Thailand is a beautiful and vast country – from sleepy beachside town to chaotic cityscapes its a wonderful place to explore.
And much like it’s landscape it has a great mix of ways to get yourself from A to B. I did my best to experience as many of these as I could, so I’ve put together My Mini Guide to Thai Transport…
Probably the quickest and simplest way to cover vast distances this option doesn’t really take much explaining! Thai internal airlines are pretty cheap though and if you need to get somewhere in a hurry they’re excellent value. Try Thai Airways or Nok for some great deals and routings.
By far the most famous and most fun way to get around is the tuk tuk, basically a small motorbike with a 2 stroke engine and a few seats on the back!
For places like Bangkok it’s the best option, especially with a few of you. Just be aware they drive like kamikaze pilots – swerving across 4 lanes of traffic and cutting everyone up! Epically good fun! Make sure you barter hard with them though – by the end of our time in Bangkok me and Nic could get from Khao San to Silom (some 25mins) for 80baht!
My record is 4 people and an 80 litre bag on a single tuk tuk!
If you don’t want to brave the tuk tuks, have heaps of luggage, or simply want a bit of a/c on your trip then taxis can still be relatively cheap. If you can demand they put it n the meter (it’ll save you soooooooo much!) but if they refuse or they don’t have one make sure you barter hard, and don’t be afraid to simply ask elsewhere!
Around Bangkok and on the Islands Water Taxis provide a great experience and scenic way to get from place to place. The Bangkok system is dirt cheap (15baht for a single journey) and and stops at all the main attractions – included the Grand Palace, Reclining Buddah and just up from Khao San. On the islands you can hire a water taxi (or long tail) and explore hidden coves, secluded beaches or more remote islands – but you will pay more to do so. You can also hire one to grab you off the beach at Haad Rin following Full Moon!
Me and Nic hit up the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and the 15 hour journey was amazing! It’s more expensive than the bus – around 800baht in total – but is way more comfortable. Pay a bit extra for the bottom bunk as it’s a bit more spacious!
This route cut through the jungle and was a great view to wake up to aswell.
You can also order food on board, but save some money and buy some supplies (including a few Changs!) before boarding.
The sleeper train also operates numerous other routes – including Bangkok to Surathani for access to the islands on both sides.
My company for the sleeper bus was Audrey. And put it this way I’m glad she quite tiny! It wasn’t majorly cramped but you’ve gotta be comfortable with the person next to you as it does get quite cosy!
The seats reclined far enough to get some kip in and the a/c was at a good level. The biggest plus for this option over the train is the cost – roughly 400 baht from Chumpon to Bangkok.
As with the train just be careful with your valuables, we were chatting to someone who woke up at 2am to find someone crawling under the seats routing through people’s bags!
Mainly available within the Thai islands the ferries come in two types – fast and slow!
I opted for the slightly more expensive fast option between the islands (around 400baht per trip) and the cheaper slower one from Tao to the mainland (which saved me roughly 200baht).
The fast ones were certainly more comfortable, with ac and spacious comfy seating, but to be honest I can’t really complain with the slow one.
If the weathers good grab a seat on deck or dangle your feet off the side and top up your tan!
Skywalk and Metro
Again another Bangkok option the Skywalk is an overground train system that run all over the city, whilst the metro is the underground. Both are cheap (is was paying around 25baht to get across a couple of ‘zones’) and dead easy to use.
They’re both air conned, clean and efficient – and they definitely put the London tube service to shame!
If you head to Asia and don’t explore at least some of it by moped your either extremely sensible or not getting into the local life enough! Mopeds are a cheap and easy way to get around – whether it’s the hills of the north or beach hopping in the islands. Just be aware of scams if you pick up any scratches or scrapes, be careful and don’t come back with the infamous Koh Phangan tattoo…aka a torso full of scabs and gravel!
So if you’re heading to Asia make sure you mix up how you’re getting around – getting from A-B shouldn’t be boring! Some of my oct fond memories are from random things happening on tuk tuks or drinking sessions on overnight trains!