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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Thailand Getting Around - Internal Travel
Thailand Internal Travel - Getting Around Thailand - TravelPuppy.com

Air

Thai Airways International (TG) flies to most larger towns, using a total of 22 airports.

Bangkok Airways (PG) flies extra routes. Price reduction is available in off-peak seasons and during special promotional periods.

Sea/River

There are, relying on the season, up to 1,600 kilometres or 1,000 miles of navigable inland waterways in Thailand operating between Thanon Tok and Nonthaburi, and there are luxury cruises on the Oriental Queen. Long-tailed motorboats and taxi-boat ferries also can be hired.

Competition on all of the principal routes assures that fares are kept low. There is reduction of services during May and October which is the monsoon season along the east coast and Andaman coast, and from November through January on the Gulf coast. The isolated areas are unreachable in these periods.

Rail

The excellent railway network extending over 4,600 kilometres or 2,860 miles, connects all main towns with the exception of Phuket. It is operated by State Railways of Thailand. It has been extended to serve centres on the east coast. There are 4 major routes to the north, the east, the south and northeast of Thailand, and a line serving Thon Buri, River Kwai Bridge and Nam Tok.

Daily services are available on each route, with air-conditioning, sleeping and restaurant cars on the main trains. It is 1 of the best means to travel around Thailand and the journeys are relaxed and usually pleasant and comfortable. The Southern Line Express stops at Surat Thani for those who want to continue by bus and ferry to the islands off the east coast. Most timetables are printed in English.

Road

A convenient road network in Thailand consists of many highways and 52,000 kilometres or 32,300 miles of national and provincial roads. All the main roads are paved and traffic in Thailand drives on the left.

Buses: There are urban routes to all provinces. Fares are cheap and buses are very cramped. Privately owned air-conditioned buses (seats can be reserved) are convenient and reasonably priced.

Taxis:
There are 3 types of taxis that operate day and night: taxi-meter; taxis which are unmetered; and 3-wheeled, open-air tuk-tuks. It is advisable to agree on fares before departure when there is no meter and if possible for longer trips even in taxi-meters. Motorbike taxis are also available and they are useful in Bangkok during rush hours. Passengers are advised to carry the correct amount of fares as taxi drivers do not frequently carry change. Passengers are also expected to pay for motorway tolls.

Car hire: Available in all larger cities. Passports might be held as a form of deposit. Motorcycle hire is also available, especially on the larger islands. Always wear a helmet.

Documentation:
International Driving Permits are required and are valid for 3 months, after which a Thai driving licence is required.

Urban

Conventional buses in Bangkok are run by the Government Mass Transit Authority, but there are also many private minibus operations and passenger-carrying trucks. Air-conditioned and express buses charge higher fares. Fares are low and are collected by conductors. To travel around on the Chao Phraya River by long-tailed motorboats and ferries is quick and inexpensive. The Tourist Office at Don Muang Airport provides bus maps of the city. The Skyrail, an elevated transit system in Bangkok, runs from 6.00 am to 12 midnight.

Travel Time

The following gives approximate travel times (in hours and minutes) from Bangkok to other major cities/towns in Thailand.

  Air Rail Road
Chiang Rai
1.15 - 12.00
Chiang Mai
1.00 14.00 10.00
Hat Yai
1.15 17.00 15.00
Hua Hin
0.40 4.00 3.00
Pattaya
- 3.35 3.00
Phitsanulok
0.55 6.00 5.30
Phuket
1.20 - 10.45
Samui
1.20 14.00 13.00
Surat Thani
1.00 12.00 11.00
Ubon Ratchathani
1.45 11.00 10.00
Udon Thani
1.00 10.15 9.00
 
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