Get Around In Thailand
Travel By Bus Travel By Railway Travel By Car Travel By Air: Airlines Directory
Travel Thailand By Bus
When travelling around in Thailand, the cheapest and not least comfortable means of transport is probably by bus.
Thailand has a ramified network of bus routes crisscrossing the entire country and a bus terminal can be found in virtually every rural small town in the provinces. There are frequent connections between Bangkok's three main bus terminals and almost every city and province. It is highly recommended, however, to use the slightly more expensive air-conditioned VIP coaches, especially when travelling overnight and long distances.
- Morchit bus terminal, not far from Don Muang Airport, is a gigantic complex in Bangkok's North, which caters for the Northern and North-Eastern routes and connects Bangkok with the provinces in the North (e.g. Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai) and the various provinces of Isaan.
- Ekamai bus terminal on Sukhumvit Road has immediate Skytrain (BTS) connection and links Bangkok with the provinces and cities along the East coast (e.g. Chonburi, Pattaya, Rayong).
- The Southern bus terminal connects Bangkok with the provinces in the South.
The Transport Co. Ltd. (Routes & Timetables) (Thai language only)
There are also frequent connections between the small bus terminal on North Pattaya Road, near the junction with Sukhumvit Road, and Bangkok's main bus terminals. Buses to Bangkok depart virtually every 30 minutes from here, starting from around 5am in the morning until late evening . The price for a one-way ride to Bangkok approximates 120 Baht. Mukdahan at the Lao border and Suvarnabhumi Airport can also be reached from the North Pattaya bus terminal.
Pannipa Pattaya Tour Co. Ltd. operate a minibus service between Pattaya and Bangkok at 150 Baht. Their Pattaya office is on Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang) between Foodland and Big C Extra. Other minivans to Bangkok (Victory Monument) depart from several locations around Pattaya, most from near the intersection of South Pattaya Road (Pattaya Tai) and Second Road/Pratamnak Road in South Pattaya. Fares start at 100 Baht, and minivans are departing as frequently as every 15 minutes. PattayaVan is one of the companies providing such services.
In fact, many parts of the country can be reached directly from Pattaya:
The 407 Pattana bus company, located at the Petronas gas station just around the corner from Pattaya Klang on Sukhumvit Road, connects Pattaya with the Northeastern provinces of Isaan (Khorat, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani). Vientiane can also be reached conveniently via Nongkhai.
Nakornchai bus company on the opposite side of Sukhumvit Road (turn right when coming from Pattaya Klang) operates bus services to Chiang Mai in the North and Ubon Ratchathani in Isaan.
When travelling from Pattaya to the provinces in the South, and other provinces of minor touristic importance, it's recommended to travel via Bangkok.
Travel Thailand By Railway
Thailand's railway network, though much less developed than the country's ramified bus network, still covers all regions of the country. Trains in Thailand may be relatively slow in comparison with overland VIP buses; but, when traveling long distances, a night trip in a first or 2nd class carriage with sleeper berths (lower bed recommended) can be a comfortable and cheap alternative.
Bangkok's main Hua Lamphong railway station is located right in the capital's old city centre and has direct MRT (subway) access. There are four major routes:
1) Northern route (Chiang Mai and Northern provinces)
2) Northeastern route (Khorat, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nongkhai)
3) Northeastern route (Ubon Ratchathani)
4) Southern route (all the way through Southern Thailand - with stops in Hua Hin and Surat Thani among others - down to Butterworth in Malaysia and the island of Penang)
State Railway Of Thailand (official SRT website with destinations, timetables, fares). SRT Hotline 1690. Good info on train travel in Thailand can also be found at Seat61.com
Pattaya's little railway station is situated off Soi Siam Country Club, on the so-called "Dark Side" off Sukhumvit Road. Tel. 038-429 285 (no English).
There's one daily train connection between Pattaya and Bangkok, leaving from Pattaya at 14.21h and arriving at Hua Lamphong at 18.25h. One-way fare (3rd class) is 31 Baht (with only 3rd class available). Due to the length of the journey, however, this alternative shouldn't be of much interest for you unless you're a die-hard railway fanatic.
What makes Pattaya's little railway station interesting is that railway tickets for journeys all over Thailand, including from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station, can be booked there up to 60 days in advance (counter is open until 16.30h every day). Advance booking is highly recommended especially when you're travelling over public holiday periods, e.g. Songkran or New Year, or if you want a sleeper berth in an air-conditioned train. As of 2013, online booking is no longer available.
Travel Thailand By Car
A rented car might provide a comfortable transportation mode for those travellers who prefer to be independent and wish to explore Thailand on their own. All major international car rental companies, as well as many local firms, provide car rental services in Thailand.
The basic requirement for driving a car in Thailand is either an international or - preferably - a Thai driving licence - although most local car rental companies may be satisfied with a national driving licence only. But please note: If you manage to rent a car without the appropriate driving licence, not having one would invalidate your insurance and count against you in the event of an accident. Also, if police should catch you without an appropriate licence, you'd be punished by a fine.
Unlike in other Southeast Asian countries, roads in Thailand are in excellent order but, as driving can be hazardous sometimes, particularly when you're not used to driving on the left, it might be a good alternative to hire a car with a driver.
Get Around in Pattaya (listing of car rental companies based in Pattaya)
Travel Thailand By Air - Airlines Directory
Due to increasing competition in commercial aviation, and the launch of a number of inexpensive Thai-based or Southeast Asian low cost airlines operating flights to most Thai airports, domestic flights are getting increasingly popular with foreign tourists and Thais alike. It's now possible to show up at Suvarnabhumi, or any other Thai airport, and purchase a ticket at the counter for less than 2000 Baht sometimes. Some air tickets can also be purchased online, from local travel agencies, or even at 7-Eleven branches.
Please note, however, that advertising fares, due to additional taxes and surcharges, are usually just a fraction of the actual price you will have to pay for your flight. For details on destinations, fares and online booking, please check the listed websites of airlines operating flights throughout Thailand and neighbouring SEA countries.
Suvarnabhumi Airport Website
Thai Airports Flight Schedule (official website)
Popular Malaysian budget airlines operating frequent flights throughout Thailand and South-East Asia. Has very cheap offers when booked well in advance.
Had a monopoly on flights to Samui in the past. Bangkok Airways operates scheduled services to 20 destinations in Thailand, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Maldives, Burma, Singapore and Vietnam.
Jetstar Asia Airways
Aussie low-cost carrier operating flights from Bangkok and Phuket to Australia and serving a few Asian destinations.
Budget airlines with a similar price scheme as AirAsia which operates flights to several domestic destinations. Bookings can be made online, directly at the airport or by phone (call center 1318).
Payments can be made at 7-eleven branches, too.
Thailand's national airliner is a member of the international Star Alliance and offers frequent flight throughout Thailand, but is also the most expensive local carrier.
Budget airline that operates flights throughout Southeast Asia, to Australia, and a few domestic destinations within Thailand.
Far left: Map of Thailand's rail network (click to enlarge the map).
Top: Thailand's ramified network of overland bus routes, with a bus terminal in every rural small town, will get you virtually anywhere in Thailand.
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