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Bangkok Airports

Suvarnabhumi - Don Muang & U-Tapao 

The biggest Bangkok Airport is Suvarnabhumi
Suvarnabhumi is pictured above another is the old one which is Don Muang (2 wide pics below) (northwest of the city center) and one more just came into operation 2016 this is U-Tapao  south of Pattaya.

Beside of international destinations, the most relevant for a regional traveler is probably Don Muang Airport since most domestic flights start here and all operation from Air Asia is concentrated here.  Suvarnabhumi Airport receives dozens of flight from the USA and EUROPE and functions as a crossing to other ASEAN destinations, especially to Cambodia and Myanmar.  Be aware that most destinations in the neighborhood are served by Air Asia but they fly from Don Muang Airport only which means a long taxi ride. There is also a regular but very time-consuming shuttle bus between the two airports.
A few more small local airlines also start from here, other also from Suvarnabhumi, Some have been grounded by the government because the airline had no license and the pilots didn't  work according to international standard, as they say in Thailand...same but different.  

If travel in the ASEAN region or southeast Asia use " Air Asia " (a franchised Malaysian Airline) they had a lot of problems when they started but running smooth now.

The rather new and very modern designed structure in the former "Cobra Swamps" has been named "Suvarnabhumi" which means "golden land" is a fascinating composition of steel and glass, unfortunately, it was already too small from beginning and not very good organized. There are some positive and some negative sides, two outstanding positive features of the airport are the architecture and second is the attempt to integrate Thai art into the decoration. When one walk to or come from the gates fine Thai paintings are decorating the concrete walls, this is a real showcase of Thailand contemporary art its a new concept to attract flights to Bangkok.

Bangkok has three Airports

Photos
The most interesting past has U-Tapao since it was already used by the US military during the Vietnam war .

Now it was reactivated because of increasing air traffic and here especially for Pattaya which is one of the top tourist destination in the country.


  1. Arriving in Bangkok
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Suvarnabhumi - Don Muang & U-Tapao airports

There are several other airports around; those are the old Bangkok Don Muang in the north of the city. It is used by the military and some domestic airlines now such as Air Asia . It has been expanded to be the regional hub of Thai Air Asia serving domestic and international flights. The next is U-Tapao airport south of Suvarnabhumi and Pattaya and the third is Hua Hin about 120km southwest of the capital on the seaside.

U-Tapao Airport was already used as an airfield by the US military during the Vietnam War. That actually was the reason for the rise of Pattaya as a nightlife center in Thailand for US military at the time. Recently U Tapao was revived during the airport blockade of the so-called yellow shirts democrats who held thousands of foreign tourist hostage, 2 pictures below are from the renovated Don Muang.
U-Tapao airport
don muang airport
Don Muang Airport (1)
​A futuristic architecture  
Photos
The main Bangkok Airport which is Suvarnabhumi has the usual duty free shops and hotels in the vicinity. It definitely is not a very friendly place with too much unskilled and uneducated staff and they really milk the tourists. Almost any item sold under “duty-free” is cheaper downtown including the duty, but to be honest that is a high level because of the shop rentals since they are extremely high. One may ask why this high prices? When the usual salary of most Thai people is around $ 10,- per day.

The answer is the cheating (within the crony capitalism model) system of the AOT (Airport Authority of Thailand). How does that work? The people responsible for store rental give them only to family members and friends who finally lease the places for high prices again. 
Of the income they pass “kickbacks” to their friends/family, without this systematic cheating of the airport passengers everything would be much cheaper. An interesting anecdote is, the Thai owner of the “duty-free” shops bought the “Leicester City” football club which won the Championship 2016, guess where this money come from? 

Anyway, Suvarnabpumi  is one of the most interesting architectures Bangkok has and show the ambitions Thailand has but people are thinking tooooo small because everything is planned to make quick cash. This airport was the "baby" of the then PM Thaksin who got exiled afterward because of megalomania, people say. 

All these projects are made within an up to 3 years timeframe what's beyond people wont think.

Technically the Airport structure is a gigantic bridge construction

Airport Photos
  1. Bangkok Airport and City Skyline
  2. Arriving at Bangkok Airport Immigration
  3. Bangkok Airport Check in Counter
  4. Bangkok Airport Check In
  5. Bangkok Airport Bar 1
  6. Bangkok Airport Bar and Lounge
  7. Airport Bangkok Train Link
  8. Bangkok Airport Bar
  9. Bangkok Airport Check In Hall Suvarnabhumi
  10. Bangkok Airport Coffee and Snack Shop
  11. Bangkok Airport Flight Schedule
  12. Bangkok Airport Hotel
  13. Bangkok Airport Indian Traveler Suvarnabhumi
  14. Bangkok airport link Phayathai station
  15. Bangkok Airport Link Station
  16. Bangkok Airport Link
  17. Bangkok Airport Lounge
  18. Bangkok Airport Massage Shop
  19. Bangkok Airport Money Exchange
  20. Muslim Passenger
  21. Restaurant and Lounge
  22. rest area
  23. darling say bye bye
  24. Snack Shop
  25. stranded Myanmar or Burmese Monk
  26. aircraft parking
  27. Transit Hall Rest Area 1
  28. Transit Hall Rest Area
  29. Trolleys
  30. who is working
  31. check in hall
  32. Bangkok BTS
It is an interesting day tour in the capital to browse the airport, just take the rail link from the BTS Phayathai Station which is also the City Terminal for the rail link and in about 20 minutes the arrival is at Suvarnabhumi. It's a great watching game to see the passengers from all over the world get through it could be even more exciting in the evening when the place gets busy because more aircraft westbound are arriving and departing.

After the USSR fell apart people from the former Soviet Republics started to travel to Thailand to buying goods since they have no manufacturing capabilities for consumer goods now. This is particular for clothing and textiles where Bangkok is a great hub for in direct competition with the Chinese.

Taxi and other transportation 

Photos
These operations are typical for the organization skills of the people who run the airport. It is downstairs and it is not marked clearly, so the traveler runs around with the heavy luggage, down the escalator to arrive at the taxi stand after a while and tumble into a surprise, usually there are dozens of other travelers already waiting for a taxi.
 
The experience is that at many times there are no taxis at all or if there are some it's necessary to go via a counter where 2 ladies issue a special paper to pass to the taxi driver afterward to entitle him for a commission. From these 2 ladies usually, only one works if she is not just hanging on the mobile phone and chattering with someone else, means a real bottleneck. The Bangkok Central Railway Station is Hua Lamphong .

Now forget the airport taxis just take the train link .
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 The Airport rail link station