Bangkok Airport Link Train Service
After more than a year of delays, and not a little confusion, the Bangkok Airport Rail Link officially opened for business on 23 August 2010. The service provides a quick rail link between the airport and the "City Terminal" off Asoke Road near the Sukhumvit area. The journey takes just 15 minutes or so. The tracks are also used by the new City Line commuter service. The City Line uses different trains and stops at five stations between the airport and the City Terminal. As of 1 June 2011, the operators added a second express service, between the airport and the Phyathai Station. The new route gives easy access to the Skytrain system, and so should be easier for those with a little luggage. The service runs every 20 minutes, alternating with the Makassan service. Also note that there is no check-in service at Phayathai station.
Interior of the Airport Express Trains
As you can see in the picture above, the Airport Express trains have a 'plush' interior with padded seats, carpeting, overhead luggage racks and space for larger suitcases near every door. This is quite different from the City Line cars, which have hard plastic bench seats and no racks.
The station at the airport is on the basement level. From arrivals on Level 2 you would go down two levels to reach the station. The level in between is where the public taxi queue is located. The airport is already relatively well signed. At the station, look carefully for the signs to the trains you want to take. Oddly, they color-coded the trains - red for the Airport Express, blue for the City Line - but all the signs in the airport station are red, including those for the City Line.
There's also a number of food shops on the basement level outside the station. These include a Subway, Baskin Robins, Dunkin Donuts, 7-11 and a few others. The station is also were the tunnel to the Airport Hotel is located.
The check-in counters at the Makassan City Terminal, before they were opened for business.
The Makassan City Terminal is a large new complex next to the State Railway maintenance yard. The station is near the Petchburi Subway station, but as yet there are no signs in the station or between it and the terminal to help you find your way, and getting there requires you to cross a somewhat busy road, which you might not want to do with a heavy suitcase. The City Terminal has been designed so that you can check in for your flight, including checking your bags, at the terminal. This service is currently available to passengers flying Thai or Bangkok Airways.
The cost for the express Airport Express service is 150 Baht (4,477.61 USD), but there's a special price on the new Phayathai route of just 90 Baht (2,686.57 USD) until the end of 2011. If you're traveling alone and staying in the Sukhumvit or Siam areas, the link will save you time and money. However, if you're not alone and staying on the river, for example, using the link and then a taxi will likely cost you more than a taxi direct from the airport, and probably won't save you much time. The City Line costs 15 to 40 Baht per trip, depending on distance.