Thailand is one of the most popular countries in Southeast Asia – there is something exotic about it, or perhaps its wide sandy beaches, or tropical climate and the bright sun in the cloudless sky, or even wild nightlife that embraces freedom and promotes individual happiness that attracts millions of tourists here annually. There are plenty of resorts all around the country to visit that offer numerous national parks, pristine caves, stunning jungles, crystal clear waterfalls, Buddhist temples, sea markets and other miracles of nature that one can marvel at here. While the main airports are the Suvarnabhumi International Airport, located in Bangkok and the Phuket International Airport in the South, there are other locations that you absolutely must visit, when in Thailand. Here is our guide to how to travel around Thailand and some tips and tricks that will save you time, hassle and money.
While you can use your favourite flight search engine to plan your trip and book your tickets, it is mostly convenient only when arriving to the country. When you wish to travel within Thailand, there are some budget flights that you can only find out about by searching directly on the airlines’ websites, which sometimes are difficult to find. While the good old Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways offer great flights, their prices sometimes are ridiculous, but thankfully there are other options, for example NokAir and AirAsia, that have daily flights around the main airports in Thailand.
One of the most comfortable means of travelling within Thailand, if you for some reason don’t want to take the airplane- like if for example you are travelling with a dog and don’t want to check it in as baggage, or would like to see the landscapes on the way, or just generally don’t like air travel, you have the option to rent a private car with a driver. There are numerous companies that provide long-distance travel and for some $400 can take you from Phuket to Bangkok, which is more than a 10-hour journey. These are relatively safe, and you can even choose the type of car that you wish to book.
Another thing that you will be surprised with is that there are numerous local travel agencies that provide transfers to and from major cities – for example, if you wish to travel from Patong in Phuket to Koh Samui, a travel agency can organise a trip that will take about 6-8 hours for less than $20 per person, including bus, boat and mini-van transfer. These don’t usually have a website that you can reach them on, but in all resort areas you will see small stands or offices – make sure to drop by and see what’s available.
On the internet you will see information that Thailand has a developed railway system – don’t be too thrilled with the idea too fast. After the first glance and research you will find out that not only are these a rather unreliable form of transportation, and the safest and most secure way of purchasing train tickets is directly from the railway station, but also that there is usually no working A/C. When the temperatures are at over 100F, the idea of being stuck in a train with no means of ventilation other than the windows is less than appealing.
When travelling in resort areas and cities, apart from Bangkok, you will see that there are various means of transportation, the most exotic and popular being the Tuk-Tuk. These funky cars or carts, whatever you wish to call them, operate throughout Thailand and are a great way to get from point A to point B. Do keep in mind, that whatever the price might be, it is always a good idea to bargain. Unless you see an official sign with the prices, don’t be fooled into accepting the first number that the driver tells you. Though they might not be happy to negotiate, stand your ground firmly, if you see that they can lower the price.
Thailand is a beautiful country, with various exciting and interesting places to visit and explore and while there are many ways to travel around, make sure that you consider all the options prior to making your decision. Certainly air travel is the fastest, yet, you won’t be able to experience the local lifestyle and enjoy the scenery that you will if you choose to travel by bus or car.