We plan to arrive to BKK at 5:20 AM via an international flight (Swiss Airlines) and wish to book a separate domestic flight to Chiang Mai right away (from BKK as well).

We are traveling with carry-on baggage only, so no need to collect checked baggage.

I'm assuming we would still have to go through immigration on the way in and security on the way to the domestic flight. How much transfer time should be allocated to be able to complete this journey without stressing too much?

  • 3
    Make sure your departure flight depart from BKK. Some cheap booking website advertise DMK as BKK on their website.
    – vasin1987
    Sep 12, 2022 at 5:13

1 Answer 1


That depends on your own risk tolerance. My personal minimum threshold for a self connection is 4 hours, more if there are extra "difficulties".

BKK is fairly straight forward to maneuver and since you have only carry-on luggage, 4 hours feel quite safe . It's a long hike to the domestic terminal go through immigration & security but typically lines are not too long and move at a decent pace. Worst case numbers reported seem to hover around 1 hour. You can accelerate this by paying extra for VIP service https://www.klook.com/activity/11690-suvarnabhumi-airport-immigration-fast-track-service-bangkok/

The main problem with a self connection is that you may lose your second ticket if you are late. Since even same day flights from BKK to Chiang Mai are plentiful and cheap and you have full day of flights options, you can also cut it closer. If you miss, just buy a new ticket on the spot. Roundtrip tickets for tomorrow start at US$62 dollars. You may also be able to sweet talk the domestic airline to rebook for free or for a small fee.

  • 1
    Yep that route has the advantage that there are plenty of flights and that they usually stay cheap even at the last minute. Still, beware of special situations like holidays. Not familiar with holidays in Thailand, but many countries have important holidays (which foreigners may not be aware of at all) where suddenly all flights are booked or extremely expensive.
    – jcaron
    Sep 11, 2022 at 16:20

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