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Hey guys,

How busy is BKK airport at night? I arrive at 22:20 and weighing up whether to get the 'Fast Track + transfer' service of First Class Bangkok or not.

I'm flying Thai Airways, not sure if they have dedicated arrival terminals or not and if they are close to immigration. I am hoping to still get to Screwboys after landing and check-in to Le Meridien.

 

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You are assuming that your flight will arrive on time. Having frequently arrived close to that hour, I would not bet the bank on it. Lots of arriving aircraft and often delays prior to landing. That usually uses the East gates but I have frequently seen Thai aircraft at the west, especially if it is an A380. There is no Thai dedicated terminal. About 3 gates are pretty near Immigration but Thai does not use them. If you really want to get to Screwboys, book the fast track service. If you happen to be over 70 or are travelling biz class, you will have automatic access to fast track with no need to pay. But that will not help much with the transfer to the city. With lots of arrivals the chances are you will have to wait at least 20 minutes for a taxi.

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Thanks guys, okay I am travelling business class, still worth getting the fast track and transfer? Or would I be fine just getting the hotel to pick me up?

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You did not mention which day of the week you arrive. If you arrive on Friday, definitely get a hotel transfer. Many taxi drivers will either be stuck in the city or may decide not to go to the airport due to congestion, leading to a longer taxi queue.

The last time I landed on a Friday, I thought to save the US$ 40 a transfer would cost, as that would pay for cover charge and lavish tips for mamasan and wait staff, winning me the favourite customer accolade for the night. 30 minutes in the hot and humid taxi queue later, surrounded by screaming tourists, and I was willing to be Scrooge of the bar. 

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More then once I walked out on departure level and grabbed a Taxi. Not how easy that is to do now. Probably more police or honest taxis??? Also all sorts of Limo services that will meet you at arrival and whisk u into town when at least traffic should be light. Probably much cheaper then Hotel Limo but saving pennies does not seem to be that important to you.

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And fortunately in Bangkok there are many other ways you can save money to balance out expenditure, like eating at inexpensive places - and often tastier than hi-so restaurants! 

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I always take the train if i arrived at bkk, beats any traffic and definitely cheap. But i travel light, with just one luggage, so i dont mind taking train. Its about 40min to phyathai station and few minutes more to silom, with a change of train at siam station. Last trip i managed to take the last train at 11:40pm or so fr bkk, arrived at phyathai at 20min after midnight, hence no bts running anymore. But i just go to the main road, grab one of the passing taxi who accept meter and still able to catch screwboy last shows and off a boy. Another option is to change train at makasan, but its a much longer walk to change station and with luggage, i prefer the first option. Just thought id point out the cheap alternatives

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BenG1000 - stay with the Thai business class / it's as quick for clearing immigration as the Fast Track greeter service.  This is based on having used both.

Biggest delay is waiting for luggage...

Take a look at the airport map and know your route to the taxi queue.  At that hour of the night, taxi is faster than the train and faster than having booked a car and driver as the driver has to be called from the waiting area which adds some minutes.

You can speed up the taxi by telling the driver you are in a hurry and you'll pay 500 THB...that's about 30% more than what the metered rate is, but if you include the tolls it's maybe 15% more.  This kind of offer will focus the driver and he won't be tempted to use some side roads to minimize the toll.

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3 hours ago, ggobkk said:

Biggest delay is waiting for luggage...

 

Agreed!

I can only remember 1 visit where my bag was out before I cleared immigration

Even when flying Biz the bags are no quicker, so all the fast track will do is give you more time sitting and waiting in front of the baggage carousel

BTW Screw Boys is open till at least 2am...

So worst case land at 23.00, Clear Immigration and Collect baggage by 00.00, Taxi, check-in and quick wash completed by 1am

Still gives you an hour in SB

Best case you are in by 00.30 and have time for a quick peak in another bar before hitting SB!

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1     You presumably have a checked bag.    Despite arriving at that airport multiple times, only once has my bag been already on the carousel after clearing immigration.    So fast track would offer no time benefit.   [Note, I do walk at one hell of a pace from the plane to immigration]

2   Like Spoon, I use the airport rail link and MRT or Skytrain.   This takes about 1 hour to Silom, plus a short walk of 10 min or so.    If people taking a taxi have to wait 30 minutes to get the taxi, then the train will probably be quicker if your hotel is close to the station.    Using the airport rail link also means you can buy some baht at a very good exchange rate in the airport rail link station.   

If your plane is delayed, the backup option of finding a lad on Grindr at 2:00 am is not too bad.

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I agree with the above re: checked baggage. With TG business class you will get a fast track immigration pass.

You can always arrange a car service pickup (or use AOT limo service) if you don't want to deal with the taxi queue. I've used S&P Limousine many times so I get a repeat customer discount. You meet the rep by exit door 4 and she walks you out to the driver. Their Camry's are getting a little advanced in age but still a perfectly reliable service. 

When I departed Tuesday night I could not believe how crowded the airport was. At 10:30 on a random Tuesday night it was a total madhouse.

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Of course you could always just have a carry on which are certainly big enough for this type of trip and not have to wait for bags.

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10 hours ago, BenG1000 said:

Hey guys,

How busy is BKK airport at night? I arrive at 22:20 and weighing up whether to get the 'Fast Track + transfer' service of First Class Bangkok or not.

I'm flying Thai Airways, not sure if they have dedicated arrival terminals or not and if they are close to immigration. I am hoping to still get to Screwboys after landing and check-in to Le Meridien.

 

I visited Screwboys on Tuesday night after Moonlight.

The place was packed with customers and 30+ boys! at 12:30. I was told the show starts at 1am. 

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13 hours ago, hank75 said:

You did not mention which day of the week you arrive. If you arrive on Friday, definitely get a hotel transfer. Many taxi drivers will either be stuck in the city or may decide not to go to the airport due to congestion, leading to a longer taxi queue.

True, but there are dozens of departing flights in the evenings and many passengers with luggage have to take taxis. These are the taxis which then go into the queue to take arrival passengers into the city. Frankly I have never seen any difference in the queues on a Friday night compared to others. But there are usually queues. 

As others suggest, forget the costly fast track arrivals service. As a biz class passenger the only benefit it will give you is the buggy from the airport gate to Immigration. But once through, you will spend longer waiting for your bag. So it's a waste. Just remember that the Fast Track Priority Immigration has its own special entrance close to the main west side Immigration area. 

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Quickest way to get in and out of Swampy is to learn to travel light. You avoid one of the biggest time eaters if you don’t check bags.

It’s not like you have to have a large range of clothes for different occasions. You can wash stuff in your room and it will dry overnight. Or use a laundry. 

If you find yourself with more possessions on the return trip than you brought in, you can always buy an inexpensive bag and check it on the way home when the stress of gettting downtown isn’t a factor.

 

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53 minutes ago, PeterRS said:

Just remember that the Fast Track Priority Immigration has its own special entrance close to the main west side Immigration area. 

Hey Peter, from what I can find it's across from gate D4?

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11 hours ago, ggobkk said:

  This kind of offer will focus the driver and he won't be tempted to use some side roads to minimize the toll.

When taking taxi from BKK I always tell them I will pay for the tolls.

There's also additional 50 baht airport fee drivers are entitled to charge going FROM the Airport

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BenG1000, Time from landing to exiting the terminal is a bit random. Business Class with priority you should be fine with getting a short-ish que.

The hotel limo is very nice - Mercedes, cold towl etc - but is around 3000bht one way.

thelimopattaya is very reliable and about 800bht. You can book on line. Just be sure to confirm which entrance they will meet you at so you can find each other. 

That time of night the trip into Bangkok will take a bit under an hour. 

With luck you will be checked in, showered and strolling down Twilight by 1pm

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4 hours ago, BenG1000 said:

Hey Peter, from what I can find it's across from gate D4?

Most but not all airlines arrange for ground staff to hand out a pass to arriving first and business class passengers as they leave the aircraft which enables the dedicated Priority Lane to be used which has its own dedicated entrance mid way between the two main immigration halls.  Thai International (TG) does not permit its business class passengers to use this channel.  Instead TG business class passengers should position to the main immigration hall opposite Gate D4 where the left hand lane is dedicated for TG business class passengers who are strictly required to show their boarding pass.  Last time I was there, Police were enforcing the no mobile phone rule in the immigration hall which meant passengers could only use this channel if they had paper boarding passes and those with only mobile boarding passes were being turned away and having to join the main economy pass queue which was causing much irritation.

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so many replies ... hope OP doesn't get confused lol

as captainmick in last post said, look for "Thai Royal Silk" sign towards the left as you enter the main immigration hall. It's not very big and seems almost hidden if you don't know you're supposed to be looking for it.

 

Taxi: as Scooby pointed out, just go UP to departure level (level 4) and go out there, there will be enough taxis there more than happy to take you. Not only will they almost ALWAYS be happy to use the meter (happy to get a passenger back from airport at all!), but also saves the 50 Baht airport fee, which doesn't apply there. I ALWAYS do this now since probably 2 or 3 years, and never failed to immediately get a cab there, zero wait. 

Getting a taxi there is presumably also faster then pre-ordering a limo service, as you will not only have to find your driver (ok may be just a minute), but also walk to the parking lot, which can take some time. Exit and taxi at departure level is the fastet IMHO.

At this time, well after 11pm, traffic will be fine even on Friday, so this will be your fastest way to the hotel. Do make sure to tell the driver "go highway" (although they always ask this by themselves already). You will be asked to pay for the highway toll at the two highway toll stations on the way, but it's a negligible 25 + 50 Baht.

If you have Thai Baht cash already on you (which you need anyway to pay driver), then you can use a 1000-Baht note at the toll booth as a convenient way of getting smaller bills to pay the driver. 

 

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oh and as for proximity of the arrival gate to immigration: that's a lottery as someone said. You may even get an outside position with bus transfer, which sounds like a pain and time loss, but may actually be a blessing in disguise time-wise, as the bus drops people right at the immigration area, so no more potentially looooong walking.

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