Thailand is a beach paradise. The cultural integrity of the nation and astounding scenic beauty of the country attracts millions of tourists. You can enjoy the pristine beaches, dense lush jungles, coral reefs and ancient temples, which makes Thailand a great vacation option. Getting around the country is easy as there are numerous transportation options. Here are some of the most common modes of transportation in the country.
My first recommendation I would say if you are traveling to Thailand is to download the Grab app. This is very useful to have if you are ever caught in a situation where you need transportation. It is also fairly cheap compared to taxis and Tuk Tuks .
Tuk tuk is a 3 wheeler vehicle that can carry about 3 people at a time. It is perfect for short distance travel within the city. There are more than 35000 tuk tuks in Bangkok alone. A single ride usually costs around 80-150 baht (almost 5 USD), but if you have good negotiation skills you can get it reduced significantly as well. I’ve learned from a local here that a short distance ride you can get for about 50 Baht which is equivalent to about $1.36 USD if you bargain right. Don’t let them take advantage of you being a tourist. Make sure you have a set price in mind so you don’t get stumbled when trying to negotiate. Always set your desired price really low and work your way up to the maximum you will pay. If not, walk away.
There are SO many taxis here in Thailand. Taxis are another inexpensive mode of transportation. It makes inter city travelling even more comfortable as taxis can save you from scorching heat or rainy weather. I’ve driven a 10 minute drive for about 60 baht (about $2)
Thailand traffic can get worse in the rush hours. People may prefer motorbike taxi to save time and reach their destination timely. It is even cheaper than taxis and can also be quite fun. This is my personal favorite form of transportation. If it will be a gloomy day, make sure you have some rainwear packed if you plan on using a motorbike later! (I had to learn this the hard way!)
Air conditioned buses are a great option for travelling between cities. Non air conditioned buses are good if you’re traveling a close distance. Bangkok has the largest bus service system and the fare starts from 7 baht. (About 21 cents)
While in Thailand, I have learned that taking a bus can be tricky at first. You have to be incredibly alert as this is a very fast paced system. The bus times are not always accurate online or at the stop. If you see that a bus should arrive at a certain time, it’s not always dependable with timing. Always look on the road for the bus number. When the bus does come, you have to catch it’s attention very quickly or they will drive off without you. To catch their attention, you will need to be on the side of the road, ready to board immediately. I was able to catch a bus by raising my hand in the air back and forth so they would pull over. When they’re pulling over to get you, make sure you’ll get in immediately after they open the doors! Ive had situations where the bus would not pull over because I didn’t show them I was eager to get on the bus, and also situations where I would be ready to get on as the doors were opened, but I was not fast enough so they closed their doors and drove off.
Once you are in the bus, you will sit down and pay for your ticket. As for directions, I’ve experienced some helpful employees who have guided me to exactly where I needed to be, and some not so helpful employees who actually put me in a worse situation on the bus. I’ve learned that you should have full responsibility over where you are going just in case. You can use Google by typing in the desired address. For the most part, it will be helpful in showing you how many stops to take, where to get off at, etc.
Bangkok Bts Skytrain
The Bangkok mass transit system skytrain is a fast and cheap way to reach your destination. It runs from 5 am till midnight, but beware – it may get crowded especially on weekdays.
Bangkok MRT Subway
MRT subway is also called blueline. It covers all major parts of the Bangkok city including those which are inaccessible by the skytrain. It operates every 10 minutes, so you can easily catch the MRT subway at any time.
Thailand has 6 international and 23 domestic airports that operate flights all-round the day. Thai Airlines offers flights to all major islands in the country at fairly affordable rates. If you don’t have a long vacation time, flights are the fastest ways to get around. From Bangkok to Phuket is about $30 from what I’ve seen so far.
If you were wondering, walking the streets of Thailand can be very safe, even in the evening. But like any country, it can also be unsafe. A local gave me the advice in making sure you conceal your expensive belongings, have an umbrella, (during rainy season you can get caught in a bad storm!) and also stay in areas with good lighting and buildings with cameras. Again, I do recommend the Grab app in case you are ever caught in a difficult situation.
You can avail any of these transportation options to travel around Thailand. Such a long list of options makes it easier for backpack travellers who have to travel on a budget. Pack your bags and head to your favourite destination now.