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How To Get Around Thailand

December 16th, 2008 by

I love Thailand! I love the food, culture, the people, and all its interesting places. I also enjoy staying in their nice hotels like Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok located at South Sathorn Road.

Tuk Tuk

But this country is not only known for all these exciting things. It also has a notorious reputation when it comes to congested roads and pesky traffic jams.

This is why it important to know the various means of transportation that you can take in Thailand so that you can maximize your visit. First of all, keep in mind that there are so many ways to get around Thailand and that the key to appreciating the “real” Thailand is not to be confined to see only the popular tourist areas but also visit roads that are less travelled. This is where the different modes of transport can come in as some roads are accessible only to selected vehicles.

AIRPLANES – Thai Airways is the national flag carrier of Thailand. It also travels to tourist destinations daily. Travelers are advised to visit their website to be informed about the various destinations and specific flight schedule. Bangkok Airways is considered the second carrier of the country. For the past years, they have been active in introducing new destinations to travelers like Sukhothai. Developing new destinations can open the eyes of people to more options for travel and can lessen congestion in usual tourist destinations like Bangkok or Phuket.

One-Two-Go is a budget airline under the charter carrier Orient Thai. They are known to have larger airplanes compared to other existing budget airlines in Thailand. It is quite convenient to fly with One-Two-Go because they serve most of the standard stops including Phuket and Chiang Mai. Another budget airline is Air Asia, the first airline to cover regional destinations. Its mother company is based in Malaysia. Top destinations include Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phuket, etc. If taken from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, passengers can avail of connecting flights to Bali, Singapore, etc. Book flights way in advance, like three months in advance, in order to get the lowest possible rates.

Bangkok BTS

BANGKOK BTS – The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) played a very important role in bringing back order to the already chaotic road life of the people. Life in Bangkok improved as travel time has been drastically reduced from long frustrating hours to mere minutes (that is if you are travelling from one station to another on board the BTS). Traveling via the BTS is a must and highly recommended to every visitor in Bangkok because it is very convenient. As a matter of fact, the BTS is even connected to some of popular shopping centers like MBK Shopping Complex, and the Emporium Department Store.

CANAL BOATS – Based on this country’s rich history, it was said that Bangkok used to be referred to as the Venice of the East. But travel through the canal system is still utilized up to today. For Bangkok, the main canal service is provided on Khlong Saen Saep. These canal boats can take you to your destinations faster than road travel as there won’t be any traffic jams to battle with most especially during rush hours. You would just have to be careful and avoid sitting by the edge because you just might get a bit wet during the journey. You won’t be soaked but you have to be careful just the same because canal water is not exactly clean. But if you are craving for an unconventional way of experiencing Thailand then you must definitely try this!

TAXI CABS – Even if road travel can take so much of one’s time because of traffic jams, a lot of Thailand’s visitors prefer to travel on board metered taxi cabs. But the upside is that you’ll be in an air-conditioned vehicle while sitting through traffic. Taxi cabs can also be rented for out-of-town trips like a visit to Safari World Bangkok or see some of the leather factories. Just make sure that you negotiate and agree on a fixed price before you hop on.

TUK-TUKS – Again, your visit to Thailand will not be complete taking an inexpensive ride in a tuk-tuk. A tuk-tuk is a three-wheeled motor cab that is usually preferred over buses or taxi cabs during rush hours. These tuk-tuks travel fast by weaving through traffic, can pass through narrow alleys to look for shot cuts, avoid congested roads and even go against normal traffic flow just to cut travel time in half.

The downside is that you will be inhaling all the smoke emitted by vehicles and that some drivers are known to take advantage of foreigners. This is why you should negotiate the fare in advance to avoid any misunderstandings.

TrainsTRAINS – The major railways are the State Railway and the Eastern & Oriental Express. Trains are an inexpensive and comfortable way to travel from city to city and see the countryside. Most trains are quite slow but you can opt to take the Express Trains over the Ordinary ones depending on the routes that you’ll be taking. Just like airplanes, you can travel via economy class, business class or first class. In economy class, you would have to sit on wooden benches. Business class is a lot more comfortable because you can enjoy reclining seats and air-conditioning. As for First Class, well, you will get your own private air-conditioned cabin. For some routes, first class cabin rates can start at 1, 000 Baht so it is still quite affordable.

BUSES – Buses are also common in Thailand and bus companies have wide networks of buses that travel from city to city. There are buses without air-condition and these are collectively grouped under second class buses. First class buses have air-conditioning and can also have reclining seats depending on the route. There are buses that travel within the city and there are buses that travel farther from city to city.

Whatever mode of transportation you decide to take during your trip to Thailand, make sure that you cover as much ground as possible. As for me, I’ll go the extra mile and be more adventurous. I’ll explore Thailand while riding an elephant. Care to join me?

4 Responses to “How To Get Around Thailand”

  1. Monica Says:

    I miss riding those tuk-tuks! :)

  2. Kitci Wong Says:

    Haha… when is your next trip to Thailand? :)

  3. herbie Says:

    i rode in a tuktuk the last time i was in thailand and it was a scary experience. those drivers are reckless!

  4. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Says:

    [...] quite easy to get to the base of the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep as there quite a number of available public modes of transportation to take most especially that this temple is a major tourist attraction.  Tourists can take a red [...]

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