Thailand - Transport Local

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Transport - Local


In larger provincial capitals, there are extensive local bus services, generally operating with very low fares (2 Baht to 4 Baht).


Many regional centres have taxi services but, as in Bangkok itself, although there may well be taximeters they're never used. Establishing the fare before departure is essential. Try and get an idea from a third party what the fare should be and be prepared to bargain. In general fares are reasonably low.


Samlor means three (sam) wheels (lor, pronounced 'law') and that's just what they are - three-wheeled vehicles. There are two types of samlors, motorized and non-motorized. You'll find motorized samlors throughout the country. They're small utility vehicles, powered by a horrendously noisy two-stroke engine - if the noise and vibration doesn't get you the pollution will. These samlors are often known as tuk-tuks from the noise they make. The non-motorized versions, on the other hand, are bicycle rickshaws, just like you find, in various forms, all over Asia. There are no bicycle samlors in Bangkok but you will find them elsewhere in the country. In either form of samlor the fare must be established, by bargaining if necessary, before departure.


Songthaew means two rows - they're small pickup trucks with two rows of bench seats down the sides, very similar to an Indonesian bemo and akin to a Filipino jeepney. Songthaews sometimes operate fixed routes, just like a bus, but they may also run a share taxi type of service or even be booked individually just like a regular taxi.


As any flight over Thailand will reveal, there is plenty of water down there and you'll probably have opportunities to get out on it from time to time. The true Thai river transport is the 'long-tail boat', so called because the propeller is driven by a long extension off the end of the engine. The engine, which can run all the way from a small marine engine to a large car engine, is mounted on gimbals and the whole engine is swivelled to steer the boat. They can travel at a phenomenal speed.

Car & Motorcycle Rental

Cars can be rented in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai. Check with travel agencies or large hotels for rental locations. Motorcycles are for rent in these towns as well as many smaller tourist centres like Krabi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Mae Sal, Chiang Saen, Nong Khai, etc., (see Transport - Motorcycle). Rental rates vary considerably from one agency to another and from city to city. Since there is a glut of motorcycles for rent in Chiang Mai these days, they can be rented there for as little as 80 Baht per day. A substantial deposit is usually required to rent a car; motorcycle rental usually requires that you leave your passport. Bicycles can also be hired in some locations, particularly Chiang Mai, where they are an ideal form of transport. One traveller wrote in with this warning though, carefully note the condition of the bike before hiring, if it breaks down you are responsible and parts can be very expensive.

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