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Thailand Transportation - Getting to ThailandMore than just low prices, Excellent Customer Support and Fast Booking Service.
Getting to Thailand
- By air
- By roads
- By train
- By Sea Thailand Transportation
- Entering Thailand
- Health regulations
- Exchange control
- Baggage clearance
- VAT regunds
Getting Around Thailand
- Taxis & tuk-tuks
- River ferries & water taxis
- Private transport
Bangkok Subway (M.R.T.)
The M.R.T. Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line starts from Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) along Rama 4 road, crosses Samyan intersection, Silom intersection and Wireless intersection, turns left to Ratchadaphisek Road at Rama 4 intersection, passing Queen Sirikit National Convention Center to Asoke-Sukhumvit intersection, Asoke-Phetchaburi intersection, Rama 9 intersection, Huai Khwang intersection, and Sutthisan intersection, then turns left to Lat Phrao road at Ratchada-Lat Phrao intersection, faces to Lat Phrao intersection, Phahon Yothin road, Chatuchak Park, Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal (Old), and turns right to Kamphaeng Phet road, passing The Marketing Organization for Farmers (MOF) market, and finally ends at Bangsue Railway Station.
Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)
Thailand has four international airports, one each in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai, but Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport is the country’s major gateway. It is connected by daily flights to Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia aboard the world’s major airlines.
International flights, mostly from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Hong Kong, land on a less regular basis at Phuket and Hat Yai in southern Thailand, and Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Charter flights from Europe and the Far East now arrive more frequently in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and at U-Tapao for Pattaya.
There are three road crossings on the Thai-Malaysian border in Songkhla, Yala and Narathiwat. A modern highway system from these points carries travellers onto other regions. The governments of Thailand, Laos, China and Myanmar have agreed to the construction of a four-nation ring road through all four countries, this should be complete by 2005. Several border crossings between Thailand and Myanmar are open to daytrippers or for short excursions in the vicinity. Further to the south, in Thailand’s Mae Chan District, it is possible to cross the border almost everywhere, with a local and reliable guide.
A legal border crossing between Cambodia and Thailand is at Aranyaprathet, opposite the Cambodian town of Poi Pet. The border is open from 8 am to 6 pm daily. Visitors have to take a taxi or motorbike a further four kilometres from the crossing to reach Aranya Prathet itself, where they can catch buses and trains onward to Bangkok and other points in northeastern Thailand.
The link between Thailand and Laos is by a 1,174-metre-Iong Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River near Nong Khai, opened in 1994. The bridge spans a section of the river between Ban Chommani (Thailand) and Tha Na Leng (Laos).
The only train access to Thailand is from Malaysia, but there are no through routes by ordinary trains, although connections are possible from both the east and west coasts Malaysia. On the west coast visitors must get off the Kereta Api Tanah Melayu (KTM) train (Malaysian Railway) at the border of Padang Besar and transfer to a train operated by the State Railway of Thailand which then goes on towards Hat Yai, terminating Bangkok. The travel ling time from Hat Yai to Bangkok is about 16 hours. It is not recommended that travellers try to get same-day express train connections from the KTM to the State Railway of Thailand. An overnight stay in Butterworth is advised.
From the east coast travellers, may take a bus or share-taxi from Kota Bharu to the border town of Rantau Panjang (about 20 minutes): A short walk across the border, conduct immigration formalities and then take a tuk-tuk to the train station in Sungai Kolok where trains will continue onto Hat Yai for connections onto Bangkok.
There is one direct through train the Eastern & Oriental Express that runs from Singapore to Bangkok. An exotically comfortable,’ luxurious way to travel, it takes 41 hours to complete the journey, including a two-hour stopover in Butterworth with a tour of Penang; and visit to the River Kwai with a boat excursion along the river. Fares start at US$1,200 for a standard double compartment. Frequency of the trains depends on the time of year - between two and five per month.
Travel by sea is possible from Malaysia and ferry crossings from China, Laos and Cambodia are also available. From Malaysia it is possible to take a longtail boat between Satun (right down in the southwest corner of Thailand) and Kuala Perlis; boats cross quite regularly.
There is also a ferry service from Langawi to Satun and Phuket, although timetables and frequency may depend upon the season. There is a small car and passenger ferry between Kota Bharu and Ban Taba on the east coast of Thailand.
Thailand can also be reached from Laos by crossing the Mekong River by ferry, although only at certain permitted border points: Nakhon Phanom (opposite Tha Khaek), Chiang Khong (opposite Huai Xai) and Mukdahan (opposite Sawannakhet).
In the past few years, many cruise liners have included Thailand as their port of call. En route from Singapore, Hong Kong, Europe and Australia, Thailand has become a popular stopover, either as part of the liners’ World Cruise programme or as a Turnaround port.
For berthing facilities, Thailand has two modern deep-sea ports - at Laem Chabang, midway between Bangkok and Pattaya; and at the island resort of Phuket. Both can accommodate big liners of over 20,000 tons; while the Bangkok Port at Khlong Toei is best for smaller liners with gross tonnage between 12,000 and 16,000.
Once in Thailand, shore excursions can be easily arranged for cruise passengers through many good tour / ground operators. One-day programmes in Bangkok include visits to the many temples in Bangkok including the Grand Palace and the adjacent Temple of the Emerald Buddha Image; a tour of the floating market; a shopping spree for quality handicrafts, Thai silk or jewellery at many shopping centres and boutiques.
Cruise passengers can also choose to try their hands at the famous Thai cooking. Half-day cooking classes can be easily arranged at the many leading hotels and resorts in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket.
In Phuket, cruise passengers can simply relax on the beach or go sightseeing to a few of the local temples or choose to entertain themselves with the spectacular shows at Phuket FantaSea or at Simon Cabaret in the evening. Phuket is also winning international recognition as a spa centre in Asia. Many cruise passengers just head directly to one of the island’s many renowned spas to pamper themselves with either traditional Thai massage or various facial and body treatment programmes.
A round of golf can also be easily arranged at one of the first-class courses dotted along the Bang Na-Trat Road leading to Pattaya or at the famed Blue Canyon Country Club and Banyan Tree Club & Laguna in Phuket. Eco tours such as diving, snorkelling, seacanoeing and windsurfing are just some of the activities on offer at both Pattaya and Phuket.
Cruise liners visiting Thailand
The following are some of the world leading luxury cruise liners which have included Thailand as one of their port of calls. Check their websites for more information on routings and packages on offer. Cunard, www.cunard.com, Holland America Lines, www.hollandamerica.com
Most people arrive in Thailand via Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport, situated approximately 20 kilometres north of the city centre. There are two international terminals at Don Muang Airport.
Arrival terminals are dependent on the airline flown. Currency exchange counters and ATMs are located in the Arrival Hall. A second international airport is currently under construction in the south of Bangkok and is due to open in 2003.
Foreign visitors from 57 countries can enter Thailand without a visa for a period not ,exceeding 30 days; or geT a Tourist Visa on Arrival for a period not exceeding 15 days.
Transit Visas allow up to 30 days of travel in the kingdom with proof of an onward ticket. Tourist Visas permit a stay of up to 60 days and can be extended once by 30 days. NonImmigrant Visas allow a stay of up to 90 days.
Retirement Visas, aimed at encouraging foreigners aged 55 years and over to stay longer in Thailand, can be applied for at Royal Thai embassies or consulates.
For more information, contact the Immigration Department located at Soi Suan Piu, South Sathon Road, Bangkok. Tel: 022873101.
Arriving passengers are required to fill out a No. 6 (T.M. 6) immigration card. Passengers without entry visas from 90 plus countries can obtain visas on arrival at International Passenger Terminal 1. A fee of 300 baht is charged and two 1" passport pictures are required (Express Photo Service fee, 120 baht for 4 photos). Permitted length of stay is 15 days, including arrival day.
Passengers departing Thailand must have their passport checked by an Immigration officer. The boarding pass and a completed No. 6 (TM. 6) immigration card must also be presented.
All kinds of narcotics (hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine, heroin), obscene literature, pictures and articles are prohibited.
Cigarettes, cigars, or smoking tobacco, each or in total, must not exceed 250 grammes in weight. Cigarettes must not exceed 200 in quantity.
One litre each of wine or spirits may be brought in duty free.
Certain species of fruits, vegetables and plants are prohibited. Please contact the Agricultural Regulatory Division, Bang Khen, Bangkok, Tel: 0 2579 1581, 0 2579 3576. Entry permission for animals arriving by air can be obtained at the airport. If arriving by sea, application for entry must be made at the Department of Livestock Development, Bangkok. Tel: 0 2251 5136, 0 2252 6944. Vaccination certificates are required.Health regulations
As in most countries, vaccination certificates are not required for people unless coming from or passing through a designated"contaminated" area. Some border areas of Thailand are malarial and appropriate precautions should be taken if visiting there. Bangkok, major cities and resorts have excellent medical facilities and most hotels have doctors on 24-hour call.
Thailand has altogether 455 private hospitals - 121 in Bangkok, 165 in the Central region and East Coast, 62 in the North, 57 in the Northeast, and 50 in the South. Visitors can be assured of round-the-clock international standard medical services.
Arriving passengers are required to complete a Customs Declaration Form before passing through Customs. Passenger with nothing to declare should proceed to the Green Channel. Those with articles to declare should proceed to the Red Channel with a completed Declaration Form. Failure to declare dutiable, restricted or prohibited articles may result in their confiscation and a fine amounting to four times their value.
Thailand currently has six international airports, at Bangkok (Don Muang Airport), Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Ko Samui and Phuket.
Airport tax for international passengers is 500 baht/person.
Domestic airports are at Mae Hong Son, Nan, Lampang, Phrae, Mae Sot, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Sakhon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Phetchabun, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Buri Ram, Nakhon Ratchasima, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Trang and Narathiwat.
Visitors entering the Kingdom on tourist visas are entitled to refunds of the 7% value-added tax (VAT) paid on goods purchased at shops, department stores and other retail outlets displaying"VAT Refund for Tourists" signs, where tax refund application forms are available. Prior to airport departure, visitors must present a completed VAT refund form, plus passport information and purchase receipts, to a customs officer. Certain luxury goods must be shown to an excise official. Refunds may be in bank draft form or credited to a credit card.
For more information, please contact the VAT Refund for Tourists Office, Tel: 022729388 or VAT Refund Office at Bangkok International Airport, Tel: 0 2535 6576-79.
Getting around thailand
Getting around the Kingdom of Thailand is easy, economical and convenient.
Apart from domestic services of Thai Airways International which flies to major destinations, the country also has a large network of highways and smaller roads linking the main cities with outlying areas.
Visitors with international driving licences may wish to explore the country on their own. There are many car rental companies, including Hertz and Avis, located in major tourist destinations throughout the country.
Travelling by train is another delightful way to explore the country. The State Railway of Thailand provides a nationwide network of routes. Trains offer first, second and third class options, including airconditioned first- and second-class sleeping coaches.
For getting around Bangkok, there are public taxis and tuk-tuks, air-conditioned buses, motorbike taxis and a new sky train system serving key central areas. River ferries and water taxis complete the options for daily commuting within Bangkok and its suburbs.
Thai Airways International (TG), Bangkok Airways (PG) and PB Air operate regular domestic flights from Bangkok to major provincial and resort destinations.
Advance booking is necessary when travelling during the high season and during public holidays any time.
Thai Airways International (TG)
89 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Bangkok 10900
Lan Luang Office:
6 Lan Luang Road, Bangkok 10110 Tel: 022800070,022800080
485 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 0 2234 3100-19
Don Muang Airport:
Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Bangkok 10210
Hot line: 1566
Bangkok Airways (PG)
Head Office: QSNCC,
New Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok 10110
PB Air (9Q)
591 UBC Tower II Building,
Soi 33; Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 Tel: 0 22610220-5
The State Railway of Thailand operates four train lines - Northern, Northeastern, Eastern and Southern - accessing every province except Phuket Trains are classified into Special Express (the fastest), Express, Rapid, and Ordinary.
First-class carriages, available on Special Express and Express services, consist of individual cabins with airconditioning. Second-class carriages have individual seats which are converted into curtained-off beds and a choice of fan or air-conditioning. Third-class carriages have wooden benches each seating two or three passengers. They are cheap but not recommended for long distance journeys. Toilets and washing facilities are located at the ends of carriages on all trains.
Train fares depend on class of carriage and destination. Extra charges, may apply for certain bookings, such as for catering services and double beds in first-class carriages. Twentyday rail passes are available for second and third-class carriages.
Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Station) is the main station located near the intersection of Rama IV and Krung Kasem. The train can also be boarded at Samsen station on Rama VI Road.
To book tickets, contact the Advance Booking Office at Hua Lamphong, Tel: 0 2223 3762, 022247788,022250300 ext 5100 or provincial stations. For further information and schedules, call 1690 or visit www.srtmotc.go.th.
The State Railway of Thailand
Head Office: Don Muang Road, Bangkok 10330
Tel: 02222 0175, 0 2220 4444 Fax: 0 2220 4297 www.srtmotc.go.th
Hua Lamphong station Tel: 022233762,0 2224 7788 Hot line: 1690
Buses and coaches are the only mode of transport to access all provinces in Thailand, running both to and from Bangkok and between each other. Options include ordinary air-conditioned coaches and VIP air-conditioned coaches with refreshment services. Bookings can be made through travel agents, major hotels or at the following bus terminals:
Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai)
Northern & Northeastern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit 2)
Southern Bus Terminal
A variety of public bus services connect all parts of Bangkok. Prices vary according to air-conditioning and age but all an:: exceptionally economical. Regular services run from 5 am to 11 pm, while all-night services run from 11 pm to 5 am. For routing information, call 184 from 6 am to 9 pm.
Taxis & tuk-tuks
Taxis and tuk-tuks (open sided threewheel mini taxis) can be hailed anywhere in Bangkok. Only use taxis with a rooftop"Taxi Meter" sign, and ensure that the meter is switched on before you start. Every journey starts with a set price of 35 baht, plus additional fare depending on distance and duration. Tuk-tuks are most useful on shorter trips during offpeak hours and are generally cheaper than taxis. Always bargain the price in advance. Motorbike taxis are good for weaving through heavy traffic.
Drivers are obliged to provide crash helmets for passengers and it is . against the law to ride without one.
River ferries & water taxis
Another fast and convenient way to travel in Bangkok is by boat. A river ferry service operates along the Chao Phraya River between Krung Thep Bridge and Nonthaburi. Fares are fixed according to distance, ranging from 6 to 10 baht. The boats make frequent stops and run about every 20 minutes. The trip from The Oriental Hotel to Nonthaburi takes about one hour. Services operate daily from 6 am to 6 pm.
Chao Phraya Express River Ferry, Tel: 0 2222 5300-23
Laem Thong Express Boat, Tel: 025836195-9
In addition, cross river ferries operate from almost every boat landing. Riverside hotels also provide their own cross river services. Long-tailed taxis are good for visiting the smaller canals, or khlongs, particularly the extensive networks in Thon Buri. Tha Chang landing (near the Grand Palace) is the departure point for various destinations in ThonBuri.Furthermore, the Khlong Sael1;.Saep ferry service runsfromPhan Fa to the Bang Kapi intersection on Raml laeng Road. Lafldi,ngs are generally under b17idges.
BTS operates air-conditioned sky trains along two inter-connecting lines Sukhumvit and Silom - daily from 6 am till midnight. The Sukhumvit line runs between Moh Chit station, Phaholyothin Road (near Chatuchak market), and On Nut station, Sukhumvit Soi 77. The Silom line runs between Saphan Taksin station, near the Chao Phraya River on Sathon Road, and National Stadium station on Rama I Road.
The two lines are connected at Central Station (Siam Square) which has two platform levels for changing. All stations are accessed by stairs and some by escalators and lifts.
Trains run every few minutes and the fares range from 10-45 baht, depending on number of stations travelled. Monthly and Stored-Value (multi-trip) tickets are also available for the regular traveller. Comprehensive maps are available at all stations free of charge. A BTS feeder system provides shuttle bus services to major stations. Check with a station or the BTS for current availability.
Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Co Lid
A Bangkok subway system is currently under construction. Once completed, it will complement the sky train system by connecting other key points in the city. The subway will comprise three lines - Blue, Orange and Purple - and the first phase is expected to begin operations in 2003.
Numerous international and local car rental firms are listed in the Bangkok Yellow Pages telephone directory. Many are located around the Ploenchit end of Sukhumvit Road and on Rama: IV and Sathon roads. Chauffeur-driven car rates are also available. Larger companies have offices in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Hat Yai. Mini vans are also widely available for those travelling in groups.
Car rental companies
Beaches on Koh Chang
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