How to Get Around Thailand
Thailand is not a big country, and getting around is fairly easy. To cover long distances, for example Bangkok - Chiang Mai, or Chiang Mai – Phuket, the most popular option is flying. It is comfortable and inexpensive, and you will save a lot of time.
When visiting the cities, you have many options to choose from: Private cars (the most comfortable one), bicycles or tuk-tuks for a fun experience; or taxis to go to and from the airport. If you love walking, there are many tours you can take in the major cities; and trekking lovers will find their perfect place in the national parks.
Check out our brief article and learn more about getting around in Thailand!
- Flying is the most convenient way to move between distant destinations.
- Get a tuk-tuk for a fun ride in the bustling cities!
- Long-tail boats are the most characteristic way to move between the islands.
- Hiring a private car means to have all the comfort you might wish.
- Rent a bike and explore the Historical Parks of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.
Thailand, even if it isn’t a really big country, has dozens of domestic airlines (Thai AirAsia, Thai Airways, Thai Lion Air, Bangkok Airways, etc.) connecting the most popular destinations. Some of them offer extremely comfortable flights, with in-flight entertainment and snacks, at an affordable price.
Every day of the week, you will find multiple flights between the most visited destinations. Some of the most popular routes are: Bangkok - Chiang Mai, Bangkok - Phuket, Bangkok - Koh Samui, or Chiang Mai - Phuket. All the flights are pretty short (maximum 2 hours), and prices range from USD 60 - 200. Getting to the islands is usually more expensive, especially during high season.
Our staff will help you arrange your itinerary and book all your flights, taking care of all your needs. This will save you time and money, and ensure you a hassle-free trip.
The total length of the railway track is about 4,180 km, and it connects the four corners of the country. All long-distance trains originate from the train station in Bangkok, Hualamphong. Ticket prices are determined based on the distance, the class (there are 3 classes), air-con, and sleeping berths. You can book your tickets as far as 60 days in advance.
A trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will take about 12 hours with an express train. There is also an overnight train if you wish to save time travelling during the night. Another popular route is Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. It takes about 3 and a half hours. There are two trains a day and you will pass the famous bridge over the river Kwai.
Taking a train, even if it can be fascinating, will take a long time, much longer than flying. For example, to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by flight takes only one hour. It therefore is only a good option when the two locations are not too far away from each other.
Taking long-distance buses is the most popular option among locals. Thailand has an extensive network of inter-city buses with two classes. The first class usually offers air-con, fully reclining seats, and other amenities (especially on the longer routes). Bus tickets are generally inexpensive, but journeys by bus are not as safe as by train or by plane.
From Bangkok, you can virtually reach any other province of the country, and there is a service between every region and its neighbors. Most cities have a central bus station, where you can easily find the tickets you are looking for.
However, bus journeys are much slower than flights. For example, to get from Bangkok to Chiang Rai will take 13 hours; Bangkok - Phuket takes more than 10 hours. Moreover, long-distance rides can be pretty uncomfortable, mostly because of the limited space.
Moving inside big cities like Bangkok can be somehow tough because of the traffic. However, there are many options: from the high comfort of a private car, to the fun experience of a tuk-tuk or bicycle ride. Here are all the options for you to choose from:
Hiring a private car has a lot of advantages: It offers the highest comfort like air-con; it allows you to choose your personal itinerary and to reach destinations not connected by public transportation; and you and your family have all the privacy that you need.
After picking you up at your hotel, the driver will do his/her best to follow your requests, driving you as close as possible to your destination, and dropping you off at your hotel once the trip is over. If you leave something in the car, no problem ̶ the company can be easily contacted, and you will get all your belongings back.
Private cars are especially recommended for guided day tours for families. You can just sit back and enjoy the planned itinerary. The guide will take care of everything, communicating with the driver and satisfying all your needs.
For an interesting experience, hire a tuk-tuk to drive you around. A tuk-tuk is the Thai version of a motorized rickshaw; they are open-air vehicles with three wheels, and they can transport two or three people at the time.
They are extremely easy to find, especially in the most touristic areas. Usually, going around with a tuk-tuk will cost as much as a taxi, and to get the best deal you will need to bargain.
Choosing a tuk-tuk is a fun way to drive around busy cities like Bangkok, and sometimes they can be faster than any other way of transportation, since they are small enough to weave through traffic.
Biking around is always fun, especially when visiting the rural areas or the beautiful Historical Parks of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Bicycles can easily be hired from guesthouses and shops for about 50 Baht per day. You can also rent bikes inside the national parks.
However, biking is not always recommended in major cities because of the traffic; but you can still have a guided bicycle tour of Bangkok and some other larger cities. For example, when in Chiang Mai, you can have a guided tour to explore the less touristy parts of the city and the less crowded temples.
When exploring Bangkok, walking can be an excellent option. It allows you to admire the city at your own pace, to take pictures of all the thinks you like, and not to miss the many details you won’t be able to spot from a taxi.
You can choose from many tours (each one with a different itinerary), and they will all lead you to the most popular attractions of the city. For example, on a three hour tour, you can visit the wats on the east side of the river, like Wat Intharawihan and Wat Chanasongkram, ending at the Temple of the Golden Buddha.
When taking a walking tour, always remember to bring enough water, as it can get really hot during daytime.
With dozens of national parks, Thailand is a paradise for trekking lovers. Stunning nature, remote villages, passionate guides ̶ trekking in Thailand is a unique experience.
One of the most popular routes goes from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son. You will go through some of the most remote areas of the country, visiting a Huay Hee Karen Village. Moreover, all the national parks are perfect for trekking, with many trails of varying difficulty. With the aid of a guide, trekking will be fun and easy!
Long-tail boats are the most characteristic water transport of Thailand. They travel on rivers and canals in Bangkok, and they are a popular option to reach the islands and go island-hopping.
When visiting the beautiful islands, long-tail boats are the choice of many; they are inexpensive, characteristic, safe, and frequent. The standard boat is made from wood and is 8 - 10m long, with a simple roof to shelter the passengers and cargo. However, to reach the more popular destinations (for example when going from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi) faster hovercraft and speedboats will be used.
Taxis are to be found everywhere, waiting outside airports and hotels, driving around the cities. Getting a taxi in Thailand is extremely easy, and many people choose this option when transferring between the airport and downtown and vice versa. It is the easiest way to be sure to be on time and to have a safe trip.
Explore Thailand with Asia Highlights
Thailand is a beautiful country that is only waiting to be explored. Book with Asia Highlights and let us help you when crafting the perfect trip! Our staff will design the itinerary according to your wishes, booking flight tickets, arranging private cars with a guide, tailoring the best walking tour for you.