There are two international airports in Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK). Each offers its own unique perks, and deciding which one to fly into can feel like a daunting task.
After having flown into both airports in Bangkok more times than I can count, I’m here to tell you which airport is closer to the city and which airport is better to fly into.
Which Bangkok Airport Is Better and Closer To The City?
Don Mueang Airport (DMK) is slightly closer to the city center of Bangkok in terms of distance, but when it comes to commute time, it usually takes less time to go to the city center from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
That is because Don Mueang Airport is not as well-connected to the city center as Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The Bangkok Airport Rail Link connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai, near the city center of Bangkok.
(Locals typically consider Siam and the Ratchathewi neighborhood to be the center of the city)
On the other hand, the Don Mueang Airport equivalent is the SRT Dark Red Line, which goes from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station (Bang Sue Grand Station) to Rangsit Station, with Don Mueang being one of the stops.
Of course, depending on where you are staying in Bangkok, it might be better to fly into DMK airport than BKK airport. But for the majority of the time, BKK will be more convenient, especially if you are staying anywhere near the city center.
Now let’s look at the two airports in depth.
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Suvarnabhumi Airport, also known as Bangkok International Airport, is the main international airport in Bangkok.
It was originally built to replace Don Mueang Airport and began operations in 2006. Today, it serves as a hub for many major airlines including Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is known for its modern facilities, wide range of shopping and dining options, and efficient transportation connections to the city center.
Airlines Options At Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
As the main international airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Airport offers a wide variety of airlines to choose from. If you are flying internationally into Bangkok, chances are, you’ll be flying in BKK instead of DMK. Some of the major airlines that operate out of BKK include:
- Thai Airways
- Bangkok Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
Transportation Options At Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Bangkok Airport Rail Link
The Bangkok Airport Rail Link is the most convenient way to get to and from Suvarnabhumi Airport. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach Phaya Thai station, with stops at Makkasan and Ratchaprarop in between.
From Phaya Thai station, you can easily transfer to the BTS Skytrain or MRT subway system to reach your final destination.
Also from Makkasan Station, you also have the option to get on the MRT subway line.
There are also public buses that operate from Suvarnabhumi Airport to various locations in Bangkok. However, I would not recommend them since the traffic in Bangkok is horrendous and the train pretty much does the same thing.
Taking the bus can easily double or triple your commute time.
If you are going from BKK airport to Khao San Road, there is the bus S1 that takes you directly there.
Taxis in Bangkok are metered but have a surcharge when departing from the airport. Similar to the bus, I wouldn’t recommend them because of the traffic. There is nothing more anxiety-inducing (especially for your wallet) than sitting in standstill traffic while the meter ticks away.
If you want something private and hassle-free, you can always opt for an airport transfer service. This way, you don’t have to worry about the meter ticking away as you sit in traffic.
Many private companies offer door-to-door services from Suvarnabhumi Airport to your final destination in Bangkok.
Don Mueang Airport (DMK)
Don Mueang Airport, also known as Bangkok’s Old International Airport, was once the main airport in Bangkok before Suvarnabhumi Airport opened. It still serves as a hub for low-cost airlines such as AirAsia and Nok Air.
Compared to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang is smaller and less modern. However, it still offers a decent range of facilities and transportation options.
Oftentimes, flights out and in of DMK are cheaper than the ones at BKK, but the only downside is that the airport doesn’t serve that many destinations.
I find the customs, security, and immigration at DMK to be absolutely atrocious. There is somehow always a queue there, even if most flyers are flying domestically.
Airlines Options At Don Mueang Airport (DMK)
Don Mueang Airport mainly serves low-cost airlines that fly within Southeast Asia. Some of the popular airlines that operate from DMK include:
- Nok Air
- Thai Lion Air
Transportation Options At Don Mueang Airport (DMK)
SRT Dark Red Line
As mentioned earlier, the SRT Dark Red Line is the train system that connects Don Mueang Airport to Bang Sue Grand Station (aka Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station), which isn’t exactly the city center.
From there, you’ll most likely have to transfer to the MRT subway system to get to where you want. And depending on where you are staying, you might even have to hop on the BTS Sky Train.
It takes approximately 30 minutes to get to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station, and from there, another hour or more to get to the center.
Similarly, there are also public buses that operate from Don Mueang Airport. In this scenario, since the train option takes such a long time, public buses might be a good option for you to get into the city center.
There are four major bus routes to and from Don Mueang Airport:
- A1 – Operates between Don Mueang Airport and Mo Chit Bus Terminal
- A2 – Operates between Don Mueang Airport and Victory Monument (Near city center)
- A3 – Operates between Don Mueang Airport and Ratchaprarop, Central World, and Lumphini Park
- A4 – Operates between Don Mueang Airport and Democracy Monument, Khao San Road, and Sanam Luang
If you are planning on going from Don Mueang Airport to Khao San Road, then the A4 bus is perfect.
Taxis departing from Don Mueang Airport have a cheaper surcharge compared to taxis leaving from Suvarnabhumi Airport. However, the traffic can still be an issue. It is also very likely that the driver will go on a toll road, and the passengers will have to be responsible for the fee.
Just like Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can also opt for a private airport transfer service from Don Mueang Airport. This is a good option if you want to avoid the hassle of navigating public transportation or sitting in traffic and waiting for the meter to rack up.
Airports In Bangkok FAQs
How Many Airports Are In Bangkok?
There are two main airports in Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK). These are the primary international and domestic airports in Bangkok, respectively. However, there are also several smaller airports that serve private or chartered flights.
Is DMK or BKK Closer to the City?
Don Mueang Airport (DMK) is closer to the city center compared to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). BKK is located approximately 30 kilometers east of central Bangkok, while DMK is located around 25 kilometers north of the city. However, it is usually much quicker to get from BKK to the city center thanks to the convenient Bangkok Airport Rail Link.
How far is Suvarnabhumi Airport from Don Mueang Airport?
Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang Airport are approximately 40 kilometers apart. The travel time between the two airports can vary depending on traffic conditions, but it usually takes around 1-2 hours by car or taxi. There is also a shuttle bus service that connects the two airports, which takes around 1-1.5 hours.
Final Thoughts: DMK vs BKK – Which Is Better?
If you have read this far, then you know that BKK is definitely a better airport than DMK. Not only are the facilities better, there are more destinations served. Plus, it takes about 30 minutes to get to the city center using the Bangkok Airport Rail Link.
However, flying out of DMK has some pros. Distance-wise, it is a little bit closer to the city center, so if you are in a taxi, then it’ll be quicker to get to.