Domestic Flights in Thailand
When we travel, we don’t want to spend too much time actually “travelling”, i.e. moving from one place to the other. Fortunately, Thailand has a wonderful flight network, and it will be really easy to reach distant destinations.
There are many Thai airlines, dozens of daily flights, and affordable tickets. Flying within the country, for example between Chiang Mai and Phuket, or Bangkok and Chiang Rai, is becoming more and more popular. No other means of transportation gives you the same mix of comfort and convenience.
Check the following article to learn more about domestic flights in Thailand.
- The two busiest airports of the country are in Bangkok and Phuket.
- There are dozens of flights, connecting popular destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui every day.
- Flying within the country is the most popular option for many travelers.
- Because flights are quick, efficient, and inexpensive.
- The first step to ensure a relaxing trip is to plan your movements within the country carefully.
Airlines and Flying Schedules
Flying within the country is very popular. It allows you to save time (a domestic flight is maximum 2hrs), and to avoid those tiring journeys on over-night buses.
Here we gathered some basic information for you about the principal Thai airlines. You can choose the flagship carrier (Thai Airways), or a boutique airline like Bangkok Airways; or some budget airlines like Thai Lion Air and Thai Air Asia, whose major strength is the vast offer of flights.
The flagship carrier of Thailand, Thai Airways, is mostly operated from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. It is considered a four-star airline, offering high-quality service, such as entertainment and snacks, even on short flights.
Thai Lion Air
Partnered with the Indonesian Lion Air, Thai Lion Air serves many domestic destinations and connects Don Mueang in Bangkok with numerous international destinations.
Thai Air Asia
Thai Air Asia is the biggest budget carrier in Asia, and it is based at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok. It is a low-cost airline offering extremely good deals, especially when travelling within the country. You can take a domestic flight even for just USD 20. Thai Air Asia also flies to Japan, China, and South Korea.
The “boutique airline” of Thailand, Bangkok Airways, is a small airline with limited flights that offers a higher service than the competition (tickets are also often more expensive). It has its own lounges at many airports in Thailand where passengers can relax, have a snack, or go shopping while waiting for their next flight.
Learn more about the best 8 domestic airlines in Thailand for tourists.
Air Fares and Booking
As many other popular touristic destinations, Thailand has a low and a high season. During low season, from April to October, prices are lower than during high season, there are not as many people, and the country is very lush because of the abundant rainfalls.
The high season, from November to March, is when most tourists decide to visit Thailand, and so you can expect high prices and big crowds. However, during this season the weather is extremely nice, with moderate temperatures and few to no rainfalls.
Flying within the country is always a good option, but it is good to keep in mind what was said above. Ticket prices will be higher during the high season (about 30% higher). There are many airlines flying at the same time on the same route, and the prices between different operators are much the same.
The prices shown below are for full service (one way); 15-30kg checked luggage and a 7kg hand luggage (every airline has a different baggage policy). There are additional fees for ticket changes.
|From||To||Price||Nonstop flying time|
|Bangkok||Chiang Mai||USD 45||1h 10m|
|Bangkok||Chiang Rai||USD 38||1h 25m|
|Bangkok||Koh Samui||USD 145||1h 05m|
|Bangkok||Phuket||USD 30||1h 25m|
|Chiang Mai||Phuket||USD 120||2h|
To get the most out of Thailand, we strongly recommend booking your tickets through a travel agency. This way, an expert will help you choose the best routes and get ideal deals. A travel agent will also be able to give you an overview of Thai domestic flights, doing the best they can to satisfy your needs.
Flights Connecting the Main Destinations
Flying between the most popular destinations in Thailand is really easy. There are multiple daily flights, every day of the week, allowing you to choose the best flying time and get the best out of your vacation.
The route Bangkok - Chiang Rai is served by numerous airlines, and there are more than 70 daily flights you can choose from. Chiang Mai - Phuket, on the other hand, has only 5 daily flights, but they are well distributed during the day. Bangkok - Koh Samui is served almost only by Bangkok Airways, and every day there are more than 20 flights.
Bangkok to Chiang Rai
Every day of the week, there are flights departing from both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok to Chiang Rai International Airport.
Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, and other Thai airlines all serve this route; and there are more than 71 daily flights between the two destinations (the earliest one is at 5 a.m., the latest one at 10 p.m.).
It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Chiang Rai, and prices range from USD 45 to USD 120. We always recommend booking the tickets as early as possible.
Chiang Mai to Phuket
There are 5 flights connecting Chiang Mai International Airport with Phuket International Airport. The airlines serving this route are Thai Smile, Thai AirAsia, and Bangkok Airways.
A direct flight will take about 2 hours to reach Phuket. The earliest flight of the day is around 9:40 a.m., and the last one departs at 9:40 p.m. Prices range from USD 80 to USD 140.
Bangkok to Koh Samui
You can reach Koh Samui International Airport from both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang. Every day, there are more than 21 flights connecting the two destinations.
The route is almost exclusively served by Bangkok Airways. The flight takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes, and the earliest one is at 6 a.m., while the last one is at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost about US 135-150.
Major Airports in Thailand
There are many airports in Thailand, connecting numerous destinations inside and outside the country. The biggest Thai airport is Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, and one of the busiest one is the International Airport in Phuket. The airports in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Koh Samui, even though they are smaller, still offer a good service and many travelling options.
Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok
Bangkok has two airports: Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang. The first one, about 30km from the city, is one of the major hubs of air travel of all Southeast Asia. Don Mueang was once the biggest airport of Thailand, but nowadays it serves a more limited number of flights.
Chiang Mai International Airport
Chiang Mai Airport is the gateway to Northern Thailand. It serves 10 airlines and it receives flights from all over Southeast Asia: Bangkok, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Laos, etc. It is located less than 10 minutes from the city center, and the terminal is full of shops, ATMs, and exchange bureaus.
Chiang Rai International Airport
The airport in Chiang Rai is about 10km from the city center. It has only one passenger terminal, with a Dairy Queen and a Black Canyon Coffee outlet. It doesn’t serve any international routes, so it can be used only for domestic flights.
Phuket International Airport
The second busiest airport of the country is the one in Phuket. It is in the north of the island, about 32km from Phuket town. It has 3 terminals, with Terminal 2 used for international flights, connecting the island with many major destinations like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong.
Koh Samui International Airport
In Koh Samui, the airport was built by Bangkok Airways. You will find the airport in the north of the island, near Bo Put Beach. It has highest safety-standard equipment, and it is a place where passengers can relax and unwind at its many facilities.
Explore Thailand with Asia Highlights
With so many beautiful destinations to choose from, flying within Thailand can be essential. We strongly believe that the aid of a professional travel agent will guarantee you a hassle-free vacation. Our knowledgeable staff will help you plan your trip, choose the best routes and the best flights for you; in short, they will tailor the trip around your needs!