Transport in Thailand
Although the Thai infrastructure couldn't be considered the world's greatest, it does offer a wide variety of domestic transport for very affordable prices. The extensive bus services and value for money domestic flights do make the entirety of the kingdom very simple to circumnavigate.
What You'll learn here:
The Thailand railway network is very extensive to say the least. The intricate web of lines covers the entire nation; from the southern city of Had Yai (bordering Malaysia,) to the Northern city of Chiang Mai, where you can travel in relative comfort for an economical price. The network also reaches out to the Cambodian, Laos and Burmese borders, allowing every corner of the country to be reached and explored with the minimum amount of fuss.
The only drawback to the rail system is the pedestrian speed for which it is famous. But this only enhances the scenic journey more, taking in the picturesque surroundings of the beautiful jungle-laden countryside in the comfort of first class travel.
There are four major line routes, which all terminate in Bangkok; The Northern Line, the North-Eastern Line, The Eastern Line and The Southern Line.
There are three classes within the rail system for you to choose; Third Class — providing Spartan wooden beaches, which is perfectly acceptable for short journeys; Second Class — that include air-conditioned or fan sections within relative comfort; First Class — air-conditioned private compartments (perfect for long journeys) with two beds, a stow-away table and a sink. Please note it is important to book these in advance, because they tend to get booked first.
The price ranges are obviously depending on the length of the journey and the choice of class, but suffice to say, it is very affordable and probably the best value for money way to travel throughout Thailand.
Advance bookings can be made either via travel agency or by phoning Thailand State Railway:
Sadly, online booking of rail tickets was discontinued in 2013.
The Thailand bus system is easily the most cost effective way to travel, with its variety of coaches of different comforts and routes sprawling across the nation. The three major plus factors of the bus system are its organization, efficiency and its cheapness. Thailand has a great intercity coach travel system, linking the provinces and cities in a seamless manner. The buses can be crowded, due to the cost effective pricing, being the Thai public's premier choice of travel. A typical journey of around 90km will cost in the region of 100 Baht. There is the choice of air-conditioned buses, which provide video entertainment and comfortable seating.
Sadly road safety in Thailand is very poor. Recent studies have placed Thailand in the top #3 most dangerous countries for road travel. Take care whenever using Thailand's roads for transportation.
The most convenient form of transport within Thailand is the domestic flight system. The country owns 28 commercial airports, 21 of which are domestic; the main ones being Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai. There is a competitive stream of airlines that offer flights throughout Thailand, all of which can be booked directly from the airline offices in Bangkok or from a plethora of travel agencies scattered across the nation. The flights are very efficient and available for a good affordable price. Most tourists take this option above the rail and bus services, because of the convenience. Phuket to Bangkok by bus can take up to 12 hours, while a flight will take only 45mins to 1 hour!
Domestic Airline Information
Thailand has multiple domestic carriers, many offering low fares:
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