Udon Thani Airport (UTH) is the airport you are looking for if you would like to visit Sakon Nakhon and are flying in from a neighboring country such as Vietnam, China, or Cambodia. It is one of 15 international Thai airports and one of 2 in Northeastern Thailand (the other being in Khon Kaen). After arriving at Udon Thani International airport, you’ll have about a 2 1/2 hour car ride to Sakon Nakhon.
While a Sakon Nakhon airport is located not far from the city’s center, this is a domestic airport that doesn’t handle international flights. If you would like to eliminate the long car ride, you could fly into Don Mueang Airport (if coming from SE Asia) and then fly to Sakon Nakhon’s airport. But Udon Thani International Airport is the most common choice, especially if you have friends in Sakon Nakhon who can come to Udon Thani to pick you up.
Do keep in mind that if you or someone you know is flying first into Bangkok and then onwards to Udon Thani Airport, you must check your bags and go through customs on arrival in Bangkok (even if you are using the same airline to go to Udon). That means you should give yourself at least 2 hours between the time your flight arrives in Bangkok and the time of your departure to Udon Thani.
If you have never driven to Udon Thani Airport, it is easy to get to from Sakon Nakhon and isn’t far from the route you would take if you were going shopping in Udon. After you arrive in the outskirts of Udon Thani’s downtown area, Google Maps will take you on a winding journey through tiny side streets (sois). You might think that Google has made a mistake, but it has not. So, don’t be worried! Soon enough you’ll arrive at the airport, and the way back to Sakon Nakhon will be quicker and avoid those side streets you took on the way there.
Arrivals to Udon Thani Airport are on the first floor and departures on the second floor. Although it’s an international airport, it is a small airport, so you should have no worries about getting lost or confused. The staff at the airport do speak English, unlike many of the staff at Thailand’s domestic airports. So, help is available should you need it.
Before leaving Udon Thani Airport we suggest picking up a few sandwiches at the Zurich Bread Cafe, as they are quite good. And a delicious Reuben or Cuban is hard to come by in Northeast Thailand. In order to break up your 2.5 hour journey to Sakon Nakhon from Udon, we would highly recommend visiting the new Phanna Buri complex, which you’ll see just off the highway, or the Kaew Kwan Cafe (with elephants), which is located a few minutes from the highway.
Lastly, if you are flying from Sakon Nakhon to Bangkok to pick up up an international flight, remember that you will be flying in to Don Mueang Airport, and need to drive from there to Suvarnabhumi Airport to get your flight. That means you want to give yourself probably at least 5 hours between arrival and departure times. To avoid this, you can fly directly from Udon Thani Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport.