Grand Palace, Bangkok The Grand Palace, Bangkok – Image courtesy of Mda/Wikimedia

How to get to Thailand

Thailand (officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam) is located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia.

Thailand regional map

Thailand is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma.

The most convenient route to Thailand is by air to Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), (also known unofficially as Bangkok Airport), which is located at Samat Prakan, around 30km (18mi) east of Bangkok and 60km (37mi) east of Pattaya.

Bangkok is well serviced by direct and one-stop flights from most of the world's capital cities.


Flight time to Bangkok

The following are the most convenient international flights to Bangkok, Thailand.

From Australia: Thai Airways International, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Emirates offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Bangkok.

Brisbane to Bangkok is 9 hrs 20 min, direct flight
Sydney to Bangkok is 9 hrs 20 min, direct flight
Melbourne to Bangkok is 9 hrs 20 min, direct flight
Perth to Bangkok is 7 hrs, direct flight

Adelaide to Bangkok is 10 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ


From New Zealand: Thai Airways International offers the most convenient scheduled flights to Bangkok.

Auckland to Bangkok is 12 hrs 15 min, direct flight


From China: Air China, Hainan Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways offer the most convenient flights to Bangkok.

Beijing to Bangkok is 4 hrs 50 min, direct flight
Shanghai to Bangkok is 4 hrs 10 min, direct flight
Hong Kong to Bangkok is 2 hrs 30 min, direct flight


From Singapore: Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International and Jetstar offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Bangkok.

Singapore to Bangkok is 2 hrs 20 min, direct flight


From Malaysia: Malaysian Airlines and Thai Airways operate the most convenient flights to Bangkok.

Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok is 2 hrs 5 min, direct flight


From United Arab Emirates: Emirates and Thai Airways offer the most convenient flights to Bangkok.

Dubai to Bangkok is 6 hrs 30 min, direct flight


From United Kingdom: British Airways and Thai Airways offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Bangkok.

London to Bangkok is 13 hrs 55 min, direct flight


From France: Air France and Thai Airways offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Bangkok.

Paris to Bangkok is 11 hrs 15 min, direct flight


From Germany: Thai Airways, Lufthansa and Eurowings offer the most convenient flights to Bangkok.

Dusseldorf to Bangkok is 11 hrs 35 min, direct flight
Frankfurt to Bangkok is 10 hrs 40 min, direct flight
Munich to Bangkok is 10 hrs 30 min, direct flight

Berlin to Bangkok is 12 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ
Hamburg to Bangkok is 12 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ


From Ireland: Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, British Airways and Thai Airways offers the most convenient flights to Bangkok.

Dublin to Bangkok is 18 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ


From United States: British Airways, Thai Airways International, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Philippine Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Bangkok.

Atlanta to Bangkok is 20 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ
Boston to Bangkok is 19 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ
Chicago to Bangkok is 19 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Dallas-Fort Worth to Bangkok is 21 hrs, connecting flightˆ
New York to Bangkok is 19 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Los Angeles to Bangkok is 19 hrs, connecting flightˆ
San Francisco to Bangkok is 18 hrs 50 min, connecting flightˆ


From Canada: Air Canada, Thai Airways International, Korean Air and Cathay Pacific offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Bangkok.

Toronto to Bangkok is 19 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ
Montreal to Bangkok is 19 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
Vancouver to Bangkok is 17 hrs 35 min, connecting flightˆ

(ˆincludes layover time.)


Flying in

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) is located at Samat Prakan, around 30km (18mi) east of Bangkok.


Entry requirements

A passport valid for at least six months beyond intended period of stay, a return/onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds. No visa is required for a stay of up to 30 days.


Getting around Bangkok

On foot once you reach your destination – Bangkok is not a pedestrian friendly city. Take great care when crossing streets even at traffic lights.

The convenient BTS (or Skytrain) – Bangkok’s efficient elevated rail line – and the MRT subway offer a way to get around Bangkok’s main commercial centres and beat the city's often clogged roads. A new high-speed elevated railroad – the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link – now links the city with Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Bangkok's taxis are reasonably priced and the best choice for door-to-door transportation outside of rush hour, and tuk-tuks (three-wheeled motorized open vehicles) are often the best way to get around smaller streets.

Bangkok’s public riverboats provide a great way to travel throughout the city, especially the Chao Phraya Express, which offers a frequent service stopping at several public piers along the river’s length.

The relatively slow, wide-bodied Chao Phraya Tourist Boats offer a relaxed way to cruise Bangkok's fascinating waterways and spy on the locals.

Alternatively, you can charter a fast long-tail boat to race along the river or cruise the narrow canals of neighbouring Thonburi. Boat charters are easily available at every pier and can also be booked at the riverfront kiosk at River City or at the Grand Palace.


Getting around Thailand

Thailand is an easy country to get around with an extensive domestic transport system that is accessible, efficient and inexpensive.

If your time is limited, fly; but if you have the time, enjoy the marvellous countryside with travel by bus, train or hire car.

By plane…

Domestic flights depart from both the newer Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the older Don Muang Airport.

Most airports in Thailand have money-changing facilities, information kiosks, cafes and taxis. In very small towns, you may need to arrange airport pickup either through your hotel or the airline.

Thai Airways, part of Thai Airways International, offers the most number of domestic flights connecting Bangkok with 11 domestic destinations, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Phitsanulok, Krabi and Phuket. There are also some connecting flights between these cities.

Bangkok Airways offers direct flights from Phuket to Ko Samui, and from Bangkok to Trat. Air Asia flies from Bangkok to 10 Thai cities.

By car…

It’s easy to hire a car in Thailand, but be aware that driving in Thailand is particularly challenging: Thai drivers are unashamedly reckless. Bangkok is full of one-way streets, poor and even incorrect road signage and constant traffic jams. Thais drive on the left.

All drivers are required to have an international driver's license and a valid credit card, in case of damage. Make sure you arrange full insurance coverage. If you're concerned about driving yourself, ask about rates for a car and driver, which are often quite reasonable.

By train…

Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Railway Station provides regular rail service to destinations including Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, Pattaya and south to Thailand's southern border, where it connects with Malaysia's Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM), with service to Penang (Butterworth), Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Thailand State Railway offers a wide choice of different trains that run at different speeds and are priced accordingly. First-class sleepers usually come with an air-conditioned, two-bunk compartment with wash basin; second-class sleepers are bunks with curtains and with a ceiling fan or air-conditioning, depending on the ticket price.

The fastest train is the Special Express, which is the best choice for long-haul, overnight travel, although they are slower than buses. These trains have sleeper cars – a must for long trips.

Rapid trains (but in reality, quite slow) are the next best option. Prices vary for class, from air-conditioned sleeper cars in first class to air-conditioned and fan sleepers or seats in second, on down to the straight-backed, hard seats in third class.

Note: On trains, pay close attention to your possessions; thievery is common on overnight trips. If you are traveling solo, make sure that you state your sex when booking. Ticket agents won't put two strangers of opposite sexes together in first class.

By bus…

Buses are the cheapest and fastest transportation to the most remote destinations in the country. Unfortunately, they also carry an inherent risk of accident. The major choices are public or private and air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned. Long bus trips usually depart in the evenings to arrive at their destination early in the morning.

VIP buses operated by the Transport Company are best for overnight trips. Ideally, buses are best for short excursions. Longer-haul buses are an excellent value but can be scary if you get a reckless driver.

Note: When traveling by long-distance bus, it’s a good idea not to accept drinks or snacks from fellow Thai travellers; they can be spiked. And watch your possessions closely; thievery is common on overnight buses.

By taxi, tuk-tuk and songtaew

By law, taxis must charge by the meter. If a driver refuses to use the meter, simply get out and find a new taxi. If you don't speak Thai, you'll be hard pressed to get a tuk-tuk ride for less than 50Baht. Learning the words for 10Baht, 20Baht and 30Baht will help you negotiate. Remember to bargain hard with the drivers.

In many provincial regions and resort islands, small pickup trucks called songtaews cruise the main streets offering communal taxi service at cheap, set fees. As with tuk-tuks, always remember to agree on your fare before engaging a driver.

Note: Few taxi, tuk-tuk or songtaew drivers speak even basic English, so have a copy of your hotel's name, street address and district written in Thai with you at all times. Don't leave your hotel without some small bills, as many taxi or tuk-tuk drivers will claim to have no change.


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More about Thailand…


Latest update: How to get to Thailand: 14 January, 2020


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