This Thailand Transport Guide essentially focuses on the various forms of transportation throughout the cities and coastal resorts.
In both the public and private sector, movement in traffic appears so much larger than life itself, especially in cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai with coastal towns not that far behind. Abundant and chaotic, diverse and visible, you simply cannot ignore.
From the funky Tuk-Tuks, the brightly coloured taxis, the rowdy motorcycles, the rapid transit system, the underground trains, the resonating long boats, to the luxury cruisers and private limousines.
I am busy reading a book in the lobby of a Bangkok hotel during the early hours of the morning while waiting for my Thai driver friend to take myself, my girlfriend and a friend up north to Chiang Mai. We want to get an early start and decide to leave the city at around 4:00 am so as to avoid the morning rush hour traffic.
Every time I look up from my book, I see one taxi after another appear from around the corner. I continue to read for a couple of hours all the while there's this constant perpetual motion of taxis forming spectacular displays of colour right before my eyes. There are seemingly endless streams of them.
How could I possibly ignore them! Where could they be going at this time I ask myself. Whether you want to believe it or not, this certainly isn't the normal peak traffic period. It's 3:00 am in the morning. It would appear that commuting by taxi anywhere in Thailand is really not a problem whatsoever, be it any time of the day or night.
Is it not good to know that even in the very early hours of the morning, you'd be able to hitch a ride. A word of warning, though, even with all the available transport, the likeliness of getting around Bangkok in a hurry may be somewhat restricted, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, albeit a perfectly safe one.
A ride in a Tuk-Tuk is a must for any visitors coming to Thailand especially in Bangkok. Besides providing a much needed and easily accessible form of Thailand transport, they are also a fundamental part of the whole Thai experience.
You haven't been to Thailand if you haven't taken a ride in a Tuk-Tuk. When I say that, I am referring to the open-sided three-wheeler variety you find in Bangkok as opposed to the four-wheeler Tuk-Tuks found around the island of Phuket.
Weaving your way through the crowded traffic congested streets of Bangkok in a three-wheeler can be an exhilarating and exciting experience if not a little nerve-wracking at the best of times.
Depending on your driver as well as the time of day or night, every ride you take is a new and unique challenge. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. The only real downside is the incessant noise emanating from these two-stroke motorbike engines and the consistent unprotected pollution.
A good tip when using a Tuk-Tuk service provider, always, always negotiate the fare before embarking on your trip. That way you won't be disappointed when you arrive at your destination.
I've seen many a tourist arguing with a Tuk-Tuk driver over a payment simply because they hadn't established the price beforehand. Getting into an argument won't help matters either. It'll only stress you out even more. It's best to avoid these types of situations at all costs.
Consider an alternative to road transportation by using the rail network with their various train links thus making the Thailand transport system so highly effective and efficient. Trains throughout the country provide safe, secure and speedy ways to get wherever it is you want to go in a much more relaxed state.
For quick and easy mobility in Bangkok, you have two choices. The first is the BTS Sky Train of which there are two lines, one of which is the Sukhumvit line which runs from Mo Chit station to On Nut station along Sukhumvit Road and another one is the Silom line which runs from the National Stadium to Wongwian Yai.
Both these lines intersect at Siam Square. The Sky Train also connects directly to a high-speed rail link to Suvarnabhumi Airport at Phaya Thai Station.
Another way to travel by train around Bangkok is to use the MRT Underground Subway System which covers a loop of some 20 kilometres (12 miles) and runs from Hua Lampong Station to Bang Sue north of the centre. It intersects with the Sky Train at four stations on the route. The underground caters for the disabled.
The Chao Phraya River and the few canals in and around Bangkok provide alternative and accessible commuter style Thailand transport, making it a much faster and safer option to the horrendous traffic on the city streets.
Many places of interest, as well as the new and old city sights of Bangkok, can be toured using the Chao Phraya Express boat. They travel to and from a number of piers around the city.
There are also several other ferry boat services you can take advantage, including the water taxis that ply up and down the canal waterways.
If you're really keen to beat the Thailand transport system, then the best way to do this is to simply hop on one of the motorbike taxis. Motorbike taxi riders are easily recognised by their numbered vests and they are usually seen waiting on the corners of many of the important side roads in most cities and resorts. They can be extremely useful on routes not covered by other modes of transport.
A word of warning, though, while they are fast and efficient as well as being able to squeeze in and out of traffic jams, they can be a little dangerous. Negotiate a price, then hang on tight and pray that you'll arrive safely at your destination.
While public buses may abound around the best parts of the major cities in Thailand, a number of luxury air-conditioned buses can be seen touring the rest of the country.
A typical city like Bangkok has an extensive bus network providing passengers with reasonably priced fares. Most routes operate from early morning until fairly late at night. A few even provide a 24-hour service.
The only real problem with using public buses is that they often get stuck for lengthy periods in notorious heavy inner city traffic so trying to get from one place to another in a hurry is not always the best option.
Best to pay a little extra and travel in style in an air-conditioned bus. Bus routes and maps are readily available at most bookstores or newsagents, that is if you can find one.
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