Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Khon Kaen.
Serviced by daily flights to/from Bangkok with Nok Air, Thai Airways and Air Asia, Khon Kaen Airport is located on the far northwest side of town. To reach downtown, grab a queue number from a taxi stand on the far left after entering the arrivals area. A ride to most hotels will cost 60 to 100 baht.
Khon Kaen's train station is centrally located between Highway 2 and Darun Samran Road, a five- to 10-minute walk from Soi Kosa and the central fresh market. Songthaew #11 runs in front of the station.
Trains running north to Udon Thani and Nong Khai depart at 02:00, 04:20, 05:35, 09:35 and 15:40, with a 19:20 departure terminating in Udon. Fares to Nong Khai cost from 40 to 160 baht, depending on class.
Trains running south to Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) and Bangkok depart at 09:10, 20:20, 21:05 and 21:40, with departures at 08:00 and 15:30 terminating in Khorat. In Bangkok, trains depart for Khon Kaen at 08:20, 18:35, 20:00 and 20:45. Fares to/from Bangkok cost around 80 to 370 baht for regular seats, and trains departing at night have several sleeper options.
Shortly after the following bus info was researched in August 2015, Khon Kaen’s massive old ordinary bus terminal (Bor Kor Sao Gao) was entirely moved to a new terminal along the outer ring road. This will probably have minimal impact on the time and fare info listed below, but we can confirm that virtually all bus traffic now operates through the New Bus Terminal, known as Prab Agaht Mai or Bor Kor Sor 3, located six kilometres outside of the city.
Exceptions may include some minibuses to Udon Thani and Khorat, which may still use the old air-con terminal (Prab Agaht Gao) on northern Klang Mueang Road. It may also be possible to purchase tickets for certain long-distance buses here (mainly Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai), though we were told that this station would also be completely moved in the not-so-distant future.
Fares that were available during our most recent visit include:
Bangkok (Morchit): Second-class buses depart hourly from 06:20 to 21:30 for 280 baht. There are more than 50 first-class departures at all hours of the day from 06:30 to 00:30, offered by at least five different companies with fares ranging from 340 to 420 baht. A VIP bus departs at 21:30 for 540 baht.
Chaiyaphum: Regular buses depart hourly from 06:00 to 17:00 for 90 baht and take around three hours. Minibuses depart in the same timeframe for 100 baht.
Chiang Mai: A few first-class buses depart from 05:00 to 08:00 and again at 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 19:00 and 19:30, and cost from 400 to 650 baht. VIP buses depart at 19:00, 20:00 and 21:00 for 800 to 900 baht. The trip takes 10 to 12 hours and also services Phitsanulok and Lampang.
Chiang Rai: Departs at 10:15, 16:00, 18:30 and 19:30 for 668 baht and takes over 12 hours. Also services Phitsanulok, Uttaradit and Phrae, where you can transfer to Nan.
Khorat: Departs every half-hour from 05:00 to 22:00 for 120 baht and takes four to five hours. Most Bangkok-bound buses also stop in Khorat.
Kranuan (closest town to Baan Khok Sa-Nga king cobra village): Departs every half-hour from early morning to 18:00 for 38 baht and takes an hour.
Loei: Departs every half-hour from 03:30 to 18:30 for 137 baht and takes around four hours. Also services Phu Kradueng National Park.
Mae Sot: Departs at 18:30, 20:00 and 20:15 and takes around 10 hours. Also services Phitsanulok, Sukhothai and Tak.
Mukdahan: Minibuses depart hourly from 06:00 to 19:00 for 240 baht and take under four hours.
Nong Khai: Departs at 04:00, 05:00, 06:00, 11:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30, costs 120 baht and takes over three hours. If these times don’t work, make a transfer in Udon Thani.
Phuket: Departs at 15:30 for 1,537 baht and takes -- a really long time.
Rayong: Departs at 09:30, 10:15, 13:45 and every 45 minutes from 18:45 to 23:00, costs 457 baht and takes around 10 hours. Also services Khorat, Chonburi and Pattaya.
Sakhon Nakhon: Departs at 07:30, 10:00, 13:00, 14:30 and 16:00 for 166 baht and takes around four hours.
Surin: Departs every 45 minutes from 04:00 to 15:20, costs 175 baht for second-class and 225 baht for first-class, takes four to five hours. Also services Buriram.
Ubon Ratchathani: Departs roughly every hour from 05:00 to 16:30, costs 178 baht for second-class and 178 baht for first-class, and takes around five hours.
Udon Thani: Regular buses depart several times per hour from 06:00 to 22:00 for 80 to 90 baht and take around two hours. Minibuses run until 20:00 and cost 100 baht.
Vientiane, Laos: International buses depart at 07:45 and 15:15 for 180 baht and take around five hours, including waiting time while passengers check out of Thailand and into Laos at immigration. Travellers who do not already have Lao visas can not take these buses
Khon Kaen is a big city and many of the attractions are spread far apart. A huge fleet of songthaews connects the dots for around 10 baht per ride. Nearly all of them pick up on Prachasamoson Road near the now-defunct ordinary bus terminal and can be flagged down anywhere as they pass. If you want to try and wrap your head around the entire system, a somewhat cryptic route map is posted at Saen Samran Hotel.
Songthaew number 8 runs down Klang Mueang Road, passing close to the night market, Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake and Wat Nong Waeng. Number 13 runs in a loop around Beung Kaen Nakhon and then cuts up to Klang Mueang Road. Number 21 runs north, passing close to the National Museum. Number 10 shoots east on Prachasamoson Road and then runs close to the Vietnamese consulate. Number 4 runs north out of town, passing the immigration office and Lao consulate.
Otherwise, tuks tuks are plentiful and a growing number of Bangkok-style meter taxis are also available -- the latter will usually be cheaper.
Automatic motorbikes can be rented at the Honda shop in front of Piman Garden Hotel on Klang Mueang Road for 250 baht per day; the crew here will thoroughly check the bike before sending you off. A few of the car rental shops on Soi Kosa also have some motorbikes for rent. Car rental is available at the aforementioned Soi Kosa outlets and a few mainstream agencies at the airport.