Transport in Thailand

Transportation
To and from Thailand  – Air and overland ….See sections above.  Should I move them here????

Domestic air travel
Several airlines fly domestic routes in Thailand.
The national carrier Thai Airways are an expensive option and not recommended unless you are using them to connect to a domestic route from a long haul flight.
Bangkok Airways have a good network of destinations throughout Thailand and own several airports giving them the monopoly on flights to destinations such as Koh Samui and Trat, thus making them more expensive than the routes where budget airlines offer competition.  (They also hold a monopoly on the Bangkok to Siem Reap route internationally.)  If you are planning on flying to these destinations or multiple destinations on the Bangkok Airways route, Bangkok Airways offers the Discovery Airpass for between three and six flights.  For a full explanation of the airpass check their website: http://www.bangkokair.com/discovery-airpass/index.php
Budget airlines Air Asia and Nok Air are a great way to make the most of your trip by cutting out lengthy and sometimes uncomfortable train and bus trips.  As with most budget airlines, the sooner you book the cheaper the flight.  Services such as food, in-flight entertainment and even checking in your bags come at a cost.  Take this into account when booking and see below for a details on baggage allowances.  Sign up to their mailing lists and watch out for extraordinary specials on offer.  Don’t forget that taxes aren’t included in their advertised fares.  You can’t make connections from other flights and must take into account the time needed to collect bags and check into the second flight when using these airlines for do-it-yourself connections.
Nok Air uses Bangkok’s older airport, Don Mueang, and services Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Phitsanulok, Nakhon Phanom, Sakhon Nakhon, Ubon Ratchathani, Buri Ram, Surat Thani, Phuket, Trang, Hat Yai and Nakhon Si Thammarat.  For exploring the North, Nok Air fly from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, Pai, Nan and Udon Thani.
From Bangkok Air Asia fly to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thai, Phuket, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat and Hat Yai.  Between the North and the South bypassing Bangkok, Air Asia fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket and Hat Yai and from Udon Thani to Phuket.

The below table is a guide to airfares booked at various times in advance of flying on the most popular routes:

Bangkok to Chiang Mai (one-way including taxes)

60 days 30 days 7 days 1 day
Thai Airways 2475B 2475B 2900B 2475B
Bangkok Airways 1955B 1955B 2200B 2200B
Air Asia 1390B 1960B 1590B 2212B
Nok Air 1490B 1890B 2090B 2090B

Bangkok to Phuket (one-way including taxes)

60 days 30 days 7 days 1 day
Thai Airways 3015B 3540B 3015B 3015B
Bangkok Airways 1955B 2620B 2620B 2620B
Air Asia 1712B 2708B 2077B 2077B
Nok Air 1490B 2150B 2150B 2350B

Baggage Allowances
Thai Airways allows 20kgs of checked baggage and 7kgs of carry-on baggage.  Strollers, prams, wheelchairs or other mobility devices can be checked in free of charge.
Bangkok Airways allows you 20kgs of checked baggage plus 5kgs hand luggage.  Sports equipment is included in your checked baggage allowance (up to 15kgs) but this does not include surfboards.  Excess baggage is charged at 1.5% of the standard airfare per kg.
Air Asia does not have any checked baggage allowance but you can purchase baggage allowance of up to 30kgs prior to your flight or 15kgs at the airport.  For 15kgs of luggage they charge 214B when pre-purchased or 428B if purchased at the airport.  Any excess baggage is charged at 80B per kg.  A sports equipment allowance for items such as golf clubs, surfbaords and bicycles can be purchased in advance for 520B for items up to 15 kgs, after that each kg is charged as excess baggage.  Strollers, prams, wheelchairs or other mobility devices can be checked in free of charge.  They allow one piece of carry -n luggage up to 7kgs.  This is strictly enforced.
Nok Air allows you 15kgs of checked luggage as well as one piece of hand luggage at 7kgs. You can pre-order an additional 5kg baggage allowance online for 107B.  Excess baggage is charged at 50B per kg at check in.  A sporting equipment allowance, up to 15kgs, can be purchased for 200B.

Rail travel

The State Railway of Thailand operate four main rail lines, all emanating from Bangkok.  For a full timetable see http://www.railway.co.th/English/Time_HTML.asp.  There is currently no facilitiy for booking trains online through the State Railway of Thailand.  This must be done through a travel agent such as http://www.thailandtrainticket.com/.  Tickets can be bought in Thailand from stations or through travel agents or your hotel for a small fee.  You can buy a ticket for any route at any station.  During peak travel periods December to February, it can be difficult to get tickets at your desired time and date without booking in advance.  Tickets are also more difficult to come by over Songkran (Thai New Year) in April.  Bookings open 60 days in advance.

There are several different classes of travel.  First class AC sleeping berths have two sleeping berths, top and bottom, which convert to a sofa for day use.  The cabin is lockable cabin, air-conditioned and contains a washbasin.  The toilet in these carriages also has a cold water shower.  Second class sleeping berths are not located in cabins but open plan along a centre aisle with bunks top and bottom.  The bottom bunk converts to two seats facing each other for daytime use.  The upper bunk is slightly narrower and therefore cheaper.  Second class berths come in air-conditioned or fan carriages.  There are also second class seats available which are recline and are suitable for daytime travel.  These carriages are air-conditioned.  Third class carriages only have hard bench seats and are not air-conditioned so only suitable for shorter journeys.

You carry your own luggage with you onto the train and there is enough space to a large bag either under your sleeping berth or in a cubbyhole at your feet or head.  If you have large items, such as a bike, you can by a cargo ticket in addition to your ticket and your item will be carried onto the train as freight or excess baggage.

The Northern Line has 11 trains a day and terminates at it’s most northern point in Chiang Mai.  The best trains being express trains departing Bangkok at 18.00 arriving at 07.15 and 19.20 arriving at 07.40.  From Chaing Mai to Bangkok the best trains depart at 17.50 arriving at 07.00 and 21.00 arriving at 09.10.  A first class AC sleeping berth will cost around 1350B, a second class AC sleeping berth around 800B.  The northern line trains also call at Ayutthaya and Lopburi.

The Northeastern Line has 14 trains a day and terminates in two different points, at it’s most northeastern point in Nong Khai near the border with Laos and it’s most eastern point at Ubon Ratchathani.  The best train to Nong Khai (or the earlier stop at Udon Thani) departs Bangkok at 18.40 arriving at Nong Khai at 07.35 (or at Udon Thani at 06.34).  For information on crossing into Laos see our section on border crossings. ENTER LINK To Ubon Ratchathani the express train departs Bangkok at 20.30 arriving at 07.25.  A first class AC sleeping berth will cost around 1200B and a second class AC sleeping berth around 700B.  The northeastern line trains also call at Ayutthaya.

The Eastern Line has 12 trains a day though only a few call at any destinations tourists would have much interest in.  The main point of interest for tourists Aranyaprathet on the Cambodian border.  For advise on this journey see the section on crossing the border into Cambodia.

The Southern Line has 14 trains a day running from Bangkok down to many mainland hubs bus and ferry connections reaching the islands and on into Butterworth in Malaysia.  There are also two daily trains to Kanchanaburi using the infamous “Death Railway”.  See our Kanchanaburi page for details. ENTER LINK
Almost all trains call at the mainland beach resort of Hua Hin, however only a few arriving in daylight hours the best being the express departing Bangkok at 08.05 arriving at 11.11.  A second class AC seat will cost under 400B.
Chumphon, the gateway to Koh Tao, is best reached by the express departing Bangkok at 22.50 arriving at 05.47.  From Chumphon there are numerous ferry options to Koh Tao departing from 07.00.  See the ferry section for further details.
Surat Thani is the most convenient gateway for ferries to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan as well as the minibus across to Krabi. Minibuses to Krabi take around two hours and depart regularly for approximately 150B.  The best train for reaching Samui and Phangan departs Bangkok at 19.30 arriving at Surat Thani at  06.27.  A first class AC sleeping berth will cost 1300B and a second class AC sleeping berth around 800B.  See the ferry section for further details of onward travel to the islands.
Trang is best reached using the 17.05 train from Bangkok arriving at 07.55.  A first class AC sleeping berth will cost 1300B and a second class AC sleeping berth around 800B.  See the ferry section for details about onward travel to the Trang islands.
Train journeys further south than Trang become quite long with night journeys stretching somewhat into the day making them less convenient for onwards connections to ferries and minibuses.  If you’re planning on heading to Hat Yai to explore the islands off the southern Andaman Coast, consider flying.  For details on flights see our section on domestic air travel. ENTER LINK However, if you do plan on taking the train all the way from Bangkok the best trains to use are the express trains departing Bangkok at 14.45 arriving 06.25 and the 15.10 arriving at 07.13. A first class AC sleeper will cost almost 1500B, a second class AC sleeper around 900B.  From Hat Yai you can transfer to nearby ferry services for the islands.  See our section on ferrys for connection details.  ENTER LINK
For information on the taking the train all the way through to Butterworth in Malaysia, see our section on border crossings. ENTER LINK

Bus travel
Minibus

Ferry

Southern Gulf Services
Lomprayah High Speed Ferry operate a fleet of catamaran servicing a route from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan onwards to Koh Tao and Chumphon.  Seating is available in an air-conditioned cabin or on the sun deck.  They offer free transfer shuttles on Koh Samui to meet their ferries departing from the airport at 07.15, 11.00 and 16.00 and from any resort by prior arrangement at roughly the same times.  They also have a bus service which connects from Chumphon and goes to and from Hua Hin and Bangkok twice daily.  Lomprayah tickets can be purchased online.
Seatran Discovery Ferries operate a slighty larger vessel that Lomprayah servicing the same route from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan onwards to Koh Tao and Lang Suan near Chumphon.  Seating is available in an air-conditioned cabin or on the sun deck.  They also have a bus service from Lang Suan to and from Hua Hin and Bangkok once daily. http://www.seatrandiscovery.com/

Departs Arrives Departs Arrives Fare Company
Koh Samui Koh Phangan 08.00 08.20 250B Lomprayah
Koh Samui Koh Tao 08.00 09.45 550B Lomprayah
Koh Samui Koh Phangan 08.00 250B Seatran
Koh Samui Koh Tao 08.00 10.00 600B Seatran
Koh Samui Koh Phangan 12.30 12.50 250B Lomprayah
Koh Samui Koh Tao 12.30 14.15 550B Lomprayah
Koh Samui Koh Phangan 13.30 14.00 250B Seatran
Koh Samui Koh Tao 13.30 15.30 600B Seatran
Koh Samui
(Nathon Pier)
Koh Phangan 16.30 16.45 300B Lomprayah
Koh Phangan Koh Samui (Nathon Pier) 07.15 07.30 300B Lomprayah
Koh Phangan Koh Tao 08.30 09.45 350B Lomprayah
Koh Phangan Koh Tao 08.30 10.00 400B Seatran
Koh Phangan Koh Samui 11.00 11.20 250B Lomprayah
Koh Phangan Koh Tao 13.00 14.15 350B Lomprayah
Koh Phangan Koh Samui 16.20 16.40 300B Lomprayah
Koh Tao Koh Phangan 09.30 10.45 350B Lomprayah
Koh Tao Koh Samui 09.30 11.20 550B Lomprayah
Koh Tao Koh Phangan 09.30 11.00 400B Seatran
Koh Tao Koh Samui 09.30 11.30 600B Seatran
Koh Tao Chumphon 10.15 11.45 550B Lomprayah
Koh Tao Koh Phangan 15.00 16.10 350B Lomprayah
Koh Tao Koh Samui 15.00 16.40 550B Lomprayah
Koh Tao Chumphon 14.45 16.30 550B Lomprayah
Koh Tao Lang Suan 16.00 18.00 Seatran
Chumphon Koh Tao 07.00 08.45 550B Lomprayah
Chumphon Koh Tao 13.00 14.45 550B Lomprayah
Lang Suan Koh Tao 07.00 09.30 Seatran

Combo packages
Car hire
Getting around Bangkok
Airport transfers
Motorbikes

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