Which is the better way to travel around Thailand - train or bus?

Thailand has a comprehensive train and bus transportation system. It has one central train station (Hualamphong) and three bus station hubs - Morchit (Northern bus station), Ekamai (Eastern bus station) and Sai Tai Mai (Southern bus station). Ekamai can be reached by skytrain, Hualamphong by the subway while Morchit and Sai Tai Mai are best reached by bus or taxi.

For long distance travel, train is generally the best option as the seating is more spacious with ample legroom and you can get up and walk up and down the train, sit in the dining car to eat (when available) and relax on your own bed (if you're on a sleeper). Buses are generally faster than the trains but they do have more accidents and, depending on the class of bus can be very cramped. For short trips (up to four-five hours) they are ok, though for anything longer, when available, train is a better option.

Security on both trains and buses is ok, though petty theft remains a small problem on the trains - keep your valuables with you at all time and don't get raging drunk on the trip and you'll be fine.

Where your destination is not served by train, it will be faster and cheaper to get a bus the whole way rather than try to do a train/bus combination.

Many tourist destinations also offer private bus and minibus transport. While often cheaper than the public system, these buses should be avoided at all costs. The agents who sell tickets on these often use false promises of the length of trip, quality of bus and number of passengers most particularly for the notorious Bangkok to Siem Reap buses. If you are paying 100B for a trip that costs 500B at a public bus office, rest assured you will receive 20% quality, comfort and timeliness of the public service. Despite this, people continue to catch these buses and continue to be ripped off.

The sleeper trains have two classes, 1st and 2nd class and each then has the option of a fan or a/c cariage. Personal preferene is 2nd class fan. We find the a/c too cold and you can't open the window during the daylight portion of the trip. 2nd class is also considerable cheaper.




More Travelfish FAQs

Please find below some of the more frequently asked questions (FAQ) people have about travelling to Thailand. We've tried to answer all the most frequently asked questions, but if you have another query about Thailand, please try our Travelfish messageboard.

Accommodation

Is it possible to rent rooms or dormitories for long periods of time?
Rooms: is a fan room ok, or should I budget for air-con?
Should I take my own padlock for the door of my room while travelling in Thailand?
What should I do if a bag is stolen from my room or dormitory while travelling in Thailand?
What standard of acommodation can I expect for US$5?
Why are there so few dormitories in Thailand?

Bargaining

Should I bargain for everything I want to buy in Thailand?
What is the best way to bargain in Thailand?
What shouldn't I do when bargaining in Thailand?

Cost of travelling

How much should I budget per day for a holiday in Thailand?
What is the bare minimum I could survive on in Thailand?
What is the best way to spend less money in Thailand?

Food glorious food

Can I drink the tap water in Thailand?
How can I avoid MSG in Thailand?
How do I avoid peanuts in Thailand?
I have a food allergy - will I cope?
Is there good vegetarian food in Thailand?
Is western food available in Thailand?

Getting around

Are the ferries in Thailand safe?
Are the trains in Thailand safe?
Do they trains run on time?
Is it easy to hitch-hike in Thailand?
Is it easy to rent a car or motorcycle in Thailand?
Should I get a tourist minibus in Thailand?
What is Bangkok's bus system like?
Which is the better way to travel around Thailand - train or bus?

Getting there and away

How late do the airport buses run?
What is the best way to get into town from Bangkok airport late at night?

Help Police!

Can I trust the Thai police?
Will I be robbed?

Money madness

Are credit cards accepted in Thailand?
Are there ATMs in Thailand?
How can I have money sent to me in Thailand?
How can I send money out of Thailand?
Should I bring travellers cheques, credit/debit cards or cash to Thailand?
Should I tip in Thailand?

Packing purgatory

What should I pack for a holiday in Thailand?
What shouldn't I pack for a holiday in Thailand?

Resources

Scams and warnings

Is it a good idea to buy drugs off a tuk tuk driver?
Should I buy gems I've been offered by a really convincing person I've met/been introduced to?

Security

Can I use drugs in Thailand?
Is Thailand a safe place to travel alone to?
Is Thailand safe?
Why are there so few hostels in Thailand?

Stay healthy

Are leeches a problem in Thailand?
Are legal drugs cheap in Thailand?
Do I need a prescription in Thailand?
Do I need malarial medication in Thailand?
General food and water precautions in Thailand
General health advice for Thailand
HIV/AIDS in Thailand
Is cholera a problem?
Is heatstroke a problem in Thailand?
Is medical care cheap in Thailand?
Is medical care in Thailand good?
Is rabies a problem in Thailand?
Schistosomiasis in Thailand?
Traveller's medical kit for travel in Thailand
What about dengue fever in Thailand?
Will I get diarrhoea in Thailand?

Technology

Are there many internet cafes in Thailand?
Can I travel with a laptop in Thailand?
Is there ADSL internet access in Thailand?
What is mobile phone coverage like in Thailand?
What is the voltage in Thailand?

Things to learn

Where can I learn how to cook authentic Thai food?
Where can I learn Thai massage?
Where can I learn Thai?

Vexed by visas?

What are Thailand's visa requirements?

Weather

What is the weather like in Thailand?

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