The Thailand bus network is arguably the number-one mode of transportation both in and around Bangkok, as well as for long distance travel.
The Bangkok bus system features busses of various size, type, and cost. This is due to the fact that there are both public and private city busses. Although waiting for a Bangkok bus can be a sweaty and air-polluted prospect, so can walking from A to B. If you are on a budget and don’t mind a little adventure, hopping on a bus that appears to be going your way will only cost you as little as 7 baht, (slightly more for the nicer, air conditioned ones), though the busses with perpetually open doors are easier to hop off if the bus turns off your intended course.
With several long-distance bus stations located around the city, its common for visitors to take long-distance busses from Bangkok to Pattaya, Trat, Hua Hin, Cha am, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, or destinations farther North, South, East, and West.
Travel by bus is reliable and affordable and reaches all regional destinations.
When selecting a bus from Bangkok for a long-distance voyage, note that Thai busses range from the luxurious, towering Super VIP busses to the very colorfully painted express and local busses, which tend to be about the same size as North American school buses. Each different class of Thailand bus provides different levels of comfort, some with no onboard toilet and some with full amenities and reclining seats. Depending on your budget and the length of your trip, selecting a bus from Bangkok to the provinces will include the following classes:
Local: Better for short distances, these busses are cheap, crowded, and slow.
Express: These orange busses are your best budget bet. They’re quite slow but large enough to fill up comfortably.
Second Class: These blue and white busses featuring air conditioning don’t always follow the most direct route, making a number of stops here and there along the way.
First Class: These air-conditioned, blue and white busses take a more direct route with fewer stops than second class.
VIP: Travel like a star (almost) on a VIP bus that plays movies dubbed in Thai or blaring Karaoke for reclining passengers who get a complimentary meal at the rest stop and free bottled water as they board.
S-VIP: These large, air-conditioned Super-VIP busses only have 24 seats, so there is plenty of room to get some sleep on an overnight route. Like the VIP busses, they often have loud movies or music playing on the onboard TV.
Depending on your destination, busses leave from different terminals in Bangkok. Elsewhere in Thailand there is generally only one bus station for all bus travel in and out of the town.
Bangkok Bus Terminals
Eastern Bus Terminal:
Tel: +66 2 391 2504
To get to Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal take the BTS skytrain to Ekkamai Station on Sukhumvit Road.
Central, Northeast, and Northern Bus Terminal:
Mo Chit Station
Kamphaengphet 2 Road.
Northern Buses: +66 2 936 3660
Northeastern Buses: +66 2 936 0667
Central Buses: +66 2 936 1897
To get to Mo Chit Northern/Northeastern Bus Terminal take the BTS skytrain to Mo Chit Station (terminal station). Then you can take a motorbike taxi for about 50 baht to reach the bus station.
Southern Bus Terminal:
Sai Tai Mai Station
Boromratchchonnani Rd, Bangkok
Tel: +66 2 435 1200
To get to Sai Tai Mai Southern Bus Terminal you can take bus number 511 from Sukhumvit Road. It may be better to take a taxi as Sai Tai Mai Station is in a difficult location to find on Phutthamonthon Soi 1 in the Taling Chan district.