Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport closes

Last week Bangkok's Don Muang airport closed for passenger traffic, replaced by the new Suvarnabhumi airport. I only visited Don Muang twice, in transit on our honeymoon flight to Paris via London and on return in November of 2001. We arrived there at about 11pm local time, flying over a Bangkok still alive with neon lights, traffic and people. The airport was clean, but I recall the brown, cream and yellow decor made it look dated in contrast to the recently renovated Sydney airport.

The other colour that stood out in Don Muang was gold. The souvenier shops were full of bright gold figurines, model elephants and jewellry. Gold, lots of dyed silk and carved wood. The souvenier, electronics and other duty free stores were busy, despite the late hour. The tiny local food stall looked inviting, but too, but we had no baht and no real urge to change currency.

Although our stopover was scheduled to be less than one and a half hours, we ended up spending an extra four hours sitting on the tarmac while a warning light was investigated. Full credit to Qantas for making those four hours quite comfortable – I slept for two of them!

I am a little sad for Don Muang's closure, as it is a little piece of our honeymoon that we cannot return to. Though it's not closed Charles de Gaulle airport's Terminal 1 is also missed. It is an ugly bare concrete construction, confusing to navigate and lacked much in the way of shopping or eating facilities, but Terminal 1 is also unique in design and we spent a lot of time (too much time) there on our honeymoon. Our last two flights from CDG have both left from different parts of modern, glassy Terminal 2. I can't imagine feeling much nostalgia for Terminal 2, but I'm sure I would prefer it as a regular traveller, so I suppose I should not complain.

So farewell Don Muang and I look forward to visiting Suvarnabhumi one day.

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