Sleepless in Bangkok: Sleeping in Airports
The dear, dear Don Mueang Aiport in Bangkok, Thailand: we spent two nights here, one immediately upon our arrival to Thailand for about five hours and once between our flights from Chiang Mai to Siem Reap for about 10 hours. You cannot go through security until three hours before your flight, so going to our gate and sleeping was not an option. Therefore, we found benches, coffee, and brought dice and cards to entertain us. Here are some things to take with you that at least may help you get some sleep and maintain sanity.
An eye mask and travel pillow
They won’t dim the lights and the chairs they provide are extremely uncomfortable. Every once and a while I would get up and just walk around, and saw probably 50 other people sleeping across chairs in the main entrance area. They appeared to be sleeping rather soundly, so I decided to give it a try. I dragged my luggage over and tried to lay down. They were the most uncomfortable chairs to sleep in, they were separated by a small dip in between each, which dug into my side and thighs. I tried it for about 30 minutes before I decided this was not worth it. I found an available outlet, and sprawled out on the floor with my backpack as a pillow, which was much more comfortable.
A lock for your backpack
Since you can’t check your bags ahead of time, lock your major pack and keep your passport and other important documents on your person, preferably under your clothes if you can. I had a money belt, where I would keep my money, passport, and phone. I kept other valuable items locked in my backpack.
You’ll want to utilize the free WiFi available everywhere, especially in the airports. I pre-loaded Amazon movies to watch, constantly updated my travel blog during these times, and sat on Facebook to try to stay informed as to what my other friends were doing as well as post my many pictures. I also loaded my AirAsia boarding pass on my phone, so if that died, it would have had an issue getting through security and boarding the plane.
We brought dice and cards since they were small and easy to carry. When we finally accepted a significant amount of sleep might not be an option and we couldn’t stand the idea of staring at an electronic device anymore, we opted for a-hole, BS, and farkle to keep us awake and sane.
The memory of your last good meal
The only thing open will be 7-Eleven type of stores or extremely overpriced, horribly quality restaurants. We knew once we got through security there were all the options in the world, but until then I lived off Pringles and sesame sticks.
This one you will just have to suck up and buy at the airport, unless you have iodine tablets, which I used only when water was extremely expensive or not available. It might go against your better judgement to hydrate before flying any distance at all, but staying hydrated will avoid unnecessary hunger from eating chips and crackers, and also help with jet lag. It’s not worth feeling dehydrated, like we did on our first day in Phuket. We learned this quickly though, and at least two of us always had water in hand.
Lots of people sleep in the airports. If you eat well before, and tire yourself out enough you should be fine. Don’t fight your body waiting to stay awake, it’s much better to sleep on the plane then oversleep on the airport floor and miss your flight.