What to do in the Bangkok airport for 12 hours?
September 22, 2005 1:54 AM   Subscribe

What to do in the Bangkok airport for 12 hours?

Due to a somewhat dense travel agent, I have a lay-over of 12 hours in Bangkok airport. Any suggestions? I'm traveling on to Kathmandu, but I started out in Houston, and I'd like to take a shower and perhaps take a nap. Is there a reasonable hotel in which I can do these things without maxing out my credit card? Are there showers for rent like in Narita?
posted by AArtaud to Travel & Transportation around Bangkok, Thailand (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When my husband went there there was a place his group went for a snooze between flights but I don't remember where (it was a hotel close to the airport, I think.)

Meanwhile I do seem to remember from my own trip there that they have a store in the airport that sells nothing but fruit. Stop in and partake-that stuff is incredible.
posted by konolia at 4:11 AM on September 22, 2005

I was just in Bangkok one week ago. There is an airport hotel called the Amari that will let you book rooms at a discounted rate for part of the day. While it is convenient, it is a little pricey for Bangkok.

I stayed at the Ebina House. It was only $40 (1600 Baht) for an overnight stay in a suite and was a 15 minute shuttle ride away. I suspect you could negotiate for less. Don't let one of those tour firms in the Bangkok airport terminal reel you in. They will charge you more for less. Go to the wood paneled booth that is called something like the 'Thailand hotel association'. They will give you the best deal and are located just outside of baggage claim.

I didn't see Narita-style showers in the Bangkok airport, though I wasn't looking.
posted by Alison at 4:45 AM on September 22, 2005

Also, if you are there on a weekend day and have some time to kill I suggest the weekend market. It's awesome and really close to the airport.
posted by Alison at 4:57 AM on September 22, 2005

Well, one night in Bangkok can make a strong man humble.
What time is the layover? If it's during the day, you might want to wander out of the airport for a bit and get yourself a Thai massage. That's what I did when I had a three hour layover there. There was a massage parlour that didn't look too shady right around there. And, as a bonus, getting a Thai massage generally means that they wash the lower half of your body. There's also some excellent Indian restaurants around the airport. While it's odd, I had some of the best Indian food in my life in Thailand.
posted by klangklangston at 5:32 AM on September 22, 2005

I don't have particularly pleasant memories of Bangkok Airport, but I know there's an airport hotel to get away from it. If you do decide to explore the city, watch out for the traffic.

Also check out the SleepingInAirports.net Bangkok page.
posted by brownpau at 6:29 AM on September 22, 2005

Whatever you do, don't eat the hotdogs available in the terminal. I was spouting bad things from both ends for a week...
posted by roue at 6:31 AM on September 22, 2005

Having slept on the floor of BKK during an unfortunate 6 hour middle of the night layover, I can tell you that LOTS and LOTS of folks end up camping out in various dark corners and empty hallways. It is rather freaky, actually. Of course it means you won't get a shower, but the price is right. (though 12 hours is a long time to spend at BKK, even if you are sleeping for some of that. I would recommend you stay at the airport)

If your layover is during the day/evening, go into bangkok. (It's fun!) Though it can be pricey to get in by taxi you can take the train from the airport, which is cheap. Train schedules are weird, so check before hand.

Also, as mentioned Amari is connected to the airport and has rooms to rent for short periods of time. Maybe $60 for a halfday. Might be slightly more. there are some hotels close but not connected. They are cheaper but require a taxi or long walk.

There's also a couple of those "bag check" places. CHUBB or someone like that. You could check your bags and hit the town. (there are actually a couple of adequate and cheap hotels in town. Like $25/night. Also some hostels on kao san might charge you a minimal amount for a shower and short term bed)

Have fun!
posted by shoepal at 6:37 AM on September 22, 2005

whoops: That should be "I wouldn't recommend you stay at the airport that long."
posted by shoepal at 6:39 AM on September 22, 2005

Oooh, I did this this summer. People above are so right to recommend the airport hotels, or getting out to the city if you're there in reasonable hours (a cab ride to Siam Square is, 30-40 minutes, maybe $10; buses are much cheaper and much slower).

That said, I spent 12 hours in the same airport this summer on a late evening to early morning wait. The chairs are decent for camping on - none of the arms between each one that make many US terminals unsleepable. Duty-free is all over, open till midnight and open again at 6 or 7 am, so there is often stuff to look around at. Near the chairs there are also TVs, but they were all on Thai channels when I was there. The KFC is open overnight, so snacks are obtainable.
posted by whatzit at 7:24 AM on September 22, 2005

I was there in the spring. There is, I'm pretty sure, a "city bus tour" that runs 3 or 4 times per day (10, 2, 4, 6,?). It's run by the Thailand Tourist Authority. It's not super cheap ($5? $10?), but, since it's run by them, you can apparently not have to pass through immigration on the way in and the way out.

This is key because if you've left the airport (i.e., went into Bangkok), you will be charged a crazy $12 (500 Baht) "departure tax". This can only be paid in cash. So if you've left for the day / evening, you need to plan for this.

If I had 12 hours in BKK, I would go into town. There is a tourist bus to Kho San Road that is 100 Baht ($2.50US). Takes about 40 mintues there. There is also the regular city bus 516 AIR CON and it takes about the same and is much much cheaper (like 25 US cents). On the way back from that area, there are airport mini-buses that leave from every freaking hostel every hour until 11 PM. That area has plenty of zany shopping and austrian hippies. However, walk toward the river and the awesome park there... It's a great spot. Nice cafes over there, too, across the street from the white castle in the park.
posted by zpousman at 7:36 AM on September 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

It would be cheaper to do what I suggest (ride the bus into town, get a nice meal, walk along the river, get a hostel room, shower, sleep, wake up, shop, get a minibus back to the airport, pay the departure tax) than it would to get the 3 hour mini-stay at the Amari. Besides, you'd um, be in Thailand, at least nominally (you'll see why I say nominally once you've been there -- it's a backpacker zoo).
posted by zpousman at 7:38 AM on September 22, 2005

The park zpousman is referring to is called Fort Sumen, and is between Phra Athit road and the river. It's a ten minute walk from Khao San, and it's a great place to take a nap on the grass or a bench, or to just hang around and read a book. It's guarded by tourist police, so you won't be hassled by people trying to sell you something. If you stay until 18:00 you can watch the Thai people get an aerobics class. Remember to stand for the national anthem.
posted by ar0n at 8:35 AM on September 22, 2005

Another vote for Chatuchak market. Take a cab (negotiate! They'll ask $20 but will be more than happy to take $5) each way - about 15 minutes without much traffic, as the taxis are some of the few vehicles that actually used the raised highways and arterials. Or take a shuttle into town and take the skytrain, which terminates right at Chatuchak.

It is an amazing experience.
posted by luriete at 10:00 AM on September 22, 2005

A comfy business lounge at the airport works for me. Sleep and eat. Unless you want to look around the city.
posted by webmeta at 10:49 AM on September 22, 2005

I took a cab from the airport to Chatuchak for about $3. Use the metered taxis. They won't cheat you, but they rarely give change.
posted by Alison at 10:50 AM on September 22, 2005

Another cab thought: if you do decide to leave the airport, to get a metered cab, you avoid the people in the terminal and head out to the cab line outside the terminal. The line can be long, but moves fast. If you ask them to turn the meter on, they will, and are required to. (It's worth the $12 airport fee to get the heck out of there if you're in a good time window to do some exploring.)
posted by whatzit at 12:38 PM on September 22, 2005

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