Many times I traveled in Thailand by buses and there were always good buses, even a second class. Apparently I'm not picky at all, I don't need much space, and I wrap myself up in full from air conditioners. But once it happened that the first-class bus turned out to be completely irrelevant, the only plus in it was the toilet. This is due to the fact that the tickets were only for the very rear seats, which, as it turned out, cannot be folded! Imagine the bus is at night, and the seat can only be in a sitting position. Plus, it blew mercilessly from above and there was nothing to block this flow of icy air, although this is actually often found, and therefore I always have a sweatshirt with me, but this time it did not save me either. To be honest, I didn’t pull this bus to the first class, maximum to the second one, and it was kind of old. It's a pity I didn't remember the name of the bus company ...
In order to avoid such punctures in the future, I tried, as far as possible without knowing Thai, to learn more about the classes of bus companies at the bus station, and how and what to ride. It is clear that everything flows and changes, but still.
The content of the article
- one Buying a bus ticket
- 2 About buses in Thailand
- 3 Specific bus companies
- 4 Transfers from Khaosan
- five Transfers from travel agencies
Buying a bus ticket
How to buy a ticket over the Internet online
There are websites of some bus companies where you can book a ticket, but it is not convenient and completely incomprehensible. For example, the well-known bus company Nakonchai Air has a website in Thai, you can figure it out. Therefore, most often they go to the bus station and buy there. Although it may turn out to be difficult for someone, since you will have to explain on your fingers what you need (if you don’t know English). Especially, this is important when you need a ticket not to some Phuket, but somewhere where you cannot clearly pronounce, or pronounce, but they do not understand you. Here you will go from checkout to checkout and try to explain where you need to.
Recently, a website (Russian, English) has appeared where you can book and buy a bus / train ticket - 12GO.asia. Now this is the only service where this is possible. It is very convenient, it is a pity that there are not all directions yet, only popular ones. Payment by card or PayPal. Electronic bus ticket.
Algorithm for buying a ticket on the spot
I have singled out a certain algorithm for myself, if you want to travel as comfortably as possible on night buses. But in general, the buses in Tae are generally excellent, especially after our killed intercity Ikarus in some directions. I will never forget how we drove around Altai on a wreck (standing!) For 10 hours among a crowd of people, or how water flowed on our heads on the way to Crimea and the seat did not lean back.
In principle, this algorithm is also suitable for buying via the Internet, but when you see with your own eyes a picture of a bus and the location of seats at the checkout, it is somehow easier to navigate. I draw your attention to the fact that the scheme is conditional.
When you drive in the same direction several times, you can remember a certain algorithm with the names of the bus companies. For example, for the direction Bangkok - Chiang Mai, I have this: Sombat tour (Vip 24, Vip 32) => Nakonchai Air (First, Gold) => Transport 999 (Vip) => other companies.
About buses in Thailand
What buses look like
Bus ticket classes
I myself once wrote that there are three classes: VIP, First and Second, according to the degree of decrease in comfort. Air conditioners are everywhere, but the toilet is only in the first two, and the buses of the last class are cramped, as a rule. However, not everything is so simple and obvious with classes. Firstly, because bus companies may have their own gradations (examples below), and secondly, because the VIP-First class is very different from just First.
For example, there may be such gradations:
- First class vip 24 seats (3 seats in a row, wide)
- First class vip 32 seats (4 seats in a row)
- Second class 40 seats (as well as more than 42,47, 50), usually referred to simply as second.
- First (1st)
- Second (2nd)
Based on the list, the easiest way would be to check the number of seats on the bus before buying a ticket, this should always work, no matter what the bus company called its class. Often they can simply write, they say, First class, which, as it were, does not really mean anything. But if you know the number of seats on the bus, then the picture is clearer. If there are 24 or 32 seats in the bus, then the average person will not be cramped, and the class will correspond to the level of comfort. The main difference between the highest class (24 seats) from the rest is 3 seats in a row (2 + 1), not 2 + 2.
Also, sometimes a picture of a bus is glued to the window of the bus company, and conclusions can also be drawn from it. Thus, for maximum comfort, we choose: the minimum number of seats (about 24), the most expensive ticket, a VIP prefix for the class. By the way, on VIP buses, the ticket price usually includes food at one of the stops..
Specific bus companies
A few specific examples, with prices, classes and descriptions. Prices are indicated simply for informational purposes in the direction Bangkok - Chiang Mai, path length 750 km, 1 baht ~ 1 rub. For other destinations, for example south, bus companies will be different.
Nakonchai Air (NCA)
First Class (21 seats) - 876 THB
Gold class (32 seats) - 657 baht
Silver class (40 seats) - does not go along the BKK-World Cup route
Economy class (47 seats) - does not use the BKK-World Cup route
Tickets for the first class, really buy only 2-3 weeks before departure, and personally this option does not suit me, so only Gold traveled. So, I personally also really liked the Gold class, although there are no massage chairs in it, as in the first one, and the seats are narrower (4 pieces in a row). There is a toilet, there is enough space, the seat unfolds almost horizontally, everyone has a blanket, they distribute water, snacks and sandwiches. Silver and Economy have not tried, it seems to me that they are offered only for short directions, when it is not so long to go.
This company has its own bus terminals, but, as a rule, the bus station also has their ticket offices, if the terminal is far away, and they call in at regular bus stations too to pick up passengers.
Sombat tour (The Psombat tour)
Vip-24 - 789 baht
Vip-32 - 657 baht
First class (40 seats) - 563 baht
Judging by the answers of the Thais at the ticket office of the bus station, they have much more flights than Nakonchai air, and therefore their tickets are much easier to buy. From personal experience: on the day of departure, there were all classes on the Bangkok - Chiang Mai route, while Nakonchai Eir had no tickets at all. Eyewitnesses say that he is in no way inferior to the more promoted Nakonchai, only the seats are not leather, and this is even a plus, since you do not slip on them at night. And in the VIP class, just like in the first from Nakonchai, there are massage chairs.
Transport (Goverment) 999 - government buses
Vip 876 baht (20.00, 21.00)
First class 563 baht (18.30, 21.40, 23.00)
Second class 438 baht
Government buses, and I used them the most. I traveled in all classes, except for VIP, everything was fine with me. The first two classes are given water and snacks, and there is a toilet. For me one of the best options, especially since they go to all directions in Thailand.
Transfers from Khaosan
Many write that it is impossible to travel by buses from Khao San, as these buses are purely tourist and you can arrive at your destination without your luggage or only with part of it. I’ll say it myself, I didn’t check it, because I always go from bus stations, although even until recently I didn’t know about these horror stories. Only once went from the Hua Lampong railway station, as there were no train tickets in the recumbent car. Of the jambs, there was only one - an overpayment of 1.5-2 times for a bus ticket, although the bus itself was good and no one had any problems with luggage. But I have such a rule, I never put anything of value in the luggage of the bus, a laptop, a camera and all accessories go with me in the cabin.
I also want to note that this problem, in theory, should not concern minibuses from Khaosan, since the luggage is there all in plain sight, well, they wrote on the forums only about theft on night buses. Also, everything is in order with the Lompraya company, which sells tickets for the bus + ferry from Chumpon (this is for those who need to go to Koh Samui, Phangan, or Tao), it has its own buses and there were no complaints about it.
They also write that logistics suffers, especially when the crossing includes a ferry. Some get there with 10 changes with many hours of waiting at the transfer point. Sometimes part of the way is on a good bus, and part of it is almost on a pickup songteo, and so on. So I would not trust the buses that sell flights to Khao San. And in general, I recommend everyone to always travel to state bus stations in Bangkok.
Transfers from travel agencies
Again, horror stories go only about travel agencies on Khaosan, which means if you buy a bus ticket not there, but somewhere in another place or city, then it is not a fact that problems will arise. In any case, it is worth finding out how some of the travelers have already traveled in this direction. But I am in favor of government buses in most cases anyway. Although I myself recently drove with Koh Chang to Bangkok by transfer and was satisfied with everything. The bus was good, comfortable, there was enough space, things arrived safe and sound, there were no unnecessary transfers, we arrived very quickly.
P.S. And you can also read on the blog of our friends - How to use the railway in Thailand, a very good and detailed article. Or, you can have me look here on the blog, I also wrote about the classes of carriages, the cost and purchase of tickets.