Buses connect all major towns, cities, airports and tourist areas in Thailand. Most are cheap and clean, and some are air conditioned. For a higher price, 'VIP' buses offer extra comfort and an on-board toilet for long-distance trips.
- Buses departing from the state-run BKS stations are likely to be the most reliable.
- There's usually no need to book ahead, but you can buy tickets in advance from bus stations, travel agents or online (depending on the service).
Trains connect much of Thailand, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the north, Hat Yai in the south, and on to Malaysia and Singapore.
- The Australian government
currently advises against travelling to the southern regions bordering Malaysia.
- Trains can take you to the Cambodian and Laos borders where they connect with buses.
- The train at Surat Thani connects by bus to Phuket and Krabi, and by ferry to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
- Train tickets can be bought at stations, but if you want to book ahead, try the rather clunky State Railway site or book via an international site like 12GoAsia or baolau.com.
Ferries and boats
Ferries and boats serve popular tourist islands such as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. They also connect some coastal mainland towns, such as Phuket and Krabi.
- Ferry and boat companies are privately run, so prices, booking procedures, speeds and even safety standards will vary.
- Some boats may be overloaded at peak times.
- If you're concerned, ask your hotel, travel agent or a local tourist information service for a recommendation.
- Some ferry tickets can be booked online in advance, but for other services you'll just have to buy your ticket on the spot.
Flights link Thailand's cities, towns and some islands.
- Almost all of the country's airports can be reached via Bangkok.
- Airlines include Nok Air, Thai Air Asia, Orient Thai Airlines and Bangkok Airways.
- You can book domestic airline tickets through most major international flight search sites.
Many domestic flights, particularly with budget airlines, depart from Bangkok's Don Muang Airport (DMK) which is about 45km from the main airport,
Suvarnabhumi (BKK). Transport between airports can take between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on traffic.
Getting around towns and cities
Short trips are best done on foot, bicycle, taxi or tuk-tuk (motorcycle rickshaw).
- Bangkok has an extensive bus, metro (MRT) and light rail (BTS Skytrain) system. Unfortunately the ticketing isn't integrated, so you'll have to buy separate tickets or passes for each.
- Taxis, tuk-tuks, minivans and private drivers are all readily available and can either be organised on the spot, or booked in advance via your hotel or travel agent. To avoid excessive haggling or rip-offs, make sure you have an idea of how much the trip should cost.
Taxis are generally metered whereas tuk-tuk drivers will want to negotiate a price.