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How to get around Thailand – The complete guide

Are you planning to visit Thailand soon? Are you looking for information on how to get around Thailand during your next stay? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about getting around Thailand!

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Getting around Thailand is, on the whole, pretty easy. The public transport network is extensive and well-functioning. Information on the various possibilities and routes is also easy to access. But, granted, if you’re visiting Thailand or Asia for the first time, it can be a little scary at first.

That’s why I’ve decided to create this little guide to better understand how to get around in Thailand. You’ll find a non-exhaustive list of the different means of transport, as well as specific information on how to book them.

A tuk-tuk which is a way to move around Thailand

How to get around Thailand

First of all, you need to bear in mind that Thailand is a big country, so means of transport will vary depending on how far you want to travel. So I’ve decided to divide this guide into two main sections.

Long distances

Bus

The bus is a very good means of transport for long distances. Generally very comfortable and at very reasonable fares, taking the bus in Thailand is very easy. There are numerous connections and companies offering routes.

In principle, journeys are made in large buses, but sometimes in mini-buses. Mini-buses are generally used on mountain roads, for example between Chiang Mai and Pai. Night buses are very comfortable. In principle, you can “lie down” in your seat to get a good night’s sleep!

In my opinion, the easiest way to book and find a bus is to use the 12go.asia website. This site, which also exists as an app, allows you to compare the different modes of transport, the different companies and it offers all the available timetables. You can book your ticket directly from the site!

Trains

Trains are another great way to get around Thailand. The most popular routes are between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Surat Thani, and even Malaysia. It’s an experience in itself, and one you’ll want to take at least once during your stay in Thailand.

There are several classes on each train, as well as sleeping cars. If you’re looking for a very local experience, choose 3rd class. If you want a more pleasant journey, I recommend paying a little more for second or first class.

It’s advisable to book your tickets a few days before your trip, especially if you’re planning to leave during the high season. You can either go directly to the station or book online. Personally, I have used and still use the 12go.asia website.

Planes

Flying is a very practical way of getting around Thailand over long distances, especially if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.

There are many airlines offering internal flights, and fares are often quite low. Beware, however, that checked baggage is often not included in the price.

To find the best fares, I advise you to use price comparison sites such as Kiwi.com or Skyscanner.com.

This is a train running in Thailand between Surat Thani and Padang Besar

Short distances

Tuk-tuk

The tuk-tuk, as well as being a popular means of transport for tourists, is available just about everywhere in the country. It’s an interesting experience!

In big cities such as Bangkok and Phuket, prices are often determined by the customer. So it’s important to negotiate before getting into the tuk-tuk, as the margin is often quite large.

Cabs

As with tuk-tuks, cabs are a great way to get around Thailand. It’s very rare to find cabs with a meter. So, once again, try to negotiate the price before you get in.

Scooter

If you ask me how I like to get around Thailand, I’m sure I’ll tell you that the scooter is my favorite. The scooter is perfect for discovering all the little places that are difficult to reach by public transport.

It’s easy to rent a scooter in Thailand, either by the day or for several days. Prices vary from place to place, but hardly ever exceed 10 EURO/CHF per day (usually between 5-7 EURO/CHF).

However, I’d advise you to have some basic knowledge of scooter riding before you start. And if it’s your first time, avoid areas with heavy traffic.

Boats / Ferries

Ferries make it easy to get from one island to another. Generally speaking, you’ll need to book your ticket 1-2 days in advance, or even on the day itself, depending on your route. However, if you decide to go during the high season, I’d advise you to book your tickets sooner, as places can go very quickly.

As with bus tickets, there are 2 main ways of booking. First of all, you can book through local travel agencies, or through 12go.asia, which compares the best means of transport.

Songthaeo (shared cab)

Songthaoes are shared cabs, generally popular with locals. Depending on where you are, the rules for using them vary. Generally, the Songthaeo driver waits until his cab is full before setting off. If you’re lucky, the cab will fill up very quickly, or you’ll have to wait a little, or sometimes a lot.

Prices are generally fixed and the same for everyone!

The scooter is a good way to go around thailand for small drives

We’ve already come to the end of this guide to how to get around Thailand. I hope it’s been of some help to you, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you still have any questions!

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