HOW TO get around THAILAND ON THE affordable

Updated: 02/08/20 | February 8th, 2020

Thailand is one of the most popular backpacker destinations in Southeast Asia.

It’s likewise my favorite.

Of course, I’m biased.

Thailand was where I made a decision to quit my task as well as travel the world. I lived there for two years. I ran excursions there. I speak the language. I feel at house there.

But that aside, Thailand remains popular some thirty years after the very first hippies arrived on the “banana pancake trail” for a basic reason: it’s awesome.

The succulent food, the warm people, the postcard-perfect beaches, the lush jungles, the hot weather — Thailand is simply a terrific place.

That said, Thailand is likewise a pretty huge country.

What’s the best way to get around Thailand?

Well, exactly how you will get around Thailand depend greatly on exactly how long you’re staying. You have options!

So what must you do?

Here’s a breakdown of the best ways to travel around Thailand (including travel times) regardless of budget plan or the length of your stay in the country:

Table of Contents

Getting around Thailand By Flying

Getting around Thailand By Train

Getting around Thailand By Bus

Getting around Thailand By Car

Getting around Thailand By Ferry

Distance/Times for getting Around

The bottom Line on getting around Thailand


Getting around Thailand By Flying

Flying is obviously the most costly however quickest way to get around. You can get pretty much anywhere in the country in two hours or less, making flying the perfect option for people who are rushed for time.

Thai Airways is the largest (and costliest) carrier, however there are numerous budget plan airlines, like Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion, AirAsia, as well as Nok Air. however prevent some of the smaller budget plan airlines like Orient Thai, as their safety records are pretty spotty.

Flights around Thailand generally expense 1,400-6,600 THB ($44-200 USD). Flights to the islands tend to be costlier than those between big cities like Bangkok as well as Phuket. Flights to Ko Samui are always more costly than anywhere else, thanks to monopoly pricing by Thai Airways as well as Bangkok Airways.

Here are some sample fares (as of February 2019) so you can get an concept of exactly how much flights cost:

Bangkok to Chiang Mai – 780 THB/$25 USD (one way), 1,560 THB/$50 USD (round-trip)

Bangkok to Phuket – 735 THB/$30 USD (one way), 1,311 THB/$42 USD (round-trip)

Bangkok to Koh Samui – 3,715 THB/$119 USD (one way), 7,274 THB/$233 USD (round-trip)

Chiang Mai to Phuket – 1,561 THB/$50 USD (one way), 2,997 THB/$96 USD (round-trip)

If you book early, you can save on fares as the budget plan carriers normally offer around 30-50% off tickets when they have sales — as well as they always have sales (especially Air Asia).

Keep in mind that each airline has different baggage fees as well as policies – budget plan airlines typically fee additional for like credit history card processing (the stupidest of all fees), baggage fees, as well as preferred seating.

Getting around Thailand By Train

Thailand is one of the few countries in the region with a respectable rail network. It covers 2,796 miles as well as is one of the best as well as least expensive ways to get around the country.

There are three classes of travel: very first class is the most costly as well as is offered only on night trains. second class is quite comfortable as well as has softer seats, as well as air-conditioned cars. third class is bare-bones cars, with difficult seats as well as no A/C. However, these are the least expensive seats around! (I really like third class, though, as you satisfy more fascinating people as well as there are always vendors coming on as well as off selling delicious as well as affordable food.)

Trains right here move very, very slowly. The Chiang Mai-to-Bangkok night train — a distance of only 430 miles — takes 12 hours.

Day trains are even worse, as there are regular stops as well as waiting at stations for reasons I’ve never figured out.

There’s no high-speed train in this country so don’t be in a rush if you’re traveling Thailand by train!

That said, I love traveling by train in Thailand if I’m not in a rush. The trains are spacious, there’s always food as well as drinks available, a lot of of the cars have A/C, vendors get on as well as off at each stop to sell meals, fruit, or drinks, as well as the scenery as you cruise through the tropical countryside is out of this world.

It’s likewise crazy cheap, particularly if you take the day train. Heck, even the night train is incredibly cheap! right here are some example fares for both day as well as night trains:

Bangkok to Chiang Mai – 890 THB/$28 USD (day train), 1,011 THB/$32 USD (night train)

Bangkok to Chumphon – 550 THB/$17 USD (day train), 920 THB/$28 USD (night train)

Bangkok to Surat Thani – 858 THB/$26 USD (day train), 1,058 THB/$33 USD (nighttrain)

Bangkok to Ayutthaya – 30 THB/$1 USD (day train)

Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai – 866 THB/$27 USD (day train), 1,131 THB/$35 USD (night train)

Ayutthaya to Lopburi – 30 THB/$1 USD (day train)

Bangkok to Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima) – 425 THB/$13.50 USD (day train), 1,010 THB/$32 USD (night train)

Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima) to Surin – 300 THB/$9.50 (day train)

Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima) to Ubon Ratchathani – 243 THB/$7.75 USD (day train), 593 THB/$19 USD (night train)

You can see train schedules as well as ticket prices on the state railway of Thailand web site (

You can buy train tickets through a travel agent (there’s a minor upcharge) or directly at the train station. You can buy tickets the day of travel — there’s always space, particularly on the day trains. That said, if you are trying to find a bed on the night train, I would book at least three days in advance to ensure you have a reservation, particularly during high season.

Getting around Thailand By Bus

As trains don’t go everywhere in Thailand, taking the bus is your second-best option. Actually, buses are the widest type of transportation here. You can go anywhere in Thailand by bus. though they commonly show poor Thai motion pictures with the sound turned up too loud as well as blast the A/C, they are a comfortable as well as spacious ride.

If you’re taking a day bus, note that they commonly stop in several towns along the way to pick people up as well as decrease them off, as well as they likewise pick up people by the side of the road. Don’t expect to move in an effective or quick manner. They aren’t in a rush.

Be sure to tell them precisely where you want to go, since commonly there are no signs when you pull into bus stations.

There are likewise “tourist buses” that, while more expensive, are normally a great deal more convenient. They are normally best for long distances (they tend to travel at night), as well as when combined with island ferry tickets (say, Bangkok to Ko Phi Phi). They are more costly than regional buses, however they are more direct, as well as you don’t have to worry about where you are or if it’s your stop. They normally pick up in the vacationer area as well as decrease you off in the vacationer area of the next place — plus there’s no stopping to pick up other people along the way.

You can book these by means of the many travel agents that line the vacationer areas of town.

Here are some sample fares for bus routes in Thailand:

Bangkok to Chiang Mai – 534 THB/$17 USD (day bus), 830 THB/$26 USD (night bus)

Chiang Mai to Pai – 150 THB/$5 USD (day bus)

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai – 229 THB/$7 USD (day bus), 312 THB/$10 USD (night bus)

Lampang to Chiang Rai – 237 THB/$7.50 USD (day bus)

Bangkok to Phuket City – 643 THB/$20 USD (day bus), 998 THB/$31 USD (night bus)

Bangkok to Chumphon – 373 THB/$12 USD (day bus), 427 THB/$13 USD (night bus)

Bangkok to Surat Thani – 858 THB/$27 USD (day bus), 1,058 THB/$33 USD (night bus)

Bangkok to Hua Hin – 289 THB/$9 USD (day bus), 400 THB/$12 USD (night bus)

Bangkok to Trat – 350 THB/$11 USD (day bus), 390 THB/$12 USD (night bus)

Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima) to Surin – 291 THB/$10 USD (day bus)

Surin to Ubon Ratchathani – 200 THB/$7 USD (day bus)

Getting around Thailand By Car

Don’t rent a cars and truck in Thailand. They are expensive, as well as the roads in Thailand are crazy.

It’s much much better to rent a motorbike as well as ride across the country. It’s quite a typical thing to do. This is a great article to assist you plan a trip.

Getting around Thailand By Ferry

While you won’t be using the ferry to get around Thailand, it will definitely be an important mode of transportation when you’re exploring the islands. due to the well-established travel trail, booking your ferry ride is basic as well as straightforward – you can commonly book tickets online or just show up. a lot of hostels as well as hotels will be able to assist you with this if you requirement assistance. They will likewise have the most up-to-date schedules.

Here are some example routes as well as fares to assist you plan your trip:

Koh Tao to Koh Samui – 500 THB/$16 (one way)

Surat Thani to Koh Phangan – 625 THB/$20 (one way)

Phuket to Koh Phi Phi – 780 THB/$25 (one way)

Krabi to Koh Lanta – 550 THB/$17 (one way)

How long Does It take to get around Thailand?

Trying to figure out exactly how long it will take you to get from point A to point B? right here is a distance as well as time chart so you can get an concept of exactly how long it takes to get from place to place.



Air (hrs)

Bus (hrs)

Rail (hrs)

Bangkok –Chiang Mai





Bangkok –Phuket City





Bangkok –Chumpon





Lampang –Chiang Mai





Surat Thani –Bangkok





Chiang Mai –Chiang Rai





Ayutthaya –Bangkok





Bangkok –Koh Samui





Chaing Mai –Krabi





Bangkok –Ubon Ratchathani





*No direct flights.
**Includes ferry

What’s the bottom Line on getting around Thailand?

Trains are the best way to get around Thailand cheaply as well as in comfort, night buses are excellent for places that aren’t serviced by the train, as well as if you’re short on time, just fly.


That’s it. These are the best ways to get around Thailand. It’s pretty easy, as visitors have been traveling around right here for decades as well as there’s an extensive network to make sure you can get from A to B no matter what!

If you have any type of questions, leave them in the comments!

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Book Your trip to Thailand: Logistical ideas as well as Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to discover a affordable flight. They are my two preferred search engines since they search web sites as well as airlines around the globe so you always understand no stone is left unturned. start with Skyscanner very first though since they have the greatest reach!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the greatest inventory as well as best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses as well as affordable hotels.

Don’t fail to remember travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will secure you against illness, injury, theft, as well as cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in situation anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My preferred companies that offer the best service as well as value are:

Safety Wing (for everybody below 70)

Insure My trip (for those over 70)

Medjet (for extra repatriation coverage)

Looking for the best companies to save money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I listing all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want more info on Thailand?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to Thailand for even more planning tips!

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