Transport in Thailand

 Transport, in general...


Travelling to Thailand is almost a pleasure. Nothing could be easier, indeed of all the countries of Southeast Asia, Thailand is the country offering the most possibilities with often quite reasonable comfort.

Thailand is very stretched. From the far south (border with Malaysia) to the north (border with Laos) the shortest distance is almost 1,800km, Bangkok being in the middle.

Let's take a look at the main means:

In Phuket itself, you will find motorcycle taxis, Tuk-Tuk, regular buses, taxis with or without meters

Outside Phuket, the long-short buses that take you to all the provinces of the country.

Phuket International Airport which also offers opportunities to connect with other cities in neighbouring countries,
and then finally the road....

There is no train in Phuket. The Hat Yai - Bangkok railway line passes through Surat Thani (250km from Phuket)

Motorcycle Taxi in Phuket

It is the most common means of transport.
If you are alone and your journey is not too long, it is also the fastest way,
and if you're a couple, there's nothing to stop you from taking two... it won't cost you a fortune:
These two-wheeled taxis rarely drive like crazy. They are reasonable in traffic
Most of them are people over forty years old, so much wiser....

The Songtaew in Phuket

The Songtaew are the regular buses of Phuket Town. Their starting point is Ranong Road, near the market.
You can't miss them. As can be seen in the pictures above, there are two models of Songtaew.
The service starts around 7am (depending on the destination) and the frequency is about one departure every 30 minutes.
Some also call them "draft buses". With these buses, no problem.
Prices have been set for years and just because you are a tourist does not mean you will pay more.

Taxis and Tuks-Tuks in Phuket


Tuk-tuk drivers tend to "inflate" prices and do as they please.
I would say that this table gives an "idea" of the price, but nothing is fixed...
As a general rule, always ask for the price before boarding.
and if you find the price too high when you arrive, don't try to discuss it again.
This will not help and may even lead to a mountain of problems.
Tuk-tuks have a very bad reputation in Phuket.

transports à phuket

In conclusion: the Tuk Tuk is a fast but sometimes expensive and unsafe means of transport.
It is the most important source of complaints filed with the tourist police.
Classic: some people offer to take you to visit shops because they earn a commission on each visit.
It's up to you to decide if you have time to waste.
Regular buses have fixed schedules (no more buses after 6pm) and tuk tuk tuk, for their part, operate all night long.
In the middle of the night, prices can also reach very surprising levels.

When you are on foot, many motorcycle taxis signal to you to drop you off.
Conversely, if you are a requester, a simple wave from you, and they stop.
Usually the prices are very low, but some people sometimes tend to exaggerate a little. It's always a little bit like the client's head.
However, since these are stories of 20 or 30 baht, the extra cost will never be huge.
We're not going to make trouble for 30 bahts....
Very convenient for getting to the other end of the block

Service created quite recently with two lines in service to date:
Line 1: from BIG C to Saphan Hin
Line 2: from SUPERCHEAP to Lamchan Health Center
Operates from 6:30 to 20:30 every 20 to 30 minutes (every quarter of an hour during check-in hours)
Price of a trip: 10 Bahts
These buses are recognizable by their pink colour

Airport Shuttle Service

Eh oui, à Phuket, il existe même une navette vers/depuis l'aéroport.
Le prix est très économique

Airport Shuttle Timetable

Taxis - Meter in Phuket

Ils ne sont pas nombreux sur Phuket et ont du mal à s'imposer.
Néanmoins on les trouve à l'aéroport, directement en sortant du hall, à droite.
La prix de la course est affichée sur un compteur.

Pour les autres taxis «libres» (sans compteur) les prix des courses sont parfois fantaisistes.

Ceci étant, depuis quelques temps, le gouvernement contrôle et les arnaques ont vraiment diminué.

VIP Buses


In Thailand, there is a terminal bus in every city.

The bus is the most common means of transport.

It is a real institution. In the terminals, the world is crawling in the same way as in an airport but with a much more folkloristic side.

You have several categories: 2nd class buses with or without air conditioning, and then what we call here VIP buses.

For us French people, the term VIP is always a little pompous, but here, this term is part of everyday language....
It is this category that I recommend without hesitation.

VIP Bus drivers, in uniform, sometimes look like 747 captains: white short-sleeved shirt, shoulder pads, black tie and of course, the inevitable pair of Ray-Ban on the nose, to further improve the look... class!

A hostess on board in uniform is also there throughout the trip to give you a blanket, a pillow, a snack and a drink.

On long journeys (e. g. Phuket-Bangkok) You are entitled to a "pee break" stop halfway through the trip, and a Thai meal included in the ticket price

These VIP buses are very comfortable, or at least more comfortable than an eco class on a plane!

Unfortunately, this happens sometimes, the television on the front screen plays DVDs of music that seriously tickle your eardrums.

Well, if you can't do it any more at a given time, there's nothing stopping you from taking out your falling smile and gently asking the hostess to turn it down a little.

What has always amazed me in this country and will always amaze me, is that Thai people are able to sleep with the TV on, in almost any position and anywhere... so if you ask to turn the sound down, maybe no one will notice because they've probably been sleeping for a while now... it's worth a try...

Another point to note: if VIP buses are equipped with toilets, the best advice is to go and do your business during the first two hours of the trip, especially on long trips such as Phuket-Bangkok or Phuket-Songai Kolok

Afterwards... it becomes a nightmare to find yourself in the small reduction: it's simply disgusting or equip yourself with a waterproof oxygen mask and dark glasses.

Some destinations from Phuket:

  • Bangkok (13 hours of travel)
  • Hat Yai (6h)
  • Krabi (4h)
  • Nakhon Sri Thammarat (7h)
  • Pattalung (7h)
  • Phang Nga (2h30)
  • Ranong (5h)
  • Samui (8h)
  • Satun (7h)
  • Sungai Kolok (11am)
  • Surat Thani (5h)
  • Takuapa (3h)
  • Trang (5h)

I didn't indicate the times, but you will find below a small extract to get an idea of the hours and prices

There are several bus companies in Phuket, you can book and buy a ticket in travel agencies or directly at the terminal.

On the pictures below you can see a Blue Bus, another pink and a third orange: these are three different companies (which are equal)

I have taken these VIP buses from Phuket to Bangkok several times... frankly, apart from the duration, I have nothing to criticize.

 The plane

To be more or less complete in all these means of transport, it is also necessary to mention air transport.

That being said, I will not reproduce in this article what I have already published elsewhere, so I invite you to consult
the article about Phuket airport in which you will find all the links to the different airlines.

Phuket Airport (click here)

 Driving yourself


This article would not be complete if I did not address car travel.
In Thailand, it can be said that the roads as a whole are relatively good.

To claim otherwise would be to be in bad faith.

For long trips like Phuket-Bangkok, Bangkok-Udon Thani, Bangkok-Chiang Mai, be aware that these trips are made on 4 lanes in good condition.

We could call them highways, but since they do not have the same safety standards as in Europe, I prefer to keep calling them 4 lanes.

Indeed, there are many "U-Turn" which are always a source of danger and especially in areas where traffic is dense, there are motorcycles, and sometimes in the night vehicles without light...

The speed limit is 110 km/h and radars have started to appear.

This being said, the amount of a fine has nothing to do with Europe...


The most dangerous time of the year is Thai New Year (mid-April): if you can avoid it, it will only be better.

The traditional new year (January 1) is also a danger, so take precautions before you start.

Except Bangkok, in the rest of the country all these 4 routes are free.

There are many gas stations on these roads, both in the south and in the north.

All facilities are available in these resorts: shops (seven/eleven), Thai restaurants, toilets, rest area.

Gasoline or diesel have increased well in recent years but prices remain acceptable.

To make a trip to Phuket-Bangkok (850km) take about 10 to 12 hours and about 2,300 baht of fuel (with a normal vehicle)

The summary map above shows you the route....

The route is the same as the VIP BUS also

  • On Thai roads it is of course important to be careful and very vigilant.

Some areas such as the outskirts of Bangkok, the western bypass of Bangkok, the area further north towards Saraburi are very busy places.

Traffic is really very important there.

When it starts raining in Thailand it is often on the edge of the tornado and very quickly, we don't see much there anymore and there too... to be more cautious.

To conclude, I have never noticed any aggressiveness on the roads in any situation.

All signage is doubled in English...!
Fortunately....

To get around by your own means there is also a very practical help: GPS


 Transfer to the Islands

For this part, I invite you to visit this article (by clicking on the link below)

Transfer to the islands