Tag - airport

Eastern Thailand

Eastern Thailand
Eastern Thailand
Eastern Thailand

Eastern Thailand contains 7 provinces, situated to the south of Isan and east of the Central Thailand, between Bangkok and Cambodia.

This region of Thailand is particularly popular with visitors who wish to enjoy all the natural beauty and golden beaches of Southern Thailand whilst avoiding the crowds.

For many, the tourist destination of Pattaya provides an interesting diversion, whilst others head straight to the beautiful island of Koh Samet to enjoy all the benefits of an island holiday with less of the hassles.

The large island of Koh Chang is a great place to spend a few days and there are many areas of natural beauty located on the island as well as several smaller islands close by. This is a great place to go snorkeling and diving as there is plenty of pristine coral and colourful fish to see.

The town of Si Racha is well known for its deliciously spicy sauce and seafood, and while there visitors can visit the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo for the opportunity to cuddle the tiny tiger cubs.

For travelers who really want to get away from it all, the peaceful island of Koh Si Chang makes a great destination as it is virtually ignored by tourists.

Although the region is easily reachable by bus, there is are also small airports at U-Tapao and Trat.

North Eastern Thailand

North Eastern Thailand
North Eastern Thailand
North Eastern Thailand
North Eastern Thailand

North Eastern Thailand is better known as Isan – also written as Isaan, Isarn, Issan, or Esarn. There are 19 provinces in Isan, but only a few receive interest from tourists, which is a shame as this is a great part of Thailand to relax, wander in nature and get to know the friendly and welcoming people.

Isan covers an area of 160,000 km and much of the land is given over the farms and paddy fields as agriculture is the main economic activity. The region of Isan has a strong, rich and individual culture. Examples of this can be found in the folk music, called mor lam, festivals, dress, temple architecture and general way of life.

The main regional dialect is Isan, which is actually much more similar to Lao than central Thai. Unfortunately, because the rainfall is often insufficient for crops to grow properly, Isan is the poorest region of Thailand, and many people leave the province to seek their fortunes in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok.

The average temperature range is from 30.2 C to 19.6 C. The highest temperature recorded was a sweltering 43.9 C, whilst the lowest was a freezing -1.4 C. Unlike most of Thailand, rainfall is unpredictable, but it mainly occurs during the rainy season, which takes place from May to October.

Although completely unique, Isan food has adopted elements of both Thai and Lao cuisines. Sticky rice is served with every meal and the food is much spicier than that of most of Thailand.

Popular dishes include:

som tam – extremely spicy and sour papaya salad
larb – fiery meat salad liberally laced with chilies
gai yang – grilled chicken
moo ping – pork satay sticks

Isan people are famous for their ability to eat whatever happens to be around, and lizards, snakes, frogs and fried insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, silkworms and dung beetles often form a part of their diet.

Both men and women traditionally wear sarongs; women’s sarong often have an embroidered border at the hem, whilst those of the men are chequered. Much of Thailand’s silk is produced in Isan, and the night markets at many of the small towns and villages are good places to find a bargain.

There is no major airport in Isan, but the State Railway of Thailand has two lines and both connect the region to Bangkok. This is also a good place to enter Laos via the Thanon Mitraphap (“Friendship Highway”), which was built by the United States to supply its military bases in the 1960s and 1970s. The Friendship Bridge – Saphan Mitraphap – forms the border crossing over the Mekong River on the outskirts of Nong Khai to the Laos capital of Vientiane.

Suvarnabhumi Airport Questions and Answers

Suvarnabhumi Airport Questions and AnswersQ: Kemal writes: If i come to thailand…how can i go from airport for to khaosanroad,airport-khaosan if there bus which number? And nearist which railway station to khaosan road…

A: Taxi, bus, airport pickup – nearest railway station is Hualumpong.

Q: Andreas writes: “Hi, I need the cheapest way from Bankok Airport to Khao San Road?”

A: By airport bus – 150 Baht per person – 05.30 to 24.00 hours daily. It takes from there around 1 and half hour, getting off at the last bus stop near Khaosan Road.

Q: Mike writes: “Hello, what are the options for getting to Hua Lamphong Train station from Suvarnabhumi airport, please.”

A: AE4 Suvarnabhumi-Hua Lamphong (by expressway) – taxi to Morchit MRT and MRT to Hua Lamphong.

Q: Gwyn Jones writes: “Dear Sir, travelling from UK to Phuket on 2nd Jan 07. Best case scenario is that luggage will be checked through to hkt from Manchester. On arrival in the new airport will I be able to remain in ‘transit’/collect boarding pass from Thai Airways desk and eventually clear immigration in Phuket, or will I have to clear immigration on arrival and check in again at domestic? Any advice you have will be appreciated. Thank you in advance.”

A: We presume you can go directly to domestic and your luggae will be transfered to your on flight. Again, we are looking to hear from people who can confirm this…

Q: Cheryl writes: “I’ll be flying from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok on Oct 13 using Air Asia. Will it be at the same terminal as all international flights. I’ll be staying at Mandarin Hotel. What is the taxi fare from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Mandarin Hotel. My departure time is very early in the morning around 7am. Will your taxi stop at the proper arrival area or to a certain place whereby I need to use your shuttle bus. Is it easy to get a cab early in the morning let’s say 4am.”

A: Sorry – again we don’t know… has anyone been to Mandarin Hotel from the new airport? If so please let Cheryl know…

Q: Bbaker writes: “I am trying to find hotels/guesthouses near the NEW airport and am having trouble as all tour books and sites still list places near the old airport. Please advise.” We have had a number of people asking this question…

A: We don’t know much about about discount accommodation and if anyone has details let us know. However, there’s Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, Royal Princess Srinakarin, Grand Inn Come Hotel, and Novotel Bangna amongst others.

Q: Larry writes: “I used to take the airport bus from the old airport all the way to Tower Inn. Will I be able to take the same bus from the new airport?”

A: We don’t know for sure, but it’s pretty unlikely – the old aiport and the new airport are opposite ends of Bangkok!

Q: Ocean writes: “Where is the taxi stand for taxis into the city at the new airport?”

A: Public taxis taxi stands are located on level four of the departures concourse.

Q: Han s. Chen writes: “Hi; I will be in BKK on Oct.3 at 11;45 PM , this is a scaring time to arrive of a new airport, I don\’t know the latest airport bus to Khaosan Rd is what time and is Rte 551 bus directly going to Khaosan Rd also if not which bus is?! Would you please tell me this urgent and confusion questions.Thanks in advance for your helps of this anxious awaiting questions. Best Regards Han Chen”

A: We don’t know about the 551 – can anyone help? The AE2 goes directly to Khaosan Road and costs 150 Baht. the journey takes an hour and gets to KSR by expressway.

Q: Wim writes: “Do the bus services from Khao Sarn Road to the new airport (556 and AE2) have 24 hour service?”

A: Sadly – we can’t find the answer… anyone?.

Q: Tony writes: “Hi. I’m flying into Bangkok from Samui on Monday and on to Bahrain on Tuesday. Is the old airport totally gone or is it still being used for domestic fligts? “

A: Our understanding is that the new airport will deal with both domestic flights and international flights… the old airport will be used for charter flights and some domestic routes, althoughn not key routes.

Q: L.Mogan Muniandy writes: “What is the taxi (meter) fare from Airport (New) to Grande Ville Hotel?”

A: Sorry, no idea… anyone?

Q: Mike writes: “There is an airport bus advertised from Suvarnabhumi airport to the On Nut BTS Station – does this come off the Expressway down Sukhumvit Road from Nana ie past the Landmark Hotel or does it come to On Nut for passengers to get the BTS up towards Nana. It is very difficult to find this out. Thanks,”

A: We don’t know the answer to this one…. Anyone?

To contact the person asking the question click on his/her name. Please CC your answers and comments to us here: info@khaosanroad.com. Contact us with more information.

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Insights

Suvarnabhumi Airport Questions and AnswersRyan writes: “John, something for travelers who want to take a less expensive way to go to the airport. From Khaosan to the airport by taxi is about 400 baht. I did it for 340 baht last night. Brought my parents to the airport. On the meter… no ‘special deals’. 65 for the toll ways – (40 for the first one, 25 for the second) and 50 for the airport surcharge. We left at 23.00u and 35 min. later we were at the airport. Fast and not to expensive. Back was different. As my friend came with me, we decided to split up. He takes a taxi and i took the bus, number 556. He took a taxi at the departures level, were the taxi’s drop off people. It is not allowed to pick up people there but at 00.30 there are no security guards…

So he made it back, 35 min. back to Khaosan – 240 on the meter and 65 for the toll ways. No 50 baht !!! I went with the bus, had to wait 1 hour for it. So at 01.30u I left from the airport and 35 min. later I was at Khaosan. For 35 baht, this was ok. If your not in a rush or carrying to much luggage, the bus is a fine alternative. If you are in a rush and don\’t mind the money, take a taxi. Note: the busses don’t drive on a schedule.

It might be possible that you have to wait a while to get a bus. However, the information counter at the public transport terminal is very useful and gives you all kinds of alternative routes to the city. You can take the 552 bus to and get out on Sukhumvit. From there bus 511 to Khaosan… And so on. Just ask them, they speak good English and were very helpful at 01.00 in the morning! Regards Ryan”

Shai Pinto has been to the new airport twice already so he should have a few insights… here’s what he has to say…

The bottom line for the new airport is – it’s big, it’s easy if you know your way around airports,and it isn’t such a big change as expected. As I have managed to go through the new airport twice in it’s first 3 days of operation here is the lowdown for you to update everyone.

Basically, once you get out of the baggage claim you are still on the arrivals floor 2, and you have a few options:

1- Go down 1 level and get an airport authority taxi – it will cost you a flat rate and it is expensive

2- Walk out the doors of the terminal – there are 3 curbs or sidewaks ahead off you. The first one has a big stop for the shuttle bus – this bus will take you to the transport centre, a seperate building 10 min drive away. From there you can take regular taxis, buit they add at least 50 baht rack rate surcharge. You will also have to wait for the bus a bit. BGy the way – make sure you get the express one, or you will end up stopping at all kinds of buildings along the way (usefull if you have a special fettish for new airport buildings, hangars or storage rooms..)

3 – As you exit the doors – just flag down the first taxi you see. They will all stop even though they are not supposed to, and they all seem just as lost as you do, so they will hurry up to take you before the funny man with the whistle and the uniform chases them away. It also helps with bargaining..

4 – As in the old airport – go up to departures and grab a taxi that just dropped off passengers. it still works…

By the way – only go meter!!! it is exactly 220 baht to KSR (3 journeys, same price), and if you pay the tollway fees add another 65 Baht.

In summary – new airport or not, just walk out the door, hail the first taxi to drive by, say meter, pay for tollway, and in exactly 45 min you will be at KSR.

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

Nakhon Ratchasima Province was once part of the Khmer empire and was moved by King Narai between 1656-1688. Around 260 kilometres from Bangkok, travel to Nakhon Ratchasima is easy as it is connected with the northeastern railway line and the Nakhon Ratchasima Airport is 26km east of the city.

There are two main focal points for visitors to this province, the city of Nakhon Ratchasima and the picturesque town of Phimai.

The city of Nakhon Ratchasima is better known as Khorat or Korat. Korat is the capital of Nakhon Ratchasima Province, and there is a great deal to see and do and many opportunities to learn about the city’s interesting history.

A good place to start is the Maha Viravong National Museum, which contains good displays and countless well labeled artifacts. Another interesting site is the Thao Suranaree Monument, where you can see the revered Lady Mo statue.

A tour of the city will lead you to the city wall and unique Chumphon Gate, and don’t forget to look out for the l?k meuang (city pillar shrine).

Nakhon Ratchasima Province is famous for its pottery, and excellent examples of this can be seen decorating Wat Salaloi. Other interesting temples in this city include Wat Phra Narai Maharat and Wat Pa Salawan.

Nakhon Ratchasima is special in that it has two night bazaars, and both the Thanon Manat Night Bazaar and Wat Boon Night Bazaar and good places to do some shopping, have a cheap meal and do a little people watching.

One of the main attractions of this area is the magnificent Khao Yai National Park with its dense jungles, spectacular mountain views and famous waterfall.

Another great day trip is the Reclining Buddha Image at Wat Dhammachakra Sema Ram, just 40 kilometres south of Korat.

If you are in the area during March, make sure you time your trip to coincide with the Thao Suranari festival. Celebrated between March 22nd and April 3rd, the festival features parades, theatre and folk songs. 

Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Mae Hong Son, Thailand

This beautiful Northern Province is located along the banks of the river Pai near the border with Burma.

Mae Hong Son, with a population of around 7,000 people, is also the name of the Province capital. The town can easily be reached from Chiang Mai or via Mae Hong Son Airport.

Mae Hong Son is surrounded by mountains and is much cooler than the rest of Thailand, making it a great place to visit in the scorching summer months. In fact, for most of the year the valley is shrouded by mist and fog, which adds a mystical quality to it.

For nature lovers, Mae Hong Son is the perfect destination. Here you will find sparkling waterfalls, glittering caves such as Tham Mae La Na and the beautiful Tham Pla National Park makes a great day trip.

Mae Hong Son Province is home to the Padaung Hill Tribe villages, also known as the ‘Long Neck Women’ tribes after the long coils the women wear around their necks, which can weight as much as 22kg!

Many people visit the province in order to go trekking and visit these intriguingly exotic hill tribes. The hill tribe village of Ban Ruam Thai is particularly welcoming to independent visitors, or travellers can opt to go on a trekking tour, where a guide will take you to several villages in the area.

After trekking, you may want to relax in the Pha Bang Hot Spring, or pay your respects at the many local temples. There are dozens of gleaming temples to explore, such as Wat Huang Wiang, Wat Jong Kham or the nearby Wat Si Bunruang.

For the adventurous, Mae Hong Son is a great place to go rafting, and all your retail needs can be met at the bustling night market.

Northern Thailand

Northern Thailand
Northern Thailand

There are 17 provinces in Northern Thailand, all featuring stunning scenery, grand temples and a range of activities and opportunities to engage in extreme sports. Chiang Mai is the capital of Northern Thailand and is certainly the largest and loudest, although all the provinces have something to offer the tourist with a sense strong of adventure and an interest in the diverse history of the region.

Northern Thailand displays heavy influences from the neighboring cultures of Myanmar (Burma) and Yunnan (China). The kingdoms of Lanna and Sukhothai were the first historical Thai nations.

A series of Communist insurgencies and the effects from Myanmar’s drug battles and civil wars has meant that recently a large portion of northern Thailand was off limits. However, these problems have now been mostly resolved, and safe, easy travel is possible throughout the north.

Although standard Thai language is widely understood, the people of Northern Thailand have their own Thai dialect called Kham Meaung. The hilltribes also have their own languages, and if you wish to make extensive contact with them it may be a good idea to employ a translator/guide.

The main airport in Northern Thailand is Chiang Mai, which serves both domestic and international flights. There are also small domestic airports at Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Pai, Phitsanulok and Sukhothai.

Spicy and bitter, Northern Thai food is quite different to that eaten in the rest of the country. There are dozens of local specialties and this is a great place to sample the traditional food of the hill tribes as well. A regional specialty is thick, slightly spicy sausages stuffed with raw garlic, the pride of Chiang Mai Province.

Other dishes to look out for include:

kaeng hang le – Burmese-style pork curry

khanom jiin naam ngiew – rice noodles with pork ribs and thick sauce

khao soi – a Burmese curry noodle soup served with shallots, lime and pickles to add as required.

Suvarnabhumi Airport


Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand

The Thai authorities wanted to sell Suvarnabhumi (pronounced su-wan-na-poom) Airport as Asia’s new international hub and gateway to the region. They wanted to make an impression and they succeeded, despite over-running and a few difficulties. Located 25km east of Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi, from an old Sanskrit word meaning ‘Golden Land’, is grand. It’s not the biggest nor will it be the busiest airport in the world but it is a grand gesture from a country keen to be a serious global player in the transport sector.

It boasts the tallest control tower and the biggest single terminal in the world. Maximum capacity runs to 45 million passengers a year – less than Heathrow, with almost 70 million international passengers, but with room to grow. There are plans for a further two runways and another terminal which, combined, would take total capacity to around 100 million.

The airport is built on an 8000 acre site formally known as ‘Cobra Swamp’ that took five years of land reclaiming in order to get ready for construction, which finally started in early 2002.

So what’s it like?

The architects (Murphy/Jahn) have really created a great atmosphere with Suvarnabhumi and you get a great feeling of openness and space the moment you enter. It’s light, spacious and feels relaxing; a breath of fresh air compared to the previous airport interntational airport, Don Muang. It’s definitely conducive to a calming travel experience.

On entering the airport it’s worth a look around and upwards. The structure is a maze of steel and glass, and enormous concrete pillars.

One point worth mentioning is the arrivals areas. They are smaller than I imagined given the amount of people coming through the arrivals gates at any one time and the amount of family and friends that usually gather.

Getting There and Away

Of interest to inhabitants of Khao San Road will be transport to and from Suvarnabhumi. Fast forward five or more years and the options will be plentiful; high speed underground train, specialised bus links etc. But for now the options are limited.

Leaving aside the expensive limousine service and transport provided by/for first class hotels there are two options at present; bus and taxi. The former being convoluted and the latter being pricey.

Getting the taxi from the airport is clearly cheaper than getting to the airport. Having checked with several taxi drivers at the airport the cost breaks down thus: 50 baht service charge (rumoured to be increased to 100 baht soon), about 65 baht expressway fees and between 300 and 400 baht on the meter, depending on time of day and traffic.

Basically they’re talking 500 baht all in. Traffic permitting it should be possible to do the journey to KSR in less than an hour There’s been some confusion concerning the amount of taxis licensed to enter the airport. Originally they were greatly limited but now the authorities have increased the number of licenses. They’ve also added a restriction on the age of taxis so only reasonably new taxis will be operating out of the airport; up to five years old is the figure being touted.

When I checked with the taxi drivers in KSR it was a different story. They are refusing to use the meter and asking 700 baht plus the expressway charge, and presumably a tip on top. Basically it’s going to cost you for around 800 baht. It might be better trying for a taxi off KSR, there’s more chance of the meter being used then.

Suvarnabhumi Airport, ThailandI asked around a few travel agents and it seems that no one is offering any kind of airport bus from KSR yet, but it’s surely only a matter of time before someone sets this up. It might be worth asking around all the same as I didn’t go to every one in the area and there might some enterprising guy already on the case.

A cheaper option is the bus. The BMTA say that the best way from KSR is to get the number 503 air-con from Rajdamnern Avenue to Victory Monument and then take the 551 air-con to the airport. Total cost for this option is less than 70 baht (just the bus fee).

Route details are below:

Public Bus Service to Bangkok and area

Bus Number 549 – Suvarnabhumi – Minburi
Bus Number 550 – Suvarnabhumi – Happy Land
Bus Number 551 – Suvarnabhumi – Victory Monument (Expressway)
Bus Number 552 – Suvarnabhumi – On Nut BTS station
Bus Number 553 – Suvarnabhumi – Samut Prakan
Bus Number 554 – Suvarnabhumi – Don Muang Airport (Expressway)

Public Bus Service to other provinces

Bus Number 389 – Suvarnabhumi – Pattaya
Bus Number 390 – Suvarnabhumi – Talad Rong Kluea
Bus Number 825 – Suvarnabhumi – NongKhai

Buses aren’t allowed to the passenger terminal, they drop you at the Public Transportation Centre and there’s a free shuttle bus which will drop you outside the airport, and make the return journey on arrival. The airport is well signed so finding the bus pick-up/drop off point isn’t difficult.

Whilst the bus is pleasantly cheap it does have the disadvantage of taking a lot longer, being much more inconvenient and a real pain, especially if you have a lot of luggage to carry.

There is also the option of a combo of bus and taxi. Take a bus down to Sukhumvit, perhaps the no.11 air-con, and then grab a taxi. This might work out a hundred baht or so cheaper. Then there is cab sharing. If you find a few other guys heading out to the airport pitch in together and lessen the cost.

Try to avoid the ‘hey, what’s 800 baht in dollars/pounds/euros/shekels etc anyway’ attitude. These guys are taking advantage pure and simple and giving in to them hurts locals as well as other travellers. Once they set a figure as a norm then it sticks and everyone has to pay the price.

If, on arrival, you’re feeling particularly flush you could opt for the limousine service operated by Airports of Thailand. They have nearly 400 cars operating 24/7 from the limousine pick up area on the arrivals level.

Another expense worth mentioning is departure tax. At present it is 700 baht.

In a few years time the high speed underground train will link the airport to the existing sky train and underground networks making travel to and from the airport considerably easier and cheaper. But until then, unless you’re lucky enough to have someone meet you or take you, it’s the options listed above.

Suvarnabhumi definitely makes entering and leaving Thailand a pleasurable experience.

Suvarnabhumi Airport Map