Thursday, March 7, 2013

BANGKOK: Ways to get from the Airport to Khao San Road

Bangkok is the capital, most populous city, and the main business district in Thailand. For foreign travelers however, Bangkok is a shopping mecca for cheap fashionable goods, delicious Thai cuisine, a commuter hub that connects you to the many other touristy spots of central Thailand, and of course the infamous Khao San Road.

Khao San Road is where the nightlife in Bangkok is concentrated; about 30 km/ 30 minutes from Suvarnabhumi airport. This is where all the crazy ought-be-forgotten partying happens aka the thai vortex.

There are various ways to get there, from hiring private cars to taxis to trains. In the twice that I’ve gone here, I’ve only taken the taxi from the airport. The legal one.

In Asia, we are often bombarded by annoying and aggressive transport company drivers and barkers to avail of their services. I don’t know about you, but at times, I get anxious just getting out of the airport as if I'm being thrown to hungry wild animals like a piece of meat. 

To avoid all this hassle, here is a simple way to get the taxi:

a)    From exiting the baggage claim and customs onto the arrivals hall on the Second Floor of Suvarnabhumi, go straight to any stairs, escalator, or elevator that’s convenient and go down one level. Ignore all the barkers, do not make eye contact, and just go straight to the escalator.  

b)    The official taxis are to be found on the first floor or ground floor (if you’re American). Near gates 4 to 7 , is the official stand that you get a taxi from. It is actually just a couple of desks with 2 personnel handing out coupons/ticket. You’d know this is it as usually, there are lots of people lined-up to it.

c)    The two personnel at a desk will ask you your destination (you may show your hotel address or map). Their English is limited but understandable. They will then determine and calculate your fare and give you a coupon / ticket that you will hand to the driver. As one is writing out your ticket, the other will call the assigned taxi driver and give him instructions to your destination.

d)    An extra charge of THB 50 (charge for official tai service) will be added to your bill and collected by the Taxi driver at the end of your journey. By the way the meter will often be running (THB 35 flagdown) although this is pointless as your fare has already been determined.

For more information on taxis and airport layout:

Suvarnabhumi Airport click on the 'Map Taxi Service link'

How Much?

To Khao San, we paid THB 300 + 50 = (~$12). Not bad as it was late in the night and we were already tired so paying for some comfortable travel was no question.

Tollway task??

I heard some people get asked by the driver if they want to go through the toll way or the regular route (non-toll, I guess). I don’t remember us getting asked this nor did we pay for any toll service, well, I was mostly sleeping on the way so,  I guess it’s already included in the fare or the driver went by the regular route.

Trip Duration?

Since it was already late in the night, there weren’t any traffic and we got to Khao San in about 35 minutes. I personally recommend using the official / legal taxi if you have some cash to spare. I mean, it’s only $10-15 dollars really. It’s comfortable, safe, and you won’t hassle yourself with haggling or mean drivers.

Other ways people get taxis:

-          By going out to the departures area and taking the ones which a passenger has left.
-          By going out of the airport and hailing a cab there.

The disadvantage of this is that you may get charged exorbitantly or need to haggle a lot just to get a reasonable price (you still have to pay the toll fee btw). Or worse, you get a driver that will keep running circles in the city just to keep the meter going and you end up paying more still.

To & from the airport

Apart from the public taxi, other ways are:
a more expensive alternative from the taxi.
Airport Limousines 24-hour service with various kinds of cars operates by Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited. Positioning of the rented car are tracked with the Geographic Positioning System (GPS) for the convenience and security of the passenger. Service rates is according to the distance traveled. Contact the Airport Limousine Service Counter on the 2nd Floor at Baggage Claims and Arrival Hall exits, channel A, B and C.

- service: 6:00-24:00 hrs everyday
- Suvarnabhumi station is located right under the main terminal building (B1 Level).

a)  City Line 
       starts from 15 THB to 45 THB
       covers a distance of 28 kilometres. The line starts from Phyathai Station and makes stops at Rajprarop Station, Makkasan Station, Ramkhamhaeng Station, Hua Mark Station, Thab Chang Station, Lad Krabang Station before reaching Suvarnabhumi Station within 30 minutes

b) Express line 
     a single ticket: 90 THB and a round trip ticket: 150 THB
runs directly from Makkasan Station to Suvarnabhumi Station without stops. A journey takes about 15 minutes (runs every 20 minutes)
      runs directly from Phyathai Station to Suvarnabhumi Station without stops. A journey takes about 18 minutes (runs every 20 minutes).
Passengers are advised to take a train (either City line or express line) to Phyathai Station in order to change to the BTS skytrain from there.

Public Bus Service           
Airport Shuttle Bus Service  
*Note: these 2 will not drop you off directly at Khao San, so research on the nearest drop off point to it or your hotel.

TourismAuthority of Thailand has more on traveling to everywhere in Thailand.


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