**This post first appeared on https://peteriprawadventures.wordpress.com/
Take your pick, speed or comfort? Cost or safety?
I’m going to analyze the different kinds of transportation you can take in Thailand and give you an in-depth review.
It’s been a few months since I came to Thailand, and I think I can now give a fair review of all the transportation that are offered and used in this country. The measures I will be using are: 1) Comfort 2) Safety 3) Cost 4) Speed (from point A to point B) 5) Ease of Use. I’m going to use a rating system from 1-10 with 1 being terrible and 10 being perfect.
Let’s begin with the biggest thing. In Thailand, you can reach most of the other cities by plane and for the most part there are multiple local airlines in Thailand so you can be sure there’s tons of flights going in and out of the cities every day. So far the only opportunity where I have had a flight in Thailand was when I flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. I went with Thai Air and my god it was impressive.
The flight was only around 1 hour in duration and instead of peanuts and little snacks we got a semi-legit meal. Halfway through the flight, we were offered this pizza bun thing and it was delicious to eat something that resembled pizza after being deprived of it for so long. Although the TV screens didn’t work, it was still a pleasant flight.
Ease of use: 7
I’ve taken the train on a couple of occasions and it’s been a pretty cool experience so far. The train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was a sleeper train, meaning that it was an overnight train and that the seating area also served as a bed for passengers. In cabin I stayed in we had 4 beds – 2 on the bottom and 2 on the top bunk. The train ride was around 13 hours in total but time flew by like it was nothing! They served food, drinks, and the only complaint I had was the odd noise in the middle of the night and the freezing cold air conditioning.
I’ve taken another train to Lop Buri as well, a nearby town with lots to offer and that experience was less luxurious. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun ride as well but let’s just say I got to experience an authentic Thai train ride.
Ease of use: 5
Ah, good ol’ taxi. Taxis are everywhere, and for the most part you can easily hail one when you need one. It’s always comfortable and there’s always air conditioning but on the odd occasion you will come across a weird taxi driver or a really bad smelling taxi. The worst parts of using a taxi is you’re most likely to be stuck in traffic unless you’re taking a taxi at 3am or were blessed by an angel. Other than that, you’re screwed for sure. In addition, most often the taxi drivers do not speak English and they do not know the directions but they also do not want to use a GPS either which doesn’t help.
Ease of use: 4
Oh boy, motorbikes. These are found everywhere in the city, visible by the orange jackets that the drivers wear. It seems sketchy to take one at the start because they barely speak any English, usually you pray that they know where they’re going, and that they won’t rip you off.
Take into the fact that they zig zag around traffic, then you’ll understand why it’s somewhat worrisome to take a motorbike sometimes. There’s been some really close calls with motorbike accidents but it’s still worth it since they are so fast.
Ease of use: 5
They will rip you off no matter what. Seen as a symbol of Thailand by tourists, Tuk Tuks are found mostly in the tourist areas of Bangkok, but there are some loitering around other parts of the city as well. They are alright to get through traffic but most of the time you’ll also be sitting in traffic. The most we’ve fit in one Tuk Tuk is 6 people which was a miracle since even seating 3 is kind of pushing it. The drivers speak some English but usually you spend 10 minutes bargaining before you get anywhere.
Ease of use: 3
I swear these things don’t follow any rules. These giant beasts roam the city streets and people just hop on and hop off whenever they want. There are predetermined bus stops, but even so it’s difficult to know which bus to choose. I got to take these buses thanks to the assistance of random Thai locals. All you do is wait by a bus stop or a post with a street number at the top, and hop on a bus that comes. Apparently the number of the bus is useless because most of them go to the same destination.
Once you’re on, a lady comes to get your bus fare and you’re given a little bus ticket.
How do you get off? Just tell the lady where you want to stop and she’ll tell the bus driver. No one speaks English so it’s a struggle to use the bus.
Ease of use: 1
These are little vans that seat up to 15 people and they take you to nearby towns and sea ports. They are practical for such a cheap fare but sitting in a little van with 14 others for 3-6 hours is not how I like to spend my days. It’s always a bumpy ride and good luck getting sleep on this minivan if you’re over 5’8”, it’s quite a tight squeeze.
***Pro Tip from Charlotte: “Some vans are super smelly, put that in the blog Peter.”***
Ease of use: 5
Nothing needs to be said much about walking. Would you rather spend 50 THB or spend the rest of the day with a sweaty shirt?
Ease of use: 10
The only mode of water transportation on this list, we finish it off with speedboats/boats in general. Overall, they’re all really cheap for how far you travel, plus the overall trip is so worth it because of the experience and because of the sights. You’ll never regret taking a speedboat because you’ll skip out on the traffic plus enjoy a fun way of traveling.
Ease of use: 5