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Thailand Transportation


Ways to Thailand

1. Out of the 7 international airports in Thailand, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport receives the majority of flights from over 30 countries such as China, Malaysia, New Zealand, India, UAE, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, the UK, Sweden, France, Russia, Singapore, and Germany.

2. There are boats shuttling between Thailand and Malaysia. Visitors need to make a registration at the border checkpoint when getting in and out.

3. Railways in Thailand and Malaysia are converged in Butterworth, which is also the transfer station to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. Besides, international trains are available to reach Bangkok from Nong Khai in Laos and Battambang in Cambodia.

4. Taking coach from the neighboring Laos, Malaysia, and Cambodia to Thailand is workable.


Domestic Transportation

Air
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport is located to the southeast of downtown. Tourists can take taxi or BTS line directly to town. There are three BTS lines, SA City Line, Makkasan Express Line, and Phaya Thai Express Line, operating from 6:00 to 24:00. Alternatively, take airport shuttle bus to public transportation center which is 3 kilometers (2 miles) away from airport terminal, and then take another bus to downtown at a cost of THB 34. Four airport shuttle bus lines are available to reach the city center. Besides, if your destination is Pattaya, you can take a straight bus outside the Gate 8 on 1F at a cost of THB 120-150.

Don Mueang International Airport is the first airport in Bangkok which was put into use since March 27th, 1914, and is still one of the main airports in Southeast Asia. Though it was replaced by Suvarnabhumi International Airport to be the major airport in Bangkok, there are still a few of international flights, especially those of budget airline companies.

Phuket International Airport is 30 kilometers (19 miles) to the northwest of Phuket Town. If taking shuttle bus, it would cost you THB 120 to the town and THB 180 to Patong, Kata, or Karon beaches. Taxi ticket price is much higher, which is THB 500 to the town and THB 700-800 to the mentioned beaches. Generally, high-end hotels will provide pick-up service.

Railway
Train plays an important part in Thailand transportation. There are 4 railway lines stretching from Bangkok to four directions with a total length of 4,500 kilometers (2,976 miles).

  • North line: Express train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, 851 kilometers (529 miles) long, going through Ayuthaya, Lopburi, Phitsanulok, and Lampang. The whole journey takes 14.5 hours.
  • South line: Bangkok to Hat Yai, 990 kilometers (615 miles) long along Malay Peninsula, going through Hua Hin.
  • Northeast line: Express train from Bangkok to Nong Khai in Laos, 624 kilometers (388 miles) long, going through Ayuthaya, Nakon Ratchasima, and Khon Kaen in Thailand. It takes 11 hours to reach the terminal.
  • East line: Bangkok to Battambang in Cambodia, 225 kilometers (140 miles) long, going through Chachoengsao and Aranyaprathet in Thailand. It takes 5 hours by express train or 7 hours by fast train.

Hua Lamphong Railway Station is the starting station of these 4 lines and also the biggest train station in Thailand. It is located in the southwest of Bangkok, next to the China Town. There are 14 platforms, 26 ticket windows, and 2 electronic display boards. Since it is also close to Hualampong Subway Station, it is very convenient to take subway to the train station.

Coach
Just as railway, Thai highway is also centered in Bangkok with 4 main lines in all.

Lines
Travel Time Distance
Bangkok - Chiang Mai 9 hours 639 kilometers (397 miles)
Bangkok - Hanoi 10 hours 700 kilometers (435 miles)
Bangkok - Pattaya 2.5 hours 147 kilometers (91 miles)
Bangkok - Phuket 12 hours 862 kilometers (536 miles)

Compared with train, Thai coach is faster and ticket price is cheaper, but not as comfortable as train. VIP coach is the most comfortable type with only 24 seats. It is also equipped with rest room, air conditioner, and provides free foods and drinks.

Light Rail and Subway
In Thailand, subway and light rail can only be found in Bangkok. A very hot Thai movie, named Bangkok Traffic Love Story, was shot in this light rail, which adds more romance to this city.

Lines
Major Stations Ticket Price
BTS Silom Line National Stadium, Siam, Sala Daeng, Saphan Taksin THB 15 - 40 for one-way ticket
Sukhumvit Line Siam, Chit Lom, Nana, Asok, On Nut
MRT Hua Lamphong - Kamphaeng Phet Hua Lamphong, Sam Yan, Si Lom, Chatuchak Park THB 15-39 for adults;
THB 8 - 20 for children of  90 - 120 cm (35-47 inches) high;
Free of charge for children under 90 cm high.

Taxi, Tuk-tuk, and Songthaew
Taxi service is available in hot tourist destinations throughout the country, but the ticket price varies. It charges THB 35 for the flag-down fare in Bangkok. Attention needs to be paid to make sure the taxi fare is metered before getting on, while it is also ok to negotiate the price beforehand since there is always traffic jam in peak hour.

Tuk-tuk is the most common means of transportation in Southeast Asia, with a minimum charge of THB 100.

Songthaew is another distinctive public vehicle in Thailand and is more common in Chiang Mai. It can be stopped anywhere at any moment, and the ticket price varies from THB 20 to THB 40.


Further Reading: 
Things to Do in Thailand   Useful Travel Tips