Travel to Bangkok

Flying to Bangkok

Airlines offering flights to Bangkok from the UK include Thai Airways, EVA Airways, Qantas and British Airways. During the peak season, flights are expensive between November to March. Cheap flights to Bangkok are available during the low season in May, June and September.

Flight times

From London -11 hours 20 minutes; New York - 19 hours 25 minutes; Los Angeles - 9 hours 5 minutes; Toronto -19 hours 40 minutes; Sydney - 9 hours 20 minutes.

Travel by road

Summary:

Thailand has a reasonable network of roads and highways throughout the country, designated by numbers. Traffic in Bangkok drives on the left and the minimum driving age is 18 years. The speed limits are 60kph (37mph) in the city, 90kph (56mph) on main country roads and 120kph (74mph) on expressways. A national driving licence or International Driving Permit is required but long-term visitors staying over three months need to obtain a Thai driving licence.

Driving in Thailand is not for the faint-hearted as drivers tend to take risks and overtake on bends and hills, while buses and lorries drive as if they own the road. Driving at night is to be avoided as most heavy trucks travel at this time. The incidence of accidents is high and, when foreigners are involved in accidents, it is always assumed that it is they who are at fault and they are expected to pay the costs. Having said that, driving is the best way to see the countryside.

Emergency breakdown service:

There is no national breakdown service but all car hire companies will provide a telephone number to their clients for use in case of a breakdown or emergency.

Routes:

The national highways are all designated by numbers. National Highway 4 goes south to Hua Hin; National Highway 3 goes east to Pattaya; and National Highway 32 and 11 go to Phitsanulok.

Driving times:

From Hua Hin - 3 hours; Pattaya - 3 hours; Phitsanulok - 5 hours 30 minutes.

Coaches:

Bangkok has three main bus terminals serving different areas of the country. Both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses operate, but the air-conditioned ones tend to be faster and to make less stops en route. Buses south to Hua Hin, Phuket and the Thai-Malaysian border operate from the Southern Bus Terminal, Boromratchonnani. Buses to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north and Ubon Ratchathani and Nong Khai in the northeast operate from the North/northeastern Bus Terminal, Kampaeng Petch 2 Road. Buses to Pattaya and Trat in the east operate from the Eastern Bus Terminal, Soi 40 Sukhumvit Road.

Travel by rail

Services:

Bangkok is well connected by rail to other parts of Thailand and train travel is comfortable, safe and cheap.

The main station in Bangkok is Hualampong, Rama IV Road, which serves most of the long distance routes. The station has left luggage facilities, food and drink outlets, a taxi rank and even toilets and showers. It is advisable to book tickets for long-distance trains in advance (tel: (02) 224 7788). Noi Station across the river in Thonburi serves Kanchanaburi and a few destinations to the south so visitors should check which station to depart from.

Trains to Bangkok have air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned carriages. The four train lines run from Chiang Mai in the north, Nong Khai in the northeast, Pattaya in the east and from Surat Thani and Butterworth (Malaysia) in the south. The Thailand Rail Pass is valid for 20 days in second and third class.

Operators:

The State Railways of Thailand (tel: (02) 222 0175; www.railway.co.th) operates the four lines, all terminating in Bangkok. Tickets are unavailable to buy online but instead can be bought via several reputable ticket agencies.

Journey times:

From Pattaya - 3 hours 40 minutes; Chiang Mai - 12 hours; Butterworth - 21 hours 10 minutes.

Edited by Daniel Fahey



Newsletter