Now that Thailand is opening up again, and now that you are in Thailand, you will have to figure out how to get around using transportation in Thailand. In this post, we will discuss the various methods of transportation in Thailand so that you know your options.
Urban transportation in Thailand
If you are in Bangkok then there are many transportation methods available to you:
Taxi and Grab Taxi
The most convenient mode of transportation would be to take a taxi, which works just like everywhere else in the world. While Thai taxi drivers are accustomed to serving tourists, if you are worried about things lost in translation or being cheated, Grab Taxi is an alternative (Uber equivalent).
Grab app allows you to type down your destination in English. Once confirmed, it will show you estimated travel time, pricing and various vehicle options available to you. You can opt to pay by linking your credit card to the app or pay in cash.
Typical fare would be around THB 150-300 for most of your Bangkok travels, however the fare may vary depending on distance and car option.
Three-wheelers or Tuk Tuk
Three-wheelers transport in Thailand is probably the most iconic transportation method in the country. Taking Tuk Tuk would probably make a good experience if it is your first visit to Thailand.
However, we cannot recommend Tuk Tuk as a regular mode of transport for a few reasons:
1) Tuk Tuk does not typically follow meter fares so you can easily get cheated
2) Bangkok can be quite polluted especially when faced with traffic jam
3) Seat belt not available
After your first try, Taxi or other mode of transportation might give you better peace of mind!
Rapid train system i.e. BTS or MRT
Modes of transportation we have introduced so far have one common issue, you may get stuck in traffic! According to Bangkok Post, Bangkok is the 12th most congested city globally.
BTS (Sky train) and MRT (subway) are great alternatives when it comes to avoiding traffic jams and their networks have become expansive over the years.
You can easily check BTS and MRT network, fare and estimated travel time on their websites. The typical fare would be between THB 20- 60
Bus, motorcycle and ferry
We do not generally recommend these to visitors unless they are relatively experienced with Thailand. Safety aside, taking buses in Bangkok will require you to know the areas relatively well or may require you to speak Thai. This is because most buses are not equipped with electronic signs/announcements to update you on the latest location or when to get off.
Hired motorcycle is great for avoiding traffic. However, for safety reasons, we would only recommend you to take a motorcycle outside of the main road and when no other transport method is available. For example, from the nearest BTS station into your apartment or hotel.
There are also a few cross-harbour ferries in Bangkok. However, if you are looking to enjoy the chao phraya river view then we would recommend river cruises instead. You can book these directly from an app like Klook.
Traveling in other cities apart from Bangkok
Outside of Bangkok, transportation modes become a lot more limited. However, taxis and Grab taxis are still generally available and they are our recommended mode of transportation. Nonetheless, please ensure that they follow proper meter fare.
If you are visiting a less populated location like many of the southern islands in Thailand (for example Samui), you can also choose to rent a scooter/motorcycle to ride around.
Read more about our experience using Google map for navigation in Thailand!
Inter-city transportation in Thailand
If you are in Thailand for a longer period during your travels, it is quite likely that you will be looking to visit multiple cities and provinces. How can you do that? There are a few options you can consider.
The fastest inter-province transportation method would be to take domestic flights. In fact, there are a total of 6 international and a total of 20+ airports reachable via commercial flights.
There are many options for domestic flights in Thailand and they are not costly. For example, Bangkok Chiang Mai or Bangkok Phuket flights can be as cheap as THB 2,000 and they can be booked directly on airline websites.
While not very popular, Thailand has 4 rail lines as part of its network that can take you north/east/west or south of Thailand. It is a very cheap alternative to domestic flights.
Wondering how booking train tickets in Thailand works? You can either visit a local train station (there is one directly opposite the Don Muang international airport) or visit The State Railway of Thailand’s website.
Be warned that unlike in China, Taiwan or Japan, Thai railway system is dated and may not be very convenient.
Long distance bus as an option for transportation in Thailand
Long distance bus routes used to dominate inter-city transportation in Thailand, until it was disrupted by low-cost domestic flights. However there are still many operators who can take you to any provinces in Thailand.
If you are considering taking a long distance bus for your domestic travel, we would recommend VIP buses. This is because they have great service and good seating (imagine a business class flight seat on a bus). And, there are only 32 seats per bus.
Nakornchai air is an example of such a provider. They also have an English website and online booking!
Are there many options for transportation in Thailand?
However, some methods may be less safe or make you more prone to getting cheated. Some maybe less well known and might be hard to locate their booking websites. Make sure you research first on the transportation mode that you choose, to ensure smooth travels.
Learn more about Thailand through our posts: