The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand

Transport & Vehicle Rentals in Thailand

Location Specific: For transportation methods that are unique to a given location see the proper section. This includes commuter trains and tuk-tuk in the Bangkok Section; tuk-tuk is the Phuket Section and  buses in the Pattaya Section.

Airport Transportation: Best method depends on location. In Bangkok most prefer Taxi (meter), which is also inexpensive. To/from Phuket and Pattaya taxi (negotiated price) is inexpensive, however, getting an comfortable and relatively new car for the longer drive is a hit or miss, For about the same cost a private hire car may be the preferred option. For the thrifty, scheduled bus service (and BTS in Bangkok) is also an option.

Taxi: Available in most areas. Outside Bangkok the fare is usually negotiated or set, even though the taxi may display "Taxi Meter". In Bangkok Taxi (meter) are very cheap. A few mile trip can be as little as 60 baht and airport to city center about 300 baht including tolls and airport fees.

Motorbike taxi: Motorbike taxi is another option and generally much quicker in dense traffic and reasonably priced (always agree to the price before getting on). A short to medium ride in Pattaya is usually 40-60 baht. Keep in mind that this is not the safest form of transportation and many injuries (and deaths) happen on motorbikes in LOS. Insist on wearing a helmet. Even then, it may be a cheap and useless one that you are offered, but it will spare you from a fine should a police officer notice.

Motorbike Rental: Some prefer to rent a motorbike, but that should carry even more caution, The Thais do not drive like Westerners and it truly adds serious risk to your holiday. Besides intoxicated drivers are all over especially at night. Whether it be the fault of you or another driver an accident on a motorbike is unforgiving.
If you choose to rent a motorbike there are important issues to be mindful of. NEVER surrender your passport to the rental agency as it is unwise and illegal (leave a copy if requested). Note that rental bikes only comes with minimal liability insurance of approximately 15,000 baht and additional damage will be out of pocket. Obtaining supplemental insurance is not an easy task if you are not the owner of the bike. Lastly, seek referral recommendations from someone who is familiar with local vendors.

Air: There are several airlines that fly within Thailand and to neighboring countries.
Thai Airways is the flag carrier of Thailand and offers an extensive full service network with business class as an option. Discount airlines include: Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Bangkok Airways, Thai Orient, as well as carriers from other countries if you are heading outside of Thailand.
Please note that Thai Orient previously operated as One-Two-Go is known for very questionable safety records.
Click on the carrier link to link to their individual web sites.

Bus: Thais use buses extensively as they are cheap, even for long distances. As an example a trip between Bangkok and Pattaya is a bit over 100 baht and between Pattaya and Bangkok Airport (including hotel pick-up) about 250 baht. Do make sure to select VIP bus service for good comfort. a trip as long as 5-6 hours can be as inexpensive as 3-400 baht.

Train: Phuket has no train service and Pattaya very limited. Other destinations from/through Bangkok, however, has great train service in various classes.
Best information concerning trains in Thailand may be found on this site:

Rental Car: Rental cars are readily available, however, in most areas you should think twice about doing your own driving. First of all basic driving in Thailand is not for the faint of heart, some would even describe it as crazy. Second, if you are used to driving on the right hand side of the road, there will be another trick to learn driving on the left hand side. If you do choose to rent a car rent from a reputable company such as EuroCar, Hertz, Avis, etc. and make sure you buy full collision insurance.

Private Hire Cars: In many cases you will be able to hire a car with a driver for near the same price as you can rent a car with insurance. Also this is often a preferred method for airport transport outside of Bangkok City.

The Ultimate Newbie
Guide to Thailand