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Bus


Buses are the most popular and the mostly used transportation in Thailand. The state-owned bus company  (Bor Kor Sor) and several private companies compete with each other to attract passengers. The private companies especially serve destinations between large cities and between Bangkok and touristic areas. Bor Kor Sor, however, serves many smaller routes in the countryside as well. Both the state-owned and the private bus companies as well use normal buses (ordinary, regular or government bus) and buses with air-conditioning and other amenities.
Ordinary Bus

The mostly red colored buses from the state-owned Transport Co., more seldom buses from private companies, have a fixed fare of about 0,41 Baht/km (short distances up to 0,45 Baht) and they go to nearly every town in the whole country. They leave at a fixed departure time from the bus terminals, however they are more and more often replaced by second class AC-buses.
Traveling by ordinary bus is a cheap option which is usually hot, uncomfortable and relatively slow as well. The seats are very close behind each other and tall people have difficulties to put their legs when the bus is full. It is more spacious to sit in the back seats, mostly there are two seats missing in order to store the luggage. Even it will be more shaky there, it is possible to stretch the legs and to keep an eye on the luggage.
The bus stops when people want to get on or off that means very often. During these stops many salespeople enter the bus and offer fruits, fried snacks, cakes, ice cream and drinks to the passengers.
The fare depends on the distance. The tickets are available in the bus terminal or inside the bus. The ticket will be checked several times on the journey so always keep it by hand and do not throw it away before reaching your destination.
AC-Bus (Second Class AC-Bus, Air 2 or Standard 2)

The orange colored AC buses are slightly more expensive than ordinary buses, the fare is about 0,56 Baht/km. They are equipped with 47 narrow seats and they increasingly replace the non AC buses. No toilet and no food available.
AC-Buses (Aircon-Buses, Air 1, Bus Air or Standard 1 B)

Mainly blue colored buses with air-conditioning and toilet, about 40 seats. The fare is about 0,72-0,78 Baht/km, compared to ordinary buses this is about twice as much. They are especially used for long distances. Besides, they are more comfortable and faster, while the buses of the private bus companies usually are better maintained and equipped than the one from the state-owned Bor Kor Sor. It is also said that the private companies employ more reliable drivers. The price differences oh about 10 to 20 % between private companies result from the various service and comfort they offer.
The air-conditioning is not only extremely cold during the day but at night as well. Naturally, the passengers have already paid for that service. Therefore the board personal distributes blankets to keep warm. At night it is still advisable to wear socks, long trousers and to keep a jacket in reach. Furthermore, paper tissues have proved helpful to close the openings for the air-conditioning. And they even can be used to make good ear plugs, which lessens the sound of the Thai synchronized action movies often showed during the journey.
Air-conditioning buses offer – depending on the duration of your trip – cold drinks (water and soft drinks), snacks, a simple meal during a stop in a roadside restaurant and a toilet inside the bus.
The AC-Buses leave either from the offices of the private bus companies or from the bus terminal. Sometimes the passengers are even picked up from their hotel.
If you fall asleep in a private night bus, be careful about your belongings, because there can be thieves around. Be aware!
VIP Buses (VIP-32, Bus air or Standard 1 C)

These are air-conditioning buses in a more comfortable version, usually in blue color. They are slightly more expensive than AC-Buses, about 0,85 Baht/km. It is possible to buy a ticket in the office of the bus companies and in the bus terminals. The number of seats is reduced from 40 to 32 and each one can be nearly converted into horizontal position – that is ideal for a good rest. Furthermore, the sound of the videos can only be received via earplugs. They are equipped with toilet, blankets are distributed at night and a stewardess serves drinks and snacks. A meal voucher is included in the ticket fare.
VIP-24 Buses (999-Buses, VIP-24, Standard 1 A)

Normally only state-owned buses with 24 seats (8 rows with 3 seats each) that depart from Bangkok to many cities in the North, Northeast and South, about 7 to 16 hours traveling time, mainly traveling in night time. They are very comfortable and about 50 % more expensive than AC-Buses, about 1,13 Baht/km. The ticket can be bought in the offices at the bus terminals, 3 days prior to departure. The seats offer large space for long legs and they can be reclined, similar to the seats in an airplane – except the last row. The service corresponds with VIP-24 Buses. Most passengers arrive well-rested at their destination.
Minibuses

In several provincial capitals private companies have established a regular transportation service with air-conditioned, 16-seat minibuses (also: Microbus, Minivan or Microvan). They usually depart hourly (on the hour) from a certain place in the city to neighboring provincial capitals and other destinations. The tickets are sold at a table close to the road and they are slightly more expensive than AC-Buses. When all passengers have arrived, the minibus will also leave earlier. The drivers' driving style keeps up with the flow of traffic.
For travelers the following routes are interesting:
Chumphon to Ranong, Chumphon to Surat Thani, Trang to Ko Lanta, Krabi to Ko Lanta, Trang to Pakbara, Hat Yai to Pakbara, Hat Yai to Penang.
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