First arrive to Bangkok
You are tired, weary, groggy and disoriented when you land at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. No one is meeting you and you need to figure out how to get to your hotel.

Everyone around seems to be speaking that strange language. You need to exchange money and look at those long lines at the immigration counters. Actually, Don Muang airport is fairly easy to navigate.
Thai Immigration You will get herded to the immigration area where you will likely spend from 15 - 45 minutes waiting for your passport to get stamped. But Thai immigration officials generally ask no questions. So that part, other than the waiting in line, is relatively painless

Baggage Next step is collecting baggage and dealing with customs. You first experience here will be pleasant since baggage carts are free.

Thai Customs If you only have personal items such as camera, clothing, notebook computer and the like, check "nothing to declare" on the customs declaration form and look for a "green channel". If you have declarable items, list them appropriately and look for the "red channel".

Customs agents in Bangkok are quite lenient, and the chances are you baggage won't even be checked.

Currency Exchange You will need Thai Baht to pay for transportation, tips, possibly a deposit at the hotel, maybe a cool libation to help you relax. Several banks have currency exchanges at Don Muang airport where you will get the official exchange rate. Change enough funds to last a day or perhaps two... until you can get to a bank or currency exchange around your hotel. Your hotel will exchange popular currencies, but you will get a lesser exchange rate, by as much as 10%.

Make sure you have smaller change for the taxi. They will usually claim to have none.

Don Muang also has ATM machines where many western credit cards can draw funds. The ATM machines can normally dispense Bt 20,000.

Domestic Terminal
Most flight seems to arrive at Bangkok late at night. But if you are on an earlier arrival and don't wish to stay overnight in Bangkok, the Domestic Terminal is connected by a long covered walkway. Also, free shuttle busses at the curb outside the terminal can take you there.

If you need a hotel, a kiosk in the lobby of the airport can help you out... but not at the best rate. Take a hotel in the area you want to stay and use the following day to find a cyber cafe, book online and move. Caution Don't use the kiosk to check on existing hotel reservations. They will probably tell you that hotel is full, and try to book you at another.

Getting to Downtown Bangkok
The last obstacle between your weary body and a relaxing drink, meal and sleep is the trip to the hotel. Most hotels don't have courtesy vehicles, so public transport is the only choice. But it is a relatively easy.

An airport bus runs a regular schedule from Don Muang to downtown, with stops along in popular areas. Fare is Bt 80. But it is not recommended for the first time travellers. The bus service also stops at midnight. If you don't know how to get to your hotel from the bus stops downtown, a taxi will be required. Then there is the issue of baggage handling.

For the seriously budget minded and intrepid travellers, there is a train station across the expressway opposite Don Muang. A pedestrian walkway takes one to the Amari Airport hotel, then exiting the lobby, the train stop is nearby. Just make sure you board a train headed in the correct direction.

Most will opt for taxis and Don Muang has a pretty good system. Ignore the touts who will approach you at the terminal exit. Find the taxi-meter service kiosk and ask for a taxi. The attendant will write the taxi number on a 3 part form, point out your taxi and give one part of the form to you and one to the taxi driver. The fee is an airport chare of Bt 50 that the driver will add to the meter charge. Don't let the driver have your copy... it is a reference in case of any problem with the taxi.

It is usually a good idea to let the driver take the toll way. This adds Bt 30 - 70 to the fare but avoids much of Bangkok's traffic. The trip to upper Sukumvit or Silom should be approximately Bt 250 - 300.

Caution: Some drivers will try to convince you to stay at hotel they know about and can get you a really great deal. Don't allow that to happen. They are working on commission. If the drive offers to take you to any place other than your original destination, just say no.

The limousine desk in the arrival hall will get you to most parts of Bangkok in a Volvo or Benz for
Bt 500 - 700.