10 Things you need to know about bus travel in Thailand

Travelling by bus in Thailand is cheap,  easy and on occasions pretty efficient. BUT there are a few things you should probably know......

1. VIP does not meant VIP in the sense you are used to. There is in fact absolutely nothing VIP about a VIP bus in Thailand, theres no dvd players and chilled champers here. They are exactly the same as the normal ones so don't get conned into paying extra as there are literally no benefits.

2. Karaoke buses may seem fun, that will last for approximately five minutes, trust me. When depressing Thai love songs are being blasted out the speakers at 3 am you will literally want to rip your ears off. So whatever you do do not encourage the drivers to keep playing it!


3. Air con- don't expect it to work and if it does chances are it will drip for the duration of your 12 hour trip. So look out for signs before you settle into your seat, there is a small window of time where you might be able to nab another.

4. On the topic of seats choose yours carefully, the jackpot seats are at the front or by the stairs where no one can recline in front of you. Look out for the chatter boxes if you are on an overnight bus you want to be seated far far away from them, if its a short journey sit near them and make some friends.

On another note about seats..Reclining seats seem like a plus point, really its a nightmare when the person in front pulls that lever your personal space is encroached a HUGE amount and off goes the chain reaction. The poor people on the back seats will now be squashed for the remainder of the journey, so don't let that be you.

5. If you are on a proper local bus you will be charged more than said locals- don't ask why, don't question it, just cough up or you'll find yourself in an awkward situation. At the end of the day it is a bloomin bargain anyway.

6. The blankets, for some reason in a tropical climate blankets are always provided on Thai buses. Strange as the buses are usually sweat boxes, occasionally, however the buses do get cold at night. BUT don't be tempted to use the blanket they smell and just think how many times they may have been used and not washed. Bring a hoodie- that'll do the trick way better and you'll probably avoid bed bugs and other nasties.

7. Services stations, on an over night journey you can expect to stop for about 20 minutes at least once. The service stations are usually pretty basic- squat toilets, so bring your own tissues ladies. However you will always be able to buy some food and drink, I have had some pretty decent noodles from such stops. They aren't all basic and who knows you may luck out.

8. Safety- you will hear a lot of rumours about Thai buses but they are completely fine, I never had anything taken or any problems. Pop a padlock on your rucksack and keep all valuables on you up top and you should have no issues. If you are unlucky to get anything taken, that is where travel insurance becomes so important.

9. Timings- don't expect the buses to run to any sort of schedule. They kind of do their own thing as they wait for people to turn up, stop when the driver wants to, and often get caught in Bangkok traffic. Basically don't make any immediate onward plans as you could be a few hours late.

10. The mini bus- this is the holy grail if you get to board one of these bad boys expect aircon and a much faster journey. The packing of bags and people also takes major engineering skills!



Finally don't let all this put you off in any way. Thai buses are an excellent way of travelling round Thailand, they are cheap, sociable and organised in the most brilliantly chaotic way that will always get you from a to b. If I can give you one last piece of advice remember to keep hold of that coloured sticker, and small piece of paper........
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