The older Don Muang airport in Bangkok has become bigger and more modern. The contrast is phenomenal. The departure hall for domestic flights is new, bright and beautifully designed. The one for international flights is noticeably and visibly older. Those who value nice toilets will rather find them in the new part.
Tip No. 1 Enjoy tasty food
Is there anything tasty to eat here or do I have to starve? Hello! We are in Thailand. There is food everywhere around the clock and here you can find everything from McDonalds to bread rolls to Japanese delicacies.
In the Magic Garden on the 4th floor between the two terminals. I don’t know much about burgers, but the Japanese Gyoza are not bad. There are enough tables and seats from comfortable to functional. The atmosphere is good and it is not too loud. You can buy a card loaded with an amount at the counter. Amounts not used will be refunded. Google Maps
Cheaper food at the airport
For low budget travelers who do not want to stay hungry, I have two extra tips. First, there is Magic Food Park on the 2nd floor at the very end of Terminal 2. People who have already eaten in one of the big department stores in Bangkok know this. You can buy coupons that can be redeemed at one of the many small shops. For 50 Baht you can get a Khao Pad (fried rice) or something similar. Cozy is something different, but you will be satisfied for a reasonable price. Google Maps
Second, you can get to the typical Thai street restaurants via the pedestrian bridge to the Amari Hotel. There you can experience authentic street life.
By the way, coffee junkies like me really get their money’s worth. There are so many coffee shops that tiredness doesn’t have a chance. (If you want to invite me virtually to a coffee you’ll find a PayPal button at the bottom or in the sidebar :-)
Tip No. 2 Buy a Thai SIM Card at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok
Coming from abroad, you might want to buy a SIM card for your time in Thailand. The advantages are obvious: you are independent of the sometimes slow, unreliable Wi-Fi in guesthouses, you have mobile Internet access (for example for Google Maps) for little money and you can Skype or make other calls over the internet with the whole world at no extra costs. At the bottom of Terminal 1 and in the transition between Terminal 1 and 2, the shops of the three major telephone companies are represented. A current offer e.g. AIS sounds good: 1 week with 20 GB for 299 baht. Which can then be renewed every week for 150 baht. You would have to watch online movies to exhaust this volume.
These SIM cards are basically prepaid, i.e. rechargeable at 7/11 or similar shops. I use AIS and have only had good experiences. With certain short codes I book certain data packages, usually 5 GB for one week. It costs me 150 baht and is enough to work on the internet via hotspot. If I need less data, I use packages for 99 baht a week or similar.
The SIM card in Thailand by the way will no longer expire. Even after a year, if you come back, they are still valid. You have to register the card. That means a copy of the passport will be deposited.
The credit expires after a certain time, which can be influenced. How to extend that until the next Thailand holiday is described here.
Tip No. 3 read extensively
There are comfortable armchairs, even sofas near the Magic Garden. So why not just read. Best is a book whose storyline is set in Thailand or about Thailand. Also rolling over the travel guide to get some ideas or to plan the next days is not that bad. In addition, there are many sockets where you can easily charge your smartphone.
Tip No. 4 Thai Massage at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok
How nice it is that in Thailand there are these small massage shops everywhere. I’m not talking about those with happy endings near the Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza. No, I’m talking about good, traditional Thai massage. And you can find them in an infinite number of places, also at Don Muang Airport.
For 650,- Baht you get one hour massage. The result: a clearly relaxed body. What a good condition for a long flight!
Between old and new building on the 2nd floor. Next to the left baggage counter.
If you want it cheaper and have enough time, you can cross the pedestrian bridge (to the Amari Hotel) to the other side of the road, get on a 30 Baht motorbike taxi and drive to Soi 2. There are the usual massage shops. One hour Thai massage for 200 Baht. On foot it is not really far either: Google Maps
Tip No. 5 Power Shopping on the Jatujak Weekend Market
By taxi it is less than half an hour to the famous Jatujak Weekend Market (sometimes written Jatu Jak Market or JJ Market). It’s a simple calculation: half an hour there, half an hour back plus a safety buffer of another half hour gives 1.5 hours for the journey. An hour before departure at the airport and let’s say 2 hours power shopping results in 4.5 hours of stay are needed. The luggage can be left in the luggage storage for a small fee (e.g. 2nd floor between old and new building, low prices).
The costs for the taxi ride are about 100,- Baht. Of course you can also take the bus. Bus lines that go there are 510 and 29. The bus station is here.
Tip No. 6 Sleeping at the airport Don Muang Bangkok
With the concept of capsule hotels, which is popular in Japan, an operator is trying to gain a foothold in the Thai market. At the airport, for example, there is the SleepBox. Modern and clean was my first impression. But is that enough to justify the relatively high prices? Because unlike in Japan, overnight stays near Don Muang Airport are very cheap. For example for 100,- Baht one drives only 15 minutes away to the very clean Area 69. Super nice staff, big rooms with good bathrooms and the typical food stands nearby. What more do you want? Oh yes, there’s also a 7/11, of course.
If you want it a little more fancy, the Amari Airport Hotel is a good choice. Easily accessible via a covered pedestrian bridge directly from the terminal, it offers the appropriate high standard for 60 to 80 euros.
At Booking.com you will find many other hotels around Don Muang Bangkok.
My guess is that SleepBox will have disappeared from the airport in 2 years at the latest. Or not? (Update: After one year SleepBox still exists.)
Tip No. 7 Cheap journey to Don Muang Airport in Bangkok
The tip for low budget travelers staying somewhere near Khao San Road: Take bus no. 524 from Banglaphoo or Thewet to Chatuchak and change to 29 or 510 to Don Muang. In the rustic buses you can hear the transmission crashing when gears are engaged. This is real Thailand! Always good.
The comfortable traveler pays about 250 – 300,- Baht for a taxi from Thewet or the Khao San Road.
And then from the Khao San Road there’s an alternative in between: For 150,- Baht the Limo-Bus runs directly. Wi-Fi in the bus is the bonus for people without a Thai SIM card. Couples who can count are more likely to get a taxi.
Bonus Tip: Baggage deposit at Don Muang
On the 2nd floor between the two terminals there is the Left Luggage – baggage deposit where you can get a good service for little money. Directly next to the massage shop not to be missed.