Domestic flight services are now operated by five domestic carriers, which are, Thai Airways International (or THAI), Bangkok Airways, Air Asia, Orient Thai Airlines (One-Two-Go), Nok Air, and Nok Mini (SGA) Airlines. Of all the domestic airlines, Thai Airways International (TG) is the biggest.
Thailand has six major international airports: Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, and Hat Yai, and 23 domestic airports for commercial flights in major cities around the country. They are Buriram, Hua Hin (Prachuap Khiri Khan), Khon Kaen, Krabi, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Si thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Pai, Phitsanulok, Ranong, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Samui, Surat Thani, Sukhothai, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani Udon Thani, and U-Taphao (Rayong).
For more details, please contact your travel agent, or call +66 (0) 2356 1111 for Thai Airways and +66 (0) 2664 6099 for SGA Airlines.
There are two main types of buses running to provinces around Thailand.
- Non-air-conditioned buses operated by the government which are the cheapest and slowest. These orange-coloured buses stop in every little town and pick up passengers at any point along the route.
- Air-conditioned buses painted in blue. This type, run by both the government and private companies, is faster and more comfortable. Yet the number of routes of air-con buses are less than those of the ordinary buses as they go to major cities only. Normally, there are two classes of air-con buses -- regular and 1st class; the latter have toilets.
For long routes like those going to Chiang Mai, Surat Thani and Phuket, there is another type called "VIP" or "sleeper" buses which have only 30 to 34 seats providing more leg room for each passenger. Generally, private companies offer more daily trips than the government's, though their fares are somewhat higher.
There are three long-distance bus terminals in Bangkok as follows:
Northern & Northeastern Bus Terminal
Located on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, a little way from Chatuchak Market.
For information Call 0 2936 2852 to 66, 0 2936 2841 to 48
For Taxi: สถานีขนส่งหมอชิต
Eastern Bus Terminal
Located on Sukhumwit Road at Soi 40 opposite Soi 63 (Ekkamai).
For information Call 0 2391 6846
BTS Skytrain : Ekkamai Station
For TaxI: สถานีขนส่งเอกมัย
Southern Bus Terminal
Located on Borommarat Chonnani Road, about 7 km. from Pin Klao Bridge. Besides the southern buses, the buses going to western provinces like Nakhon Pathom and Kanchanaburi also depart from here.
For information : Call 0 2894 6122
For Taxi: สถานีขนส่งสายใต้
There are also buses running between major destinations within the region, e.g. Surat Thani to Hat Yai in the South and Sukhothai to Chiang Mai in the North.
For provincial bus terminals, call 1490 or visit www.transport.co.th
The State Railway of Thailand offers train services throughout the country at very reasonable fares. Most long-distance trains start off from Bangkok's Hualamphong Station on Rama IV Road. The four main rail lines, covering over 4,000 km., are the northern, northeastern, eastern and southern routes. Note that the trains to the northern and northeastern routes pass Don Muang airport station, so you can catch a train here if you go to any province along either route to avoid heavy traffic in town in rush hours.
There are four types of trains -- ordinary, rapid, express and special express, and three classes of cars -- 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
For a long distance trip, the fare for the 2nd class is about the same as a private tour bus, but some say that the train is more comfortable, especially on overnight trips. However, travelling by train take a bit longer than by bus.
Sleeping berths, ordinary and air-con, are available on rapid, express and special express trains for all long distance routes which depart from about 15.30 hrs. onwards. The following are the major provinces accessible by trains with sleeper cars:
The northern route : Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Phichit
The northeastern route : Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Buriram, Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen
The southern route : Sungai Kolok (Narathiwat), Yala, Pattani, Hat Yai (Songkhla), Phatthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Surat Thani, Chumphon
Passengers can buy tickets and make advance bookings at Hualamphong Station or any of the 11 other stations in Bangkok including Don Muang Station as well as stations in large cities throughout Thailand. Besides, train tickets can also be purchased at travel agencies, with a surcharge of 50-100 baht to the ticket price. This is much more convenient as you don't have to wait in a long queue at a station, especially during holiday time when many Thais scramble for getting train tickets.
Therefore, it is advisable to book your train far in advance if you plan to go to a popular destination such as Chiang Mai, Hat Yai or Surat Thani. Advance bookings may be made one to 60 days prior to your scheduled departure date.The ticket offices at Hualamphong Station open from 05.00 to 23.00 hrs. and the advance booking offices from 07.00 to 16.00 hours every day.
For details, callthe State Railway of Thailand, 1690, 0 2223 7010, 0 2220 4444 (RSVN),0 2220 4334, 0 2621 8701
MRT Bangkok Metro : Hua Lamphong Station
For Taxi : สถานีรถไฟ หัวลำโพง
Car, Jeep & Van
Cars, jeeps and vans can be rented in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and other tourist cities. The rental costs for cars and jeeps are from around 2,000 to 3,000 baht per day and vans from 2,500 to 3,500 baht. Typically, international rental companies charge a bit more than local companies, yet they offer a larger choice. A car can also be rented at travel agencies, many of which have branch offices in large- and medium-sized hotels. It is advisable to check whether a car is insured for liability before signing a rental contract.
Like cars, motorcycles can be rented in tourist cities, except Bangkok as it is not convenient to use motorcycle here.
It has recently become a popular way to travel around Thailand by motorcycle, especially in the North. Rentals vary considerably from city to city. In major tourist spots like Chiang Mai and Phuket where there is an abundance of motorcycle rental shops, the costs are certainly much lower.
Anyway, whether you rent a motorcycle from a big rental company or a small shop, it is advisable to check the machine over thoroughly before you take it out. Before renting, make sure that an insurance is provided, though with an extra charge. And please note that both rider and passenger on a motor bike must wear a helmet.
- Thai drives on the left-hand side of the road.
- Foreigners who wish to drive motor vehicles in Thailand need a valid International Driving License.
- Driving license and passport must be carried at all times when driving.
Most big provinces have public non-air-con bus and air-con bus services to destinations within the provinces and to other nearby provinces.
Many tourist cities have taxi services, but most of them are non-metered. Therefore, it is necessary to establish the fare before departure. Some big cities also have share-taxi services for popular routes. Though the fare is fixed and cheaper, you have to wait until there are enough passengers (usually four or five).
A samlo is a three-wheeled taxi which comes in two types -- motorised and nonmotorised. Motorised samlos or Tuk-Tuk can be found throughout the country while nonmotorised ones (or tricycle or rickshaws) are available in certain provincial towns. Both types of samlos are suitable for short trips only.
Literally meaning two rows, this is a small pickup truck with two benches, each at one side of the truck seating several people. It is a public transport which operates fixed routes like buses, but normally runs a shorter distance or within the province. Songthaeo can also be chartered like a regular taxi.