Travelling – if possible, take the train!
A great option to travel large distances in Thailand is by train – although not always right on time, the trains are a very comfortable way to travel overnight, since you have a bed to sleep on. The beds are not very wide, but surprisingly comfortable and we have always slept great. Apart of the sleeping quality in the trains, it is just breathtaking to watch the sunset over ricefields and lush green while you sit comfortably – maybe with a beer in your hand – while you feel the rough commotions of the wagon and listen to the typical sounds of old trains. Just magical and priceless.
Starting from Bangkok youhave plenty of railway lines. You can go up north to Chiang Mai or Nong Khai (to Laos), go east to Aranyaprathet to reach Cambodia and go down south to reach the famous thai Islands. If you want to visit Koh Tao or Ko Pha-ngan, get out at Chumphong, if you want to discover Koh Samui ride until Sura Thani. Few trains a day on this route even go as far as Malaysia and Singapore. From Bangkok to Singapore it will take you two days, but this for sure is an amazing journey that you will never forget.
The major train connections are:
Bangkok – Chiang Mai
Bangkok – Nong Khai (to get to Laos)
Bangkok – Ubon Ratchathani
Bangkok – Aranyaprathet (to get to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap & Cambodia)
Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – River Kwai Bridge – Nam Tok
Bangkok – Ayutthaya
Bangkok – Samut Songkhram the Mahachai Mae Khlong Market train
Bangkok – Hua Hin – Surat Thani – Trang – Hat Yai – Sungai Kolok
Bangkok – Penang – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore
The tickets you buy directly at the train station, if you want a 2nd. Class Night Sleeper you should buy the tickets a few days in advance! It is also possible to buy combination train or bus + ferry tickets which is cheapter than buying them seperately and can be quite more comfortable. Important notice: The ferry tickets (more a voucher) are not valid as of purchase for the date of your train ride – Responsible for that is the ferry company and if the boat is already full, you have to wait for the next one – since you appear on their passenger list not until you arrive at the harbour and check in.
An amazing overview over Thailand Train Rides and over the train schedules and routes in many different countries gives the Site Seat 61. Check it out!
The normal rent for a scooter is in between 200 and 250 Baht for a day – Some offer special insurance packages for 50 Baht extra (Mr. Mechanic – Chiang Mai) that cover minor accidents or flat tires