Most holidaymakers fly into the international airport in Phuket. Perhaps the most popular Thai holiday destination, the resort hub of Phuket is approximately 50 minutes south by car from the airport. Head an hour north and you'll be in the serene and secluded region of Khao Lak or travel 2 hours east along the coast to find yourself amid the spectacular natural environment of Krabi. There are also airports located in Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Bangkok and Krabi which offer direct access to those regions. Krabi is also the gateway to ferry and speedboat transfers to the iconic Phi Phi Islands which take about an hour from the marina.
The most famous way of getting around Thailand is on a tuk tuk. These open-air three-wheeled vehicles are a fun and novel way to get around and no trip to Thailand is complete without taking a tuk tuk at least once. Thailand is also very easy to explore on foot, particularly in the main resort towns however taxis are also readily available and quite affordable. If you're feeling confident you can hire a car or motorbike to explore at your own leisure and public transport is available in the form of buses and trains which are ideal for longer journeys.
With so many unique destinations to discover on one island, our Thailand map can help you get your bearings to plan your trip.
Upon arriving at the airport, the easiest way to get to your hotel is by pre-arranged transfer. If you're happy to meet fellow travellers along the way, coach transfer options are cheaper but can often take a little longer. Alternatively, private transfers offer exclusive use of a comfortable car with a driver to get you to your resort quicker. From Phuket International Airport, it takes approximately 50 minutes to drive to the resort hub of Phuket, 2 hours along the coast to Krabi or an hour north to Khao Lak. Our affordable Thailand holiday packages offer extra value by including hotel transfers to make getting around easier.
The soft white sand beaches, towering limestone cliffs and sparkling azure waters of Thailand's outer islands are one of the destinations main drawcards. To reach the island paradise of the Phi Phi Islands, you'll need to hop on a ferry or speedboat. These depart from the Krabi River Marina and take approximately one hour to reach the islands. If you plan on transiting straight to the islands, you're best to fly directly into Krabi however depending on what time your flight gets in, you may need to overnight on the mainland before transferring to the islands the following day. Alternatively, if you're heading to the islands from another destination, Krabi is approximately 2 hours along the coast from the Phuket International Airport. Scheduled departure times for speedboat or ferry transfers can change at short notice, we so recommend booking your boat transfers as part of your package. Our friendly consultants can make sure that all of your arrangements run smoothly.
If you feel confident enough, you are welcome to hire a motorbike or car. Although driving in Thailand is typically not the most popular way of getting around, it is definitely a convenient mode of transport as you are free to explore at your own pace. Hire cars are modern, generally of good quality and are easily available at satisfactory rates. Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road, just like in the UK and Australia. To hire and operate a vehicle in Thailand, all you need is a current driver's license from your country of origin in English or a valid International license.
Taxis are one of the easiest forms of Thailand transport to use as they are readily available and cheap. Most are metered although there are also set rate options depending on where you're travelling to. Metered taxis are the cheapest and prices should be based on distance travelled and nothing else. As with most things in Thailand price is negotiable so don't be afraid to bargain with your driver before choosing a taxi.
Tuk tuk's are the most iconic form of Thailand transport and are the way the locals choose to travel. These are an open-air version of a taxi and only have three wheels. A quintessential experience when visiting Thailand, although visitors should be aware that a ride on a tuk tuk is usually more expensive than a taxi. Travellers should also be wary when choosing to ride in a tuk tuk and inform the driver that they wish to go straight to their destination, as many drivers will take detours, especially to certain shops where they are paid a commission for bringing in customers.
Public transport is not really necessary for getting around the resort towns, however if you wish to travel between destinations that are a significant distance away, then there are a number of public transport options available. Buses are ideal for getting around Thailand on a budget. Buses directly service all provinces in Thailand and are often faster and cleaner than the trains. Buses offer the most flexibility and a wider range of routes, along with different levels of luxury. First-class or VIP buses are highly recommended for longer journeys as they have more room and onboard features including toilets however these need to be booked at least a day in advance.
Getting around Thailand by train also offers excellent value for money with an extensive, integrated network that allows you to see some of the less touristy areas of the country. There are four types of trains in Thailand: Ordinary (ORD) are the slowest with predominantly third-class seating, Rapid (RAP) which stop less frequently and have second and third-class seating, Express (EXP) services which feature first, second and third-class seating with air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned options and Special Express (SP EXP) which offer the fastest routes and first and second-class seating.
Bangkok is the only city in Thailand with an urban rail system and the Metro (MRT) and Skytrain (BTS) are the two best options for getting around. These services operate from 5:30am until midnight and are often faster and more affordable than a bus, taxi or tuk tuk. One off fares range from 16B (AU 70c) to 42B (AU $1.75) or multi-trip passes can be purchased from the train station.