How to Travel through ThailandTraveling through Thailand
If you travel by rail over night, you will have at least a few light moments in which you can see some of the landscape. Besides rail and aeroplane, Thailand has a very reliable, state-approved coach system that links all areas of the state. Comfy, air-conditioned coaches often travel between the big towns and prices are low.
Usually when you try to get somewhere in a timely manner, busses hit moves downs. Ziggurats are sluggish, often belated and almost always too belated, sometimes too belated. The busses leave on the dot and are usually on track. Since the riders often run high volume video clips, you will need earplugs when you want to be asleep.
This does NOT include "backpacker buses" - great value coach tours organised on Khao San Road in Bangkok or Chiang Mai or elsewhere. A lot of people have reported crowded, insecure busses with riders jumping on methy and someone in the baggage compartment taking passengers' belongings.
Travel in Thailand: Transport Tips
In Thailand you will find a wide range of transport possibilities, from Bangkok's advanced Skytrain system to tuk-tuks, with many possibilities in between. Whilst Bangkok's transport can be pathetic, the countryside still generally offers good streets without growling. US and many other country nationals do not require an entry permit to travel to Thailand, but make sure your pass is in force for at least six-month.
A 30-day residence is allowed if you are arriving by plane; a 15-day residence is allowed if you are arriving by overland. Thai people like to travel during their domestic public days, such as Lunar New Year and Songkran, so if you are in the countryside during a big vacation, you should schedule your Thailand transport well in advance. Here you will find all the information you need.
Continue reading to find out more about travelling in Thailand. In Bangkok, an outstanding South East Asia crossroads serves more than 70 different carriers, among them a number of low-cost carriers (see below). There is a good chance that you will arrive at Suvarnabhumi to Bangkok but it is also home to several other major ports, with Phuket (HKT), Chiang Mai (CNX), Hat Yai (HDY) and Koh Samui (USM) also favoured for flights from outside Thailand.
Many of the country's main passenger transport hubs service business travellers, but to get to many of them you will need to travel through one of the large above mentioned hubs. There are two flights to Bangkok. The city of Suvarnabhumi (pronounced "Sue-wanna-poom") is a glittering, contemporary international airfield, dotted with specimens of Thailand's crafts. When you want to prevent congestion in the centre of Bangkok, remember to arrive and depart early at night or on a Sunday mornings.
You will find taxicabs directly in front of the Aiport. Alternatively, you can reach the town via the Airportlink, which runs either to Phetchaburi MRT underground or Phaya Thai BTS (Skytrain) sta. Busses and shuttle services are also available to take you to Bangkok.
The Don Mueang International was used by the town before the construction of Suvarnabhumi. From Don Mueang you can take a cab into town or choose an air-conditioned airportbus; there are two itineraries leading to different BTS/Skytrain stops or to the north-eastern one. When you fly within Thailand or to other Southeast Asian destinations, you should be very cautious to get to the right airfield.
Whenever possible, with so many low-cost carriers to fly with, we recommend that you fly in Thailand. However, if you are a railway fan, the land has almost 2,500 leagues of railway routes that will take you from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Surat Thani (the starting point for Koh Samui) or even to the Lao, Cambodia and Malaysia border.
Travelling by rail can take longer than coach trips, and it can be more costly, but the Thai tourist board recommends that rail ways are more secure than coaches, and they are also more comfy. Usually (local), Rapid, Express and Special Express - quoted in order of increase of velocity and comforts. Others have only ventilators.
- Third class vehicles have benches, ranging from wood laths to upholstered chairs; these vehicles are generally not air-conditioned. A luxurious rail ride is available on the E&O Express (named after the renowned Eastern & Eastern Hotel in Penang, Malaysia), which makes one-way journeys between Bangkok and Singapore and a trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and back, with bus and tram stop and itinerary.
Busses cross Thailand and offer a wide range of comforts, from simple and non-air-conditioned to luxury "VIP" busses, which even offer a lunch at service areas. Pattaya, Trat, Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi are favourite places that can be easily reach by coach - but you can also travel to Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia.
Styles of coaches are Local, Express (don't be deceived, they are low and cheap), Second Class (some have A/C), First Class (all have A/C), VIP and Supervip. There are three different mainline railway terminals in Bangkok, according to the destination you are travelling to: the Eastern and Central Buss Terminals, the Northeast and Northern Buss Terminals and the Southern Buss Terminal.
Local people suggest you buy your tickets at a coach terminal, as there are some fraud charges that are deducted by tugs and travel agents, especially in the beloved backpacking areas of Bangkok. When you' re on the road, you may not have a lot of options. However, for travel to places like Koh Samui, there are cheap flights from Bangkok that will take you directly to the isle.
It is not recommended to drive in the crowded cities of Bangkok or Chiang Mai, but in other areas it is an interesting alternative to rent a vehicle if you prefer to drive alone. The big landlords are all active in Thailand, among them Avis, Budget, National, Sixt and Hertz. We also have a number of Thailand hire agencies.
While you may only be able to get away with your normal driving licence, if you hire from a landlord, you may be asked for an international driving licence, which you can obtain from the AAA office in the USA.
Ask your hirer about other limitations, such as regulations against riding on dirt road or beach. It' s common for you to have to hand in your pass when you rent a motorcycle. Tourism Thailand says motorcycle crashes are the main cause of death for foreign nationals in Thailand, and the streets of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan can be particularly hazardous.
There are many ways to get around Bangkok. Skytrain (also known as BTS) is the best and most effective way to get around Bangkok's nightmare of transport. Skytrain carriages are beautifully air-conditioned and take you to the creek, where you can change to a boat if you want to visit places of interest (such as the Royal Palace) that are not close to a Skytrain stop.
It is strongly recommended that you select a Skytrain stop in the immediate vicinity of the city. In Bangkok there is also a metro system, the MRT. It is as pure, contemporary and effective as the Skytrain, but we think it goes to less important tourist locations - and it has much fewer stations.
Skytrain and MRT are connecting at Asok station. Chao Phraya Express ferries run on the lively stream that crosses the town. There is a large landing stage for ferries and a ticketing stand at the Saphan Taksin stop (there are also some commercially available ferries operating here, so take a few minutes to clear things up).
Ships are not air-conditioned, but it is colder on the sea. The coaches are connected to all other public transport networks and offer different level of convenience and corresponding prices. The majority of cabs are air-conditioned, but make sure it works before you decide. Trishaw motorised tuk-tuks scurry through the town in a daring way.
The riders usually gather near the Skytrain stations or shops and usually carry colorful waistcoats with numbers. Often a hotel offers a pick-up and drop-off as well, but this costs more than a taxid. Chang-mai has a regional coach company, but in most other places tuk-tuks or song-thaew (pick-up truck with opposite seats in the background and a top over the head) are the most important means of transport.