Most foreign visitors to Bangkok arrive by plane. Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport (airport code: BKK) is the main gateway for visitors entering Thailand. Bangkok is a major hub and is serviced by all major international carriers, as well as many regional airlines. However, please note that in March 2007, the old Don Muang Airport (airport code: DMK) re-opened for domestic flights. Budget carriers Nok Air and 1-2-Go have moved all of their Bangkok operations to the old airport, while national carrier Thai Airways has moved some of their domestic flights to Don Muang. If booked on a Thai domestic flight, be sure to check which airport your flight departs from.
Regional Air Carriers
If coming to Bangkok from elsewhere in the region, then you may be better off using one of the regional carriers listed below.
- Bangkok Airways
- Thailand's second carrier is almost solely responsible for developing special destinations such as Samui and Sukhothai. Their now extensive network covers several countries and many of the major world heritage destinations of Southeast Asia. They have some limited e-ticket capability.
- Malaysia Air System
- The national carrier flies internationally between Kuala Lumpur and major cities around the world. MAS is also the largest domestic air carrier in Malaysia.
- Singapore Airlines
- Singpore's flag carrier is one of the region's most highly regarded airlines.
- Silk Air
- This Singaporean airline flies between to destinations such as Yangon, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and many cities in Indonesia.
- Thai Airways
- The national flag carrier of Thailand flies to almost all major tourist destinations. Their web site allows you to view schedules and seat availability. You can book and pay online for paperless travel.
Regional Budget Airlines
A number of regional budget airlines have grown up over the last five years or so. A number are based in the central regional hub of Singapore, while Thailand also has a fair number of carriers. When considering the use of budget airlines, be sure to read our budget airline tips.
- Air Asia
- Air Asia is Malaysia's discount domestic carrier. If you book well in advance you can get some absolutely rock bottom fares. Air Asia also has country operations in Thailand and Indonesia.
- Jet Star Asia
- One of Singapore's own home grown budget carriers. We've actually found flying with Jet Star to be a rather pleasant experience. See our complete review of Jet Star Asia for more information.
- Valuair merged with Jet Star in early 2005 but still operates under a separate name. You can book through flights on either airline. Valuair flies mainly to destinations in Indonesia, including Bali, as well as Hong Kong and Manila.
- Tiger Airways
- Probably the largest of Singapore's budget carriers. Destinations include Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Macau and Manila.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport is located some distance from the center of town. The best way to get into town is by regular metered taxi. There's a counter just outside the airport terminal on level one to request a taxi, which are almost always waiting. You pay a 50 Baht (1.34 USD) surcharge on the metered amount when taking a taxi from the airport, plus any tolls. The trip to most city center hotels should take around 45 minutes to an hour, barring heavy traffic.
There's also an airport sanctioned 'limo' service, operated from its own counter just outside customs. The vehicles are not limousines in the western sense. The cars are just larger ordinary sedans, SUVs and vans. They have a fixed rate depending on what part of town you're going to. It's generally about double what you would pay a regular metered taxi.
Under no circumstances should you accept a ride from any touts or "unofficial" taxi services. Real taxis have a red and white TAXI-METER sign on the roof. All Airport Taxis are white with green plates. Many people have been robbed by seemingly friendly people offering them a ride to "a good cheap hotel they know."