Getting round in Thailand: your transportation information

Have a look at Thailand on a map – the nation resembles an elephant’s head. Stretching for greater than 1000 miles (1610km) from Chiang Rai within the north (our Babar’s proper ear) to Narathiwat within the south (the trunk’s finish), there’s loads of jungle, highway and shoreline for vacationers to cowl. Happily, the nation’s wonderful, built-in transport system makes it straightforward to get round.

From fast, handy flights to inexpensive prepare rides and comfy in a single day buses, here is the way to make getting round Thailand an utter breeze.

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A airplane will get you there shortly

Quick, inexpensive and fairly dependable (barring any inclement climate), a airplane is commonly one of the simplest ways to journey in Thailand. All the main vacationer locations have an airport, together with Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Phuket and Krabi.

For a lot of vacationers – notably these following the favored itinerary of Bangkok, north to Chiang Mai, after which south to the islands – touring by airplane is most economical, with flights starting from $50-$200 relying on the vacation spot. Particularly you probably have restricted time in Thailand. The most important home operators are Bangkok Airways, Thai Smile, Nok Air, Thai Airways and AirAsia. 

Ideas for reserving an inside flight in Thailand

  • Word that carry-on baggage is normally weighed. Something over 7kg might be charged.
A prepare goes by way of the Thailand countryside © Room212 / Shutterstock

Practice journey is sweet worth in Thailand

Intensive, built-in and an important expertise in addition, touring round Thailand by prepare is sweet worth for cash and it additionally provides vacationers an opportunity to simply get to lesser-visited elements of the nation.

Get to know the totally different prepare sorts and lessons

Thailand has 4 kinds of trains: Odd (ORD), Fast (RAP), Categorical (EXP) and Particular Categorical (SP EXP). Practice sorts normally rely upon each route and funds.

  • Odd trains are the slowest with principally third-class seating. 
  • Fast trains have second-class and third-class choices and cease much less regularly. 
  • Categorical trains have first- to third-class seating with air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned choices accessible.
  • Particular Categorical trains wouldn’t have third-class seating and are the quickest routes, stopping solely at predominant stations.


  • Out there on In a single day Categorical and Particular Categorical trains solely, first-class tickets embody an air-conditioned cabin, two twin beds, a personal rest room and a lockable door.
  • These are perfect for {couples} or a household on the lookout for privateness.
  • E book a number of days prematurely, particularly in peak season (November to March).


  • The most well-liked possibility and accessible as seats or sleepers relying on the route.
  • Can select between a costlier air-conditioned cabin or one with a fan.
  • Nice for solo feminine vacationers, as there are women-only sleepers accessible on some trains.


  • Really helpful for brief distances.
  • No frills wood seats with no air-conditioning.
  • A very good possibility for these on a decent funds.
  • Nice for sluggish scenic journey and attempting native Thai snacks bought onboard.
Public bus in Ratchaprarop, Pratunam, Thailand
Usually quicker and cleaner than a prepare, you will get to any province in Thailand straight by bus © Richard I’Anson / Lonely Planet

Bus journey is an efficient possibility for vacationers on a funds

Thailand buses are perfect for funds journey between locations. Usually quicker and cleaner than a prepare, you will get to any province in Thailand straight by bus. There are all kinds of bus routes in Thailand, from smaller villages to larger cities providing probably the most flexibility when touring the nation. 

As with most transport in Thailand, there are totally different ranges of luxurious. VIP and first-class buses are extremely really useful for in a single day journeys as they’ve loads of room to recline and a bathroom on the bus. Some even have small TV screens on the seatbacks. It’s a good suggestion to ebook these seats at the least a day prematurely. 

Second-class is the most cost effective possibility, however air-conditioning may be hit or miss, and Thai music or motion pictures could also be on full blast. So in case your journey is only a few hours, take into account second-class journey (and convey some headphones).

Whereas Thailand bus journey may be plush, it does include some caveats. Drivers can often be erratic and highway accidents aren’t unusual.

Motorbikes are plentiful however it’s best to have a license

Vacationers will need to have a motorcycle license of their house nation and a world driver’s license or a motorbike license in Thailand to legally drive a motorcycle. With round 20,000 individuals dying in motor accidents per yr, Thailand has the deadliest roads in Southeast Asia. 

Not solely may you be pulled over and fined by the police for breaking the regulation, however should you have been concerned in a visitors accident, your journey insurance coverage wouldn’t cowl the price of hospitalization or care. 

Three women smile and wave from the back of a three-wheeled vehicle
Tuk-tuks are a fast, straightforward approach to get round many Thai cities © Tom Black Dragon / Shutterstock

Tuk-tuks are a enjoyable approach to journey in Thai cities

These three-wheeled open-air automobiles often known as tuk-tuks are a enjoyable approach to get round Thai cities (simply make sure you keep away from rush hour visitors when the fumes are at their very worst). It’s customary to haggle with the driving force earlier than you get in as the value they quote will all the time be excessive (prices vary from $2–$15 relying on the size of the experience and the way good you might be at negotiating). Additionally, be cautious of drivers who take you on detours to their “buddy’s store.” It is a frequent rip-off for drivers who get kickbacks from retailer house owners to drive vacationers to their companies.

To keep away from this problem, obtain the Grab app (Asia’s Uber) and choose the tuk-tuk possibility if accessible. In Chiang Mai, these tuk-tuks will doubtless be electrical as a part of a sustainable initiative.

There are environment friendly Metro and Skytrain companies in Bangkok

Though a number of Thai cities have plans for city rail techniques, Bangkok is at present the one metropolis with one already in use. The Metro (MRT) and Skytrain (BTS) are the perfect choices for reaching the main websites. Working from 5:30am to midnight, relying on the prepare route, it’s extra inexpensive and quicker than a bus, taxi or tuk-tuk (though not as enjoyable) with fares from 16B to 42B.

Passes can be found for buy within the prepare station, together with a one-day limitless move for 140B with Skytrain. The Metro additionally has a wide range of multi-trip move choices.

Ferries and boats can get you out to the islands

One in every of Thailand’s predominant attracts is its pristine seashores and emerald lagoons. To achieve many of those islands from the airport, you’ll must hop on a ferry. Lodges can normally ebook tickets, nevertheless it’s additionally simply accomplished on-line. Alternatively, take a taxi to the terminal and purchase straight from the ticket sales space.

There’s not plenty of accessible transportation in Thailand

Buses and trains don’t usually have amenities for disabled passengers in Thailand. Bangkok is the one actual vacation spot the place there are provisions in place however solely 5 of the SkyTrain stations have an elevator. The Metro is extra accessible as all stations have an elevator and there are locks for wheelchairs.

Obtain Lonely Planet’s Accessible Travel guide without cost.