The start of an exciting 8 hours Bangkok layover
We were flying from Dubai to the Philippines via Thai Airways which includes an 8 hours Bangkok layover.
We were pretty excited by the fact that it will be our first trip to Thailand, which definitely will not be our last even with the unfortunate/failed layover trip that we experience.
Continue reading below to see what happened on our short Bangkok trip!
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Our Flight Schedule
Departure from Dubai – 09:40 PM
Arrival in Bangkok – 06:50 AM
Departure from Bangkok – 02:50 PM
Arrival in Manila – 07:00 PM
Travel time from Dubai to Thailand is approximately 6 hours. We arrived in Thailand around 06:40 in the morning. We had a great view of the sunrise so we felt like this will definitely be a good travel experience for us.
But we were wrong. We came unprepared (I thought we came prepared) and we forgot to take into account a very small important detail.
Here is the sample itinerary plan. We have to take into account the time we’ll use inside the airport and the travel time. So all in all, we’ll have around 3 to 4 hours to play around Bangkok.
06:50 AM – 07:50 AM – Arrival and getting entry visas to Thailand (we have Philippine Passport meaning we can get a free 30 days tourist visa).
07:50 AM – 08:30 AM – Travel time from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Grand Palace.
We’ve planned this thoroughly. We checked out what we can see around Bangkok that will not eat much of our time. The first stop is to see the Grand Palace, then walk towards Wat Pho. Then possibly get a glimpse of Wat Arun if we ever get extra time.
08:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Roam around Bangkok and eat good Thai food.
That is the plan. We want to allow ample time to get back, which we actually don’t need. We just don’t want to miss our flight to the Philippines and avoid the hassle of rebooking our tickets.
11:00 AM – 12:30 AM – Travel back to the airport and enter through immigration. Then board the plane.
The itinerary we created is feasible. It will allow us time to not rush things and to enjoy Bangkok for a short time. The itinerary we made can get us to some of the famous places to see when in Bangkok. We also don’t need to rush as we already have our boarding pass for the next flight. The only time-consuming thing that we’ll encounter is the immigration lane inside the airport.
This is where we miscalculated things.
The Start of the 8 hours layover
We headed to Dubai International airport terminal 1 to take our vacation. We’ll be boarding with Thai Airways that is bound to Manila but will have an 8 hour layover in Bangkok.
This is actually a perfect opportunity for us as we just want to see how Bangkok is and is planning a full trip by the end of this year 2019. This is like testing the waters. Hehe!
We’ll be giving reviews of what we have experienced throughout the whole layover while sharing what went wrong on our trip.
First up, Thai Airways. We loved our flight with Thai Airways. The cabin crews were very accommodating and always very cheerful. We did not have a hard time asking for their help and even talking with them. The plane experience is like others as well.
The plane we boarded was equipped with seat monitors for entertainment. It is complete with snacks and food that were given during the flight and most importantly we got our 30 kilos of check-in baggage.
It was all in all a satisfying 6 hours to Thailand.
Airport and Immigration – Bangkok
After 6 hours of travel time during the night, we’re able to arrive in Bangkok, Thailand at around 6:30 AM the following day. It is earlier than what we had expected.
This is where we’ll start our race against time as we have very limited time it is important that we make sure we follow the itinerary that we have set.
As we already have our boarding pass for the flight from Bangkok to Manila, we don’t need to hurry for the check-in. The only thing we need is to exchange our USD to Thai Baht before heading to the immigration.
At the end of the long pathway after unloading of the plane, an information center will be quite visible. It was very helpful to us who have no idea where to go through to get a visa and get out of the airport.
We went through the short immigration line and immediately made our way out of the airport. We were given a 30 days tourist visa without paying anything. Which is really great!
The next plan is to maximize our 8 hours layover by taking their airport train going to Phaya Thai station. We’re planning to go see the Grand Palace and Wat Pho as it is the nearest tourist spot from the airport. We immediately went to find the said train station entrance and paid 45 baht for each ticket going to Phaya Thai.
THB 45 = AED 5 = USD 1.40 = Php 73.50
Note: The rate may change depending on the current market rates.
Phaya Thai is the last station in the airport train lane. From Phaya Thai, you can also change train lanes to get to other places in Thailand.
We waited 5 minutes for the train to arrive in the waiting platform and the travel time was accurate as what is said on the internet when we were preparing our itinerary.
After arriving in Phaya Thai station. We then first went out of the station and proceeded to ask someone on where can we get a cab to bring us to the Grand Palace.
We were able to ask some people and were redirected to go down where we can hail one taxi. While waiting, we encountered one Tuktuk ( a kind of motorcycle transportation which is well known in Thailand).
As we also wanted to ride one, even though it is somewhat similar to one of our transportation vehicles in the Philippines we decided we still want to ride it.
We approached the driver and ask if he can bring us to the Grand Palace. He said he can for Thai Baht 200. Although the communication is not clear as he’s not able to converse in proper English, we still went and rode his vehicle as we thought he has understood where we want to go.
To our dismay, the driver instead of bringing us to the Grand Palace brought us to a resort-like place where we can rent a boat and from the river ride all the way to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
The problem with this is that it is not possible with the limited time we have and the owner of this resort is charging us a ridiculous amount of 5000 baht for two people to get a private boat going to the said places.
We have waltzed outside of the place and irritated as we are, we just went and paid the Tuktuk driver the amount we negotiated even though we have not reached our desired destination. That’s 200 baht out of our pocket for nothing.
THB 200 = AED 23 = USD 6.27 = Php 326.99
After the Detour
Now we don’t know where we are as of the moment. It is like we were in the middle of a Bangkok neighborhood. Not knowing how far we are from the Grand Palace and also have wasted precious time from the Tuktuk ride, we decided to again hail a taxi.
Again, the driver we got still don’t know how to converse in English. The good thing is that we believe he is a proper driver. He was able to understand where we wanted to go and has used his meter to gauge how much we need to pay.
Upon arriving at the place, we were shocked to see that the place is full of people that there’s actually a line going inside the Palace. Another thing that we did wrong is that we’re not ready to squeeze ourselves inside the long lane as we’re wearing clothing which is not applicable to the summer weather of Bangkok.
We were also traveling with a bulky gym bag which added to our exhaustion. Still, we braced ourselves and went in with the line, hoping to save our layover experience.
We know that it is not allowed to wear shorts inside the palace but did not expect that ripped jeans will not be allowed as well.
Good thing is that inside the Grand Palace, they sell those long traditional pants which they sell for 200 baht for a piece. We don’t have problems with this, I actually wanted to buy one so it was dual-purpose.
THB 200 = AED 23 = USD 6.27 = Php 326.99
Inside, the Grand Palace is actually huge and there is enough space for tourist even if it is already packed with people coming and going.
To our surprise, we are still not inside, after passing the first gate, there is another gate with which we have to pay 500 baht to enter.
The price of the entrance is not the problem, the summer heat and the tiredness we’re feeling made us give up to line up and buy tickets to enter the place.
Last chance at redemption – Trying Thai Food!
We decided to leave the Grand Palace after taking a few photos with the place. We came to the conclusion that, the long line together with what we’re currently feeling, we’ll not be able to finish the tour.
We decided to look for places near the Grand Palace to buy food! The first one we saw is the mangoes, we bought one for 100 baht. It was big that one order is enough for two people to share.
THB 100 = AED 11.51 = USD 3.13 = Php 163.49
After that, we came across a Thai cafeteria. Our main objective this time is to eat Pad Thai. That’s the least we hope to achieve during this 8 hours layover in Bangkok.
The Thai cafeteria luckily serves Pad Thai. We indulge ourselves with one serving of Pad Thai and another Thai cuisine (I forgot the name of other cuisines we ordered as it is a normal sauteed chicken with rice).
The Pad Thai is actually good and we were satisfied with the food we ordered. We paid 90 for each meal.
THB 180 = AED 20.72 = USD 5.64 = Php 294.29
We then went on our way back to the station as we would want to rest already. It was easy going back as we already know what to say and where to go. We were lucky that the driver knows where to bring us as well.
THB 150 = AED 17.26 = USD 4.70 = Php 245.24
The Way Back
It took us the same number of travel time going to and from Phaya Station and Bangkok airport. The immigration inside the airport and the whole process up to the boarding waiting area around 30 minutes to finish.
We had more time on our side which is a good thing as we know we won’t miss our next flight.
Related Post: Fall in love with the beauty of Catanduanes
Key Takeaways and Summary
- We were able to ride a Tuktuk.
- We were able to see the Chao Praya river even if its only for a short period of time.
- We were able to get a glance at the Grand Palace.
- We were able to eat authentic Pad Thai and Thai Cuisines.
- We were able to get back on time for our next flight.
- We’re not able to see Wat Pho.
- We didn’t take into account the drivers that are not able to converse in English.
- We underestimated the number of tourist during weekdays.
- Since we were short on time we should have hired professional tour guides to get us to places in Bangkok.
All in all, we have learned a valuable lesson on this trip. And that is to at least give ample time to research the place you will visit for the first time.
It is very helpful if we have tour guides during this short visit. It is important to have professionals guiding you.
The 8 hours layover in Thailand is actually manageable. Get a tour guide or avail a group tour if you do not know where to go. If you’ve been there a couple of times then good for you, at the very least, you will get an idea of where you want to go and how you want to get there.
Always take into account the traffic in the place and the number of tourists as to give you ample time to prepare.
Always pack light as it is easier to travel if you have fewer things with you.
Going back To Thailand?
The answer is definitely a yes! We only have seen Bangkok and it is a delight to our eyes. It pretty much look like our home country. There is so much more to see and explore in Thailand not just in Bangkok.
We’ll definitely put more emphasis on research and will allot not only 8 hour layover but will atleast give a week or two for travelling the country.
Will we do another 8 hour layover?
Definitely! But we’ll change a bit more of our strategy. We’ll pack lighter and again will make sure that we do not lack research on the place.
We hope that us sharing our experience with you can help you in a lot of ways. Comment below your thoughts on our travel and let us know what you did differently on your 8 hour layovers.
Look forward to our next article!