Thailand Transportation

Thursday, April 1, 2010

BY TRAIN

All trains depart from Hualamphong Station except the twice – daily service to Nakhon Pathom and Kanchanaburi, and a couple of the Hua Hin trains, which leave form Bangkok Noi Station (also refered to as Thonburi Station). The “Information” booth at Hualamphong station keeps English language timetables, or you can try the State Railway of Thailand website (www.srt.motc.go.th) carries and English – language timetable and fare chart for major destinations. Tickets for overnight trains and other busy routes should be booked at least a day in advance (or at least a week in advance for travel on national holidays), and are best bought from Hualamphong. The clued-up English-speaking staff at VC Travel and Tour on the mezzanine floor of the station concourse (daily 5am – 8pm), above Coffee Bucks, sell all types of rail tickets at no commission, and can also book discounted mid-range accommodation at your destination. Alternatively, during normal office hours you can buy rail tickets from the clearly sighed State Railway advance booking office at the back of the station concourse (daily 8.30am-4pm).

BY BUS

Bangkok’ three main bus terminals are distributed around the outskirts of town. Leave plenty of time to get to the bus terminals, especially if setting off from Banglamphu, from where you need at least an hour and a half (outside rush hour) to get to the Eastern Bus Terminal, and a good hour to get to the Northern or Southern terminals. Seats on regular long-distance bused don’t need to be booked in advance, but air-conditioned ones should be reserved ahead of time either at the relevant bus station or through hotels and guest houses. Agencies sometimes provide transport to the bus station for an additional charge.
The Northern Bus Terminal or Sathaanii Mo Chit (departure info for both air-con and regular services) is the departure point for a few buses to the east-coast destination of Pattaya, Chanthaburi and Trat, through there are more regular services Thanon Kamphaeng Phet 2, near Chatuchak Weekend Market in the for north of the city; the fastest way to get there is to take the BTS Sky-train to its northernmost terminus, Mo Chit on Thanon Phaholyothin, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the bus terminal. Alternatively, you can take several city buses to Mo Chit, metered taxi and Tuk Tuk.
The Eastern Bus Terminal, or Sathaanii Ekamai, at Thanon Sukhumvit Soi 40, serves east-coast destinations such as Pattaya, Ban Phe (for Ko Samet) and Trat (for Ko Change). The Sky-train stops right by the bus terminal at Ekamai station, as do city buses, metered taxi and Tuk Tuk.
The Southern Bus Terminal, or Sathaanii Sai Tai Mai is at the junction of Thanon Borom Ratchonni and the Nakhon Chaisri Highway, west of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi. If handles departures to all points south of the capital, including Hua Hin, Chumphon (for Ko Tao), Surat Thani (for Ko Samui), Phuket and Krabi (for Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta), as well as departures for destinations west of Bangkok, such as Kanchanaburi, Regular and air-conditioned buses leave from different sections of the Southern Bus Terminal, and anyone there will be able to point you in the right direction for your bus. To get here, take city buses, metered taxi and Tuk Tuk.

BY AIR

Domestic flights should be booked as far in advance as possible, though tickets can be bought at the airport if available; the domestic departure tax is included in the price of the ticket. Thai Airways is the main domestic carrier and flies to over twenty major towns and cities; Bangkok Airways currently covers just a few routes from the capital, including Ko Samui, Ranong and Hua Hin. All domestic flights leave form Don Muang airport.

The fastest, most expensive way of getting to the airport is by metered taxi, which can cost anything depending on where you are and how bad the traffic is. If you leave the downtown areas before 7am you can get to the airport in half and hour, but at other times you should set off at least an hour before you have to check in.

Every guesthouse and travel agent in Banglamphu, and many hotels elsewhere in the city, can book you on to one of the private minibuses to the airport. Those running form Banglamphu depart approximately every hour, day and night, though you’ll get picked up from your accommodation, you should book yourself on to a minibus that leaves at least an hour and a half before check-in commences as it can take up to 45 minutes to pick up all passengers, after which there’s the traffic to contend with.

For more information

Thailand Transportation

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