Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) first opened its doors to commercial travel in 1924 and holds the proud title of Asia’s oldest airport. Don Mueang closed when Bangkok’s modern Suvarnabhumi Airport opened as the capital’s main airport for long-haul international flights. As Thailand saw the rise in low-cost carries and new travel routes were added, Don Mueang re-opened in 2007 to serve as the domestic and regional travel hub. Foreigners tend to have a great deal of trouble pronouncing both airport names (our top tip is to consider the ‘i’ at the end of Suvarnabhumi as silent) and often forget to check which airport they are arriving or departing from.
Confusion aside, Don Mueang is a two-storey airport located in the city’s northern suburbs and is a great option for those who want a shorter trip from downtown Bangkok and are wanting to catch a cheap flight elsewhere in Thailand or to another country in the region. Many parts of Don Mueang Airport give away that this airport is near a century old and in urgent need of a facelift while other areas have received a welcomed makeover. Don’t be surprised if you find some building going on while you are trying to navigate your way around.
Don Mueang is much smaller and quieter than Suvarnabhumi Airport and therefore often is perceived as a much breezier airport experience. Food options range from food courts and coffee shops to Burger King, 7-11 and an Irish Pub where a few pre-holiday (from your holiday) pints can be enjoyed. Like most airports sleeping on a stopover in an upright chair is not the most comfortable night sleep you’ve had. Finances permitting check yourself into the Amari Don Muang Airport Bangkok Hotel for a proper bed and some decent shut-eye. The airport also has VIP lounges, money exchangers and souvenir shops.
Another one of Don Mueang’s redeeming points is its transport options to the centre of Bangkok. You can either catch a taxi all the way or get a taxi to drop you off at the closest BTS Station. If you are catching a taxi from Don Mueang expect to pay a 50-baht levy fee and roughly 250-350 baht ($7.5-$10 USD) to get into the city including toll fees. Alternatively, if you are travelling on a tight budget you can catch a local bus (Bus No.29) that costs roughly 100 baht ($3 USD) and stops at most major downtown destinations.