Travel within Thailand is quite convenient, though not always particularly fast, and generally very low priced. The fastest way to get around is via plane. With Thailand's great offers of low budget airline flights to the major cities that are flying daily. The train is also a good way, you will see a lot but it is often busy and requires booking in advance. Air-conditioned buses are going mostly straight to the big cities while regular buses crisscross the country between every one-horse town.
In Bangkok traffic can be a real challenge. It is recommended to allow yourself plenty of time for a journey and avoid the rush-hours (approx. 07.00-09.30 and 16.30-19.30). Best transportation within Bangkok are the BTC trains.
Bangkok is the major center for international flights throughout Asia as well as being Thailand's domestic hub.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport the new and improved airport located around 30 km southeast of the city center of Bangkok. Transfers from most hotels generally take less than 40 minutes. The airport is also only some 90 minutes from the resort beach Pattaya, situated south of the new facility.
A 26.6 kilometer high-speed rail link is constructed between downtown Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi Airport. This line is connecting with the BTS Sky train at the Phayathai and Petchburi Stations for the approximately 15-minute trip.
The former international and domestic Airport Don Muang (25 km north of Bangkok) reopens to handle the overflow domestic flights in 2007.
Besides Thailand national carrier Thai Airways International (THAI) and other domestic airlines operate regular flights to cities, towns adnd resorts throughout the country. The following airlines are offering domestic destinations and a few also fly routes to international destinations.
The rail network in Thailand is efficient and covers four main lines - the northern, southern, northeastern and eastern lines.
The train is most convenient as an alternative to buses for the long journey north to Chiang Mai or south to Surat Thani. Although trains are taking longer, the trains offer many advantages over buses or air.
The scenery rolling by the window is grander from the vantage point of rail than highway and there's usually more local activity on the trains, and let's not forget the 'romantic' point.
The bus network in Thailand is prolific and reliable and a great way to see the countryside. Public busses are very cheap, but you must be the adventurous type to work out the route and be able to read the bus signs on the front of the buses as to where they are going and to know when to get off. Be careful of pickpockets and watch your bags carefully.
Every city and town in Thailand is linked by bus, even if it's just a patch of dirt by the side of the road. For longer routes you can choose between at least two classes of air con buses; during these journeys the buses usually stop somewhere en route and passengers are awakened to get off the bus for a free meal.
Hotel limousines or minivans are perhaps the most convenient and comfortable, but also the most expensive once with fixed rates, but there is numerous less expensive public taxi available around the clock.
Taxi drivers rarely speak English; therefore, it is important you know where you like to go. Bring a hotel name card, in Thai, to assist in your return. Only use taxis with ‘taxi meter’ signs on the roof and if the light at the bottom corner of the windscreen is red the taxi has already a passenger. The taxi is for hire when the light is green, just wave it down from the sidewalk. The taxi should have a meter. The basic charge is 35 THB and any additional unit is 2 Bath.
Should your driver ask you for a fix price or if he attempts to bargain or says the meter is broken, we advise you to get out immediately and look for another taxi. If you find only taxi's without meter, make sure you settle the fare with the driver before departure to avoid any misadventures.
From the Airport in Bangkok you can hire public taxis at the transportation center, accessed via airport shuttle bus, which stop at serval locations just outside the 2nd Level Arrival Hall
Tip is not expected.
In beach resort destinations you can find two kind of Songthaew, the kind of open bus and pickup truck, both with two rows of benches, most of them traveling set routes and pick up any passengers who wave them down at the roadside. The price of the journey should be asked before you set off. There are the cheapest and slowest busses which stop in every little town / station and for every waving hand along the way.
Tuk Tuk's or rickshaw's
These are three wheeled vehicles. Thailand has two types of Tuk Tuks - motorized and non-motorized.
You will find them throughout the country. Be sure to bargain the fare before your departure.
The motorbike taxis are a kind of adventure if you visit Thailand for the first time. There are the fastest way, but definitely the most dangerous especially in Bangkok.
You can find them almost at every corner, mostly in front of shopping mails, bus stations, hotels or business centers.
Also here be sure to discuss the fare before your departure.
Bangkok is the only city in Thailand to have either an above-ground or underground public light rail transportation system; known as the Sky train, BTS and the Metro. These subway and elevated sky trains quickly move passengers around town with three interchange stations allowing tourists to swiftly reach Chatuchak Weekend Market, the Chao Phraya Riverboat, shopping complexes, hotels attractions and entertainment districts.
It has proven to be the most modern in the world, fully automatic, fast, clean, secure, comfortable and most reliable mode of transportation in the city to get around Bangkok.
Its route does not cover all the tourist areas but if the destination is a bit off the BTS route you can change to bus, taxi, motorbike-taxi or walking. Route map is available at any train station.
There are many rental shops where you can hire cars, jeeps and motorbikes. Most of them do not always have a good reputation. They usually (especially when you hire a motorbike) never ask you if you have a proper driver license as they only like to keep your passport as deposit (never deposit your passport or credit card as ‘security’). Because of this in the unlikely event of an accident your insurance will not pay for any medical expenses if you dive a car or motorbike without having a proper international driver license.
Traffic drives on the left in Thailand which confuses unexperienced driver many times and the consumption of alcohol is incompatible with the winding roads and in particular the driving style around the country. Serious accidents happen frequently.
Our advice never drive any vehicle if you do not have a proper license as well as some experience in driving in sometimes chaotic driving style. Or even better just abstain from driving and hire a car / van with a local driver.
International Car rental firms offer a professional service and adequate insurance cover. Leading car rental companies have desks at main airports with self or chauffeur-driven car available and can be ordered in advanced via internet.
An international license is required for drivers, but most accept American, EU or Australian national license. Just remember driving is on the left side of the road. In Thailand seat belt must be worn in the front seats
Local companies having lower rate, but like to keep your passport copy as guarantee, please never leave your passport anywhere in the country behind.
Motorcycles are great way to independently tour the countryside, to Thailand's out-of-the way beaches or viewpoints.
As with cars, you can hire them in most tourist spots, but as with cars the local company will ask you for leave your passport with them. Serious companies will be happy with only a photocopy.
Make sure your rental company is given you a helmet for you and your passenger as you must wear them by Thai law. Do not think because you see many without that this is okay. Do wear them for your safety. Police Checkpoints will check for your license as well as if you wear a helmet