Taxi from the Suvarnabhumi Airport is an easy, efficient way to travel to the hotel of your choice in Bangkok. With a little familiarity, which I will provide here, you should have no concerns about arriving in this large city for the first time. Listed below are easy steps to follow to get ground transportation to your lodging in about an hour to an hour and a half, give or take, depending on arrival time at Suvarnabhumi.
Exiting the aircraft, dependent on carrier, you may be provided bus shuttle to the arrival gate.
Restroom stop after arrival inside the terminal is a good idea before proceeding on to the customs checkpoint as there can be a long line. There are a few along the way so skip the first one to avoid a wait. Heads up, the airport will have pedestal toilets as we are accustomed to in the USA as well as squat toilets. It is marked on the door to the stall as to which type you will find inside. There is no specific line if there is a wait. Be bold and step up when you feel it is your turn or you’ll get shut out. You will find paper in the airport restrooms but I will mention now it is always a good idea to carry your own tissue just in case when traveling throughout this region.
Money Exchange kiosks are available in the terminal and we take advantage of the opportunity to get about $30 in baht on our way to immigration in preparation for paying the taxi driver. It makes life much easier if you download a currency converter app to your phone so you feel secure when dealing in a new currency. We have paid 400-600 baht for our rides to hotels and you want a little for taxi and bellman tips as well, so get both 100 and 20 baht bills. We don’t advise getting all your baht at once and not at the airport or before you leave the USA as the exchange will be lower than what you will find in the city.
Immigration signs are easily followed, be sure you filled out that arrival card on the plane and have it and your passport ready. If for some reason you can’t locate the arrival card, stop at the entry to the area and locate one at the counters to either side of the ramp. If you have to, ask an officer standing in the area because the supply may be empty. Be sure to have that trusty pen I advised you to carry in the previous post. Proceed to the appropriate lane for foreign passports. (Do pay attention and don’t get in the ASEAN passport line.)
Passport and Arrival Card will need to be presented to the Customs and Immigration officer. Politely follow the instructions on signs posted in English and don’t be intimidated by the solemn officers who will review your materials, take your picture, stamp and return the passport to you along with the departure portion of the card, most likely not saying a word to you. They may ask a question or two for verification, this can create anxiety, you’re new to the country after all, but just try to relax. You will need the departure card for your return flight so just leave it inside your passport for safe keeping.
Luggage retrieval is next and located just beyond where your credentials are checked. Find the carousel indicating your flight number, make sure you have all your belongings and follow the signs toward exit.
Ground transportation/taxis are located one floor down, take the escalator and follow the taxi signs to outside. Once outside get ready to be smacked by the heat and humidity. If you’re like me, I can’t wait to feel this, it’s a Snowbird Escape after all! Proceed to the monitor screens and simply press the icon for taxi ticket. DO NOT let any driver snag you first, this is a sure fire way to get up charged as these guys will not be working under the taxi authority. The printed ticket will have a lane number on it. This corresponds to the lanes across from you where the taxis are parked. It’s marked on the pavement. Make your way to the appropriate location and your friendly Thai driver will assist with bags. If you are flying with more than two people or more than 4 average size bags opt for a large car which will cost a bit more but you’ll need the space. You will see this indication on the signage proceeding the line to the ticket monitors.
Hotel name and address should be provided to the driver. Bangkok is a huge city with an unlimited number of accommodations, your driver won’t know all of them and may not speak English. The easiest way to go is to show him your reservation confirmation where name and address will be found on your mobile device or have it written out for him on a slip of paper. Confirm fee if you do not see a meter. Some will have one, others will not. You’ll be off to your hotel in no time. Suvarnabhumi is a distance from the city and you may go through a couple tolls which the driver will cover. Enjoy taking in your new surroundings in the air conditioned vehicle. On arrival to the hotel be sure to verify your location with the hotel staff and then pay the driver, give him the wai to signal your respect and if you have been brushing up via your google translate app say Kop Kun Krap (m) or Kop Kun Kaa (f).
Hotel Review: On arrival at 2:30 am at the Furamaxclusive Sathorn we were greeted in a friendly manner by the bellman who assisted the driver to bring our luggage up the few steps to the hotel lobby.
We were welcomed immediately by the front desk clerk who efficiently took our passports to copy (this is standard for all check ins in Thailand) and provided our room keys and explained where the included breakfast dining room was located and the hours for the meal.
We were escorted to our room by the cordial bellman who demonstrated that the key must be inserted prior to pressing the button to take us to our twelfth floor executive suite. We entered the space that would be our acclimation to the new time zone over the next few days.
We found a 1/2 bath, a kitchenette stocked with water and coffee and also included a hot plate, frig and small table with chair. The living room was appealing with couch, coffee table, large screen tv with dvd and stereo and sliding glass doors to the balcony area. The master bedroom with king bed had two night stands with reading lamps and ease of access to electrical outlets and an alarm clock. There was closet, luggage rack and bench with drawers as well as desk and another large screen television. The master bath had separate tub and shower and was well stocked with an array of toiletries. Another amenity worth mention was the black out drapes on all windows which made sleeping at awkward times during adjustment to our new schedule much easier.
Cleanliness level in the suite was satisfactory, not exemplary. Window sills hidden behind the bedroom television were filthy. Large full wall mirrors were available in a couple locations but were dusty and finger printed.
Neither was the end of the world but were a definite signal that it had been some time since a deep clean had been preformed. Bedding and towels were both of nice quality and clean. The daily service in our room was completed by friendly staff who greeted us with a cheery sawasdee when we exited to go for breakfast each morning. Water and toiletries were replenished regardless of need and fresh linens provided daily.
Daily breakfast was a brunch style meal with a large variety of cold and hot items consisting of breakfast and lunch style dishes. There was ample choice, although the menu remained the same each day of our stay. Everything was fresh and this amenity included with the room rate made for an economical way to start the stay in country.
We were personally welcomed by the hotel manager as we sipped iced chrysanthemum juice the first day of our stay while we waited in the lobby for our friend to pick us up. She recognized our Expedia VIP status and reiterated our offer of late check out as well as 10% discount on all purchases in the restaurant and made sure we were satisfied with our accommodations. We did book this room with Expedia because we could completely pay for it with our accrued points, proving yet again the value of the booking site.
We spent a wonderful first day in the city on Friday with the fiancé of the hubster’s cousin and her friend who accompanied her. We joined in some wedding planning, got fitted for our traditional Thai wedding attire and enjoyed chilled young coconut water straight from the nut chopped open by a street vendor as we made our way down Sukhumvit Road. We then hopped on the BTS to get out of the heat and made our way to the Terminal 21 food court to enjoy a traditional Thai dinner ordered by our native companions whose homes and businesses are about an hour from the hubbub of the city in Chonburi.
The pool area is where I spent a bulk of our time over the weekend. We didn’t quite succeed in getting completely readjusted to the time difference during this stay and we were not up to fighting the weekend crowds at attractions especially with such an inviting area to simply relax in. The pool loungers were comfortable, the sun shone brightly and the water temperature was perfect.
We found that we didn’t specifically care for the immediate Silom neighborhood which is geared more to week day business and not as much tourism except for Patpong night market which is entertaining, once. It’s just way too much hustle for our preference. We did take an easy three mile round trip walk to gaze up and down the banks of the Chao Phraya and muse at the long tail boats jetting up and down the river on Sunday.
The Furamaxclusive Sathorn review is complete. We would most likely not choose this location again but were comfortable during the stay.
***Reliable internet for upload has been sparse since landing in Krabi. I’ll provide Thailand updates as best I can.