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Getting Around Thailand


Cheap airlines, inluding Bangkok Air, Air Asia and Nok Air now run discounted flights from Bangkok to many regional airports, providing a much more comfortable and faster alternative to long haul bus and train journeys, costing not much more.


Thailand has a small railway network connecting Bangkok with other major cities. Trains are generally slow but more comfortable than buses - sleeper trains are a popular choice for the 12+ hour trip to Chiang Mai or south along the peninsular.


Thailand has an extensive bus network connecting the majority of towns and cities. Ordinary (local) buses are very slow and tend to stop frequently for passengers. The air-conditioned express buses are much quicker but more expensive. These all run from the government bus terminals usually located on the outskirts of town. Private minibuses also run the popular tourist routes - these tend to be quicker and of comparable price to the express buses - and are often run directly to and from the tourist centres, sometimes with hotel pickup.


All kinds of ferries connect Thailand's islands together, from large car ferries to smaller passenger hydrofoils. Longtail boats, powered by large engines with a very long prop, connect smaller destinations.

Local Transport

Few towns in Thailand have dedicated taxis - Bangkok's metered taxis are the exception. For any other transport the price is negotiated before the journey - as a foreigner, expect to barter! Tuk-tuks are noisy 3-wheeled vehicles chartered as taxis. Most local transport in Thailand is usually by shared Sawngthaew - pick up trucks with a covered back and two rows of seats. These run like buses along fixed routes, or operate as shared taxis and will pick you up if they are going towards your destination already. Motorbike taxis are a swift way of taking small jouneys although not necessarily with all your luggage!