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Old Jun 10, 12, 1:56 pm   #1
 
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BKK to downtown and back?

To all the FT's, thank you all very much for the advice and help you all have been giving over the past few months. Thailand is going to be my biggest trip that I have ever taken and I am doing everything in my power to be as prepared and knowledgeable it as possible. As I am sure many of you have noticed I has posted quite a lot of topics in this section, everything from VIP theaters to cell phones, I hope these post aren't a burden and I really appreciate all the information.

With that said, I have a question that needs some input from you all if you wouldn't mind. I get into BKK at 5:30 AM and in FC on Thai Air into BKK. I have a flight on Bangkok Air at 3:30 PM out of BKK on Bangkok Air in BC. Will I have enough time to get through customs, get a cab downtown, hopefully find a place to get fitted for a suit or two, and spend a little time in downtown Bangkok, then hop a cab back to the airport to catch my late afternoon flight?
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Old Jun 10, 12, 6:16 pm   #2
 
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That's a plenty long layover. BUT at that early hour little will be open unless you want to visit the flower market or just hang out in town. Probably better than sitting around the airport all day though. Rush hour traffic into the city will be heavy (unless you are arriving on a weekend), so the train might be preferable.

I've never gotten a suit made there. I am sure there are plenty of opinions about whether that is worth doing or not. I can't imagine measuring you would take especially long. I had a shirt made there once that was not of particularly good quality or fit. And it wasn't that much cheaper than getting custom shirts here at home.
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Old Jun 10, 12, 6:36 pm   #3
 
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Is your onward flight domestic or international? Will you have a lot of baggage? Have you identified a specific tailor? If so, what time do they open? What day of the week? Even specific date as it may be a holiday?

The SARL trains start running, ~ 06:00 so depending on your destinations, this may be a good option.

The duration of your lay-over would seem to give you enough time get into town, get a fitting, maybe look around a little, grab a bite to eat and get back to the airport.
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Old Jun 10, 12, 8:02 pm   #4
 
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Forget the suit. It takes a minimum of 2 or 3 fittings. R U sure you can't find a connection in the morning. I love Bangkok, but I don't see any real value in an 8 hr layover that starts at 5:30, since I assume the long leg of your trip is already over (if not why the Hell are you flying F ?). IMO give BKK a day or 2 or give it a miss. wj

Last edited by whackyjacky; Jun 10, 12 at 9:33 pm..
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Old Jun 10, 12, 9:23 pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngmiler View Post

With that said, I have a question that needs some input from you all if you wouldn't mind. I get into BKK at 5:30 AM and in FC on Thai Air into BKK. I have a flight on Bangkok Air at 3:30 PM out of BKK on Bangkok Air in BC. Will I have enough time to get through customs, get a cab downtown, hopefully find a place to get fitted for a suit or two, and spend a little time in downtown Bangkok, then hop a cab back to the airport to catch my late afternoon flight?
You'll have time to do what you desire if it's planned out ahead of time. If you're going to arrive and then try to find a reputable tailorshop you might as well not bother.

Just out of curiosity, are you flying to MLE? There are precious few routes exBKK plied with C and the only domestic one is to USM (and there's no 15:30 flight that i can see). If this is an international route be sure to give enough time for checkin and immigration (which isn't too bad these days).
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Old Jun 11, 12, 7:26 am   #6
 
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I arrive into Bangkok Aug 3rd. Packing light, just a backpack and small duffel. The 5:30AM arrival flight into BKK is from Switzerland, the outgoing is to Koh Samui (domestic trip). I will be stopping into Bangkok two other times during the trip and will have sufficient time to get the suit properly adjusted.

I am looking to do all the planning now, so I can do this, that is why I am seeking advice, trying to schedule everything. What I have so far is something like the following.

5:30AM - arrival into BKK
6:30AM - through customs and baggage picked up
7:30AM - have Thailand cell service set up and money converted
8:00AM - arrival downtown via SARL train
8:30AM - have breakfast and briefly walk around city
9:00 till 1:30 - meet with tailors and visit the area
2:00PM - depart for BKK
3:30PM - depart for Koh Samui

I still need to look into which tailors I want to use, I have been reading the threads about Thailand Tailors, but haven't made my mind up, because of the mixed reviews I keep stumbling on.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 7:49 am   #7
 
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Arriving TG F, if your flight is on time you will be through immigration and customs in much less than an hour. As an F pax they will pick you up at the gate and drive you in an electric cart to immigration and escort you to the fast track line. Baggage usually comes out pretty quickly in my experience. Customs is just a wave through for the most part.

I also doubt it would take an hour to get money changed and the cell phone set up. Obviously you don't need to rush but these things do not take much time.

Depending on where you are headed in the city that might take a little while to get there once you get off the train. Bangkok is not an easy or great city for walking in my experience with the exception of a few neighborhoods.

I agree that knowing where you want to go ahead of time will be important.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 10:11 am   #8
 
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Oh, I get it now. Plan is totally do-able. In fact, I think you have time to throw in a massage after your long flight as well. They're probably the biggest bargain in BKK. Wouldn't waste miles or $ for J on the short hop to KS though. Get a 2nd pair of pants made. They always wear out 1st. wj
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Old Jun 11, 12, 6:54 pm   #9
 
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A lot of your timetable will be determined by the tailor shop: location, opening hours, etc. I might wait to exchange money in town as it can be advantageous especially in larger quantities, but understand you need some local currency upon landing. The three major mobile service providers: AIS/One-2-Call, DTAC/Happy, TrueMove (H), all have shops on level 2, Arrivals, near doors #5, 6 & 7:

http://www.suvarnabhumiairport.com/i..._mobile_en.php

I would avoid TrueMove (H) for now.

Note that any Friday, near the end of a month, and at the beginning of the month can be a bit crazier getting around, as people are settling accounts owing to salary day. Also the 8th of August is a national holiday so I imagine many people will take an extra long weekend.

I might start back to the airport closer to 13:30 as the SARL is experiencing some scheduling issues owing to a lack of working rolling stock, and you do not want to miss a Friday afternoon flight to Samui.

Last edited by transpac; Jun 11, 12 at 8:27 pm..
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Old Jun 11, 12, 7:02 pm   #10
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Exchange the minimum amount of money you'll need at the airport to get your phone/get into town.

The airport's exchange rate is quite poor and you'll do much better at any random bank in town. If you have time to go to super rich in the Ratchadamri area (near Central World) you'll do close to 1 Baht/ USD better than the airport.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 7:15 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Exchange the minimum amount of money you'll need at the airport to get your phone/get into town.

The airport's exchange rate is quite poor and you'll do much better at any random bank in town. If you have time to go to super rich in the Ratchadamri area (near Central World) you'll do close to 1 Baht/ USD better than the airport.
There's more, I've seen outlets at Phromphong & Chidlom Stations. There used to be one on Soi 22, but I haven't seen it lately. It probably moved to Phromphong. wj
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Old Jun 11, 12, 8:26 pm   #12
 
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There's more, I've seen outlets at Phromphong & Chidlom Stations. There used to be one on Soi 22, but I haven't seen it lately. It probably moved to Phromphong. wj
FWIW, These ~ 8 other Superrich outlets do not give quite as good a rate as the Ratchadamri location, which may or may not be off-set by additional travel costs?

And Superrich have an Android app., and an iPhone app., quite handy when timing a large-ish transaction.
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Old Jun 12, 12, 1:22 am   #13
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There's more, I've seen outlets at Phromphong & Chidlom Stations. There used to be one on Soi 22, but I haven't seen it lately. It probably moved to Phromphong. wj
Quote:
Originally Posted by transpac View Post
FWIW, These ~ 8 other Superrich outlets do not give quite as good a rate as the Ratchadamri location, which may or may not be off-set by additional travel costs?

And Superrich have an Android app., and an iPhone app., quite handy when timing a large-ish transaction.
Indeed, rates are only guaranteed for the main Ratchadamri branch.

There are 2 'Super Rich' brands. Behind Big C at the Ratchadamri location they are across the street from each other. One is orange and the other is green.

I prefer the latter since their rates are typically slightly better. They also tend to be much busier.
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Old Jun 12, 12, 8:01 am   #14
 
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@dsquared37

Would it be best if I exchange a few hundred dollars in the US before I leave for Thailand to cover cell phone and train to downtown. Should I bring over a bunch of travelers checks to Thailand and go to a bank in downtown Bangkok to exchange them. I am reading a lot that the best way to get a good rate is with a debit card instead of cash/travelers check or is this a myth?
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Old Jun 12, 12, 9:16 am   #15
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Originally Posted by Youngmiler View Post
@dsquared37

Would it be best if I exchange a few hundred dollars in the US before I leave for Thailand to cover cell phone and train to downtown. Should I bring over a bunch of travelers checks to Thailand and go to a bank in downtown Bangkok to exchange them. I am reading a lot that the best way to get a good rate is with a debit card instead of cash/travelers check or is this a myth?
I think the consensus is that changing money in US is the worst exchange.

Crisp $50 and $100 dollar bills get best exchange rates.

With exception of few places ATMs have a 150 Baht fee associated with each tranaction, about $5 US Travellers checks have a comission, though tend to have a better exchange rate.

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