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If you want to travel around Thailand, bus is a practical mode of transportation. The fares are reasonable and buses run more often than trains.

Bus Terminals

Bangkok has 3 main bus terminals: Central station or Mo Chit, Southern station or Sai Tai and Eastern station or Ekamai.

Central Station - Mo Chit

This is the biggest bus station in Bangkok and it's also the busiest.

How To Get There:

Located on Kampangpetch Road, not far from Chatuchak weekend market, also called JJ market. Take skytrain (BTS), the Mo Chit line to Mo Chit station. Then, catch a taxi to Mo Chit bus terminal, which is about 2 km away.


Northern provinces, such as Sukhothai, Tak and Chiang Mai.

North-Eastern provinces, such as Nong Khai, Khonkaen and Udon Thani.

Central provinces, such as Ayuthaya and Kanchanaburi.

Eastern provinces, such as Chonburi.

Southern provinces – only certain routes.

Southern Station - Sai Tai

How To Get There:
Thai buses are modern and reasonably priced
Cross the Chao Phraya river, from East to West, to the Thonburi side. The Southern station is on Boromaratchachonanee Road and it's quite a ride from the city center. The most convenient way to get there is by taxi. However, if you stay round Sukhumvit Road or Khao San Road, you can take a/c bus #511.


Southern provinces, such as Surat Thani, Krabi, Phuket, Trang, Koh Samui and other popular islands.

Eastern provinces, such as Chonburi.

Eastern Station - Ekamai

How To Get There:
Air conditioned buses in Thailand are both cheap and comfortable
Located on Sukhumvit Road, near the Bangkok Planetarium. Take skytrain (BTS), the On Nut line to Ekamai station. The bus terminal is only a few minutes walk from the BTS station.


Eastern provinces, such as Chonburi, Pattaya, Sattahip, Rayong, Chantaburi, Trad and the islands off the coast, including Koh Chang, Koh Samet and Koh Sichang.

North-Eastern provinces, only certain routes.

Here is the current bus timetables for The Transport Company, Ltd., that is known among Thais as Bor Kor Sor.

Helpful Information

Each bus terminal is rather big. As a result, it may take awhile to find ticket counters, departure gates and other places round the station.

These bus terminals all have ATMs, pharmacies, restaurants, shops, 7-Eleven and storage areas.

Pharmacies at bus terminals generally only carry medicines that sell well.

Baggage cart services are available, usually near the main entrance.

There are shuttle buses and vans, called rot too in Thai, running between the bus terminals. You can also take a/c bus #170 to go between Central station Mo Chit and Southern station Sai Tai.

There may be pickpockets around the bus terminals, like anyplace where there are crowds of people. Keep an eye on your bags and belongings at all times.

Bus Terminals Outside Bangkok

In Thailand there are many bus stops along the highway
Most big cities have bus terminals within the city limits. Otherwise, you can take the bus from the bus stop along the highway. There are usually local taxis or motorcycle taxis waiting around there to take you into the city center.

Inter-City Buses

Both government and private buses operate throughout Thailand. The government buses all have a golden emblem attached to the side of the bus, while the private buses feature a sprayed version of the same emblem.

Types Of Buses

Most of the inter-city buses are air conditioned. However, certain regional buses are non-air conditioned. These fan buses are orange.

Some regional buses in Thailand are non-air conditioned
There are generally three types of air conditioned inter-city buses: Second class, first class and VIP.

A number of these buses are double deckers.

A simple way to differentiate between various types of buses is by looking at the color stripe on the side of the bus. These are the different color stripes:

Orange stripe - second class (40 seats)

Blue stripe - first class (40 seats)

Yellow stripe - VIP (32 seats)

Pink stripe - VIP (24 seats)

The destination is written on the side of each bus, followed by a Thai letter and two numbers connected with a dash.

For example: Bangkok – Phuket ม.2 63-343

The buses in Thailand have the destination and the bus number on the side
These codes indicate the bus type, route and bus number.

When traveling long-haul (over 5 hours), every bus on the same route stops half-way for a meal at a restaurant complex along the highway. Certain long-haul buses offer a free meal, instead of a snack box. In this case, you will be given a food coupon with your ticket. The food served at the restaurant is usually rice soup or plan rice with a few choices.

It can be quite confusing to locate the bus after the break. So, it's a good idea to memorize the two numbers on the side of it.

All buses of the same class offer similar fares, no matter which company you travel with. Most of the time travel agencies add hefty commissions to the ticket prices.

In my experience, fan and second class buses often take more passengers than there are seats available, especially during rush hour. As a result, these services are usually slow since they pick up and drop off passengers along the way.

Only VIP buses and first class buses have toilets.

Vans usually travel to the same destinations as buses. However, they often have smaller seats, less legroom and limited baggage space. Moreover, many van drivers are known to drive really fast.

Ticketing Policies

The following policies apply to government buses. Private bus companies have their own policies.

Buying Tickets In Advance

Bus ticket office in Thailand
Tickets can be purchased up to 60 days in advance at all government bus-ticket offices, called Bor Kor Sor in Thai, during office hours (8 am - 4 pm).

It's also possible to contact the call center at 1490. You can book your tickets with them and pay at any 7/11 store. Please be aware that both Bor Kor Sor and 7/11 charge some fees for their services.

It's advisable to purchase second class bus tickets on the day of travel, due to possible change of schedule.

During public holidays such as Songkran in mid-April, it's advisable to buy first-class or VIP tickets in advance so that you have a guaranteed seat.

Changing And Refunding Tickets

You can only change a ticket once, and it's free of charge. Note that tickets that have been changed, cannot be refunded. There is a 10% refund fee. Both changing and refunding tickets must be done at least 4 hours before the departure time. At some ticket offices outside of Bangkok, changing and refunding tickets must be done before 3pm on the day of travel.

Have a nice trip!

Suggested Reading:   Airport Buses   Thai Train Travel

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