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Things to Know About Suvarnabhumi International Airport

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Things to Know About Suvarnabhumi International Airport


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Once an empty swamp 25 kilometers east of Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi International Airport is now one of the busiest in the world. It ranks 21st in terms of activity, with over 60 million passengers going through its doors in 2017. For a while, the airport held the title of having the world’s tallest free-standing control tower; it got dethroned by Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s West Tower in 2013.


Today, Suvarnabhumi International Airport serves as the main hub for Thailand’s flag carrier Thai Airways International, as well as for Thai Smile Airways and Bangkok Airways. For travelers, however, it’s simply known as the gateway to Bangkok.


There’s a lot to learn about this busy airport, whether you’re a Thai national or a foreign tourist. Here are a few tidbits to help you with your travels and equip you with interesting trivia at the same time.


Don’t Say the “I”


You don’t say the “V” either. Locals already know about this, but foreign travelers often say the airport’s name as it’s spelled. To help with pronunciation, Suvarnabhumi should be said as “su-wan-na-poom.” The name literally means “golden land.”


It’s a BUSY Airport


As mentioned earlier, Suvarnabhumi International Airport accommodated 60 million passengers last 2017.  This is 33.33% more than the 45 million passenger capacity of the airport when it first opened in 2006. More than 20 million of those 60 million passengers visited Bangkok, making the Thai capital city the most visited city in the world for that year. To make your travel life easier, it’s best to book a room in one of the hotels near Suvarnabhumi Airport before your departure flight so you don’t have to rush. For locals, search for โรงแรมใกล้สนามบินสุวรรณภูมิ to get better results.


It Inherited Its IATA Code


Before Suvarnabhumi Airport began its operations, Don Mueang International Airport was the main and only airport in Bangkok. It had the IATA code BKK. When Suvarnabhumi opened in 2006, it inherited the IATA code BKK and Don Mueang adopted the DMK code. Remember these letters to help you monitor your flights.


It Belongs in the Top 100


Suvarnabhumi International Airport was ranked 36 in the world’s top 100 airports in 2018. Other ASEAN airports on the list were Singapore Changi (rank 1), Kuala Lumpur International (rank 44), Jakarta International (Soekarno Hatta, rank 45), and Hanoi (Noi Bai, rank 82). In 2017 and 2016, Suvarnabhumi ranked 38 and 36 respectively on the same list.


There’s a Garden!


Waiting and walking around in airports can get exhausting, indeed. This applies not just for your feet and arms but also for your eyes. You can only stare at your phone or tablet for so long before you get tired of the same website or game. Not to mention, looking down at a small screen for prolonged periods can strain both your eyes and your neck. For a change of scenery, Suvarnabhumi Airport has a beautiful garden. For something a little more indulgent, you can also get a Thai massage.


There’s No Direct Link from BKK to DMK


Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airports are nearly 45 kilometers apart, and there is no direct rail link between the two. If you’re changing flights, allocate a couple of hours for traveling from one airport to the other. The best way to travel between the two airports is to ride the free shuttle service (Bus 554). You can also hire a taxi, although of course this is the more expensive option.


You Can Shop For Cheap


Like most major airports, Suvarnabhumi has a duty-free shop. In this case, it’s called the King Power Duty Free. It has a wide selection of items, not to mention a lot of duty-free boutiques from several luxury brands. Most of the items here are cheaper than most shops in Thailand. However, if you’re truly looking for great deals, visit the King Power Complex on Soi Rangnam. This is located near the BTS Victory Monument.


Airport facts are handy information for everyone, but most especially if you’re a new traveler. Have fun on your trip and safe travels!

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