Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Bangkok International Airport: A class apart   

While planning a trip to Southeast Asia, Bangkok is a destination that ranks at the top of the list. With the availability of cheap flights to Bangkok, it is no wonder that it has become such a popular destination. 

There are flights to Bangkok that operate daily from many countries, and Bangkok flights are available with all leading airlines. 

The terminal is the third largest and one of the busiest. The baggage check facilities and other airport services are top class. map link

Suvarnabhumi Airport, aka Bangkok Airport, is pronounced in elegant, Thai-style tones as Soo-wanna-poom. And not phonetically as blunt Sue Varna Boomy. Alternatively, is known among many expats by the nickname, “Swampy”. Ironically so, since the airport was built on a former wetland known as the Cobra Swamp.

Where is it?

Well-designed and well-run Suvarnabhumi is 35km by road from central Bangkok. The easiest way to reach it is by the Airport Link train from downtown Makkasan or Phaya Thai stations. The 26-minute trip costing 45 baht (A$1.80) delivers you to the basement level of the airport. Alternatively, a taxi that takes a little, or much, longer depending on traffic, costs around 400 baht (A$16) and brings you right to the Departures hall doors.

The Big Picture

The terminal which opened in 2006 is a long, low structure that resembles a series of angular, wave-like forms. The world’s tallest free-standing control tower looms 132 metres over it. Departures, at the highest of the airport’s five levels, occupies an open-plan space with high ceilings. As Thailand’s principal domestic and international air hub, and servicing over 65 million passengers a year, Suvarnabhumi gets busy and is vast, so plan accordingly. It is wheelchair-friendly, has electric transfer buggies (by arrangement), lifts to all levels and accessible toilets. Face masks are not required.

Departure Checking-In

Check-in rows for the multiple airlines stretch across the entire, length of the Departures level. Signage in English and information screens direct you to the appropriate row. Traffic flow is efficient but Suvarnabhumi is very spread-out so take account of the long walking distances in the full departure sequence. If you’ve purchased eligible duty-free goods and hold the necessary VAT refund papers you need to have the items inspected (don’t pack them in your checked luggage) and have the forms certified while you are still “landside”. That is, before passing through Security and Immigration. This VAT processing desk is at the far righthand end of the Departures hall.


After checking-in you proceed upstairs to Security at the mezzanine level and then down to Immigration, where queues can be long. Tip: towards the righthand end of the Departures hall is a dedicated but low-key entrance for Buddhist monks, infirm passengers and “Over 70” seniors, including foreigners. Definitely use it if you’re eligible. Security is thorough and polite, and involves the usual laptops out, belts off, no liquids, and similar shakedown. But it doesn’t end there. Later, at the boarding gate to Australia-bound flights (and selected others) there is a final, manual inspection of carry-on items for all passengers. Again, allow plenty of time.

Killing Time

Having cleared Immigration you descend a wide ramp, at the foot of which is a long, large, colourful sculpture from Hindu (not Buddhist) mythology depicting an episode called the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Other than this there are few features of Thai cultural note, with shopping and imbibing being the main events. If shopping bores you, head to an airline lounge should you have access. Free WiFi is available in most areas.

Booze and chews

“Landside” (before Security and Immigration) on level three there are numerous restaurants, bars and cafes. Similar outlets are also located “airside”, offering Japanese, Western, Korean, fast-food franchises and of course Thai food.

Water fountain for able and disabled users, at Suvanabhum Airport.

Retail Ambush

After Immigration if you’re eligible for a duty-free goods refund present your paperwork at the dedicated VAT desk. You’ll be paid in Thai baht, which you can then spend on more duty-free goods such as spirits, electronics, photographic gear, cosmetics and the usual brand-name apparel, although nothing is notably cheap. Several large outlets specialise Thai handicrafts, souvenirs, silks and packaged foods.

Other Stuff

Baggage storage: if you’re in transit or for whatever reason need to store luggage, there are two Left Luggage counters, at Level two and Level Four. 100THB/day per item. Level Two (Arrivals) has rows of bank counters, car hire offices, ATMs, SIM card sales outlets and hotel booking booths. If departing from the airport to the city or other Thai towns, head downstairs to the taxis and coaches on the ground floor, or further down to the basement for the Airport Link train. Also at this lowest level are money changing booths offering probably the best rates you’ll find anywhere, as well as short-term sleeping accommodation. More:


Airport Transportation Services

Once you land at the airport, you can hire from any of the large number of transport facilities. 
The rail link is an inexpensive service with two stops, at Makkasan and Phaya Thai.

The link remains open from 6 am to midnight daily. You may choose from the regional train line or the shuttle buses from the airport, there are also four AC buses available, departing from the first floor of Suvarnabhumi terminal. 

There are an additional twelve bus services to other destinations in Bangkok. Cars, taxis and limousines too are comfortable transport alternatives from the airport.


999 หมู่ 1 Nong Prue, Bang Phli District, Samut Prakan 10540, Thailand



The name Suvarnabhumi is Sanskrit for "land of gold" (Devanagari:सुवर्णभूमि IAST: Suvarṇabhūmi; Suvarṇa is "gold", Bhūmi is 'land'; literally "golden land"). The name was chosen by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej whose name includes Bhūmi, referring to the Buddhist golden kingdom, thought to have been to the east of the Ganges, possibly somewhere in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, government proclamations and national museums insist that Suvarnabhumi was somewhere on the coast of the central plains, near the ancient city of U Thong, which might be the origin of the Indianised Dvaravati culture. Although the claims have not been substantiated, the Thai government named the new Bangkok airport Suvarnabhumi Airport, in celebration of this tradition.


The airport is currently the main hub for Thai Airways International, Thai Smile and Bangkok Airways, as well as the operating base for Thai VietJet Air, Thai AirAsia and Thai AirAsia X. It also serves as regional gateway and connecting point for various foreign carriers connecting to Asia, Oceania, Europe and Africa.

Suvarnabhumi was officially opened for limited domestic flight service on 15 September 2006, and opened for most domestic and all international commercial flights on 28 September 2006.

The airport is on what had formerly been known as Nong Nguhao (Cobra Swamp) in Racha Thewa in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan province as well as the districts of Bang Kapi, Lat Krabang, Bang Na and Prawet in the eastern side of Bangkok, about 25 kilometres (16 mi) from downtown. The terminal building was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects. It was constructed primarily by ITO JV. The airport had the world's tallest free-standing control tower (132.2 metres or 434 feet) from 2006 to 2014, and the world's fourth largest single-building airport terminal (563,000 square metres or 6,060,000 square feet).

Suvarnabhumi is the 17th busiest airport in the world,[14] eleventh busiest airport in Asia, and the busiest in the country, having handled 60 million passengers in 2017, and is also a major air cargo hub, with a total of 95 airlines. On social networks, Suvarnabhumi was the world's most popular site for taking Instagram photographs in 2012.

Suvarnabhumi reassigned the IATA airport code, BKK, from Don Mueang after the previous airport ceased international commercial flights. Motorway 7 connects the airport, Bangkok, and the heavily industrial eastern seaboard of Thailand, where most export manufacturing takes place.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport was temporarily converted to a hospital[16] and vaccination centre


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