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Local Transport

Local Transport

 

There are many types of local city transport in Thailand:

Songthaew

Usually long tray utes with seats down each side covered to protect passengers from the rain. They circle areas continually and the fare costs per person from 10 - 20 Baht one way in Pattaya and Chiang Mai, and 20 - 80 Baht in Phuket and in Koh Samui.

In Chiang Mai there are a few different colours that the Songthaew's are painted. Each colour represents a different area of the city they only service.

To get on a Songthaew, simply wait for them to honk their horn and then turn around and acknowledge them and they will stop for you, or wave your hand as they drive by. If you are unsure of the usual fare for your destination, ask and confirm with the driver first.

To get off the Songthaew, press one of the buzzer buttons around the back of the vehicle. Maximum are around 12 passengers. If you have more than 5 people in your group feel free to negotiate a better total price.

Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuk's are 3 wheeled two stroke vehicles that can fit up to 3 passangers into the back, though I have seen up to 5 Thai's in the back. Tuk Tuk's are very noisy and the pollution is very bad in areas like Bangkok due to the high traffic levels. You may need to cover your mouth and nose with a hankerchief.

Tuk Tuk drivers nearly always have an second motive to get you in the vehicle. They will push and push to get you to visit a gems dealer on the way to the location you are wanting to visit. If you do not wish to see the gem shop - where the gems are over valued or fake - you must confirm this with the driver before you hop on. Many drivers with snub you sometimes if you do not go to the gem shops as they will not receive their kick back payments.

Motorcycle Taxi

Simply hop on the back without any helmet after you work out the fare. Prevalent in all areas of Thailand. You will see groups of young men with motorcycles on corners of streets. They have a uniform with a number and are licensed by the government. I do not recommend the use of this form of transport in Bangkok due to the traffic.

Car Taxi

Similar to the metered taxi's in Australia, though a lot more cheaper. One reason they are cheaper is the fact you can sit in the traffic for very long periods without traveling far. This is where Tuk Tuk and Motorcycle taxi's come into their own. You will have the option of using the meter or paying a fixed priced. Meter is the best option as you are only charged for distance traveled as the traffic can be very slow.

Sky Train

The Sky Train opened in 2000 and services the main areas of Bangkok. It is a quiet pollution free form of transport at a very cheap price. Costs 10 Baht - 40 Baht one way or purchase a one day travel pass for about 200 Baht. The beauty of this mode of transport is that it is air conditioned, quick, safe and has stops to all main tourist areas like Patong Night Markets and Chatuchak Weekend Markets.

MRT (Mass Rapid Transport)

A brand new underground MRT System now operates servicing other areas of Bangkok intersecting the two Sky Train Lines. The fee structure is similar to the Sky Train rates and the service which is identical to the Singapore MRT system is first class. Be sure to stop at Lumphini Station to visit the Suanlum Night Bazaar.

Vehicle Hire

There are also many hire car and bike options in all tourist areas. Make sure you have your International Drivers License permit before you travel to Thailand. This costs A$15 at your local transport office otherwise you will be required to leave your passport with the hire company. Motorcycle moped rates are usually 150 Baht per day.

The best tip I can give is to make sure that the vehicle is insured before you hire it.

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Local Buses

The cheapest way to travel around Thailand is by the local and domestic bus network. The network features both air conditioned services and non air conditioned services with the air conditioned services costing slightly more. Most local Thai people use the bus network to get to and from destinations and is also a favoured way to travel by budget minded backpackers.