Thailand operates a good, cheap and safe transport system. From the main hub in Bangkok, all the major tourist destinations are accessible by either bus, train, boat, or domestic and international air services. Other means of local transportation that can be easily found in Thailand include taxis, tuk tuks, BTS sky train, motorcycle taxis, MRT (underground train), and river taxis. These are always available and easy to access.
There are many car, motorbike, and jeep rental firms in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand, including international rental companies such as Hertz, Budget and Avis. One may drive legally in Thailand with a valid license from most countries, but many rental agencies will either not give you a car or not provide insurance for it without an international driving license. That said, the insurance you get with your rental car is generally not worth the paper it is written on. Exercise caution and avoid accidents. Helmets are required by law for motorbikes, shoes are required by common sense.
There are some considerations foreigners should take into account when driving a car or motorcycle in Thailand:
Motorists in Thailand are legally required to drive on the left side of the road. Consequently, cars are equipped with right-hand drive steering wheels. Most drivers are well mannered, almost polite, up to a certain level. You will hardly ever hear a car honking and anger is never displayed. Despite this, traffic is rather hectic in and around busy Bangkok where calm driving is not really appreciated and a more aggressive style of driving is the norm.
For long distance travel, compared to bus, train is generally the better 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 as they depart more frequently than the trains do and travel at faster speeds. For short trips (up to four-five hours) Busses may be preferable, though for anything longer, when available, train is a better option.
You can easily travel around the main arteries of greater Bangkok by BTS; key attractions nearby BTS stations are MBK, Siam Paragon, Chatuchak Weekend Market, and Victory Monument. While the BTS doesn’t reach Bangkok’s historic Rattakosin district, it links to the Chao Phraya River where boats can be taken to sights including the Grand Palace and Wat Arun. The BTS also links with the MRT in several locations.
The MRT is an underground electric train service. The attractions at various MRT stations in Bangkok include Suan Lum Night Bazaar (and Boxing Arena), Queen Sirikit Cenvention Center, Chatuchak weekend market, and the Thailand Cultural center. The MRT connects to Bangkoks Hua Lumphong Train station (which connects Bangkok to the rest of Thailand) near Chinatown. Both the BTS and MRT operate until midnight.
For more information regarding transportation opitons in Thailand, please visit www.tourismthailand.org/transportation/