Bangkok is one of the biggest travel hubs in Asia, meaning there’s dozens of airlines flying in and out of the city from Europe, Australia and New Zealand. There’s also budget airlines flying short-haul flights around south-east Asia, check out Air Asia, Bangkok Air and Tiger Airways and Dragonair, while Thai Airways also has some reasonably-priced fares.
There’s several well-worn overland routes into or out of Thailand:
- From the islands you can travel into Malaysia, down either the east or west coast of the peninsula towards Kuala Lumpur (though check travel warnings about the unstable southernmost provinces).
- From Chiang Rai in the north it’s not far to the border with Laos, where you can jump on a two-day boat trip down the Mekong to the fantastic Laotian city of Luang Prabang (highly recommended).
- You can head east from Bangkok into Cambodia by road. This can be a difficult journey but your first stop in Cambodia will be Siem Reap — home to the Angkor Wat.
Thailand is a big country, meaning you might be faced with some long journeys getting to the main touristy areas in the north and south to the main hub of Bangkok.
These are the easiest and cheapest to organise (most hostels can book you tickets and arrange a pick up from your hotel to the bus station). For a journey of up to six hours, say, they’re fine, but an overnight bus ride on Thailand’s notoriously bad roads is not fun.
A great option for getting from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, or from Bangkok to Chumphon and Surat Thani (the jumping off points for the beaches and islands off the eastern coast). But they book out early, so book as far in advance as possible (again, most hostels can organise tickets for a small extra fee).
Don’t even think about it, Thailand’s roads are notorious.