Don't settle for a boring old car!
If you’re vacationing in Thailand, you probably don’t want to rent a car. With congested streets in large cities like Chang Mai and Bangkok, questionable roads in some parts of the country with perilous falls, and hard to understand directions, it’s best to ditch the car and travel like the locals do. Some forms of travel may be riskier than others, but it’s all part of the adventure!
This is exactly what it sounds like: you hop on the back of a motorcycle and speed off to your destination of choice. Most motor taxis can accommodate two people if you’re willing to overcome the shock of driving down crooked and narrow roads. Grab a motor taxi that offers a helmet for a slightly safer option and haggle over price before hopping on and being whisked away, circumventing congestion. Motor taxis are popular in large cities since they can squeeze into spaces cars can’t fit into and avoid heavier traffic.
A step or two up from a motor taxi, the tuk tuk is a small open-air vehicle with three wheels that can fit up to four people if you really like your travel companions. Tuk tuks can be a variety of bright colors; you’ll see them as they whirl past in the streets. They may look small, but they’re steady and a fun way to ride around and enjoy the views. There’s no set price, so beware of getting scammed by the drivers and always agree on a price before you get in.
The best way to travel between cities is the train. Sometimes you may even be treated to some of Thailand’s stunning scenery as you cross bridges and speed through tunnels carved in mountains. For the most comfortable and luxurious experience, purchase a first-class ticket between your destinations and enjoy a private air-conditioned car, some including a bed for longer journeys. Stop at the bar car for a Thai iced tea or mango sticky rice, traditional Thai food and drink. If you want to really live like the locals, join the hustle and bustle of the third class for a cheaper ride.
Thailand boasts hundreds of islands and islets jutting out on along the long and rugged coastline. You can take a ferry to almost any island in Thailand, especially for fun day trips to explore the exotic marine life and enjoy the scenery. Longer ferries may glide up or down the Mekong River, where you’ll find a variety of accommodations from luxury river cruises to cramped decks full of people trying to get the best views.
This subway/metro system was built in Bangkok after years of congestion on the roads below and is now being expanded to other cities in the country. Unlike systems in NYC and London with hectic and chaotic stations, everyone waits patiently in lines for guests to get off the train, then gets on one by one. While you’re on the Skytrain, you’ll be treated to some magnificent views of the city you can’t find anywhere else, even on those swanky rooftop bars. If you don’t like haggling, you’ve come to the right place; tickets are sold at a machine and cost about $1 each, depending where you want to go.
Get out there and explore like a local on your next vacation to Thailand, Asia, and wherever the travel bug takes you. Your mind and wallet will thank you!
By: Devyn Woolsey
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