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Transportation Options in Thailand

There are many ways to get to Thailand, including the following list of the most popular means of transportation.

Travel to Thailand

Airlines

Flying is the most convenient mode of transportation for traveling to Thailand, as visitors can fly to Thailand on non-stop routes from many corners of the globe on both international and Thai airlines.

Furthermore, Thailand?s central location makes Thailand an ideal hub for exploring the rest of Asia. In addition to the primary international airport located in Bangkok, visitors from abroad can fly to Thailand on international flights destined for Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, and even Udon Thani and Hat Yai.

Domestic flights are also easy and convenient, cutting down on journey times and often costing less than travel by car or rail.

Charter flights to Thailand from Europe or Asia may arrange to land in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, or Hua Hin.

As the major hub for air travel in and around Asia, a number of low cost airlines now serve Thailand for both domestic and international routes, and now flying to Thailand is both convenient and inexpensive.

Bus & Coach

It is possible to travel by bus from most of Thailand?s neighbors

From Malaysia, one can cross north by bus to Thailand at various border checkpoints in Songkhla, Yala, and Narathiwat provinces, although most busses will head to the hub of bus travel into, out of, and around southern Thailand, Hat Yai.

Busses from Laos originate in Vientiane and cross the Mekong River to the Thai border town of Nong Khai, where they continue for a two hour ride to Udon Thani, from which visitors can arrange other busses or air travel to other parts of Thailand.

The primary route an a Cambodian bus to Thailand is at the border at the towns of Poipet-Aranyaprathet. This is the border for those leaving Siem Reap or Battambang via land, though they must cross the border on foot and arrange onward travel from Aranyaprathet to other Thai destinations from the bus station on the Thailand side of the border.

Travel by bus from Myanmar to Thailand is not practical or convenient for visitors.

Train

Rail lines laid throughout Thailand create a 4,000 km system that is both efficient and comfortable. Passengers can travel by train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to the Laos or Malaysian borders and many places in between. While the journey on a Thai train generally takes longer and can be more expensive than a voyage by bus, trains are safer and are generally more comfortable. Popular train routes include Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Surat Thani, the launching point for boats to Koh Samui.

There are three classes of Thai train service, allowing even the most budget conscious traveler to experience travel by train in Thailand. However, while first class is quite plush, featuring private cabins with twin sleeping arrangements and air conditioning on select routes, prices are often higher than flying the same route on a budget air carrier. On the other end of the spectrum, third class is cheaper than the bus but may not be the most comfortable way to spend 11 overnight hours. Second class prices on Thai trains are equivalent to first class bus tickets, both in price and in comfort, though the train has fold down beds and it?s easier to get up and stretch your legs on the train than on a bus.

Thai trains depart throughout the day, though some are express and some make frequent local stops and comprise of only third class seating. Train tickets sell out well in advance for some holidays and weekends, particularly the more limited sleeper cars and the wider, lower bunk, second class sleeper seats. It is advisable to book ahead through an agent, at the station, or from the State Railway of Thailand. 66(0)2-223-7010 or via email at SRT passenger-ser@railway.co.th for a 200 baht surcharge. Schedules and available seats are posted on their website: www.railway.co.th.

Driving to Thailand

With your own vehicle it is possible to travel from the country where the vehicle is registered into Thailand, assuming you have paperwork to prove vehicle ownership and insurance and you drive to Thailand at an approved border crossing.

From Malaysia, one can cross from Bukit Kayu Hitam into southern Thailand. If you need visa paperwork, immigration paperwork is available on the Malaysian side of the border. The border closes at 10pm Malaysia/9pm Thailand time.

Those with cars registered in Laos and Cambodia can cross into Thailand at approved checkpoints including Nong Khai, Mukdahan, and Aranyaprathet.

It is not generally allowed for tourists to drive rental vehicles from a neighboring country to Thailand.

Before driving to Thailand please get additional information at www.customs.go.th and www.mfa.go.th

Private Charters

If you are looking for a private charter flight to Thailand there are numerous opportunities as most Thailand airports have services for private charter flights in addition to service for normal commercial flights.