One of two airports now servicing Bangkok, Don Mueang International Airport was the main hub before Suvarnabhumi Airport opened in 2006. Don Mueang closed its doors for a year and underwent renovations, then re-opened in 2007 for regional commuter flights. It is now the de-facto transport hub for budget airlines in Bangkok and the world’s largest low-cost carrier airport.
Don Mueang International Airport is divided into two terminals, with Terminal 1 catering to international flights and Terminal 2 for domestic flights. The airport is also shared with the Royal Thai Air Force who has their own major base there, with most of the aircraft non-combat. There’s a good choice of fast food outlets, snack bars and a 7-Eleven convenience store within the terminal buildings, as well as a few souvenir shops, money exchange counters and VIP lounges. A unique feature of Don Mueang International Airport is that a golf course lies between its two runways, and when aircraft are landing, a red light alerts the golfers to be aware and hold back before continuing their round.
Don Mueang International Airport is serviced by public bus and train, which both offer a cheap, but lengthy, journey into downtown Bangkok. Depending on traffic conditions, the fastest way is generally by taxi with it taking between 30 minutes and one hour to reach the city centre. There’s also regular shuttles between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi International Airport for those transferring between flights.
Don Mueang stands as Asia’s oldest operating airport, officially opened in 1914 as a Royal Thai Air Force base and with the first commercial flights ten years later. Despite being abandoned by many airlines when the Suvarnabhumi Airport first opened, cracked runways and the inflated operating costs of the new facility led low-cost airlines to push for its re-opening and the huge demand for Bangkok flights has kept Don Mueang’s legacy alive.