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There are many buses going everywhere
in Thailand. In almost all Thai cities, there is a terminal bus
In Bangkok there are four main terminal
bus stations (South, West, Northeast and North). The biggest one is
called "MOR CHIT" (หมอชีต).
The buses are leaving this terminal to go to Northeast area
or "ISAN" (อีสาน).
The old "MOR CHIT"
was well known for the permanent disorder.
There were traffic jams inside the bus terminal due to
the buses congestion. While passengers were waiting at a pier, the buses
arrived but it was impossible to know which bus it was due to the delay.
Only a man was shouting in a speaker in Thai language trying to help
In year 1999 a new "MOR CHIT" had been built.
It was built at the same place but it is more modern. It is a two-storey building
with air conditioning. It is bigger and cleaner.
Tickets for "ISAN" departures
(อีสาน - northeastern part of Thailand)
are at the second storey. Tickets for children are at the same price
as adults. During the week, no need to book in advance but before
festivals like "SONGKRAN", reservation is mandatory.
A real new "MOR CHIT" plot should
have begun in august 1996 but the project has
been delayed. The "MOR CHIT" project was designed as a central terminal
linking the skytrain, subway, provincial bus terminal, Bangkok public
buses, tollway, expressway and airport check-in facilities.
Sometimes, the bus luggage receiver
might ask for a 20 Baht fee to "take care" of them. It doesn't seem
to be an official practise. Anyway it guarantees that your luggages are
safe. The receiver and the driver might use this sum to
buy cigarettes or alcohol.
Bus ceiling can very colorful. It features storage, fans, lights and speakers.
Bus accidents happen because
bus drivers drive a lot and not always rest. Some of them use drugs
like amphetamines. Sometimes the police stops the bus and check it.
If only one driver is present, the bus is not authorised to continue
Ordinary buses, which go between
provincial towns do not have air conditioning. Ceiling fans function
only when the bus is running. Each time the bus leaves a town
then it drives slowly and honks to call for
customers. Those buses are really cheap but slow.
From Bangkok to provincial towns there
are VIP, Super VIP, Super VIP Deluxe autobus. There are several kind of
buses : air conditioning , non air conditioning, private companies and
also public companies. Buses always drive fast especially upcountry.
They often overtake slow cars and motorcycles. Even if the vehicle is on the
right lane, it better goes on the back-side of the road. Here the bigger car
has the priority. Sometimes there are even courses between bus drivers from
public and private companies.
In Super VIP deluxe only three seats per
row and seats can be tiltable like beds. Sometimes the driver does not hesitate
to cut a film during a projection when he considers it is time to sleep
or listen music very loudly.
In ordinary buses there are the driver and
the conductor who keeps the money. In buses with air conditioning an
hostess gives food and cold drinks when the buses left Bangkok. In the
morning she gives a paper towel to refresh one's face.
An astonishing experience is to take a bus during
"SONGKRAN" (สงกรานต์) feast.
This feast is also called "water festival". Thai people
splash each other. As the weather is very hot in April, it is
almost impossible to close the windows in ordinary buses, so
they are favorite targets.
Some provincial buses still have a floor
made of wood and seats are really narrow. For foreigners with long legs
it is really inconvenient for a long trip. When the bus stops in town center,
food sellers climb into the bus to offer their products. This buses are slow and
can stop everywhere. It happens that in exchange of a tip the driver accepts
to stop at a shop. A man buys a few rice bags and bargains the price.
The bus (and all passengers!) waits until he has finished.
The bus color depends on the journey. For budget travellers,
travelling in ordinary buses is a cheap solution.
In old Thai buses, which go between
provincial towns, the motor is under the seat of the conductor. When
bus stops and starts up again, the conductor makes a husky shout to
indicate to the driver that everything is OK.
In such buses, having a seat is never sure. Then the only way to travel
is to held firmly the bar in the back.
For night trip, a blanket is given to passengers.
Buses also stop in specific bus stations where passengers can have a rest and a
short meal. The meal is free for people having booked tickets.
The stop time is about 20 minutes.
In each town, there is a bus terminal (สถานีขนส่ง).
There is also a left luggage office.
For long trip, the receiver puts a sticker indicating the destination.
It allows the receiver to keep luggages in the bus chest depending on the destination.
But there is no luggage / owner check when reaching destination.
In case of full second class
("PO 2" - ป.2) bus,
stools are set in the middle row. When travelling during national holidays
(New Year or Songkran period), it
is recommended to book tickets in advance. If not, passengers might
have to sit on the stools or even stand up in case of many travellers.
Private buses are often decorated with colorful images.
At the beginning or at the end of the Buddhist lent period, during events such as
candle offering (ถวายเทียนพรรณษา)
or clothes offering (ทอดกฐิน),
laypeople rent several private buses in order to tour and support financially
poor and remote Buddhist temples.
Buses often display complex fantasy themes often incorporating Korean,
Thai, Japanese manga and Disney characters.
Talented airbrush artists are blinging tourist coaches.
Designs can cost an owner between 40 000 and 70 000 baht.
This Thai tourist coach is blinged to the maximum and has all the trimmings
including rows of floodlights and shiny reflectors.
In year 2011 the Thai Government was concerned regarding
painted and colorful buses as they could be dangerous for other drivers.
The Thai Transportation Department issued a warning to bus companies
to avoid too coloful buses as it could distract other drivers and cause
If buses are too colorful or include too many logos, it could
generate visibility reduction and distraction for other drivers.
Nowadays many private buses and coaches look like amazing colorful mobile
Such painted and colorful buses are not allowed in public sector.
Colorful double decker private coaches near River Kwai bridge, Kanchanaburi.