Pronounced “su-wan-na-poom,” Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport was named so by Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The name “Suvarnabhumi” means “The Golden Land”, which is a specific reference to the region of old Indochina, which included Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.
The airport which was completed both late & well over it’s original 155 billion Thai baht ($3.8 billion) finally opened for business on 28th September 2006.
Suvarnabhumi Airport boasts of having the tallest control tower in the world at 132.2 meters and one of the world’s largest single building airport terminal structures at 563,000sq metres.
The airport as well as being a major hub for both visitors to Bangkok & Thailand & as a “stopover destination”, is also a major cargo hub, making it already one of the busiest airports both in Asia & the world. To serve this purpose efficiently, Suvarnabhumi is well connected by motorways to Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, where many export manufacturers are based.
Suvarnabhumi Airport has two parallel taxiways and two parallel runways, to accommodate simultaneous arrivals and departures. At least 5 out of 120 of its parking bays are constructed to be able to accommodate the Airbus A380 aircraft.
The airport currently has the ability to handle 76 flights per hour and will reach it’s current capacity of 45 million passengers & 3 million tonnes of air cargo annually within the next couple of years!. There are however plans already in place to increase the capacity up to well over 100 million passengers a year & 6.5 million tonnes of air-cargo!!.
Suvarnbhumi Airport is currently served by no less than 22 hotels within relatively close proximity of the airport, which is actually some 25kms (15 miles) outside downtown Bangkok, please just click the link, scroll down the page to “Hotels in Bangkok” & the tab “Location” to “Suvarnbhumi Airport” to see the range from budget all the way up to 5* options!.
Getting to & from the airport will shortly be much easier, as the construction of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Express nears completion (as at Oct 2009). This high speed link will allow passengers a 15 minute journey between the airport & Phaya Thai, which then links to the BTS network & will allow easy access to all downtown Bangkok areas.
The airport has received quite a considerable amount of negative media coverage over the last few months as several “scams” have been discovered basically extorting money from unsuspecting visitors.
These have ranged from un-metered & illegal taxi driver & tour guides through to fraudulent “allegations of suspected theft” against airport shoppers with long periods of detention & “substantial fines” involving both airport staff & local police forces.
These scams are proving incredibly difficult to eradicate from Suvarnbhumi Airport, as they appear to have the backing of both high ranking officials, local mafia & organised crime gangs.
The most useful word of advice is just be on your guard when shopping that you remain within the confines of the main shopping areas & keep any potential purchases where they can be very clearly seen.
It also has to be said that considering the volume of traffic that goes through the airport on a daily basis, the chances of personally being caught up in one of these situations is less than 1%, so don’t worry, have a great visit to Thailand!.