The Ultimate Bangkok Stopover GuideA hub for Thai Airways, Bangkok is a popular stopover point for Australians travelling to Asia or Europe. This buzzing metropolis is also a fantastic destination in its own right.

Are you planning one night in Bangkok (or perhaps a few more)? This AFF guide will help you to make the most of your Bangkok stopover!

Note that there are two international airports in Bangkok. Airport-specific information in this article refers to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is used by most airlines. Bangkok’s other airport, Don Mueang International (DMK) is used predominantly by low-cost carriers.

How to get from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city

The easiest ways to get from Bangkok Airport to the city are by train or taxi. As mrfreeze explains, the Airport Rail Link is inexpensive and runs regularly.

On the basement level there is the Airport Rail Link (ARL) which runs from BKK airport into the city stopping at Phaya Thai station. The ARL links up to the MRT and SRT where you can then head to other parts on Bangkok.The ARL is open from approx. 6am to midnight and trains run every 12 to 15 minutes approx.

You can also catch a cab from the taxi rank on the ground floor of the airport. Beware that some drivers might not use the meter (or pretend it is broken). Always insist that the meter is used as the fare will be substantially lower. As Henry48 explains, you’ll also need to pay any tolls in cash.

Our standard practice is to take the escalator to the bottom floor at the airport and get a meter taxi at the cab stand. There are sometimes queues here, but just join the line for the maxi-taxis which solves the problem. Make sure the driver turns on the meter as you get in. Hand him THB110 for the freeway tolls as you start off (same on the way back to the airport), along with a printout in Thai of the hotel’s address (from its website).

Unfortunately, Bangkok traffic can be very heavy. This is especially the case between 5pm and 7pm – right after the Qantas flight from Sydney to Bangkok arrives. If arriving at this time, moa999 recommends catching the train.

I’d add that Bangkok evening traffic is horrid (ie when QF23 and the similar timed TG flight arrive) so Id recommend the rail + MRT option if staying at a hotel near the MRT.

Where to stay in Bangkok

If you have a short overnight stop in Bangkok, there are many hotels within close proximity of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Many of these hotels offer a free airport shuttle service. The most convenient hotel is the Novotel, just a short walk from the airport. The Novotel offers both overnight and day rooms. There is also a transit hotel located within the airport terminal, offering rooms in 6-hour blocks. But the convenience comes at a price!

If you head into the city, there are many more options. Hotels in Bangkok are also great vaule – it’s not hard to find a room at a 5-star hotel for barely $100 per night!

Here are some specific AFF member recommendations for Bangkok hotels:

  • Grand President Hotel (recommended by Henry48)
  • Mandarin Hotel (recommended by Melburnian1)

What to do in Bangkok

There is plenty to see and do in Bangkok and the surrounding region. The Grand Palace is a “must see” in Bangkok, but there are lots of other attractions also worth visiting. If you have a few days, you could also consider one of the many day tours offered in and around Bangkok.

One of the highlights of a Bangkok stopover is the excellent food and nightlife. mrfreeze has some handy tips in this AFF post.

The best Bangkok Airport lounges

As Bangkok is a hub for Thai Airways, it’s no surprise that the Thai Airways lounges are among the best at Bangkok Airport. You’ll have access if you have Star Alliance Gold status or a Business/First Class ticket and are flying with any Star Alliance airline. Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian Airlines also invite their passengers to use the Thai Airways lounges. The service at the Royal Orchid Lounge for Thai Airways and Star Alliance First Class passengers – and Royal Orchid Plus Platinum cardholders – is especially excellent.

There is no Qantas Lounge in Bangkok (the Bangkok Qantas Club closed in 2015) so Qantas passengers are directed to the Louis Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse G. This lounge is quite basic, so eligible frequent flyers are better off using the Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines or Emirates lounges.

There are also many pay-per-use and Priority Pass lounges available, of varying quality.


Do you have a great Bangkok stopover tip to share? See more member recommendations and join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Bangkok (BKK) Stopover Tips


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]