Fun Ways to Get Around Thailand
If you’re vacationing in Thailand, you may notice congested streets in larger cities like Chang Mai and Bangkok, questionable roads in some parts of the country (some with perilous falls), and not the clearest of traffic directions. In this case, a rental car may not be the best mode of transportation. Try something different - and fun - by ditching the car and traveling as the locals do. Some forms of travel might be a little crazier 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. Motor taxis are popular in large cities since they can squeeze into spaces cars can’t, therefore avoiding heavier traffic. If you’re willing to overcome the shock of driving down crooked and narrow roads, you can circumvent congestion and possibly arrive faster than by car. Look for a motor taxi that offers a helmet for a slightly safer option and be sure to haggle over price before hopping on and being whisked away. Most motor taxis can accommodate two passengers.
A step up from a motor taxi, the tuk tuk is a small open-air vehicle with three wheels that can snuggly fit up to four people, making it a great option if you really like your travel companions. Tuk tuks can be found in a variety of bright colors; you can't miss them as they whirl by. While small, they are steady and a fun way to ride around and enjoy the views. As with the motor taxi, there’s no set fare. Always agree on a price before you get in to avoid getting scammed by the driver.
The best way to travel between cities is by train. Sometimes you may even be treated to some of Thailand’s lush natural scenery as you cross bridges and speed through tunnels carved in mountains. For a comfortable and luxurious experience, purchase a first-class ticket and enjoy a private air-conditioned car - some include a bed for longer journeys. Stop at the bar car for a Thai iced tea and traditional Thai food such as mango sticky rice. 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 along the long and rugged coastline. You can hop on a ferry to almost any island in Thailand, especially for a fun day trip. Longer ferries carrying many passengers and luxury river cruisers can be spotted daily gliding up & down the Mekong River.
After years of traffic congestion in Bangkok, the Skytrain subway/metro system was built high above the roads and is currently expanding to other cities. Unlike the stations in NYC and London, people tend to wait patiently in lines for guests to disembark before calmly boarding in an orderly fashion. While you’re on the Skytrain, you’ll be treated to magnificent views of the city you can’t find with other modes of transport or even from 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 on where you want to go.
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