After experiencing a train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then a week long bike trip across Mae Hong Son Loop, we decided to take bus on our way back from Chaing Mai to Sukho Thai and from Sukho Thai to Pattaya (via Bangkok). It was a comfortable journey for us and we will suggest you to easily opt for a bus travel during your Thailand trip. To help you more, here is our experience about Thailand bus booking and travel.
Thailand Bus Booking: Tips
Based on our experience, here are some quick tips for you to book your bus travel in Thailand –
1. Online Bus Booking in Thailand
Actually not a viable option as there is no single website that you can book buses online. We too were surprised that despite Thailand being such a famous tourist hub, actually there is no online bus booking website. In case, you happen to find one, please mention in the comments as it would help fellow trallevers to book their travel better. Meanwhile, following are certain websites that you can refer for booking your bus journey but they have quite limited options –
2. Purchase Tickets from Bus Stops
Buses in Thailand are mainly operated by selected private operators and best way to purchase your tickets is from bus stop itself. At times, you may also find some operators’ offices in city but at Bus stop, it is always easier to quick check schedule for all and decide for the best time and operator for yourself. So best option is to purchase your return ticket as soon as you reach a place. Usually tickets are available on spot only unless it is really peak season around Christmas and new year.
3. Bus Facilities
There are different category of buses (VIP, Executive etc) but most of the buses are quite comfortable. Even for seating buses, seats are comfortable with ample leg space and you are provide snacks, meal box and juices. Staff is supportive and guides you well. In case you are looking for overnight journey, you may also enquire for sleeper buses.
4. On-time Departure
Yeah!! remember Thailand buses leave dot on time. So do not get late else you would miss your bus. Even if you are in ticket line, they won’t wait for you : )
5. High Traffic in Bangkok
In case you are heading out or into Bangkok, buffer an extra hour for high traffic. While coming back from Pattaya to Bangkok, we did not realize that we may face evening peak traffic and last 20 kilometers stretch was jam-packed. We had assumed that we were going to miss our flight. By luck, our driver dropped us to a point from where we could take a taxi through Airport Expressway and reached just in time.
Thailand Bus Schedule
There is no single website to get Thailand bus schedule. We captured some pictures of the schedules as our hotel in Sukho Thai had consolidated timings across different operators and we had clicked few pictures at Sukho Thai bus stop. Hope this helps you plan better. Saying that, this schedule may get updated so inquire well to plan your trip better.
Bus Schedule: Chiang Mai to Sukho Thai/Bangkok
Please refer Bangkok slot on the side board. There are 2 buses in the morning (07:00 AM and 10:30 AM) and 5 buses in the evening (18:45, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00)
Bus Schedule: Sukho Thai to Bangkok
Bus Schedule: Sukho Thai to Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai/Mae Sot/Nan/Nakhonsawan/Mukdahan
Bus Schedule: Bangkok to Pattaya and Back
There are ample buses from Bangkok to Pattaya and you can easily find a bus every 30 minutes. Most frequent departures are from Eastern Bus Terminal located adjacent to the Ekkamai BTS station. While coming back from Pattaya to Bangkok, again there are multiple options both private and government buses. Please keep at least one hour buffer for high traffic in Bangkok city in case you have a flight to catch.
Hope this helps you plan your Thailand trip better. Please mention in comments in case you happen to gather more information about Thailand Bus Booking.