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The Essential Guide to Getting Around Thailand

October 03, 2020 - 409 views

Thailand is not a big country with many kinds of transportation, making it very easy to travel around. For a long-distance like Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you need to fly or travel on the train while for a shorter trip, there are many means of transportation for you to choose like bus, motorbike, or boat on the river. Below are 8 typical ways to get around Thailand.

1. Getting around Thailand by airplane:

Using an airplane is the quickest way to get around Thailand. Just within two hours or less. Thai Airways is the largest and most expensive airline while Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion, AirAsia, and Nok Air are more reasonable. Prices for flights in Thailand vary from 1400 THB to 6600THB ($44-200). Flights to the islands like Ko Samui are often higher than ones between big cities like Bangkok and Phuket. Try to book early bird tickets with a budget airline like Air Asia to get 30-50% off. See some sample fares below to get an idea of how much flights cost:

• Bangkok to Chiang Mai:
– 25USD for a one-way ticket
– 50 USD for round ticket

• Bangkok to Phuket
– 30 USD for a one-way ticket
– 45 USD for round ticket

• Bangkok to Koh Samui
– 120 USD for a one-way ticket
– 235 USD for round ticket

• Chiang Mai to Phuket 
– 50 USD for a one-way ticket
– 100 USD for round ticket

Getting around Thailand on the areplane

Getting around Thailand on the airplane


2. Getting around Thailand by train:

The train is one of the cheapest ways to get around for a long distance. The 4500km rail network covers four main lines: northern, southern, northeastern, and eastern. Trains are spacious with air conditioner. There’s always food and drinks available. People get on and off the train at each stop to sell meals, fruit, or drinks. The scenery is incredible. However, keep in mind that the train moves very slowly. It can take about 12 hours for 430 miles from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and day train is even worse. Day trains stop frequently on the way. If you have a lot of time to travel to Thailand, it is still good. You can buy train tickets directly at the train station. It is recommended to buy the sleeper train about 3 days in advance or sooner if you travel during public holidays.
There are three classes of travel:
- First-class has private, two-bunk cabins and available only on rapid, express, and special-express trains
- Second class has non-sleeper cabins with air-conditioner and fan, available only on rapid and express trains
- Third class consists of two rows of bench seats divided into facing pairs with hard seats and no A/C, not available on express trains

Getting around Thailand by train

Getting around Thailand by train

3. Getting around Thailand by bus

If there is a place that the train cannot go, then the bus can. The bus can travel to most of the tourist places. The bus network in Thailand is prolific and reliable. Every city and town in Thailand linked by bus has a bus station. Bear in mind that local buses can stop a lot of time for picking up and dropping off customers. Some buses do not have air conditioners. The tourist bus is more comfortable with air conditioners, does not pick up other people along the way but it is quite expensive. Most of the tourist bus for a long distance is an overnight bus. Remember to tell drivers exactly the name of your destination and bring a jacket as air-con keeps the cabin at arctic temperatures. From Bangkok, there are many options for the bus to travel to other cities like Chiang Mai, Pai, Phuket, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Hua Hin, Trat. If you are in Chiang Mai, you can take a bus to Pai, Bangkok, Chiang Rai.

Getting around Thailand by bus

Getting around Thailand by bus

4. Getting around Thailand by motorbike taxi

If there is a place that the bus cannot go, then a motorbike taxi can. For a short distance and a hard place to reach, you can use a motorbike taxi. It is a very inexpensive and easy way to get around. Motorbike taxi is more popular in rural areas rather than in the modern city. The motorbike taxi drivers are very skillful as they can balance well even if there are huge backpacks on the motorbike. Each driver has to have a license to operate and work through their organization (or gang). You will see their license on the back of their vest. Anytime you ask for a ride by motorbike, remember to bargain.
There are new rates for motorcycle taxi rides, please see below:
- The first two kilometers: 25 baht for total
- Kilometers 3 to 5: 5 baht for each kilometer
- Kilometers 6 through 15: 10 baht for each kilometer
For example: You need to pay 60 baht for 7 kilometers (25 + 5+ 5+ 5 + 10 + 10 = 60 baht).
If you travel more than 15 kilometers, you need to negotiate with the driver.

Getting around Thailand by motorbike taxi

Getting around Thailand by motorbike taxi

5. Getting around Thailand by bicycle

If you are more interested in rural areas rather than the city, biking in places like Ayuthaya Historical Park, Pai, Sukhothai Historical Park is great. You can easily hire from your accommodation at only 50BTH per day. The road can be dangerous sometimes, but the landscape is beautiful.
For those who deeply fall in love with bicycling, they can take the basic south to north route: from the southern city of Satun, near the Malaysia border, to the northeast Laos border crossing in Chiang Khong. This is a simple south-to-north route where they will pass many key attractions and cities.

Getting around Thailand by bicycle

Getting around Thailand by bicycle

6. Getting around Thailand by BTS

When traveling inside the modern capital, Bangkok, BTS is number choice. BTS is an elevated rapid transit system in Bangkok, Thailand. It is a clean, quick, air-conditioned, and great way to escape the heat in the traffic jam. Using this kind of transportation, you will be able to enjoy Bangkok’s amazing cityscape view. There are 3 kinds of tickets: Single Journey Card, One-Day Pass, and Rabbit Card. You can buy a Single Journey Card or One-Day Pass if you stay in Bangkok for 2 or 3 days. If you stay longer, use Rabbit Card to save money. The first train runs from 5:15 A.M until midnight to major areas of importance within central Bangkok. BTS stations are close to shopping malls, markets, or main tourist attractions.

Getting around Thailand by BTS

Getting around Thailand by BTS

7. Getting around Thailand by Chao Phraya Express Boat

There is one more kind of transportation which is not only able to help you avoid traffic jams but also enjoy the beauty of Thailand is The Chao Phraya Express Boat. It is a water bus that provides express transportation between stops in the capital city of Bangkok and to the neighbor province - Nonthaburi. It is used by both local commuters and tourists to move along the riverside, to reach the workplace, tourist attractions, or recreational places like restaurants or markets. The ferry system connects with the Skytrain at the Saphan Taksin stop where you can buy tickets at the sales booth. The boats aren’t air-conditioned, but it does not matter as you travel on the water. The navigation along the river is also a great opportunity for tourists to enjoy the whole panorama of Bangkok or to discover a part of the capital often not visible, like old houses on stilts, children playing, or swimming in murky waters, small crocodiles and giant fish.
Chao Phraya Express boats can hold from 90 to 180 passengers at a time depending on the kinds of boat. Price varies from 10 to 32 baht. There are 65 boats, operating from 06:00–21:30 on a 21 km route.

Getting around Thailand by Chao Phraya Express Boat

Getting around Thailand by Chao Phraya Express Boat

8. Getting around Thailand by ferry

From mainland Thailand, you can use the ferry to explore the island. The most popular islands in Thailand are Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Phangan, and Koh Lanta. You can easily buy your ticket on board, online, or from your hotel. Ferries are run by private operators, so the quality and safety may vary from place to place. Remember to avoid traveling on the ferry that is overloaded or in poor condition. Wait for another boat if possible
Here are some example routes with one-way fares and time:

Koh Tao to Koh Samui: 2 hours 600 baht
Surat Thani to Koh Phangan: 4.5 hours 625 baht
Phuket to Koh Phi Phi: 1-2 hours 600-800 baht
Krabi to Koh Lanta: 2 hours 650 baht

Getting around Thailand by Songserm Ferry

Getting around Thailand by Songserm Ferry 


Above are 8 typical ways to get around Thailand. If you need any more information or us to book any above service, we can help. Contact us for single transportation or a package tour to Thailand here.

Jenny Tran

(Image Source: Internet)

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