Traveling in Thailand is easy as there is a great supply of transport and options for all budgets.
In this article we give you information on all the different options of transportation in Thailand, from buses, to ferries, trains, taxis, private cars, tours, best airlines, etc.
✈️ Airlines in Thailand: Many lowcost options
In Thailand there are quite a few airports, but only two are on islands: one in Phuket, which also receives international flights, and another, in Koh Samui, to which you can only fly with Bangkok Airways.
Low cost airlines in Thailand
There are many, many airlines operating in Thailand. The low cost airlines in Thailand, which do both domestic and international flights -to nearby countries- are:
- Nok Air
- Thai Smile
- Thai Lion Air
- Thai Viet Jet Air
Some of these airlines offer combined tickets combined with terrestrial or ferry services, which facilitates, for example, the arrival to some islands. For instance, you can take a flight with Airasia from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then als book with them a bus and a ferry to any of the 3 islands of the Gulf of Thailand: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Full service airlines in Thailand
- Thai Airways
- Bangkok Airways
→ TIP: these airlines will appear more than once when using the most popular flight search engines. A good idea is to compare the flights using a search engine, and check it again on the official website of the airline.
Here you have a list of Airports in Thailand.
🚌 Buses (coaches): Many categories available
Traveling by coach in Thailand can be very comfortable, or not so much. It will depend on the type of bus you are going to get. There are excellent luxurious buses and simple, slow and not so comfortable ones. Government buses in Thailand tend to make a thousand stops before reaching its destination, so we wouldn’t recommend them.
On the other hand, if you buy the bus ticket in Thailand from a private company, you can choose between different categories of buses: some have only 3 seats per row and are very comfortable, and they also go directly to their destination, which takes less time.
f you are on a very tight budget, government coaches are a bit cheaper, but it is worth paying the extra and get a lot more comfort and speed.
All Thai cities have their bus station. In small towns, the bus is usually waited on the main road.
Where to buy coach tickets in Bangkok?
In Bangkok, if you buy the tickets at the tourist agencies on Khaosan Road and surroundings, you will pay a little more but you will go directly to your destination, no stops. Be careful with your suitcases, since in this type of tourist routes there have been thefts of money or things of value.
- If you want to go on your own, go by taxi to the Mo Chit Bust Station (+66 02 936-2841), for destinations to the East and North of Thailand, where all the coach agencies are and where you can choose the type of bus you want.
- For destinations to the South of the country go to the Southern Bus Terminal Sai Tai Mai (+66 02 894-6122).
- To go to destinations such as Pattaya, Rayong, Koh Samet and beyond, you can go to the Ekkamai Bus Station (+66 89 891 9392), which is steps away from the BTS station of the same name. It is the easiest station to access.
Buses are the backpackers favorite transportation in Thailand since they are the cheapest option by far and if you have plenty of time, why now?!
🚝 Train in Thailand: Slow but comfortable
Thailand’s train network is quite extensive (more than 4000 km) and connects almost the entire country. We must say, though, that it is a bit outdated. Trains are neither very fast nor very punctual, but they are quite clean and they will surely make you have a good experience.
Traveling by train in Thailand is a great idea, especially to make long trips that require to spend the night on the train. Normally, there is a restaurant car where you can have a drink or eat something. On the trains in Thailand you can choose between different classes. Generally speaking, there are first, second, and third class.
For each of them there are variants, and they will be available depending on the route.
- FIRST CLASS: you can travel in an individual or shared compartment (with someone of the same gender), which has a bed, bathroom and air conditioning.
- SECOND CLASS: the most popular among travelers. You can choose between seats and bunk beds that have curtains that give some privacy. You can also choose to travel with air conditioning or a fan.
- THIRD CLASS: best suited for short distances. Such as Bangkok to Ayutthaya or Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, although they also offer long-distance routes.
If you want to make a night trip it is worth taking a bed (sleep train), and you do not need air conditioning, since it is not hot at night.
→ TIP: beds below, although a bit more expensive, are much more comfortable since offer more space and a huge window.
Where to buy train tickets in Thailand?
To buy the train ticket in Thailand you have two options:
- Buy it at the train station. In Bangkok it is called Hua Lamphong Train Station and it is close to China Town (it has a Metro stop – Hua Lamphong MRT station).
- Buy it online. You can try your luck on the Thai railway website, or use Baolau that works much better.
If you choose to buy tickets online, you must go to the station between 15 and 30 minutes before departure time and show the electronic ticket at the ticket office so that they can give you the physical ticket. In the case of buying it on the railway website, you can show the purchase confirmation copy sent to your e-mail. If you buy them at the station, ask carefully about the class you want and / or the options available since they usually offer the most expensive ticket.
I advise you to buy tickets in advance if you plan to go to places of high tourist interest – for example, the famous train trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, or Bangkok to Surat Thani to go to Krabi or the islands of the Gulf of Thailand – . And avoid intermediaries – unless you trust them – as some scammers usually take you to alleged tourist offices where they will charge you much more expensive for the passage.
By the way, we have an entire article dedicated to Trains in Thailand and comparing prices between booking platforms. Just like in the table below:
|1rst Class Bed (Special Express CNR 9)||2nd Class Bed (Special Express CNR 9 )||2nd Class Seat (Special Express DRC 7)||3rd Class Seat (Special Express 13)|
|DTICKET||1,653 THB||1,041 THB||641 THB||311 THB|
|BAOLAU||1,849 THB||1,164 THB||725 THB||374 THB|
|12GO||1,993 THB||1,357 THB||941 THB||X|
Where to book your tickets for trains, buses, ferries or flights in Thailand?
Baolau is the best place to book your tickets since they have the best rates that you will find online. Their commissions are very low and offer many options for all itineraries, from flights to night trains, buses, private vans, ferries… you name it!
🚗 Renting a car in Thailand
Many tourists wonder if it is worth renting a car in Thailand. You should know that renting a car in Thailand is possible in practically all tourist cities. There is usually a car rental desk at all airports.
In Thailand you will find the main international rental companies, such as Budget, Sixt, Hertz or Avis, as well as small local companies that tend to be less demanding with the requirements.
Generally, car rental in Thailand includes accident insurance and the vehicle can be returned to a different place than where you collected it.
The requirements to be able to rent a car are usually:
- Have a valid international driver’s license (although local rental companies sometimes don’t ask for it).
- Have a passport.
- Have a valid visa.
- As a guarantee they will ask for your credit card or some amount of money, not your passport (there could be exceptions).
→ My experience: I have rented cars in many places in Thailand and in my experience I would tell you that most small local businesses do not usually ask for an international license or a credit card guarantee.
On the other hand, international rental companies are very strict with that. Perhaps your driving license (especially the European one) can serve them, but the deposit with a credit card will be essential.
Prices are similar to any other place in the world, usually the cheapest options starts under a 1000 THB per day. Also keep in mind that despite the fact that Thailand’s highways and roads are in fairly good condition, they are among the most dangerous in the world in number of accidents.
🛺 Tuk-Tuk in Thailand: Fun and useful outside of Bangkok
Tuk-tuks (Sam Lo in Thai) are almost an emblem of Thailand. That is why in Bangkok and other tourist destinations their drivers take advantage to deceive tourists and charge them 3, 4 or 5 times more than what they would charge a Thai. That makes them more expensive than taxis.
strong>Outside of Bangkok, the túk-túk (which are somewhat different), tend to be very useful and although you have to negotiate the price with them, they are usually more legal and do not deceive you as much as in the capital. Outside the capital the price of tuk tuk in Thailand is usually cheap.
🚕 Taxis: Useful and inexpensive but tricky
Taxis in Thailand are used mainly in the capital, Bangkok, where you will find thousands and thousands of them. They are really cheap with their meter on (difficult around Khao San Rd. But you will get it by rejecting the first 2 or 3 taxis or stopping them in a less touristy place), and you will rarely pay more than 200 THB in one way Inside the city. Actually rides usually cost 60 to 80 THB.
Contrary to what you might think, taxis in Bangkok are cheaper than tuk-tuks. Taxis in Thailand, when using a meter, charge a legalized price that starts at 35 THB. The tuk tuk charge what they want based on the passenger’s face. Taxis are generally safe and in Thailand there are no kidnappings or robberies by drivers. You can take them when and where you want without problem. What is dangerous is the way some of the drive, as if they were the main character of Fast and Furious XXII.
Tips for taking taxis in Thailand
1. Go for a taxi that is moving and ignore the one that is parked. Those who are parked wait for the tourist to scam him.
2. Open the door and tell him where you want to go before getting in. He will tell you whether he accepts or not. It is very common for them to reject you. Don’t take it personally. It happens to all of us.
3. Ask for the meter. All have them. Some half hide it or have it already on. It should start at 35 THB.
There is the alternative to taxis: the famous motorcycle taxis in Thailand. It’s a good option if you are in a hurry. They race among the herds of cars that fill the streets and avenues of the city, especially in the busiest times.
You will have to negotiate the price with the driver since they do not have a taximeter, and perhaps he will give you a helmet. Perhaps not. Obviously it’s not the safest option.
🚐 Packages around Thailand
From our office in Bangkok we organize private tours around Thailand. We can do complete tours throughout Thailand including all necessary transfers, or we can only offer what is most difficult to organize on your own: an overland route to the North of Thailand starting in Bangkok.
If you want to get an idea of what these routes are like, you can get in touch with us.
We will take care of all your transportation in Thailand, hotels, tours, activities and anything you might need!