As I’ve talked about before we usually fly in and out of Bangkok when travelling to Thailand. We like to have a little stopover either at the start or the end of our journey and Bangkok has a lot more options in terms of carriers flying in and out. This makes for cheaper flights, which are often the biggest single cost (or second after accommodation) for our Thailand holidays.
This means Bangkok is the start and end point. So how do we get around the other parts of the country? Heres a quick overview of the better transport options in Thailand.
No doubt the quickest way and really the easiest way is by flying. From Bangkok nowhere is more than an hour and a half away at the most. Bangkok is located in quite a central position to the rest of the country.
Theres several airlines that serve Thailand domestically. Nok Air, Thai Smiles (Thais low cost version), Bangkok Airways and Air Asia Thailand all serve the country comprehensively. Thai Airways of course covers the country but tends to be more expensive. Air fares are not very expensive if booking ahead although they can get quite expensive at the last minute as flying is a popular choice for locals and tourists.
Most cities have just one airport and these tend to be located not too far from the city they serve. In Bangkok some domestic flights go from Don Mueang, the old main airport and others go from the new Suvarnabhumi Airport.
For families it is hard to go past flights, especially for longer journeys . While there is the pain of going to and then waiting in the airport it is all relatively comfortable and most importantly quick.
I loved taking the train in Thailand before having a family. They were comfortable and a great way to see the countryside. Thailands Railways do a good job of covering the country although many destinations may be a few hours off from the nearest railway line. This is particularly the case down south where the main beach areas are some way from the railway to Malaysia which runs predominately inland.
The Man In Seat 61s Thailand Page does a much better job of covering the details than I could.
In terms of getting around its a great choice for families if youre looking at going somewhere where the airlines dont or cant go, especially to places near Bangkok. Tickets are relatively cheap and the travel is comfortable.
Longer journeys are simply too long for us to take our kids on. Its 12 or more hours north to Chang Mai or South to Hat Yai.
Theres hardly anywhere youd want to go that isnt achievable by road.
Buses might be a suitable choice although public buses might not be very comfortable. For major destinations there are tourist class road coaches which are better but it can be a long way in a bus, even a comfortable one.
For this reason I dont use buses much myself and so cannot recommend them. If money is a factor then they are worth investigating but we avoid them with or kids as even the better ones can feel cramped after a while.
If you can afford it a better alternative is to hire a car and driver. Although more expensive than a bus it can be good value. You can hire a car as far as you like but good value exists on heavily travelled routes like between Pattaya and Bangkok. Depending on the size of vehicle you need you can travel to places around Bangkok for around 2000 baht.