At 513,120 square kilometres, Thailand is the 50th largest country in the world. The southern part of the country tapers into the Malay Peninsula, and that’s where coastal destinations like Krabi and Phuket are situated. Chao Phraya flows through central Thailand, including the capital city Bangkok. And to the north, the Thai Highlands form the backdrop of provinces like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The beaches of Thailand lie along the shores of the Andaman Sea. Here are some travel tips for getting around Thailand.
There are international airports at Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Hat Yai, and Chiang Rai. So if your holiday begins in one of these destinations, you don’t have to worry. You can fly there directly, and then get a taxi outside the airport to your hotel. Most of the islands and towns in Thailand are easily accessible by taxi or bus from one of the international airports.
Travelling within an Island or Town
Bangkok is the most developed city in Thailand, and offers modern transport options like the Skytrain system, subway, trains, taxis, and buses along with traditional tuk-tuks and ferries. A word of caution about using the roadways though – Bangkok is prone to terrible traffic jams during peak hours. Stick to travelling in lull hours as far as possible or use the air-conditioned Skytrain. The MRT also has good connectivity within the city.
Things are a little different in the islands. In Koh Samui, you will find taxis but no buses. Instead, there are songthaews, which are pick-up vehicles that can be flagged anywhere. However, they are not very convenient with no fixed routes or pricing. Phuket does have buses, and also taxis and ferries. The Grab app works well for hailing cabs in Thailand.
Shuttling between Thai Islands and Towns
Flights are the fastest and most convenient way of travelling within Thailand. That way, you can easily pack three different destinations into your itinerary, such as Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Krabi. If you’re planning to take domestic flights during holiday seasons like Songkran and Lunar New Year, make sure you book them beforehand. Otherwise, you risk not finding a seat in your preferred flight.
There are trains and buses between Thai towns as well, but they tend to be slower and less comfortable than flights. However, the Special Express trains can be a good bet if you can’t get a flight to your desired destination. The First Class cabins offer convertible beds, air-conditioning, and a private sink.
Renting your own Car in Thailand
If you like to drive and possess an International Driving License, renting a car could be a great way of seeing Thailand at your own pace. Cars are driven on the left side of the road, with the driver occupying the seat on the right. There are local as well as international rental companies but the trusted names include Avis, Herzt, and Sixt. In the islands, you can also rent a scooter or motorcycle.