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Best International Airport to Fly Into in Thailand

Want to fly into an airport and step onto the beach or jump in a taxi and head straight to Bangkok?

Thailand is one of the most visited destinations in the world.  It has a unique charm that attracts travelers from around the globe.

With a wide variety of activities and adventures, Thailand has something for every traveler type. Visit golden plated temples, relax on beautiful beaches, or shop till you drop at the biggest malls in Asia.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) is the best airport to fly into Thailand because of its vast international and domestic connections and easy reach to Bangkok. Other airports may be more convenient, depending on your travel plans.

I’ve broken down a list of Thai airports, including recommended traveler types, so you can effectively reach your dream destination without the hassle of multiple layovers.

AirportClose toTraveler type
Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)Bangkok
Central World Mall
Khao San Road
Cityseeker
Backpacker
Explorer
Koh Samui International Airport (USM)Koh Samui
Koh Phangan
Full moon party
Island hopper
Beach lover
Sunseeker
Phuket International Airport (HKT)Patong
Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Yai
Phi Phi Island
Khao Lak
Island hopper
Beach lover
Sunseeker
Night owl
Krabi International Airport (KBV)Ao Nang
Had Yao
Rai Leh
Phi Phi Island
Koh Lanta
Island hopper
Beach lover
Sunseeker
U-Tapao Pattaya International Airport (UTP)Pattaya
Walking street
Beach lover
Sunseeker
Night owl
Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) or Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI)Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai
Doi Inthanon National Park
Backpacker
Explorer
Digital Nomad

Best airports in Thailand near beaches and islands

The beaches in Thailand are some of the most beautiful and well-kept beaches in the world. To find the most pristine, I would recommend traveling to the southwestern region areas were Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi located.

There are three main international airports located in the southern region near beaches and islands; these include Phuket International Airport (HKT), Krabi International Airport (KBV), and Koh Samui International Airport (USM).

Koh Samui International Airport

If you prefer to fly direct to an island paradise, then Koh Samui is ideal. It’s one of the most beautiful airports in Thailand with an Island styled theme and open planned departure lounge for plane spotting.

Flights are limited to Koh Samui, especially for international arrivals, so prepare to pay more compared to the majority of other airports.

Flying direct, you can bypass a boat journey, but convenience comes at a cost!

Ko Samui Airport

Phuket International Airport

If you prefer to have more travel options than just relaxing on an island, then flying into Phuket is highly recommended. Phuket airport is within easy reach of luxury resorts, beaches, the old town, and tourist hotspot Patong.

Services at Phuket Airport

  • Limited duty-free
  • A small collection of restaurants primarily in departures
  • Affordable Domestic flights

Insider tip

Want to avoid the busy tourist hot spots in Phuket? Check out neighboring province Phang Nga with its well-preserved nature reserve beaches such as Khao Lak. Highly recommended!

Krabi International Airport

Are you interested in exploring Krabi? Hop on a plane and fly direct to Krabi International. Getting to the local beaches of Ao Nang and Railay Beach takes around 30 minutes by local taxi at about 500 THB ($15 / £20).

Services at Krabi Airport

  • Shuttle bus (Per person 100 THB to Krabi town or 150 THB to Ao Nang)
  • Car rental
  • Domestic transfers

Best airports in Thailand near Bangkok

The two main airports of Thailand closest to Bangkok city are Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK).

Don Mueang is 22km, and Suvarnabhumi is 28km from Bangkok city center.

It’s easier to get into the city from Suvarnabhumi because it has more transport options, including a train, taxi, and bus.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport

The primary newer airport in Thailand is Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), which is conveniently located 30 minutes by taxi to Bangkok central.

Suvarnabhumi has many international flights per day, so prices are generally more competitive compared to other local airports.

Airlines traveling to domestic locations include Thai Smile and Bangkok Airways.

Services at Suvarnabhumi Airport

  • King power duty-free – lots of shopping options!
  • Wide choice of Thai and western restaurants within arrivals and departures
  • Capsule hotel for long haul transfers
  • Access to the airport train which takes you to inner Bangkok – recommend avoiding the train during peak times (8-9 am or 6-8 pm)

Insider tip

BKK airport has an array of public taxi stands waiting for incoming flights. Keep your hotel address handy to show your driver because the majority of them have limited English skills.

Luxury tip

Public taxis can be a hit and miss in terms of comfort. Another option is to use one of the many private companies. I recommend EVSociety which uses fully electric vehicles and the driver provides complementary water bottles. You can find their booth at level 1 arrivals, look out for their blue sign – it’s hard to miss it!

Don Mueang International Airport

The oldest airport in Thailand is Don Mueang, replaced as the primary transit hub in 2006 by successor Suvarnabhumi. It caters for international arrivals but primarily within the Asian region.

Are you traveling on a budget? If you’re planning to experience more of Thailand, Don Mueang has the cheapest local domestic airlines flying out of Bangkok.  Airlines include AirAsia and Thai Lion.

Best airport in Thailand near Pattaya

The most convenient airport near Pattaya is U-Tapao Pattaya International Airport (UTP), a 40km drive from Pattaya central.

The taxi ride to Pattaya City will take around 40-minutes and cost up to 1,000 THB ($30 / £25).

Insider tip

Taxi prices in the south of Thailand are generally more expensive than in Bangkok so be aware of possible scams or plan your taxi ahead of time.

Pattaya airport has a limited selection of international flights, so another option is to fly directly into Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and take a 2-hour taxi ride to Pattaya City.  The trip will set you back around 1,000 THB ($30 / £25.

Insider tip

Ensure the taxi you’re getting has working seatbelts and is of a newer model for more comfort during the long journey.

Best airports in the north of Thailand

The north of Thailand is well known for its mountainous landscape, hill tribes, and tea plantations.  Chiang Mai is the capital of the north and lures in explorers and digital nomads from around the globe.

There are two primary airports in the north, Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and  Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI).  The majority of international flights into these airports are from within the Asian region, so travelers outside Asia transfer via Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang.

View from Phu Chi Fa

Chiang Mai International Airport

Domestic airlines operating out of Chiang Mai include AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion Air, Thai Vietjet Air, and Thai Smile.

The airport conveniently located next to the city, so a taxi ride to your central hotel will take around 10 minutes (depending on traffic). A metered taxi will cost around 100-200 THB ($6 / £5).

I would recommend hiring a car at the airport to explore the mountainous regions freely. Although if you only plan to stay in the city for a few nights, then there are affordable taxi pickups that you can hop-on and hop-off to get around. Just tell the driver where you want to go then jump in the back.

Chiang Rai International Airport

The smaller little sister airport in the northeast is Chiang Rai.  Travelers go there to explore mountain regions such as Phu Chi Fa or visit the local Oolong plantation for tea tasting.

I highly recommend hiring a vehicle in Chiang Rai because public transport is limited. I would personally hire a car at the airport instead of a scooter because the roads are notoriously dangerous!

Cheapest airport to fly into Thailand

Generally, If you’re flying directly into Thailand from aboard, the cheapest airport is Suvarnabhumi because of its competitive airline choice.

Although I recommend taking into account your travel plans and calculate the total costs of additional transport such as taxis, boats and domestic flights to see which one works out cheaper for you.

Summary

The Thai airport you choose for your next holiday depends on your traveler type and itinerary.

Want to enjoy beaches and islands without the hassle of additional flights? Then fly directly into Phuket, Krabi or Koh Samui.

Are you a city hopper who enjoys nightlife and shopping? Then fly into Suvarnabhumi only a half-hour drive from Bangkok.

Flying on a budget internationally or planning a domestic adventure? Then consider Bangkok’s two primary airports that offer multiple transfer options.

Whatever airport you choose, Thailand has a lot to offer you, so pack your bags and enjoy your trip!

By Nicky

Expat who has lived, explored, and worked in Thailand for over 7 years. I started findyouthere.com to share the knowledge I've picked up over the years with travelers and expats alike.

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