The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Touring Thailand by bus from Bangkok

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jun• 02•10

Friendly bus conductor is always ready with a smile

Eventually, you’ll be heading off to a destination that will require bus travel, either because your airline doesn’t fly there, or you don’t want to rent a car.  Buses, especially the overnight VIP-type, are comfortable and air-conditioned. There are three major bus stations in Bangkok.   Here’s a quick user’s guide: 

Ekkamai Station:  For points southeast of Bangkok, including Pattaya and Rayong.  Located adjacent to Ekkamai BTS Skytrain station. 

Southern Station:  For points southwest of Bangkok, including peninsular areas.  Located on western side of Chao Phraya River, adjacent to Highway 338, at intersection of Nakhon Chaisi and Phra Pin Klao Roads.  Take a taxi here, or local buses 124 and 127. 

Mo Chit: For points in central, north, and northeast Thailand, including Chiang Mai and Isaan cities. (note: the old Mo Chit one station no longer exists; this station is farther from Chatuchak than was the old Mo Chit 1   We suggest you take a taxi to it from the Mo Chit BTS Skytrain station). 

Most western bus travelers will eventually use Mo Chit, but will find the station riotously confusing, as the 103 separate ticket windows on the upper level have no signs in English.  The best procedure is to go to the information counter immediately in front of the central second level entry doors.  Tell the person behind the counter where you’d like to go.  She’ll point you to a window, or write the window number for you.  At the given window, the ticket agent will immediately call upon someone to help you in English. 

After getting your ticket, proceed to the bus bays at the left rear of the terminal.  The front of your ticket will have a series of hand-stamped blue numbers, one of which represents the bay where you’ll find your bus.  Head to one of those bays, and helpful uniformed people will point you to the right bay.  Your route number is printed on your ticket, in English.  This number corresponds to a number painted on the outside of the bus.  There are actually two painted bus numbers, separated by a hyphen.  The first is the bus route, the second is the number of the individual bus.  Therefore, the bus number “968-336” would reflect the route # 968 (which is, in this case, the city of Yasothon), and the bus number is 336.  When in doubt, ask, then ask again, as buses have been known to switch bays at the last moment.  

Attached to your ticket, you may very well find a food and beverage coupon.  This is worth 20 baht, and will be used at a roadhouse along the route. Generally, it’s good for a small bowl of soup (available at a hectic food counter), or a drink.

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