visitors arrive through Bangkok's Don Muang International Airport which is connected
by daily flights to Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Flights, from Singapore,
Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Hong Kong, land on a regular basis at Chiangmai, Koh
Samui, Phuket and Hat Yai. Charter flights sometimes land in Bangkok, Phuket,
and at U-Taphao for Pattaya.
rail services link Singapore and Bangkok intermediary stops include Kuala Lumpur,
Butterworth, Penang and major southern Thai towns.
entry to Thailand is restricted to three road crossings on the Thai- Malaysian
border, and the bridge spanning the Mekong River between Laos and Thailand at
are no regular steamship connection with Thailand. Cargo ships calling at Bangkok's
Khlong Toei port sometimes have passenger cabin facilities. Cruise ships, such
as Cunard's Queen Elizabeth II, periodically visit Pattaya.
ARRIVING & DEPARTING
Air: Bangkok's new Don Muang Airport international terminal, adjacent to what
is now the domestic terminal, has relieved congestion and handles international
passengers with modern efficiency. As you leave customs, you'll find an array
of desks where you can arrange for taxis into Bangkok and transport to other destinations;
a reservation desk for Bangkok hotels (no fee); and a TAT desk with free brochures
and maps (tel. 02/523-8972). Both terminals have luggage-checking facilities (tel.
is a tax of B500 for international departures and B30 for domestic departures.
word of caution: The airport has more than its share of hustlers out to make a
quick baht, who often wear uniforms and tags that make them seem official. They
will try to get you to change your hotel to one that pays them a large commission,
perhaps claiming your intended hotel is overbooked. They will hustle you into
overpriced taxis or limousines. Do not get taken in.
Carriers: The U.S. carrier with the most frequent flights is Northwest Airlines (153 Rajdamri
Rd., Peninsula Shopping Plaza, 4th Floor, tel. 02/254- 0789). It has direct service
through Tokyo (with a minimal stopover) from New York, Detroit, Seattle, Dallas,
San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Incidentally, this airline's seats recline more
than most, making sleeping much easier. Northwest also has a round-Asia fare,
in conjunction with local airlines, which lets you hop from one capital to another.
British Airways flies nonstop to Bangkok from London.
Thai Airways International
(1st fl. 175-177 Soi Anumanrajchathon 1, Surawong Road, tel. 02/232-8000) is the national airline, and most of its flights
come in and out of Don Muang. It has direct flights from the West Coast of the
United States and from London, and also flies daily to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan,
Times: Bangkok is 18 hours from Seattle, 17 hours from San Francisco, 20 hours
from Chicago, and 22 hours from New York. Add more time for stopovers and connections,,especially
if you are using more than one carrier. East- coast travelers departing from New
York or Washington, DC, should consider using Virgin Atlantic/Thai Airways via
London for 19-hour flights to Bangkok.
Trains: The International Express will take you from Butterworth (Penang, Malaysia) to
Hat Yai, Thailand and Bangkok without a change of trains. There are also connecting
services to or from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The train, which offers only first
and second-class tickets, now operates every day. Border delays, which used to
be a problem on the trains, are less frequent.
The International Express that departs from Singapore
every morning arrives in Kuala Lumpur by nightfall. Visitors may stay overnight
in the Malaysian capital or continue north by night train to Butterworth (Penang).
This train, which links Singapore to Bangkok, has a romantic appeal and is probably
the most luxurious train in Southeast Asia, yet quite expensive. The journey can
be long and exhausting and may be best experienced in shorter segments.