During my trip to Bangkok in October 2010, I tried out the newly opened Suvarnabhumi Airport Link to get to the airport, instead of taking a taxi.
My hotel was near the Asok BTS station, and sharing a taxi from the airport to my hotel had cost about 500 baht (250 baht each).
The way to the Airport Link train was clearly marked, I walked out of Exit 5 (pictured, left) at Phaya Thai Station and purchased a 15 baht ticket from a real live person in a ticket booth.
I understand that tickets are 15 baht until January 2011 and then will increase to 35 baht or something like that.
I stayed on the commuter train the whole time instead of switching to the express train at Makkasan station.
The ride from Phaya Thai all the way to the airport on the commuter train took 25 minutes.
The express train is supposed to take 15 minutes, but when we were at that stop, no one got off to switch trains so I was nervous that maybe it wasn’t in operation.
I stayed put and went with the sure thing.
When we exited the train at the airport, we went up one escalator and saw the ticketing area (where you would buy a Airport Rail Link ticket if you were leaving the airport).
Then we had to go up to level 4 (from the basement level where the train pulled in) to Departures.
On this sign (in the photo below) the arrow pointing “to city” is the way to get to the Airport Rail Link.
I strongly advise against waiting on the elevator if you can possibly manage without it.
The elevator “tube” is open, so I could see that they weren’t going up or down very frequently.
I spotted the source of the problem in the form of a massive line of people trying to use the elevator originating on level 2.
I ended up very near the Thai Airways check in desks. After checking in (for an International flight) and going through passport control and security, I was near D terminal. If you know anything about the Bangkok airport, D terminal isn’t the one with the plethora of food options. D terminal has Duty Free shops, one high priced restaurant that sells sushi and a few western dishes, and kind of swanky looking clothing shops.
Just walk to the center of the airport (away from the D gates) and in about 8 minutes you will arrive within sight of familiar friends like Burger King, Aunt Annie’s, coffee chains, Dairy Queen, and other miscellany.
Reflections on using Airport Rail Link:
- The timing of everything went smoothly. I wondered about the cost effectiveness of taking the BTS and then the Airport Rail Link if I had been a part of a group that could share taxi costs.
4 people X 35 baht for the BTS= 140 Baht, plus (4*15 for the rail ticket)= 200 baht.
It possibly would be more cost effective to take a taxi to the Phaya Thai BTS station if you were with a group, then take the Airport Rail Link from there.
- You really can’t beat the price of the Airport Rail Link ticket for getting all the way to the airport.
- When you exit the station at Suvarnabhumi, you are right by some food options. But you still have to go up 4 floors to check in to your flight.
- You need to be able to physically manage your luggage for some short distances. The walk from the Phaya Thai exit to the ticket office for the Airport Rail Link was about 100 meters. The BTS stations might require you carry your bags up or down some stairs, depending on what station you use. So if you are weak, or if you are traveling with a half dozen infants, the Airport Rail Link might not be your easiest bet.
- If you require a wheelchair, I’m not certain all parts of this system can accommodate you. If you want to try and see, allow lots of extra time for glitches.