|Panorama section of the Bangkok skyline from Baiyoke Tower|
Because of the delay in boarding at Taoyuan International in Taipei we were almost an even hour late arriving at Suvarnabhumi International in Bangkok. This time I moved along in a more sprightly manner and still had a bit of a problem keeping up with my friend. He was quite the excited bunny to get out on the town for the night, so I did my best.
|The first ramp up to Immigration, on a regular day|
It was just past lunchtime when we got off the plane and stayed ahead of the pack from our flight, but it ended up being a moot point when we arrived at the left turn from our gate lane into the arrivals area of immigration; the lines were not only filling the normal area "queue up in a line and wait" area, a solid mass of humanity had spilled out and down two thirds of the carpeted incline. I'd never seen it so bad.
By the way - the ramp image above is from the February 3rd, 2011 "Arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport" post. If you're a true "newbie" I'd suggest slogging through that in addition to other reference sites. Really. It'll save you time and trouble.
|The orange icons are immigration - arriving from the E, F, or G gates most people would stop at the first area to their left, but sometimes it's better not to.|
Remembering that there was another area a bit further along the gate lane; another 50 yards or so, and also to the left. My friend didn't want to try it, but having spent over an hour in line in the past I figured I'd find the alternate area. When I got to it I was pleasantly surprised to see more or less normal lines, and I was through and heading to the baggage carousel in about 15 minutes. Where I came through was down near the lowest-numbered baggage carousels but I strolled over to #22 where our bags were going around and around.
Luggage carts are free - as they ought to be everywhere, in my opinion - and after collecting our stuff and having nothing to declare we headed towards the logical lane to exits, those marked "Nothing to Declare". For some reason there was only one of those open that day, and there were several folks ahead of us with at least five oversize bags apiece that agents wanted to look into. We waited. And waited.
When my turn came, luck was evidently on a break of some sort and I was asked to open two bags, the first time in well over a dozen arrivals. They didn't do more than paw through the first couple layers of each, so it didn't take long - and after the delay caused by the people ahead of us it didn't seem much of a bother at all. The agent picked up a couple of the toys I'd brought for some of the orphanage kids so I asked if he had kids. When he said yes I handed him a few, and he thanked me. Waved along we walked out into the Arrivals hall.
|The "approved" taxi stand issues you a ticket at the counter|
At the taxi stand in front of the terminal at ground level we hired a ride for the 40 minute (more or less) ride into Bangkok proper, arriving at our first stop on the trip: the Trinity Glow Silom hotel.
As we were only going to be there for two nights I didn't fully unpack, but I did shower and rested for an hour or so, until it was getting closer to dinnertime. It was only a little after 6:00pm, and we had our first night in the Big Mango still ahead of us.
Although my friend and I would be having very different adventures on this trip, we were both ready for them to begin... and they did, soon after.
|The lights just beginning to show at dusk in Bangkok|