Air Travel to Thailand
airport at night
Nearly everyone comes into Thailand through the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport. This is a new airport and very large. Customs has been streamlined and rarely takes more than twenty minutes to get through the lines. Once you get your luggage and come out into the main area you should get at least a few thousand baht of Thai money. Get some in smaller bills to pay taxi drivers, etc. Most ATM machines will take foriegn debit cards.
airport ticket area
A number of people will offer you taxis or vans. If the number of people and luggage is not too great, say, two people, two or maybe three large bags and a few carryon bags, you can just say "taxi line" to anyone (this works when arriving at a large bus terminal also). You will be directed to the taxi line area just outside the door. This is where you catch a metered taxi, which is least expensive and most reliable. Sometimes there is a line here but it moves pretty fast. Tell the person at the desk where you are going and they will direct you to a taxi. The driver will normally ask you "highway?". Best say "yes" with a nod of the head just to make sure. This will save you time. Highway tolls should total around 70 baht, which you usually give the driver as you hit the toll booths. When you pay the driver he will want an additional 50 baht to cover his airport fee.
If you must move a lot of people/luggage to your hotel then a van is better. As you come out from immigration, you should see AOT (Airports of Thailand) signs. A van to city center is a little more than 1000 baht.
A visa good for up to 30 days will be given to any U.S. citizen at the airport. To stay up to 60 days you should get a visa in your home country before you depart for Thailand. The 60 day visa can be extended while you are in Thailand.