The past few years, our family trips abroad have been composed of just three out of four members, as it was either my sister had exams in University or I had an important pitch in the agency.
So, when we realized that my sister had a 'free' window before officially working, we made sure to fly the weekend following her University graduation. And since we really couldn't be gone for too long, we decided on a regional trip instead. Bangkok was somewhere my mom, sister and I have never been to, so it was an easy choice.
As we always fly first thing in the morning on regional and local trips, we arrived in Bangkok before lunch. Suvarnabhumi Airport is huge and immigration lines are organized. It really pays to have a good and comfortable airport as this is where visitors' first (and sometimes last) impressions are made. I was itching to channel Mr. Chow and go, "Hollaaa, City of Squalaaaaah!" in true Hangover II fashion, but the guards' hawk-eyed looks made me decide against it. Hah.
Tip: Exchange 1/8 of your pocket money (or at least enough for a cab ride to the hotel, around 300-400 Baht) at the airport.
There are lots of money changers after Immigration - all of which are legal and have the same exchange rate. However, there are more money changers near hotels and shopping centers that are also perfectly legal but have better rates especially on weekdays, so it's better to just exchange as you go.
The drive from the airport to the hotel took about an hour because of traffic on the elevated expressway. They claim that their expressways can seem like parking lots at times, which we immediately responded to with knowing smiles. You know what I mean.