Where to Fly Into Thailand (BEST International Airports)

This guide outlines the various airport options for flying into Thailand.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) is the best way to fly to Thailand due to its extensive selection of international and domestic routes and easy access to Bangkok, the country’s capital.

Airport Overview

AirportClose toGreat for
Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)
or
Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)
Bangkok
Ayutthaya
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)Phuket Island
Patong
Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Yai
Phi Phi Island
Khao Lak
Mai Khao Beach
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
Koh Samet
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

South of Thailand – Beaches & Islands

Thailand’s beaches are some of the best and most well-kept in the world.

To find the most pristine beaches, I recommend traveling to the southwestern areas of Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi.

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 (USM)

Koh Samui Airport

Koh Samui is ideal if you prefer to fly directly to an island paradise.

It’s one of the most beautiful airports in Thailand, with an Island-styled theme and an open planned departure lounge for plane spotting.

Flights are limited to Koh Samui, especially for international arrivals, so prepare to pay more than most other airports.

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

Looking for alternative transport options to Koh Samui? Check out my article on ways of getting there.

Phuket International Airport (HKT)

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

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 (KBV)

Are you interested in exploring Krabi? Hop on a plane and fly directly 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

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.

Getting into the city from Suvarnabhumi is easier because it has more transport options, including a train, taxi, and bus.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)

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

Suvarnabhumi has many international and domestic flights per day, so prices are generally more competitive than other local airports.

Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, and Thai Vietjet Air are airlines that travel to domestic locations within Thailand from BKK.

Services at Suvarnabhumi Airport

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 (DMK)

The oldest airport in Thailand is Don Mueang, replaced as the primary transit hub in 2006 by its successor Suvarnabhumi. It caters to 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.

What is the difference between Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi?

Suvarnabhumi is the primary airport in Thailand, serving a broader range of airlines for both domestic and international flights. On the other hand, Don Muang is a smaller airport that primarily caters to budget carriers for domestic and regional flights within Asia.

Is it better to fly into BKK or DMK?

Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is the main airport with a more comprehensive selection of airlines, airport facilities, and onward transport options. However, Don Mueang (DMK) is a good option for travelers on a budget, flying with low-cost carriers operating within the Asian region.

Is DMK or BKK closer to the city?

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) are conveniently located near downtown Bangkok. BKK is situated in the eastern part of the city and is approximately a 30-minute to one-hour drive away, while DMK is located in the northwest of the city and is about a 30-40 minute drive away.

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 cost 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.

Alternatively, you can travel to Pattaya from any Bangkok airport by taxi. The journey typically takes about 2 hours.

North of Thailand – Mountainous Regions

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 explorers and digital nomads from around the globe.

Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI) are the two primary airports in the north.

Most international flights into these airports are from within the Asian region, so travelers outside Asia transfer via Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang.

Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX)

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

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

I 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, there are affordable taxi pickups you can hop on and hop off to get around. Just inform the driver where you want to go, then jump in the back of the pickup.

Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI)

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

Cheapest airport to fly into Thailand

Airports in Bangkok are the cheapest to fly into Thailand internationally because they have a wider selection of international airlines, making them more competitive in pricing.

However, I recommend considering your travel plans and calculating the total costs of additional transport such as taxis, boats, and domestic flights to see which works out cheaper for you.

Check my article on the various transport options available within Thailand.

Before you go…

Looking for other travel guides? We have compiled a list of helpful articles to help you plan your trip to Thailand.

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Written by Nicky

Hi! 👋 I'm an expat who has lived, explored, and worked in Asia for over 10 years. I started findyouthere.com to share the knowledge I've picked up over the years with travelers interested in visiting Asia. Find out more on our about page.

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