My travel policy of avoiding cabs at (almost) all cost backfires once in a while.
My city bus ride at rush hour from Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi Airport across the city to the old airport, Don Muang, stands out as a bonehead move of epic proportion.
I knew this short leg of my journey was going to be a nightmare. I attempted to mitigate some of the suffering by doing my homework. The final plan looked like this.
- Arrive at Suvarnabhumi on flight from Ko Samui.
- Door 3 – ground floor. (Image of map of the airport stored on my IPad)
- Find shuttle bus to Transport Centre.
- Locate Bus 555. (Image of the bus stored on my IPad)
Worked like a charm. Bus 555 was waiting in the bay when I arrived.
Busfare: under $2.00 Canadian. I felt a great sense of accomplishment. It was smooth sailing for me and my scuba gear-stuffed suitcase until the bus started to take on passengers.
That’s when my headache started. The suitcase refused to stay still and rolled over passengers’ feet despite my best efforts to hold onto it. As well, the bus was hot, humid and packed. Traffic was inching along.
Hell on earth and I deserved it.
I couldn’t have been more relieved 90 minutes later when I saw the airport in the distance. A sentiment my fellow bus passengers surely shared.
However, being deposited on a narrow median barrier sandwiched between bumper to bumper traffic in both directions wasn’t in the plan. Trapped, I was forced to hire a taxi to take me to my hotel, a two minute walk from the bus stop, but impossible to reach on foot.
That ride cost about $5 Canadian (negotiated down from the $10 the driver wanted to charge) and took 15 minutes owing to the traffic gridlock.
I arrived at the airport hotel with a headache from dehydration, a full bladder and soaked in sweat.
Sure, I saved money. About $10 in the end. Not worth it.
Still, I Iearned absolutely nothing. A week later I was dragging my suitcase up a flight of stairs onto Bangkok’s skytrain system – at rush hour – to Suvarnabhumi Airport.