I have never been in Thailand before and plan to go there in February 2023. I will come to Thailand with an international flight to BKK and want to continue the journey with a domestic flight from BKK right after. My main question is: How much time do I need in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport BKK between arriving with an international flight and the start of a domestic flight (which are booked seperatly)?

Some background: The international flight (Lufthansa, from Austria) I have booked will arrive in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport BKK on a thursday on 15:20. I would like to continue my journey right after to Chiang Mai CNX. I found a flight with Thai Airways which starts on 19:15, so almost 4 hours after my planned arrival on BKK. Is this enough time, thinking about the points:

  • The international flight might have a small delay
  • I need to go out of the airport through immigration and collect my lugagge
  • I need to check in on the domestic flight and go through security checks again

I found a thread about this topic in the internet, where one person said 3 hours between such flights in BKK should be fine, but the post was from 9 years ago and maybe some procedures have changed since then (especially with Covid).

Thanks for any help! Best regards, Stefan

  • 3
    As usual, remember that if you do not make the check-in deadline, you’re usually on your own: your ticket is likely to be cancelled, you are very likely to need to find and pay for a new flight at last minute prices. The good news in your case is that there are plenty of flights and even at the last minute they’re quite cheap (at least right now). The bad news is that the last flight of the day is at 8:40pm so if there’s a severe delay you’ll have to find and pay for a hotel for the night.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 13:43
  • 1
    BKK or not, if I am not ready to pay on spot for a new flight then I schedule myself to catch my flight even if I am on the next incoming flight. And yes, this sometimes mean a day spent at the connecting airport.
    – user4188
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 14:59
  • Thank you for your hints. For the sake of this question I assume that the international flight isn't delayed more then 1 hour. Of course it may happen, but then I need to find a plan B anyway. I also dont want to spend a whole day at the airport, so my plan is to go to CNX on the same day. The last flight on this day is scheduled 5 hours after my planned arrival, which should be fine. The flight 4 hours after my planned arrival would be ~30€ cheaper, which would be nice obviously. But if there is a delay from lets say 1 hour, I guess the time could be too less? Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 9:02

2 Answers 2


We are from the U.S. and have lived in Thailand for 16 years, during that time we have boarded countless domestic flights after arriving on international flights. It is impossible to accurately estimate how long it will take to clear immigration, collect baggage and be at domestic customs security, but for us it has always been under two hours, most of the time it's around one and a half hours. That being said, I am never comfortable with less than a three hour window between our international flight's arrival and our domestic flight's departure. But that's just me.


The answer is, it depends, and on many things:

  • Whether your flight to BKK is on time (delays of several hours are uncommon)
  • How bad the immigration queues are (usually no problem at all, but at the wrong time can be over an hour)
  • How long it takes you to check in again (see above)
  • How important it is for you to be able to fly to Chiang Mai the same day

Personally, I would plan on staying one night in Bangkok and continue to Chiang Mai the next morning. This way you can also use flights from Bangkok's other airport Don Muang (DMK), which is closer to the city centre and usually much cheaper too (it's the low cost/domestic hub).

  • Thank you for your answer. Staying a night in Bangkok isnt really an option for me, I definitly want to go to Chiang Mai on the same day. So yeah, I guess I have to book the latest flight on this day which is about 5 hours after my planned arrival, which is hopefully enough time (assuming that the internatinal flight is delayed maximum 1 hour). I would have preferred the flight 4 hours after my planned arrival at BKK because it costs half as much as the last flight on the day, but I guess this could be close (1 hours delay + 1 hour immigration, 2 hour rest?) Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 8:44
  • @Stonecutter The situation in European airports are not that good. I had all my outgoing flights from EU delayed by one hour or more due to overcrowding in airports. Expect that delay of incoming flights. Asian airports are generally not much affected. Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 2:02

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