of the day.
Traffic conditions on the roads from Suvarnabhumi airport and the city can get pretty bad at times and travelers can get caught in a jam for up to 3 hours. Frequent travelers and locals usually avoid taking taxis not only because of cost but also due to the unpredictability of the traffic.
To take a taxi at the airport, proceed to Floor 1, exit from Gate 3, 4, 7, or 8, and get into the respective taxi queues:
- Short Distance Taxi (less than 10 kilometers)
- Lat Krabang Road
- King Keaw Road
- Rom Klao Road
- Mega Bangna
- Hua Takae
- Suksaman Junction
- Huachiew Chalermprakiet University
- Krungthep Kritha Road
- Chaloem Phrakiat Road
- Srinagarindra Road
- On Nut Road (selected areas)
- Pattanakarn Road (selected areas)
- Bangna-Trad Road (selected areas)
- Regular Taxi
- Large Taxi (SUVs that can accommodate bulky luggages)
An airport staff at the start of the queue will assist you in getting a queue number from the automated kiosk. The system will assign you to a taxi at a designated ‘Lane’ specified on the ticket and proceed to board when directed. This service is managed by the airport authority and all taxis hired have to charge by meter. The mode of payment for the trip is by cash. There is a surcharge of THB 50 on top of the metered fare and toll charges for taxis hired through this channel. There may also be luggage surcharges of THB 20 a piece if you exceed your quota.
An alternative to taking a taxi is to book a private hire vehicle (i.e. Uber). The major service provider in Thailand is Grab, a Singapore-headquartered company that bought over Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia a while back. To start the ride-hailing process, simply download its iOS app or Android app, create an account, and start booking. Depending on whether you are hiring a GrabCar or a GrabTaxi, head to the following pickup locations:
- GrabCar (private car without a taxi license)
- Floor 2, Door 3 & 7 (Outer Lane)
- Floor 4, Door 1 to 10
- GrabTaxi (licensed taxi which is on Grab’s platform)
- Floor 4 (Outer Lane)
It is important to note that the Airport of Thailand (AOT) has restricted Grab’s services from the airport to the city to protect the business of licensed taxis at the airport. A commuter will be violating AOT’s regulation by taking a Grab to the city. There is no issue if one is traveling from the city to the airport.
Despite the restriction imposed, many commuters continue to take Grab from the airport to the city as it is convenient and cheaper at times. The charge for the trip is made known upfront through the app, and the hirer can decide whether to hire by meter or fixed fee, and whether to pay by credit card or in cash.
Meet & Greet Airport Transfers at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Airport transfer with meet and greet services may be more desirable for travelers in a group of 4 or more, with toddlers and infants, or with the elderly. Travelers can save the hassle of figuring out how and where to take a taxi or public transport. The driver that comes with this service will be waiting for your arrival at the arrival hall to lead you to the vehicle. Other than a sedan car, an SUV or a van can be booked for this service.
- Klook – From THB 800
- Agoda – From THB 810
- Traveloka – From THB 960
- Booking.com – From THB 1,050