Communication networks in Thailand are under continuous development, through linkages of various transport modes and networks, both domestic and international, to make transport systems more efficient and traffic routes more convenient, with the aim of pushing Thailand to the forefront of transportation and traffic in the region.

The rapidly developing transportation system is another mechanism moving the Thai economy forward, as both Thai people and foreign tourists find that both their day-to-day movements and cross-country travels are becoming more manageable, while the transportation system is able to accommodate and attract more businesses and investments from Thai as well as foreign entrepreneurs.

Air (Airports/Airlines)

Thailand’s national airport is Suvarnabhumi Airport, east of Bangkok, which officially opened in September 2006. It occupies an area of about 2,000 rai, or 800 acres. Presently, Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, and has been selected as one among the world’s 10 best airports.

Thailand now has 28 airports for commercial flights, nine of them international airports handling international flights, as listed in the table below.

The national airline is Thai Airways International (THAI), which started operation in 1960, operating both domestic and international services. Other airlines in service are Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Air Asia, SGA (Siam General Aviation), One-Two-Go (operated by Orient Thai Airlines), Orient Thai Airlines, Happy Air, and SkyStar Airways.

Airports in Thailand
International airports Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok), Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai (Songkhla), Krabi, U Taphao (Rayong), Samui (Surat Thani), Surat Thani, and Udon Thani
Main airports Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, and Songkhla
Domestic airports  
Northern and northwestern regions Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok, Mae Hong Son, Pai (Mae Hong Son), Lampang, Sukhothai, Nan, and Mae Sot (Tak)
Central and eastern regions Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, U Taphao, and Trat
Northeastern region Khon Kaen, Nakhon Phanom, Buri Ram, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani, and Ubon Ratchathani
Southern region Krabi, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Phuket, Samui (Surat Thani), Surat Thani, and Hat Yai (Songkhla)

Highways (ETA/BMCL)

The road system in Thailand, which comprises major public highways, is open to transport and communication. National highways are the main routes in networks linking regions, provinces, and districts, while special highways such as toll ways and motorways have a minimum of junctions and allow traffic to flow at higher speeds.

Major highways in Thailand
Highway No. 1 Main highway – Phahonyothin Road
Highway No. 2 Main highway – Mittraphap Road
Highway No. 3 Main highway – Sukhumvit Road
Highway No. 4 Main highway – Phetchkasem Road
Highway No. 5 Special inter-city highway from Bangkok to the North
Highway No. 6 Special inter-city highway from Bangkok to the Northeast (Motorway Bang Pa-in – Nakhon Ratchasima)
Highway No. 7 Special inter-city highway from Bangkok to the East (Motorway Bangkok – Chon Buri)
Highway No. 8 Special inter-city highway from Bangkok to the South
Highway No. 9 Special highway – Outer Ring Road, Bangkok – Kanchanaphisek Road

The public transport system in Thailand takes several forms, such as motorcycles (for short distances along side streets), buses, air-conditioned buses, minivans, taxis, and tuk-tuks, a popular three-wheeled, covered motorcycle.

Inter-city bus terminals in Bangkok
Mo Chit Bus Terminal Destinations in the central, northern, and northeastern regions
Ekamai Bus Terminal Destinations in the eastern region
New Southern Bus Terminal Destinations in the southern region

Moreover, public transport is available on international routes to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic – from the bus terminals in Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, and Nakhon Ratchasima to Vientiane; from the terminal in Ubon Ratchathani to Pakse, Champasak province; and from Mukdahan to Savannakhet.

Rail (SRT/MRT/BTS/Orient Express)

By far the largest segment of the rail transport system in Thailand comprises the national railways operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). In Bangkok there are also electric trains for commuters: the “skytrain,” the subway, and the Airport Link. The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS), or skytrain, and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), which is the subway, are electric train systems in central Bangkok and the perimeter, whereas the electric train linking Suvarnabhumi Airport (Airport Link) is a special project to facilitate those traveling to and from Suvarnabhumi Airport, using highspeed electric trains.

The electric trains operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly referred to as the “skytrain,” run along two routes:

Route Station Interchange / connection
Sukhumvit Mo Chit MRT, Chatuchak Station, Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Route
  Saphan Khwai  
  Sanam Pao  
  Victory Monument  
  Phaya Thai Airport Link, Phaya Thai Station
  Siam BTS, Silom Route
  Chit Lom  
  Phloen Chit  
  Asok MRT, Sukhumvit Station, Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Route
  Phrom Phong  
  Thong Lo  
  Phra Khanong  
  On Nut  
Silom National Stadium  
  Siam BTS, Sukhumvit Route
  Sala Daeng MRT, Silom Station, Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Route
  Chong Nonsi  
  Taksin Bridge Sathon Pier
  Krung Thon Buri  
  Wongwian Yai  

The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), or Bangkok Metro, which is the first subway in Thailand, operates one route at present, the Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Route, with 18 stations:

Station Interchange / connection
Hua Lamphong  
Sam Yan  
Silom BTS, Sala Daeng Station, Silom Route
Khlong Toei  
Queen Sirikit National Convention Center  
Sukhumvit BTS, Asok Station, Sukhumvit Route
Phetchaburi Airport Link, Makkasan Station
Rama IX  
Thailand Cultural Center  
Huai Khwang  
Lat Phrao  
Phahon Yothin  
Chatuchak Park BTS, Mo Chit Station, Sukhumvit Route
Kamphaeng Phet  
Bang Sue  

The Suvarnabhumi Airport electric train (Airport Link), which opened in August 2010, has eight stations:

Suvarnabhumi Airport  
Lat Krabang  
Ban Thap Chang  
Hua Mak  
Makkasan (City Air Terminal) MRT, Phetchaburi Station, Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Route
Phaya Thai BTS, Phaya Thai Station, Sukhumvit Route

Two types of service are offered on the Airport Link: trains on the Airport City Line (trains with blue markings) stop at eight stations, taking 28 minutes, and the Airport Express (red markings), operates high-speed trains that run non-stop from Makkasan Station to Suvarnabhumi Airport, taking only 15 minutes.

The traditional railway system operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), on the other hand, comprises five main routes that reach every corner of the country.

State Railway of Thailand system
Northern route From Hua Lamphong Central Station to Chiang Mai Station, Chiang Mai; and Sawankhalok Station, Sukhothai
Northeastern route From Hua Lamphong Central Station to Ubon Ratchathani Station, Ubon Ratchathani; Nong Khai Station, Nong Khai; and Chaturat Station, Chaiyaphum
Eastern route From Hua Lamphong Central Station to Aranyaprathet Station, Sa Kaeo; and Map Ta Phut Station, Rayong
Western route From Thon Buri Station to Nam Tok Station, Kanchanaburi; and Suphan Buri Station, Suphan Buri
Southern route From Thon Buri Station to Su-ngai Kolok Station, Narathiwat; Khiri Rat Nikhom Station, Surat Thani; Kantang Station, Trang; Nakhon Si Thammarat Station, Nakhon Si Thammarat; Hat Yai Junction, Songkhla; and Padang Besar Station in Malaysia

Apart from the regular train service, which takes passengers to neighboring countries – such as from Hat Yai to Padang Besar in Malaysia, or from Nong Khai, across the Friendship Bridge to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic – there is another train system to neighboring countries with special, luxurious compartments: the Orient Express, known also by its full name, the Eastern & Oriental Express, is the most pleasurable and comfortable way to travel, in personal sleepers complete with washrooms. The service is available on three main routes, namely Bangkok – Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Vientiane, and Bangkok-Singapore.

Waterway Transport

The waterway transport system in Thailand is in two types, for travel and for freight. The most important port for freight is the Laem Chabang Deep Sea Port, which is a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. Next is the Bangkok Port, for the Central Region. Chiang Saen Port is significant for the North, as a gateway to trade with southern China, while Ranong Port is important for the Andaman coastal area.

There are several major ports in Thailand: Bangkok Port (Khlong Toei), Chiang Saen Port, Chiang Khong Port, Ranong Port, Laem Chabang Port, Pattani Port, Phuket Port, Sattahip Port, Songkhla Port, and Map Ta Phut Port.

Moreover, waterway journeys for visitors and everyday people are common in Thailand, in various forms and for every purpose, such as commuting to and from work, cruising along rivers and canals, or crossing to popular islands such as Ko Samet and Ko Lipe, and shuttle boats across canals or rivers, particularly the Mekong River, the Chao Phraya River, or Saen Saep canal in Bangkok.