Arriving at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is a fairly relaxing experience, for either short or long haul flights.
The signpost is clear and this newer airport is on the East side of the city, making the coastal towns of the East coast very accessible.
The most popular of these towns is Pattaya, about 90 Kilometres from the Bangkok airport.
There are lots of options in getting to Pattaya by road, using the bus service, a private taxi or self drive car rental.
The most convenient route is to use the expressway, which has toll fees, but these are not very expensive for Western visitors.
Bangkok Airport to Pattaya By Bus
There lots of tour buses going from outside the Arrivals Terminal, but these are chartered to groups, so for the independent traveler, its necessary to go to the Ordinary Bus Terminal.
There is a free shuttle bus from outside the main terminal.
The stop is at the far end of the row of bus stops outside the convenience store, having turned left when coming out of the lower floor of the main building.
The free shuttle takes about 15 minutes to get to the bus station as it stops at various administrative buildings on the way.
The bus station is the last stop, so there’s no need to worry about getting off at the wrong stop.
The bus to Pattaya is at the far end of the row of bus stops, and is signposted in Thai and English.
The fare is around 110 Baht for the air conditioned bus and they currently have four services from 6am through to 7pm.
The bus number is 999 and the journey time is around 2hours.
Bangkok Airport to Pattaya By Taxi or Limousine
By far the easiest, but also the most expensive option.
In the arrivals hall there are plenty of offers from expensive taxi services charging rates from 1,800 upwards depending on the type of vehicle.
These range from Mercedes to fairly ordinary cars.
AOT (Airport Authority of Thailand) have some very nice big cars and these can be booked in advance, but this is the most expensive option.
For a group of four, this may be a good option.
Many hotels will also have a pick up service from Pattaya, so it is worth looking into that option before arriving.
The cost of a personal collection is no more than using one of the 'touts' on arrivals, so having someone waiting at arrivals is more convenient, faster and the driver will go directly to the hotel.
The other taxi option is to take a meter taxi from the arrivals level.
On this option, passengers will have to negotiate a price before heading off since the driver will not use the meter.
Typical price range for ordinary taxi is 1,500 to 1,800 maximum. The driver would expect 1,500 but will try for a higher price if possible.
Extra to this will be the toll fee which is normal practice in Thailand. – It’s not a rip off!
Have plenty of 20 Baht notes handy to give the driver as he gets to the toll booths. He will pass back any change due.
Allow about 120 baht for toll fees.
Bangkok Airport to Pattaya By Self Drive Rental
All the major car rental companies have booths at Suvarnabhumi Airport, but the car collection location is away from the terminals.
Thai Car Rent has its offices and cars off airport, but very close to the expressway, which has to be used anyway, so not a lot of time is lost on that one.
The route is very easy. Coming out of the airport complex, the expressway runs west to Bangkok city centre (left) and east (right) to Pattaya and the Eastern seaboard. From there it’s nearly all expressways on Route 7.
Signifacant signposts, which are in Thai and English, are Chonburi, and Rayong.
Drivers should simply follow these but once Pattaya appears, follow those signs; otherwise there is a chance of ending up in Rayong instead.
The drive should take about an hour and a half, but can be delayed during the peak hours, which sometimes seem to run all day on this road.
Remember to pull over if it starts to rain really heavily, such as during the monsoon season, and try to keep to the speed limits – Thai police are very keen to pull foreign drivers over and issue an on the spot fine. (commonly known as 'tea money')
Bangkok Airport to Pattaya By Rail
There is a rails service to Pattaya, from Bangkoks main railway station.
From the airport this is not really an option since it means a trip into the city and then back out again to Pattaya.
The service runs about twice a day and has been described as 'not great'. So advice would be to give that a miss.
Bangkok Airport Transfer to Pattaya Service
See how to get to Pattaya from Bangkok city centre