Since we found up-to-date information about how to get around Thailand hard to come by when researching our three-month trip, we’ve decided to put all we know here to (hopefully) help other travellers. So, should you travel Thailand by bus, train or plane? How long does it take to get from the north of the country to south? Here's all we know about how to get around Thailand.
Sometimes the part of travel I love the most is just the movement. It’s getting up in the morning, packing our bags and boarding a bus to a brand new, unknown destination with no idea what’s in store for us. This particular morning in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I was bunged-up with a cold and my head pounded as I climbed aboard the bus to the tiny, riverside town of Kampot.
Although Vietnam isn’t quite as well travelled as some South-East Asian countries it still has a decent transport network. Throughout our month in Vietnam we travelled from Hanoi in the north all the way down the coast to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) before heading into Cambodia. While the clean fast trains were a joy to use, most of our bus journeys were typical of Asia - pretty hellish. If you’re planning to travel to Vietnam, check out our tips on how to get around the country.
We first met some Easy Riders while waiting at a bus stop in Danang. Two men with faces as worn as the black, insignia-inscribed leather jackets they wore roared over to us, pulling their shiny, black machines to a stop: “We are Easy Riders – wherever you are going, we’ll take you,” they said, flashing confident, tobacco-stained smiles in our direction.
One of the things we can’t quite get used to in Asia is the corruption which forms an ordinary part of everyday life here. From knock-off goods to rigged taxi meters and other tourist scams, travelling is a whole different ball game here compared to in regulation-crazy Europe. While we’re now resigned to the fact that we’ll be charged tourist prices everywhere we go, we’ve found that making overland border crossings in South-East Asia presents some of the most frustrating examples of corruption.
Despite being so close to Thailand, Laos is a whole different animal when it comes to getting around. For a start, there are no trains in Laos, the roads are very often just dirt paths and most buses are rickety, old and crammed with locals, luggage and livestock. We had some of our worst journeys while travelling in Laos, here’s how we got around the country.
After our peaceful stay in Four Thousand Islands (minus the stomach aches), we had some time to kill before we were allowed back into Thailand. According to our Lonely Planet, the quiet, colonial town of Pakse seemed like the ideal place to hang out for a while before hopping over the border – how wrong we were.
Since leaving the UK all those months ago we’ve travelled thousands of miles across the world. In the process we’ve taken a staggering 55 buses, 39 trains, 16 flights, 42 boats and 117 other journeys by taxi, tuk tuk, jeepney or songtheaw. I can’t even begin to count the number of hours that we’ve actually spent just moving from one place to the next, and while we enjoy catching a glimpse of real life on public transport and watching beautiful scenery roll by the windows, some of the journeys we’ve taken have been nothing short of horrific.
I can hardly believe that it’s been almost a year since we set off on our travel adventure. The memory of getting on that one-way flight to New Zealand last March with a new, uncertain life of indefinite travel ahead of us is still so vivid to me.  When we first set out I thought that we’d be able to explore the main sites of each country within a few weeks or a month, tick that country off our list of places to go and move on. I was completely wrong; instead we’ve left almost every single country we’ve visited wanting to come back and see more of it in the future.