Getting Around Bangkok
Taxis: Metered taxis are available 24 hours in Bangkok. The metered fare is standardized, with the flag down rate being 35 Baht for the first 2 km and around 5 Baht for each km thereafter. Passengers must pay tolls if using the expressways.
Make sure the driver turns on the meter once you get in. Make sure you have change, as taxi drivers often don't! Drivers change shifts at about 3:30-4:00 p.m., and may not accept you unless your destination is convenient.
If taxis do not have meters, fares must be agreed upon before starting. The amount will vary depending on the distance, traffic, weather (if it is raining the fare will rise) and the negotiating skills of the hirer. Average fares in Bangkok are between 50-200 Baht. No tip is expected, but it is a nice gesture.
Tuk-Tuks: The colorful, three-wheeled, open-air "samlor" taxis are renowned for their capability to maneuver into the tightest spots, offering passengers an interesting ride. Accommodating two passengers (three or four at a squeeze), it is best for short trips during off-peak hours. Settle the fare BEFORE proceeding. Normally cheaper than metered taxis, the fare should never exceed 200 Baht per trip.
City Buses: Bangkok has an extensive bus service with routes serving every part of the city, providing a fun and cheap way to explore the city. There are both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned vehicles. The fare for the former depends on the distance traveled, starting from 10 Baht per person and the buses are colored blue, orange or white/green, depending on the route. The latter charges a flat fee of either 3.50 Baht per person (green and white/red colored buses) or 5 Baht per person (white/red and white/blue).
Because of the low fares, the open-aired buses tend to be heavily crowded, especially during the peak hours in the morning (6-9 am) and evenings (4-7 pm). Be watchful of your belongings and learn the art of balancing since the ride might be jerky, with sudden stops and accelerations. You can request the purser to notify you of your stop. People at the bus stops will gladly inform you of the correct bus number to take if unsure of how to get to your destination.
Be prepared with exact change or bank notes of 50 Baht (blue) or lesser denominations. An uniformed purser aboard the bus (listen for the clinking sound of coins in a long, cylinder container) will collect the fee and give you a ticket. Keep the ticket handy for inspections later down the route.
Microbus: The pinkish-violet, air-conditioned minibuses share some of the popular routes as city buses. The advantage is the flat rate of 10-25 Baht per person (depends on the routing distance) and that seats are guaranteed. Once all seats are occupied, the bus will not pick up more passengers until there is a vacancy.
BTS Skytrains: With stations in major commercial areas and departures every 5 minutes, it is an ideal means of transportation to escape the traffic. Service is via 2 routes: the Mo Chit - On Nut route (runs along Sukhumvit Rd.) and the National Stadium-Taksin Bridge route (runs along Silom Rd.). Running from 6 am to midnight, the fare depends on distance traveled, ranging from 10-40 Baht per person. Routes and fares are posted at every station, where tickets must be purchased.
Bangkok Subway: Bangkok's newest mass transit system, the subway, is to open on 3 July 2004. The first 99,999 commuters on the opening date will also receive souvenirs. From the opening date, until August 12, 2004, the royal birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, commuters will be allowed to use the subway at a specially low rate of 10 Baht for all routes.
All the revenue from the fare during that period will be donated to Royal charities and foundations under the patronage of Their Majesties the King and Queen. From 13 August 2004 - 3 July 2005, the fare will rise to the 15% discounted rate of 12 - 31 Baht, depending on the distance traveled, and rise to the normal rate of 14 - 36 Baht thereafter. The subway will run from the city's main railway station, Hua Lamphong, under two major thoroughfares, Rama 4 Road and Ratchadaphisek Road. It will make a major contribution to attracting more visitors to Thailand and boosting the average length of stay in Bangkok by linking several hotels, shopping centres and business districts, as well as the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
Motorcycle Taxis: Unique to Thailand, these taxis emerged in response to needs for faster transportation during traffic jams and access to main roads from remote neighborhoods and deep sois (alleyways). Drivers wear colorful vests and fares are slightly higher than those of metered taxis. Fare should always be negotiated BEFORE proceeding. Thai laws stipulate helmets must be worn in the use of motorcycles on public roads. Be prepared for an adventurous ride.
River Taxis: Taxis that are even more unusual, though equally convenient, are the river taxis that ply the Chao Phraya river. Some ferry passengers across the river (2 Baht), while others run the route to various landing stages on both banks, going up as far as the northern suburb of Nonthaburi. Fare ranges from 5-20 Baht per person, depending on distance. Signs at the landing piers are posted in both Thai and English.
Hired Car: If you want to experience driving in Bangkok, there are many car rental firms in Bangkok, including international rental companies such as Hertz, Budget and Avis. The road system is good and well posted with signs written in English. An international driving license is required.
Getting Around Provincial Towns
Taxis: Only the towns of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Hat Yai have metered taxis. For taxis in other towns, the fare must be negotiated BEFORE getting in. Fares in towns other than Bangkok should never exceed 200 Baht, unless going to remote villages beyond the town's perimeters.
Songthaews: These are vans with 2 rows of seats in the back, thus the literal translation of "2 rows". In towns outside of Bangkok, these are equivalent to city buses, running along popular routes at fixed fare prices, normally in the range of 20-40 Baht. If you're traveling in a large group, it might be worthwhile to hire the songthaews as taxis.
Rickshaws/Samlors: These three-wheeled bicycles are used to transport 1-2 people a short distance. Prices should be negotiated BEFORE getting in. Roughly 30-60 Baht is reasonably for those few kilometers.
Tuk-tuks: The motorized version of the samlors were introduced here by the Japanese during WWII. These are always popular with tourists, though they are uncomfortable in heavy traffic (carbon monoxide indulgence) and the rainy season, and are extremely noisy. Prices should be negotiated BEFORE getting in. Roughly 30-60 Baht is reasonably for those few kilometers.
Hired Car: If you want to go your own way, there are many car hire firms in Thailand, including international rental companies such as Hertz and Avis. The road system is good and well sign - posted. An international driving license is required.
Hired Mopeds: Mopeds and motorbikes are extremely popular and highly available in most provincial towns, especially the seaside resort towns. Average price for one day's rent may be as low as 200-300 Baht, depending on the type of moped/motorbike.
From Bangkok to
International and Domestic Travel
Flying is the most convenient mode of transportation for most visitors traveling to Thailand. Domestic flights are also easy and convenient, cutting down on journey time.
A number of domestic carriers service a majority of large provincial cities dotting generously across the country. Travel to neighboring countries is cheaper when booked within Thailand. Train services connect Bangkok to all regions of the country at reasonable prices. A regular rail service also runs between Bangkok and Singapore via Malaysia. Long distance coaches, both air-conditioned and open-aired, connect all major cities.
At the local level, diverse forms of transportation are provided: provincial buses, city buses, songthaews, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, boats, and even rental cars.
Air : With Bangkok serving as the international travel hub of SE Asia, the capital serves as the landing port for numerous international airlines, most with direct flights from their destinations. Some chartered and regional flights may land at one of the other international airports within Thailand, consisting of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Phuket, and Ubon Ratchatani. The country's national airline is Thai Airways. Airport departure taxes for international departures costs 500 Baht/person. The check-in counters open 2 hours and close half an hour prior departure time.
International flights information
(662) 535-1254 (departures)
(662) 535-1301 (arrivals) Those traveling from neighboring countries may enter Thailand via road, rail, ships, or ferries
Domestic travel during public holidays and on weekends, particularly to popular destinations, should be booked well in advance for all modes of transportation. Booking is particularly difficult during the Songkran Holiday and New Year's Holiday
Air : Local carriers Thai Airways (TG) and Bangkok Airways (PG) fly to most major provincial airports beyond 250 km distance from Bangkok. Thai Airways' 2 most popular routes are Chiang Mai and Phuket. Services to Koh Samui and Sukhothai are only provided by Bangkok Airways. Other smaller local carriers include Angel Air (mainly servicing Phuket) and PB Air which flies to fewer destinations. Air Andaman services is limited to the Southern cities only.
Another carrier is SGA scenic airline of Thailand which flies to Hua Hin everyday, and also provides air charter service in the region.
The domestic terminal is located at the southern end of the Bangkok International Airport. Normally, check-ins for domestic flight is one hour prior to departure time and closes half an hour before flight time. Departure tax has already been added to your ticket fare.
Domestic flights Information
(662) 535-1192 (departures)
(662) 535-1253 (arrivals)
Reservation / Ticket
Buses: Inter-city bus services offer a fast means of transport to all corners of the country. Air-conditioned buses service many provincial areas and bookings for both regular and tour coaches (private companies) can be made through major hotels and travel agents, or at the following bus terminals:
Trains: The State Railway of Thailand runs an efficient rail service linking Bangkok (Hua Lam Phong is the central train station) to the rest of the country at very reasonable prices for express, fast and ordinary trains. Limited western and southern routes out of Bangkok also operate from the Thon Buri Station, traveling to destinations as far as Kanchanaburi province in the west and Chumporn province in southern Thailand.
On express trains, sleepers are available in three classes: first and second class (air-conditioned), and second class (non air-conditioned, but with fans).
Advance tickets are available at all principal stations or the Bangkok Railway Advance Booking Office at Tel : 0-2220-4444
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