So you’ve booked all of your Thailand tours, but the one thing you forgot was ground transportation from the airport to your hotel. Now you’ve just spent hours sitting in a stuffed, crowded airplane cabin. You’re tired, probably a little jet-lagged, and now you need to figure out how to get to your hotel. One option for you to consider is the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link (SARL or ARL for short).
The Airport Rail Link(ARL) is a train(rail) service that goes from Suvarnabhumi Airport to central Bangkok. The ARL has two lines, the SA City Line and the SA Express, both of which go from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the Bangkok City Air Terminal (BCAT – also known as Makkasan Station). The difference is that the SA Express comes once every hour and goes non-stop from BCAT to Suvarnabhumi while the SA City Line has many stops as can be seen below:
**NOTE – SA Express service to Phaya Thai suspended from 14 April 2014 ~ April 2015 for maintenance. **
As you can see from the picture above, the SA City Line has eight stops starting from Suvarnabhumi Airport and ending in Phaya Thai. The trains leave roughly every 15 minutes and it takes a little less than 30 minutes to get from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai. The first train leaves around 6AM (06:00) and the last train leaves around Midnight (00:00). The latest weekday timetable for the SA City Line can be found here. The latest weekend timetable can be found here. Fares on the SA City Line range between 15-45 baht one-way, depending on how far you travel.
In contrast with the SA City Line, the trains on the SA Express Line leave Suvarnabhumi Airport roughly every 45 minutes and it takes a little over 15 minutes to reach BCAT (Makkasan Station). The first and last trains for the SA Express Line are around the same time as the SA City Line with the first train leaving around 6AM (06:00) and the last train leaving around Midnight (00:00). The latest weekday timetable for the SA Express Line can be found here. The latest weekend timetable can be found here. The fare on the SA Airport Express from Suvarnabhumi to BCAT (Makkasan Station) is 150 baht.
Another couple things to point out about the SA Express Line vs the SA City Line is that the SA City Line is a commuter train that is used heavily by locals as well as by tourists. While there tend to be more people on the SA City Line, there is still standing room available for luggage, but there are no dedicated luggage racks. The SA Express Line trains have dedicated luggage racks since the trains are mainly used by tourists, but the luggage racks often go unused since there are usually plenty of seats and space available on the express trains. The bottom line is just take the next train due to leave the station as there is no need to wait around for an express train.
To get to the ARL train from Suvarnabhumi Airport, just follow the signs and head down to the lowest level (B floor) of the airport. You should come across token machines and a ticket booth where you can purchase your fare for the train.
Of course, you can always take a taxi, but it will probably end up costing you more and may even take you longer to reach your destination. Here is the article on getting from the airport to hotel via taxi.
Here is a slideshow showing pictures of Bangkok’s Airport Rail Link: