Saturday, November 24, 2012

Suvarnabhumi International Airport - Arrival: International, Domestic, Immigration & Lobby

Suvarnabhumi International Airport ushers a traveler arriving in Thailand. The airport is a tourist-friend commune; a transient community of people with places to go. International arrival understandably takes a little more time due to the immigration formalities. You arrive and rush your way to the immigration counters with your filled-up forms. Queue til you get your turn then hand in your passport and immigration forms, then a departure card is stapled to your passport which is given back to you. A photograph is also taken of you so be sure to take off eye glasses, bonnets, hats, etc. Some nationals are asked to show return tickets so you might as well have them with you, just in case.

Just after the immigration counters are rows of foreign exchange counters... the same hall where you claim your checked in baggage. You may choose to buy some Thai baht there, but there are several more counters at the arrival lobby... and the exchange rate isn't all that different. Changing money may be a little better once you're in the city, but they're hard to find if you arrive after midnight. You do have to pay your taxi in cash... so make sure to buy some Thai baht for your fare out of the airport.

Domestic arrival is obviously faster since there's no immigration formalities to deal with. What's more, if you arrive in daylight, you get to see the beautiful garden as you step into the baggage claim hallway.

The Arrival Lobby is located at the 2nd level of the airport. This lobby has information counters, as well as a Tourist Information of Thailand (TAT) at the extreme end of the hall. If you have queries, someone will be there to help you get some answers even at 2AM or 4AM. They also have free brochures and maps to some of the more popular destinations of the country.

This lobby also has the Left Luggage, a Tourist Police Assistance Center, several foreign exchange counters, and shops like 7-11, Family Mart, Boots Pharmacy, The News, etc. You can take a taxi from the first level of the building (via elevator, escalator or walkalator if you're using carts with over-sized bags). ATM machines and toilets are available in the same level.

Taxis are preferred instead of limousine service. These metered taxis are available in taxi counters just outside level one (1st floor). The city link trains are available between 6AM to 12 midnight, and you can access this from the 1st level area. It's cheap, fast and convenient. Most one-way ticket to the city center won't cost you more than 40B. Do NOT get return train tickets unless you will return within the same day. The ticket counter will ask you if you want a return or not. A train ticket is good only on the day of purchase.

Have a safe and fun time in Bangkok.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Walkalator upon your arrival in Suvarnabhumi.

Queue at the Immigration Counters. Photography is prohibited. Be discreet if you're taking photos (like me) and shut the flash! This explains the blurred quality of these immigration photos.

Queue at the Immigration Counter. these counters are labelled accordingly for Local or Foreign Passports.

The view after passing through immigration: getting stamped in!

Claim your baggage at the International Baggage Claim. These baggage stands have signs containing your flight number and your city of origin.

There are 2-3 foreign exchange counters right after immigration, but there's more at the arrival lobby. These counters are open even at 3AM.

Baggage Counter at the Domestic Arrival Hall!

Amazing view of a lush garden upon arrival at the domestic wing.

Lobby at Level 2.

Rotating entrance at Level 2

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) information booth

Arrival Lobby, 2nd level

Some shops at the arrival lobby.


Boots Pharmacy

Family Mart - there's another branch at the 3rd and 1st level. This is a 24-hour convenience store.

Left Luggage near the Tourist Police Station at the 2nd level.

Tourist Police. They have good visibility especially during the day.

General Information and a little history of Suvarnabhumi -

Walkalator to the 1st level if you're pushing a cart with you. You can get your taxis there. This is also the way to the trains.


Oliwka said...

These gardens are truly amazing :)

eye in the sky said...


I know. They're like architectural pieces of botanical wonder. :)

NRIGirl said...

Love the garden! What is the huge lotus like concrete structure we see in far - in the garden picture? Is that the airport building's outside view?

eye in the sky said...

@ NRIGirl:

You're very observant. I am not sure I am seeing what you are seeing but it must be the hedge of bougainvillea shaped as such? Unfortunately, this garden is only seen bu arriving guests at the domestic terminal. It is somewhere inside the airport premises, not visible from the front. :(

NRIGirl said...

Mmm... I was talking about the huge concrete/metal dome like - but not quite - structures in the back drop beyond the palm/coconut trees...

But now that you pointed out I see the bouganvillae too :)

eye in the sky said...

@ NRIGirl:

Yes, those nautilus-shaped structures. Haha. Ooops....