Travel Tips : Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok

Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok
Waiting at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok

Since flying with Thai Airways from Khon Kaen to Bangkok is expensive and Thai Smile Airways is flying on Don Mueang instead of Suvarnabhumi I now fly again on Don Mueang when going to Bangkok. That brings back good old memories of the old days when travelling to Thailand. It was in 1985 that I landed for the first time on Don Mueang Airport and walked over the tarmac. No gates, you just walked to a main entrance door. Total chaos is what I remember. But that was 1985!

Airport code Don Mueang : DMK (not BKK)

Don Mueang airport is actually a militarily airport (as almost all airports in Thailand). When in 2005 (eh ... 2006) the new airport Suvarnabhumi was opened "all" commercial flight were moved from Don Mueang to the new airport Suvarnabhumi. But due to the not so clear design / building of the new airport it came very quickly known that the new airport had a capacity problem. So it took them 2 years to move all flights to the new airport (2008) at what time it did seem that Don Mueang would become a abandoned airport. But TIT .... the capacity problems of the new airport were not solved and domestic flights were moved back to Don Mueang. So now only Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways are flying domestic flights on Suvarnabhumi but all other domestic flights are on Don Mueang. And now even also international flights from budget airlines to Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Macau are using Don Mueang airport.

The Domestic part of the airport is still old style and in desperate need of renovation. After check-in you proceed to the gates area where are fast-food restaurants and some shops. When arriving you can take a taxi at the taxi ques for what you pay 50 Thai baht extra (what of course is just legalized  taxi mafia money). The International part of the airport seems to be renovated and there are plans for renovating the Domestic part also.

There are shuttle buses going to the city and to Suvarnabhumi Airport. But be aware that transfer will take about 1 hour. That is not included exiting the airplane, picking up your luggage and waiting for the shuttle bus to leave. So all together you should have 2 hours extra for transfer from Don Mueang Airport to Suvarbabhumi Airport. That means you should have 3 to 4 hours between 2 flights at different airports. That actually means that going to Phnom Penh from Khon Kaen becomes an almost full day program, while the flights are only 50 min + 110 min = 160 min  or less as 3 hours. See Don Mueang Airport

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