Arriving in Bangkok
Upon disembarking, the first thing you will need to do is to get through immigration. This is a relatively painless process. Have your arrival/departure card filled out before you exit the plane. Keep the card in your passport. There are 2 lines at immigration. One line is for Thai nationals. This is a very short line. You will need to go to the line for Foreign Passports. There are usually no questions asked. You will have your passport stamped. Most travelers are given 30 days. Check the date.
If you are arriving in Thailand for the first time then you will need enough Thai Baht (Thailand’s Currency) to see you through the first few days. I would suggest using one of the currency exchangers at the airport. The rates will not be great but you will need Thai Baht to get where you are going. $200 USD will usually be enough to get you through the first few days with Baht to spare. Ask for some 100 Baht notes. Taxis will not be able to change 1,000 Baht notes. Also, set aside enough of your home currency to get you through the trip home. You don’t want to be buying Dollars or Euros in Thailand. Keep your home currency and your Thai Baht in separate pockets. I once tipped a taxi driver 50 Euros thinking it was fifty Baht. My home currency is USD’s
Now the fun starts.
There are dozens of people at the airport who can help you to get wherever you want to go. Beware; the price will usually be several times what it would be in a metered taxi. The arrivals hall at Suvarnabhumi Airport is on level 2. You will want to go down to level one to find the metered taxi stand, somewhere around exit 9 or 10. There are attendants at the taxi stands to assign a taxi to you and to get you where you want to go. There is usually a line, try be patient. If you have printed information about the hotel or guest house that you have booked, which I would suggest you do, show that to the attendant. Most Thai’s can read some English. The attendant will give one slip to the driver telling him where to take you and one slip to you. Keep this slip. When you get in the taxi make sure he turns on the meter which sits on the dashboard. The meter starts at 35 Baht. If on the off chance the driver tries to give you the “flat rate” price, politely ask to have the meter turned on. You will need to pay any tolls as well as the extra airport charge of 50 Baht when you arrive at your destination. Tips are not necessary but appreciated, 20 Baht would do.
To be continued……..
Please feel free to ask questions. I will add whatever information I can on the appropriate page.