Thailand Local Travel

thailand travel information Thailand offers the visitor a broad variety of local transportation if they are willing to Travel as the Thais do. It can be confusing and language barriers will present challenges, but there are very few places in Thailand where one cannot go by bus, seelor, tuk-tuk, samlor, motorcycle or boat.

Map that calculates ... @ distances between cities in Thailand

Local buses of every description and routing ply the main roads around Thailand. They will stop for any passenger to board or exit at virtually any point on their route, so they are very slow.

You may have to stand in the aisle and hang onto a bar near the roof. Very few of the local buses have air conditioning and they are usually quite crowded, but they are cheap.

Note: Be careful of non government buses. There seems to be an increasing trend toward pilfering baggage.

Seelors are four-wheelers, often pickup trucks with bench seating down each side and a canopy for shade. Seelors are common on virtually every paved road and many that are not paved. Just wave them down and say the name of your destination, if the driver nods, hop in the back and be prepared to be stared at.

Normally, the fare is 10 baht, pay when you get off. Seelors are often the "bus" service in cities and towns outside Bangkok. They run regular routes and are quite convenient.

Tuk-Tuks are very popular among tourist in Bangkok and many larger cities of the provinces. One caution about the three-wheelers in Bangkok. What may seem like a fun excursion in one of the daring vehicles can be less than fun when stranded in traffic with exhaust fumes stinging your eyes choking your lungs while you are sweating like a pig. And tuk-tuks are about the same price as an air-con taxi. In Chiangmai and similar cities, tuk-tuks are the closest thing to a taxi and can normally be used with a little more comfort than in Bangkok.

Motorized samlors are common around the countryside. They are tricycles that usually have the front end of a motorcycle and a box bed with seats and a canopy that will usually be too low for westerners. Each region seems to have their own design, some quite ingenuous. They are usually hired by the trip and a price should be negotiated beforehand.

Samlors are a form of pedicab and have long been the traditional form of taxi service in cities and towns. They carry shoppers to and from the market, kids home from school and tourists love them. And rightly so. They may be slow, but are elegant and quiet. It is an experience every tourist should have. Unfortunately, samlors seem to be losing out to motorized forms of transport. It would be a shame if they disappeared from Thailand altogether.

Motorcycle taxis are common in most parts of Thailand. They are abundant in Bangkok and the adventurous swear by them as one way of beating the traffic since they can thread their way among cars, trucks, buses, and tuk-tuks. If you see what looks like a motorcycle gang with numbered vests hanging out near a street corner, you have found a motorcycle taxi stand. Negotiate the fare in advance and keep your knees in tight. You also may have to wear the safety helmet they carry for passengers.

Canal boats Passenger water taxis are another way to beat Bangkok's traffic if you are near the river or a "klong"/canal. Asking at your hotel is one way to find out where the docks are. Long tailed boats are another option but in Bangkok you risk getting stinking "klong" water splashed on you. @ Bangkok Express Boat/Taxi

On many of the rivers outside Bangkok, these slender canoe-like boats operate passenger service. One prominent "route" in the North is Tatorn to Chiang Rai. Exclusive use of the boats for travel or sight seeing can also be negotiated.

Skytrain Bangkok has a very nice elevated rail transport system. It is limited in scope, but very convenient for the downtown area. The trains are fast and air conditioned, and provide a different view of the city than one can get at street level.