Travelling within Thailand is not as tough as you think. There are great options for you to consider if you are keen on spending a few decent weeks to thoroughly explore the country. While the traffic in Bangkok may be a pain, the more rural areas offer generally good roads with close to zero jams. We urge you to be flexible and hop onto tuk-tuks, metros, taxis, ferries, buses, trains or good old-fashion planes to get to where you need to be. There’s plenty to explore. Book with Bookaway right now!
Exploring Thailand By Air
Once landed, you will find taxi queues right outside the airport. It’s a good idea to print out a map of your destination with the name of your hotel and directions in Thai. For a smooth, fast ride, pay a little extra for your driver to take the toll highway
If you’re flying within Thailand or heading to other countries in Southeast Asia, be very careful to go to the right airport. Double-check your ticket, and don’t assume that every international flight will be from Suvarnabhumi and every domestic flight will be out of Don Mueang. There is a free hourly shuttle bus that runs between the two airports throughout most of the day.
Exploring Thailand by Train
If you are a train lover, Thailand has nearly 2,500 miles of rail lines that will get you from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Surat Thani (the drop off point for Koh Samui) or even to the Lao, Cambodian and Malay borders.
Travelling by train can take longer than bus travel, and it can be more expensive, but the Thai tourism office advises that trains are safer than buses, and they’re more comfortable too. Trains are generally clean and in good repair. There are four types of trains: Ordinary (local), Rapid, Express and Special Express — listed in order of increasing speed and comfort.
- First Class offers private cabins with convertible beds and a private sink; on most routes, it includes air conditioning.
- Second Class offers multiple choices: book a sleeper fare and you’ll get a fold-down bed with privacy curtains, which is placed along a corridor (the lower berths are larger and more comfortable, but more expensive); book a seated fare and you’ll forgo the bed. Some cars are air-conditioned, but others have only fans.
- Third Class cars have bench seating that can range from wooden slats to padded seats; these cars are usually not air-conditioned.
Do note holiday periods and to book berths on overnight trains as soon as possible. You can’t buy train tickets directly online but travel agents can purchase them for you at the station and deliver them to your home or hotel. Some tickets can be purchased as many as 60 days in advance, while others can only be purchased 30 days in advance. Of course, you can also buy tickets in person at train stations.
For a luxury train experience, there’s the private E&O Express (named after the famous Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang, Malaysia) that does one-way trips between Bangkok and Singapore plus a loop from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and back, with stops and tours along the way.
Exploring Thailand by Bus
Buses serves all over Thailand and come in a variety of comfort options, from basic and non-air-conditioned to more luxurious “VIP” buses that even include a meal at rest stops. Pattaya, Trat, Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi are popular Thai destinations that can be reached by bus.
Buses options ranges from Local, Express, Second Class, First Class, VIP to Super-VIP. The VIP-level buses have reclining seats, bottled water, a toilet and monitors with movies or karaoke. The more basic buses are operated by the government’s BKS system, but the VIP buses are privately run. Some of the more reputable VIP companies include Nakhon Chai Air, the Transport Company and Green Bus Company.
Always try to purchase your ticket at a bus station. Government regulations now require that riders on inter-provincial buses and public vans wear seatbelts, so buckle up!
Explore Thailand By Ferry
Ferries are a popular way of getting to islands like Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. They are run by private operators, so the quality and safety may vary from place to place.
Exploring Thailand By Car
Congested Bangkok or Chiang Mai city centers are bad places to get a car but in the more rural part of the country renting a car may be an interesting option. Just be aware that Thais drive British-style, on the left-hand side of the road, with the driver sitting on the right side of the car. All the major rental companies operate in Thailand, including Avis, Budget, National, Sixt and Hertz. There are also numerous Thai rental firms.
You are typically not allowed to drive a rental car from another country into Thailand. Check with your rental car company for any other restrictions, such as rules against driving on unpaved roads or beaches. There are also motorcycles or scooters available for rent in some locations, particularly on the islands. It’s typical for local rental shops to require you to leave your passport when renting a scooter. Be sure to wear a helmet (it’s the law) and drive very carefully. You may want to add on a 12 volt fridge for car journey too!