Thailand Transport

Get in


The main international airports in Thailand are at Bangkok and Phuket, and both are well-served by intercontinental flights. Practically every airline that flies to Asia also flies into Bangkok. International airports are also located at Hat Yai, Krabi, Ko Samui and Chiang Mai, though these largely restricted to flights from other Southeast Asian countries. The national carrier is the well-regarded Thai Airways, with Bangkok Airways filling in some gaps in the nearby region . Bangkok Airways offers free Internet access while you wait for boarding to start at your gate.


Thailand's sole international train service links to Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, continuing all the way to Singapore. Tickets are cheap even in first class sleepers, but it can be a slow ride. The luxury option is to take the Eastern&Oriental Express, a refurbished super-luxury train that runs along the same route once per week, with gourmet dining, personal butler service and every other colonial perk you can think of, but the cost is approximately 30 times more expensive than an ordinary first-class sleeper.


The true Thai river transport is long-tail boat, so-called because the propeller is mounted at the end of a long drive shaft extending from the engine. Long-tail boats can travel at a phenomenal speed and they are a staple of transport on rivers and canals in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces. Faster, more expensive hovercraft or jetfoils are sometimes available in tourist areas.
Get around


Buses travel throughout the country and the government's bus company BKS, known in English simply as the The Transport Company, has a terminal in every province of any size. BKS buses are the best option for both price and comfort, there are also private buses sanctioned by BKS, which operate on the same routes from the same terminals with the same fares, and these are also fine. The ones to watch out for are the illegal bus companies, which operate from tourist areas and subsidize slightly cheaper tickets with worse amenities, schedules and safety.


Metered taxis are ubiquitous in Bangkok and starting to become more popular in Chiang Mai, but rare elsewhere in the country. When available, they are an excellent means of transport, insist on the meter. Beware of taxis which idle around touristy areas and wait for people, they are looking for a tourist who will take their taxi without using a meter. Motorcycles are the most common form of transport overall, these are very widely used as taxis, with fares starting from as low as 10 baht.


Driving your own car in Thailand is not for the faint-hearted and is a cost-effective way of getting off the beaten track, and avoids the constant hassle of haggling with local taxi or tuk-tuk drivers. Many rental companies can supply drivers at a very reasonable price, it's usually costs about 1200-1500 baht if you want to go for an economical one like a Toyota Vios. Foreigners who do not have a Thai driving licence must carry a valid International Driving Permit. Even if you manage to rent a car without an IDP, not having one will invalidate the insurance and count against you in the event of an accident.