There are two major train stations in Bangkok and they see-off regular trips to every direction of the country. Easily one of the cheapest options on the list, a train ride to a nearby city may cost only 30 Baht. Trips to farther away destinations cost more, of course, but never more than a few hundred Baht, even to the farthest away cities. The train offers differing levels of comfort and pricing, however, starting at 3rd class which includes no air-conditioning and benches to sit on rather than individual seats. If the train is really crowded it may even turn into a standing-room-only situation. On the other hand, 1st class is a very nice experience. You pay extra but in return receive a private cabin, air conditioning, a wash basin, and a padded couch that transforms into a compact bed (if you’re on the overnight train). 2nd class is somewhere in between, lacking the private cabin and space to stretch-out, but including the all-important element of air-conditioning.
Bus and Van
Every city in Thailand boasts at least a meagre bus station. Bangkok itself has four major hubs from which you can charter a ride in any direction. Similar to the train, you have the option of paying extra for comfort. A charter bus, often twice the price of a van, will guarantee you a seat to yourself, air-conditioning, space to stand and stretch, room to store your bags, and (usually) a toilet. On the other hand, a van offers usually cramped seating on bench-style seats and sometimes poor air-conditioning. However, vans are smaller and more maneuverable, so if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, one of these would likely get you there more quickly than a full-size charter bus. Additionally, many smaller towns are not serviced by regular charter buses, so if you want to travel by road to Lop Buri, Ang Thong, or similar locales, get ready to take a ride on the van. Woo-hoo!
The priciest option in traveling around Thailand is also the fastest if you’re going long distances. Thailand has airports and regular flights to all of its major cities, and even to some of the minor ones! Bangkok is the hub for air travel, and chances are, no matter where you’re flying, you’ll travel through either Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang International Airport.
Little needs to be said about the Thai taxi service that you probably don’t already know. However, some highlights are that this is the most expensive and (probably) most comfortable land travel option. If you’re going long distances you may be quoted a price up-front in lieu of the meter. It’s up to you whether or not to accept this. Typical prices range around 500 Baht per hour, as a trip to Pattaya (2-3hrs from Bangkok) usually starts at a 1,000 Baht fare. Compared to prices in the West, this is still quite affordable. But when the same trip costs 1 USD by train, you really have to weigh your options.
So that’s it! While far from exhaustive, this primer on travel around Thailand should certainly help you to decide which methods of travel are best for you. If you have any questions about traveling Thailand or specific trips you’d like to make during your stay here, don’t hesitate to approach one of the teachers, trainers, or reception staff in the school. We’d be happy to share our experiences with you and help you to make the best travel decisions you can.