From SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT to The Atlanta
BY TAXI (immediately below)
BY AIRPORT RAIL LINK (Shuttle train) AND B.T.S. SKY TRAIN (scroll down)
From SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT to The Atlanta Hotel by PUBLIC TAXI – follow signs to the Public Taxi queue at the forecourt on the ground floor of the airport building – ordinary and large seven-seater taxis available – travel time 45 minutes to one hour and thirty minutes - total fare between Bahts 400 and 600, inclusive of an airport queue charge and a toll charge, both of which you have to pay – 24-hours service.
Suvarnabhumi Airport. The name is pronounced Sue-wanna-poom and means 'Land of Gold' or 'Golden Land'. If your luggage is more than you can carry and walk 700 yards / meters, the recommended way to travel from Suvarnabhumi Airport to The Atlanta Hotel is by public taxi. The public taxi service at the airport operates 24-hours a day. After clearing customs, look for and follow the ‘Public Taxi’ signs down to ‘Floor 1’, which is the ground floor. You may take the lift / elevator or the escalator down to Floor 1. When you have reached Floor 1, exit the building. (Just by the exit, you will see toilets. Use them. Rush hour traffic can be very bad.) In the forecourt of the building, you will see two taxi queues. Join either queue. You will be directed by the attendant to a touch-screen from which you will obtain a queue card or chit / slip of paper for an ordinary taxi which seats three adults plus a small amount of luggage. If you have much luggage or are travelling in a group that will not fit into an ordinary taxi, the attendant will direct you to a touch-screen for a ‘van’, but which is meant a seven-seater taxi. If the attendant does not do this, alert the attendant. They are helpful. The tariff for an ordinary taxi and a seven-seater taxi is exactly the same. The chit or queue card will indicate the ‘lane number’ (by which is meant the bay) where you should board your taxi. It will also give the name of the taxi driver, his member ID (membership registration with the Suvarnabhumi Airport Transport Management), the car type (ie. a taxi) and the licence number of the taxi. In addition, the chit will also give you the phone numbers of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Transport Management Office. Show the driver the chit or queue card but make sure you get it back, then tell the driver you wish to be taken to The Atlanta Hotel in Soi 2 Sukhumvit Road. If you have difficulty communicating with him, the attendant will help. If you need further help, ask the senior attendant at the Taxi Passenger Service counter nearby. Keep the chit or queue card safely with you. If anything goes wrong or if you leave anything behind in the taxi, the details on the chit will enable you to contact the driver or the Suvarnabhumi Airport Transport Management Office. When you are in the taxi, spend a moment to read the details on the chit. Some details on it may have changed since the writing of this advice.
The total fare should be between Bahts 400 and Bahts 600. The taxi must use the meter and must not try to get you to pay a (higher) chartered fare. The payable fare, according to the meter, should be between Bahts 250 to Bahts 400, depending on traffic conditions. On top of that, you have to pay the driver the Bahts 50 airport surcharge (the charge levied on taxis by the airport for running the queue system) as indicated on the chit. You will also have to pay the two toll charges totalling Bahts 75. (The amount is small but if you are on a tight budget, look carefully at how much is being charged at the toll gates because the toll charges do increase from time to time and may therefore be higher than the amount indicated here.) The taxi driver may use his discretion and go through only one of the two toll gates which will save you some money, but forget about telling the driver to go through or not to go through either or both of the toll gates. He will pretend not to understand you and do what he deems most profitable for himself.
If you feel you have been overcharged by the meter or have difficulties you cannot resolve with the driver, unload all your luggage when you arrive at The Atlanta, tell the driver you will go in to change some money, then ask reception for help. Typically, in budget hotels, the hotel staff will take the side of the taxi driver against the tourist. This kind of partiality pervades the entire society. At The Atlanta, however, the staff have been taught to be neutral while protecting our guests in the interest of a fair outcome.
If you are a very large group and need a minibus, or if you would like more luxury, please contact any AOT Limousine Desk in the airport. AOT is the acronym for Airports of Thailand.
You may check their details at www.aot-limousine.com.
(1) Ignore touts who accost you to try to persuade you to take a car they can arrange for you. They may tell you it is a taxi or limousine or minibus. Ignore them! You will be ripped off and may be taken to a different hotel. Deal only with the Public Taxi attendant at the queue or with attendants behind the AOT Limousine counter.
(2) Do not take a stray taxi! A stray taxi is one which happens to be passing by and catches your eye. Ignore their offers and inducements. You will be ripped off and / or taken to some other place. Typically, once you have got into their taxi, they will switch on the turbo-meter which will tick over much more quickly. In the end, you will find you are being charged two, three, four or more times the normal meter fare!
(3) Spend a few minutes before you leave for Bangkok to surf the web to learn about the latest scams and shenanigans perpetrated by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, and for any recent changes in fares and tariffs. There is nothing to be said for naivety and selective ignorance in these parts.
From SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT to The Atlanta Hotel by AIRPORT RAIL LINK (A.R.L., the airport shuttle train), then by B.T.S. (also called Sky Train) which is the overground electric train system that serves Bangkok – only if you have luggage you can carry and walk for 700 yards / meters – buy ARL ticket in basement of airport building, then BTS ticket at Phaya Thai Station to Ploen Chit Station - total travel time one hour – cost under Bahts 100 – service roughly from 06:00 hrs till 24:00 hrs.
After clearing customs, follow signs to ‘Airport Rail Link’, which is in the basement of the building. You may take the lift / elevator or the escalator. (There are no toilets in the basement. The nearest toilets are on the ground floor or ‘Floor 1’ above.) Buy a ticket which, curiously, is a plastic coin, from the ticket window or the ticket machine. A ticket costs Bahts 45. Go down the escalator or lift / elevator to the platform. Airport Rail Link trains are frequent. [Click here if you wish to see the timetable for weekdays http://srtet.co.th/en/11_time_table/city_svb-pth_weekday.html and for weekends and public holidays http://www.srtet.co.th/en/11_time_table/lastest/city_svb-pth_weekend.html .] Travel all the way to the end of the line at Phaya Thai, which is the seventh stop. The travel time is 25 minutes. Alight and walk to Phaya Thai BTS Station (the Sky Train system that serves Bangkok) and buy another ticket for Phloen Chit. [Click here if you wish to see the route map and fare details http://www.bts.co.th/customer/en/02-route-current_new.aspx .] A ticket costs Bahts 28. Go to platform 1, ‘Kheha’. Alight at the fourth stop, called Phloen Chit, which is the station nearest The Atlanta. BTS travel time is 7 minutes. Take exit 4 from Phloen Chit Station down to the street. Exit 4 is the southeastern exit. While descending the staircase at exit 4, you will see Novotel on your right. Keep walking with the Novotel on your right till you reach the street level, then continue walking in the same direction. At the street level, you will find yourself walking under a huge overpass (for cars), then immediately crossing a railway line and a street. You will soon see a sign that reads ‘Ploenchit Center’ which is an office block with shops, including a McDonald and a Starbucks. Keep walking. You will reach the corner of Soi 2 Sukhumvit Road. Opposite you is the Marriott Hotel. The distance you have walked from exit 4 of Phloen Chit Station to the corner of Soi 2 Sukhumvit Road is about 100 yards / meters. Turn right to walk down Soi 2. The Atlanta Hotel is at the bottom of this lane, a distance of about 600 yards / meters from the corner. The total travelling time from the Airport Rail Link station to The Atlanta, including waiting time at the platforms and walking time, is about one hour.
Clarifying confusions: The signs are confusing if you pay too much attention to them. Signs in the airport direct you to the Airport Rail Link in the basement of the building. When you arrive in the basement of the building where you hope to see the Airport Rail Link ticket office and machines, you see signs and travellators to ‘City Line’ and ‘Express Line’, signs reading ‘SRTET’, and, when you stand before the ticket windows, the sign overhead reads ‘State Railway of Thailand’. Furthermore, signs and travellators to 'Express Line' lead nowhere. Ignore the profusion of signs. This is Thailand. Just buy the ticket. The State Railway of Thailand runs the Airport Rail Link through a company called the SRTET, the acronym for State Railway of Thailand Electrified Train Company. The Airport Rail Link used to have two services, the now defunct Express Line which ran from Suvarnabhumi Airport to downtown Bangkok with only one stop on the way – a faster, more comfortable and more expensive service; and the City Line which runs from Suvarnabhumi Airport to downtown Bangkok as a commuter train with eight stops. The commuter train City Line which is the only line operating now and which you will be taking does get crowded during rush hour as you approach Bangkok.