About Koh Chang
About Trat
About Thailand

 


TRAVEL TO THAILAND

Most visitors arrive through Bangkok's Don Muang International Airport which is connected by daily flights to Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Flights, from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Hong Kong, land on a regular basis at Chiangmai, Koh Samui, Phuket and Hat Yai. Charter flights sometimes land in Bangkok, Phuket, and at U-Taphao for Pattaya.
Regular rail services link Singapore and Bangkok intermediary stops include Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth, Penang and major southern Thai towns.
Overland entry to Thailand is restricted to three road crossings on the Thai- Malaysian border, and the bridge spanning the Mekong River between Laos and Thailand at Nong Kai.
There are no regular steamship connection with Thailand. Cargo ships calling at Bangkok's Khlong Toei port sometimes have passenger cabin facilities. Cruise ships, such as Cunard's Queen Elizabeth II, periodically visit Pattaya.


ARRIVING & DEPARTING

By Air: Bangkok's new Don Muang Airport international terminal, adjacent to what is now the domestic terminal, has relieved congestion and handles international passengers with modern efficiency. As you leave customs, you'll find an array of desks where you can arrange for taxis into Bangkok and transport to other destinations; a reservation desk for Bangkok hotels (no fee); and a TAT desk with free brochures and maps (tel. 02/523-8972). Both terminals have luggage-checking facilities (tel. 02/535-1250).
There is a tax of B500 for international departures and B30 for domestic departures.
A word of caution: The airport has more than its share of hustlers out to make a quick baht, who often wear uniforms and tags that make them seem official. They will try to get you to change your hotel to one that pays them a large commission, perhaps claiming your intended hotel is overbooked. They will hustle you into overpriced taxis or limousines. Do not get taken in.
Carriers: The U.S. carrier with the most frequent flights is Northwest Airlines (153 Rajdamri Rd., Peninsula Shopping Plaza, 4th Floor, tel. 02/254- 0789). It has direct service through Tokyo (with a minimal stopover) from New York, Detroit, Seattle, Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Incidentally, this airline's seats recline more than most, making sleeping much easier. Northwest also has a round-Asia fare, in conjunction with local airlines, which lets you hop from one capital to another. British Airways flies nonstop to Bangkok from London.
Thai Airways International (1st fl. 175-177 Soi Anumanrajchathon 1, Surawong Road, tel. 02/232-8000) is the national airline, and most of its flights come in and out of Don Muang. It has direct flights from the West Coast of the United States and from London, and also flies daily to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan.


Flying Times: Bangkok is 18 hours from Seattle, 17 hours from San Francisco, 20 hours from Chicago, and 22 hours from New York. Add more time for stopovers and connections,,especially if you are using more than one carrier. East- coast travelers departing from New York or Washington, DC, should consider using Virgin Atlantic/Thai Airways via London for 19-hour flights to Bangkok.

Trains: The International Express will take you from Butterworth (Penang, Malaysia) to Hat Yai, Thailand and Bangkok without a change of trains. There are also connecting services to or from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The train, which offers only first and second-class tickets, now operates every day. Border delays, which used to be a problem on the trains, are less frequent.
The International Express that departs from Singapore every morning arrives in Kuala Lumpur by nightfall. Visitors may stay overnight in the Malaysian capital or continue north by night train to Butterworth (Penang). This train, which links Singapore to Bangkok, has a romantic appeal and is probably the most luxurious train in Southeast Asia, yet quite expensive. The journey can be long and exhausting and may be best experienced in shorter segments.


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