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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?