Getting Around / Transportation
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 including several low-cost airlines operating regular flights throughout the country. The following airlines are offering domestic destinations and a few also fly routes to international destinations.
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Private airport-to-city transfer can be organized by us, just let us know or just book online. Airport Buses from the airport to the city and back operating from 5 am till midnight at approximately 30 Min interval. Metered Taxi from public taxi stand located outside arrival halls. Please note that meter taxi charging depending on the airport on top of your fare a service fee. (Bangkok at the moment 50 THB, Phuket 100 THB)
Airport Rail Link
The airport has two services. One is the “Express Line” that takes you from the Bangkok City Air Terminal (Makkasan Station) to Suvarnabhumi Station in 15 Minutes and runs from 6.00 am to midnight every day. The other airport service is the “City Line” which takes you from Phayathai Station to Suvarnabhumi Station and stops at 6 stations along the way. This route also operates from 6.00 am to midnight every day. For detail information please visit: www.srtet.co.th or click on the icon.
The rail network in Thailand is efficient, inexpensive and comfortable. The extensive rail network covers four main lines - the northern, southern, northeastern and eastern lines and using Bangkok as its hub.
- The Northern Line: Bangkok to Chiang Mai,
- the North-Eastern Line: Bangkok to Nong Khai,
- the Eastern Line: Bangkok to Aranyaprathet on the Cambodian border and
- the Southern Line: Bangkok with Singapore via Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
A trip by train is a great 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. A great idea would be to take the overnight first class train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Click here to see how such trip will look like.
A modern highway system stretches to all points of the country. The bus network in Thailand is prolific and reliable and a great way to see the countryside.
Domestic air-conditioned buses are one of the most frequently used means of transport. Inexpensive and reliable, buses frequently leave from or stop at all major centers. There are three major bus terminals in Bangkok.
Bangkok has 3 main Bus Terminal:
- Mochit Bus Terminal, for northern and nordeastern destination and Pattaya, Trat
- Southern Bus Terminal, for southern and western destinations including Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Kanchanaburi
- Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai), for routes to Pattaya, Rayong, Trat and other points east.
Public busses are plentiful and 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. The red and grey air-conditioned microbuses are for longer urban journey.
Every city and town in Thailand are 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. Book your ticket directly online.
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 for the first 3 kilometers and around 5 baht for every Kilometer thereafter.
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.
Songthaew / TukTuks
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 and very popular among visitors for a short journeys inside Bangkok. 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.
Motorcycle Taxis are the fastest way to get through the traffic congestion of Thailand’s major cities, but also definitely the most dangerous especially in Bangkok. Look for the driver with a colored vest. These motorbike taxis are a kind of adventure if you visit Thailand for the first time. You can find them almost at every corner, mostly in front of shopping malls, bus stations, hotels or business centers
Also here be sure to discuss the fare before your departure.
Sky train (BTS) & Subway in Bangkok
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.
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.
The BTS Sky trains run daily from 6.00 am to midnight with frequent service throughout the day, particularly during rush hours. There are two lines in operation, the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line. The fare is based on the distance and starts from 15 Baht onwards. The routes do 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 or at www.bts.co.th.
The MRT Subway Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line has 18 stations and operates from 06.00 am to midnight and connects many of the top tourist attractions with the accommodation areas and business district. The fare also based on the distance and starts at 15 Baht onward, more information can be found at Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand.
River Taxis in Bangkok
There are many types of boats that navigate the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. And a must do experience when visiting Bangkok. Private "Cigarette long-tail boats" are fast and available for tours of the city's huge canal system. Public river taxis run from dawn till sust from Wat Ratchasingkhon to as far noth as Nonthaburi. The journey takes over an hour. Smaller trips between other landing piers can cost a little as 10-34 baht.
Canal Boats in Bangkok
Khlong Saen Saep canal boats operate from Banglamphu across the city to Ramkhamhaeng University. You can buy tickets on board and the fare is based on the distance you plan to travel. Prices starting from 3 Baht up to 9 Baht. Be careful if you try to find your way as the piers are often very difficult to find.
Rental Shops in Thailand
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.
English-language road signs and maps are commonplace and makes it easy to navigate. 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 in Thailand
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