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Pak Chong

Getting there and away

Train

Pak Chong's train station is centrally located on Tedsaban Rd, a short walk west from the giraffes sculpture at the town's centre (look for the signs for Phubade Hotel on the right if walking away from the town centre, the station is at the end of the road past the Phubade).

Pak Chong is on the northeastern line, and it's possible to get just about anywhere in the country from here by rail. Twelve trains depart for Bangkok each day, with several overnight choices avaiable. The trip takes about six hours and costs between 85B and 250B depending on class. For a comprehensive schedule of destinations reachable from Pak Chong, check http://www.railway.co.th.

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Bus

There is no major bus terminal in Pak Chong, but there are two small bus stops right in town. The first, which is little more than a shop front with some seats for waiting and a desk for purchasing your ticket, is centrally located across Mittraphap Rd from the giraffes statue and Tae-Wa-Da Plaza, smack in the middle of Pak Chong. Air-con government buses stop here on their way to and from Bangkok and Khorat. To Bangkok's Morchit Station costs 130B and takes about five hours, while to Khorat costs 74B and takes about two hours.

There are also several mini bus companies plying the route from Pak Chong to Bangkok's Victory Monument, most of which are located nearby the bus stop mentioned above while others may be found directly in front of Tae-Wa-Da Plaza. These are air-con, cost from 150 - 180B, and are a little quicker than the large bus. They depart every half hour from 5:00 to 21:00.

A bit further up Mittraphap Rd to the northeast, on the left if heading in that direction (the building is painted orange, and most of the buses from here are orange as well), there is another bus stop serving northeastern destinations only. Most buses are local and non air-con, so expect a long, hot ride. It is not possible to get to Bangkok or anywhere west from this bus stop. Sample fares include:

Buriram: costs 127B and takes about three and a half hours.
Khon Kaen: costs 164B and takes about four and a half hours.
Khorat: costs 60B and takes about two hours.
Ubon Ratchathani: costs 293B and takes about eight hours.

If heading south, north or west (other than Bangkok or somewhere directly along that route), you'll need to get to Nakhon Ratchasima or Saraburi and transfer at the larger bus stations there.

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Getting Around

While Pak Chong has no tuk tuks or traditional taxis, there are now a handful of blue or green vested motorbike taxis available, usually found hanging around the town centre. Fares anywhere within the city centre on Mittraphap Rd should cost no more than 50B, while the outlying area will generally run 100-150B depending on how far you're going. Double that for a round trip. Motorbike taxis may be willing to be hired for a day of exploring the farms and countryside for anywhere from 300 to 800B depending on your bargaining skills.

Songthaews are the main form of local public transport in Pak Chong, and these may be found clustered in fron of Tae-Wa-Da Plaza at the city centre, at two embarking points on the southwest and northeast sides of town, or may be hailed anywhere along Mittraphap or Thanarat Rd. The larger trucks make the run to Khao Yai and back with the cost being 40B one-way if going all the way to Khao Yai. Songthaew drivers are willing to drop travellers at any resort or attraction along this route. Smaller, pick up truck style maroon or white songthaews run from one side of Pak Chong to the other along Mittraphap Rd, with most fares costing 10-15B. Maroon songthaews also run north up Rte. 2243 but these are irregular. However, it is possible to hire a songthaew to take you anywhere in the area. For example, one way to Chokchai Farm would cost 200B, and to hire a private songthaew for the day will run 1,500B.

There is also a taxi service right at the town centre, although it's more of a glorified songthaew than a proper taxi. Costs range from 200B one-way to a resort or attraction in the outlying area to 1,500B for the entire day, which could include a full day's trip through Khao Yai National Park or the Muak Lek wine region. The taxi service may be reached at (089) 580 7223.

If you can swing it, the best way to explore the area is to rent your own wheels. At time of writing there was no place outwardly advertising motorbike rental in Pak Chong, but they may be rented for 300B per day at Pet Motors, located right next to Memorial Hospital on Mittraphap Rd, on the left if heading northeast towards the centre of town. There's no sign in English, but it is a motorbike sales shop occupying the bottom floor of a large three storey white building with big blue tinted windows on the upper floors. They can be reached at T: (086) 460 5254. Alternately, Khao Yai Motorcycle also rents motorbikes for 300B per day. They're located a little further out on Mittraphap Rd to the northeast and also have no sign in English. Their website is www.khaoyaimotorcycle.com. Note: there is no petrol available in Khao Yai National Park, so make sure to fill up before entering the park. There are gas stations within a couple kilometres of Khao Yai's gates.

If a car is in your budget, BB Car Rent and Tour at Rimtarninn Hotel rents out pick-up trucks or compact cars. Rates for either are 1,500B per day, 1,200B per week, or 25,000B per month.

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