My flight landed around 2.30 AM at Suvarnbhumi Airport, Bangkok . I had a double entry transit visa issued by Thai Embassy in Delhi. But two days prior to departure, I included the visit of Hong Kong and Macau in the itinerary. Then, I required three times entry in Thailand. I thought if I will book a connecting flight from Bangkok Airport within 2-3 hours then I will remain in transit and catch that flight without passing through the Thai immigration. But….While de-boarding the flight, when I informed the Air Hostess that I do not require the Arrival Card, because I wanted to remain in transit for 7 hours to catch my next flight at 10.00 AM to Macau, she told me about my bad luck that Air Asia is a point to point carrier and it could not allow me to stay in transit. I had to pass through the immigration and check-in again for the connecting flight. It was a big trouble for me and I did not believe it once.
I went to the airport help desk and she also confirmed that point. She informed me that it is better to book the flights at Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways as they offer connections and you can remain in transit.
Anyway, I went to the Visa-on-Arrival counter. I wanted to use Visa-on-Arrival this time, so that two times entry visa stamped on my passport remain untouched. But there was lot of confusion. Nobody was able to guide me. I went to the regular immigration counter. I asked the lady over there that I have two times entry visa in Thailand, but I want to enter three times in Thailand. I asked her if I could use Visa-on-Arrival that time. But she was either reluctant to hear my point or she did not understand whatever I said. She told me that it is only for double entry. I again said that yes, this is for double entry only, but can I enter this time using Visa-on-Arrival? She became angry and said two times only, and sent me back towards Visa-on-Arrival counter. Still, there was nobody to help me. I came again towards that lady when another immigration officer approached me and asked about my problem. I informed him regarding the situation. He said that you can enter only two times and left me puzzled. Why the hell they did not understand that I also knew that I can enter only two times. I wanted the information regarding the entry for which I was not having visa. I wanted to know if I could use On-Arrival visa that time, but they did not understand this. Finally, I decided to use my Visa stamped on the passport. That lady cleared me through immigration and this way I have used first entry permit of double entry visa.
This whole process took at least one hour and I had another 6 hours to catch the flight.
Note: Later, I had to catch a flight from Phnom Penh to Bangkok to get an On-Arrival Visa for the third entry to Thailand. I could have avoided that, If I knew the Visa rules clearly despite of travelling on a point-to-point carrier.
I roamed inside the airport terminal and enjoyed every level of this big airport. Right after passing through immigration I searched about the Internet facility at Suvarnbhumi Airport. But there was no free wi-fi available over there. Airport help desk informed me that we can get wi-fi user id and password after check-in from the help desk inside.
I wanted to take the rest, so reached to the departure level, but there was a huge crowd and no chair was vacant. I spent some time there sitting on the floor and then went to the arrival level, where many chairs were lying vacant. I slept on a lengthy steel chair for 2 hours and woke up around 6.30 AM.
I again went to the departure level and saw very long queues in front of Air Asia counters. I asked an Air Asia representative about the boarding pass for my flight. She told me that it can only be issued after 7.00 AM. So I remain seated there for next half an hour. Around 7.15 AM, I went to collect the boarding pass. After that I passed through the departure passport control without any hassle and reached inside the security held area.
In 15 days long journey, I passed two times through Bangkok Airport security, but it was only second time, when they went for an elaborate security check. First time I went through the security without taking my laptop out from the bag, but at second instance they even asked me to remove the shoes.
The security held area of Bangkok Airport was full of shops and restaurants. I went to the help desk for wi-fi password, but a notice said that wi-fi was unserviceable. So, I went ahead and reached a big lounge, where lot of free Internet kiosk was available by the Telecom of Thailand. The area was occupied by large sized-sofas and cushions. I surfed for 30-40 minutes and rested on a sofa there.
At 9.30 AM, I boarded on the flight to Macau and this was the end of 7 hours stay at Suvarnbhumi Airport.
Lessons learned from 7 hours stay @ The Suvarnbhumi Airport, Bangkok:
Know the visa rules including transit visa and re-entry permit regarding your destination prior to your departure.
If you have a connecting flight from Bangkok, book your ticket on Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways to remain in transit without passing through the Thai Immigration.
If you have a ticket on Air Asia and have a next connecting flight from Bangkok, then apply for a Thai Visa or use Visa-on-Arrival (If applicable), as this is a point-to-point carrier.
If you want to get a chair for rest, it is better to look the one at arrival level instead of departure level.
Do not expect free Internet there before check-in.
It is better to check-in online, so that you can take the print out of your boarding pass to avoid the long queues at the airline counter.
If you have the print-out of boarding pass, go straight to the departure passport control and pass through the security check. It gives you an opportunity to rest on sofas in the lounge instead of waiting on the steel bench outside the check-in counter. You can know your departure gate later on information panels. Do not expect an announcement regarding this.
An early check-in also gives you an opportunity to use the Internet kiosk of Telecom of Thailand.
Note: In my second departure, after check-in, I got the wi-fi user id and password from the help desk and that free use of Internet was valid for half an hour after the first login and that 30 minutes period denotes the surfing time only. You can use that 30 minutes in the extended period by multiple log-in and log-out, but total surfing time should not exceed 30 minutes.