The Transportation Guide for How to Get Around Thailand

How to get around Thailand

  • Thailand Transportation
How to get around Thailand

To get around Thailand is extremely easy due to the excellent tourism infrastructure and high volume of travelers. Thailand has many different types of transportation which tend to be in all different shapes and sizes.

But not all transportation options in Thailand are equal. For long distances, such as Bangkok - Chiang Mai, or Chiang Mai – Phuket, the most popular way is to take a flight. It involves a little more expense and hassle to get you where you're going. For city tours, you will have many more choices: trains, buses, private cars, taxis, tuk-tuks and bicycles.   And trekking lovers will realize their dreams in the national parks.

This transportation guide includes everything as how to get around Thailand is your easy guide for Thailand.

Basic Information

  • Flying is the most efficient way to transfer between distant destinations.
  • Getting a tuk-tuk for a typical ride within large cities.
  • Taking long-tail boats to move between the islands.
  • Hiring a private car to experience the comfort and joy.
  • Renting a bike to explore national parks of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.


Bicycles at Ayutthaya


Domestic Flights

Although certainly not the cheapest transportation choice, travelling by air is definitely the quickest way to get around Thailand and there are a lot of budget airlines which meet the needs of those travelling on tight budgets. Budget flights are also the safest and most comfortable way to get around Thailand.

Thai Airways offer the greatest variety of destinations and flight options and one can get from Bangkok to many of the tourist islands and destinations simply by boarding a no more than 2-hour flight from Bangkok. Also check out AirAsia, Bangkok Airlines and Nok Air.

The earlier you book with budget carriers, the more money you'll save. Fares between Bangkok and Chiang Mai could make you surprised — in a good way. Other popular routes are: Bangkok - Phuket, Bangkok - Koh Samui, or Chiang Mai - Phuket. Rates for a one-way ticket can be as cheap as US $30, but you'll still have to pay extra for luggage, seat selection, etc. Even still, reducing a painful, overnight bus trip down to less than 2 hours is tempting in many ways.


Thailand’s overground railway network runs throughout the country and provides a comfortable travel option compared to some of the cheaper bus routes. The train is still a cheap option and you can get from Bangkok all the way to Chiang Mai in the north for as little as 800 Baht where you can get your own private cabin and enjoy the wonderful scenery that this 12-hour journey offers. The Thai train also has three different classes with different rates.

To put into comparison the different train classes and their rates compared to other long-distance modes of transport in Thailand. First class is very fancy on a train which includes a private air-conditioned cabin with a double bed and can be slightly higher in price to a budget air ticket. Second class train tickets are slightly more comfortable to first class bus tickets and generally cost the same as first class bus tickets. Third class is the cheapest mode of transport for any long-distance journey in Thailand however it is also the least comfortable so get prepared for that in mind.

Please note that train tickets tend to sell out well in advance for popular weekends and holidays, especially for trains travelling to the more popular destinations, so plan your trips in advance if you wish to travel by train.


Train in Thailand


Long-Distance Bus

Thailand has a well-developed bus transport system and unsurprisingly, Bangkok has the largest bus system in the country. When it comes to get around Thailand, long-distance buses is the most popular choice among locals. Many of the cities have bus systems that provide long-distance transport to other towns, cities, and popular tourist destinations. In Bangkok, you will find a variety of buses of all different sizes and colors, some of which are public and others private buses.

Your cheapest bus option will cost you only7 Baht within Bangkok with other buses not costing too much more than that. There are long-distance buses departing from Bangkok to all over the country such as Pattaya, Hua Hin, Krabi, Phuket, Chiang Mai and so on. For instance, to get from Bangkok to Chiang Rai takes around 13 hours; to get from Bangkok to Phuket takes more than 10 hours. This is often a great alternative to flying or taking the train if you are on a tight budget.

In the smaller cities and towns, buses generally only leave from one terminal but in Bangkok buses depart from several different terminals. There are also a variety of different bus classes with different rates, you can have a careful check according to your need.


Long-distance bus in Thailand


Transport within cities

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:

Private Cars

Renting a private car has many advantages: it can provide the highest degree of comfort such as air conditioning; It entitles you to determine your personal itinerary and reach the destination point to point without connecting to public transport. The privacy you need will be guaranteed.

After picking you up at the hotel, the driver will try to drive you as close to your destination as possible according to your requirements and transfer you to the hotel at the end of trip. If you forget things in the car, no worry the car company can be easily reached and you'll get everything back.

Private cars are especially suitable for families in guided tours. You can just relax and enjoy the planned trip. The tour guide will take care of everything, including communicating with the driver and meeting all your needs.


The most typical mode to get around Thailand, Tuk Tuks are the famous 3-wheeled vehicles that you may see in many travel-related photos of Southeast Asia. You should definitely take at least one ride on a Tuk Tuk as it is quite a memorable experience that you won’t find back home.

At the same time, it is important to note that Tuk Tuks are quite a lot more expensive than your average motorcycle taxi as it is a popular mode of transport for tourists. But if you can, jump aboard a Tuk Tuk at least once during your time in Thailand. The rates are usually anywhere from 80 to 150 Baht. To get the best deal, bargaining with drivers is necessary.


Tuk Tuk



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 discovering Bangkok and other big cities, walking may be a very good choice. It helps you to discover the city at your own pace, to take photos wherever and whenever you want, and grasp many details you can’t spot from a vehicle tour.

You can pick from many mature walking tours in the city, and they will show you to the most popular attractions of the city. Considering the heat during daytime, do remember to bring enough water with you.


Thailand is ripe for trekking. From its well-preserved rain forests to its towering, mist-enveloped mountains, there is a landscape that just begs you to get out on foot and explore.

But the real joy of trekking in Thailand here is nothing to do with the scenery, it’s the people that make every step count, from the remote hill tribes barely touched by the outside world to the local guides whose passion and enthusiasm will lead you to a deeper understanding of this fascinating country.


Trekking in Koh Phangan



Regular ferries connect all major islands with the mainland, and for the vast majority of crossings you can just buy your ticket on board. Safety standards are generally just about adequate but avoid travelling on boats that are clearly overloaded or in poor condition. In tourist areas competition guarantees that prices are kept low, and fares may vary according to the speed of the crossing: for example Chumphon–Koh Tao costs between B200 (6hr) and B600 (1hr 45min).

On the east coast and the Andaman coast boats generally get a reduced service during the monsoon season (May–Oct), when the further spots become inaccessible. Ferries in the Samui archipelago are fairly constant all the year round. Details on island connections can be checked on scene.

Ferry-to-Phi Phi

Ferry to Phi Phi Island



With Bangkok being the most visited city in the world in 2013, it consequently has one of the largest proportions of taxis to people in the world. Unlike in the big Western cities, Bangkok’s taxi system is very reasonable thanks to the metre system that was recently introduced several years ago. Taxis start at 35 Baht and thereafter 2 Baht for the first 2 km and then 2 Baht per km after that.

Many people prefer this transportation when transferring between the airport and their hotels in downtown area.