Travel & Places Asia Pacific

What You Need to Know Before Your First Visit to Thailand

Getting into Thailand

By Air
Most travelers enter Thailand through Suvarnabhumi Airport; the rest arrive through Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai. Most countries with connections in Asia also fly into Bangkok.

Tourists may enter Thailand from Malaysia through three road crossings: Songkhla, Yala, and Narathiwat. Due to the unrest in Thailand’s southern provinces, travel to these parts of the country may be unwise.

The only legal border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia is located at Aranyaprathet, near the Cambodian town of Poi Pet. The crossing opens from 8am to 6pm daily.

The Mekong River demarcates the border between Thailand and Laos, and is crossed by the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge near Nong Khai.

By train
Thailand and Malaysia are linked by a rail connection, although only the Eastern & Oriental Express goes non-stop from Singapore to Bangkok on a 41-hour trip from end to end. It’s a leisurely but luxurious trip that includes a two-hour stopover in Butterworth, a tour of Penang, a trip to the River Kwai, and a boat excursion along the storied river. Fares start at US$1,200.

By sea
Thailand serves as a major port of call for several regional cruise lines, including:

Cruises from Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Europe regularly stop at Laem Chabang and Phuket.

Shore excursions are easily arranged for cruise passengers upon arrival at Thailand.

Getting Around Thailand

By Air
Tourists can fly from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and the old Don Muang International Airport to major tourist destinations through regular domestic flights operated by Thai Airways, PB Air, Nok Air, One-Two-GO Airlines, and Bangkok Airways. Book early when traveling during tourist peak seasons and official holidays.

By Rail
The State Railway of Thailand runs four train lines reaching every Thai province except Phuket. Accommodations run the gamut of comfort, from cushy, air-conditioned first-class carriages to crowded third-class carriages. Fares will depend on the length of your trip and selected carriage class.

Within Bangkok, a modern Monorail and subway system serves key metropolitan areas. Fares range from 10-45 baht, depending on the length of your trip.

By Bus
Buses run from Bangkok to almost all points in Thailand. Comfort options range from ordinary air-conditioned buses to luxury coaches with refreshments. Most major hotels or travel agents will gladly book a trip for you.

By Rented Car
Tourists wishing to rent their own vehicle may approach any of the car rental companies operating within Thailand’s major tourist destinations. Hertz, Avis, and other reputable car rental companies have branch offices in Thailand.

By Taxi or Tuk-Tuk
Taxis and the ubiquitous three-wheeled mini-taxis called “tuk-tuks” can be found anywhere in Bangkok. Tuk-tuks are cheaper and more effective for shorter trips – every journey on a tuk-tuk will cost you a minimum of 35 baht, with the fare going up the further you go. The law obliges drivers to provide crash helmets to passengers – it’s illegal to ride a tuk-tuk without one!

By Boat
Bangkok is bisected by the Chao Phraya river and riddled through with waterways called “klongs” – it should come as no surprise that river ferries and water taxis are one of the most popular ways to get around town. (See our "Bangkok at Klong Level" gallery to see why.)

The Chao Phraya river ferry running between Krung Thep Bridge and Nonthaburi charges between 6 to 10 baht. Some riverside hotels may provide their own waterway transport.

The old district of Thonburi can be seen from its many klongs. Tha Chang landing, near the Grand Palace, serves as a major departure point for the long-tailed taxis servicing Thonburi.

You might also like on "Travel & Places"

Leave a reply