Getting around Thailand

Travelling around Thailand
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Updated 2022-05-08 14:26

One of the things that makes Thailand so popular with tourists is its accessibility. Once you are in the country, it is relatively affordable and simple to get around, whether you wish to travel long distances between cities or just explore the area you are living in. Almost every mode of transport is available — from trains, planes, boats and taxis, to more unique means of songthaews, motorbikes and tuk-tuks.

Boats

The easiest way of reaching the surrounding islands when you are in the south of Thailand is by boat. These depart frequently and come in various shapes and sizes. Speedboats, ferries and even longtail boats are available, and many operate by day and night, and a journey can easily be booked at a travel agency or boat operator. Price, duration and overall comfort do vary depending on the boat, so it will just be a question of your priorities.

Trains

National trains are a great way to cover long stretches of the country in relative comfort, although they do tend to be quite slow and do not always arrive or depart on time. Comfort varies depending on the price and class, and you can travel overnight on a sleeper train to save on accommodation as well as money and wake up refreshed in a different city.

The BTS Sky train offers a modern, fast and reliable connection across the main parts of the capital. There are two lines: the Silom line and the Sukhumvit line, and you can buy your ticket with coins at the machines. If you don't have coins, there is always a counter where you can exchange your notes. You can also connect at Phaya Thai to a line that goes to Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

MRT Trains, also known as ród-fai-dtâi-din, is Bangkok's underground metro system. Tokens or chips are used and can be bought in their automated machines and ticket counters. MRT Trains run every five minutes in peak times (07:00 - 09:00, 16:00 - 19:00) and every seven minutes at other times.

Airplanes

Travelling by plane can be very efficient and affordable, especially if you fly on a low-cost airline, such as AirAsia or NokAir. If you want to experience a high-end service, then you may opt to fly with Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways. Most of the main cities in Thailand have their own regional airport, so you can travel quickly to places across the country and avoid long road or rail journeys.

VIP buses

You can travel almost everywhere in Thailand by bus or minivan. Rates are quite cheap, and the comfort level varies, but most buses and minivans are in good condition and have air conditioning. A VIP bus offers more comfortable and spacious seats, as well as water or a blanket if you are travelling overnight. You can buy tickets at bus terminals or from travel agencies.

Taxi

Alternatively, taxis are a convenient option if you are travelling alone or in a small group for a short distance. They will take you directly from A to B but will obviously cost more for this luxury. If possible, ask them to turn on the meter or negotiate a fixed price beforehand to spare yourself from any disagreements.

Songtea

A songtaew is a passenger vehicle that is available in less busy places like Chiang Mai, which looks like an adapted pick-up truck and is used as a sort of collective taxi or open bus. You can flag one down, then climb in the back and sit on benches that line the sides before alighting at your chosen destination.

Tuktuk

A tuk-tuk is a unique means of transport in the region. It is a three-wheeled vehicle that is essentially a motorized rickshaw. Depending on the driver, these can be a quick way to whizz around a city, although they have become somewhat of a tourist attraction so prices can be high.

Motorbikes

Motorbikes are also notorious for their ability to weave through traffic, and in Bangkok there are usually many parked around BTS stations that will take you to destinations that aren't connected by sky train. These tend to be much cheaper for short trips than tuk-tuks.

The downside to any means of road transport is traffic, and congestion can be intense in Bangkok. Be prepared to sit in traffic for a long-time during rush hour and to pay accordingly if taking a taxi. If possible, it is best to avoid taking any road transport in Bangkok during peak periods and to rather take the BTS instead or if it is quite near then take a motorbike.

Useful links:

BTS

BMTA

Transit Bangkok

Thaizer

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