Friday, 17 October 2014

Bus lines in Thailand

Bus lines in Thailand

When preparing my recent trip to Roi Et, I found on pictures from a previous visit that there is a bus line Roi Et – Phon Tong which I could take to get to Wat Ban Non Sawan.

Subsequent search on the internet in English and Thai revealed that there is no official list of bus lines. You can find tables (English / Thai) by bus operators and there are lists (Thai) made by individuals in forums (see links below).

In Bankgok, there is a bus map and a list of lines with stops and a website. For vans, I once had such a list in my hands in a bookshop, didn’t buy it, and then forgot where and how (now I always take at least a picture with my phone when I come across an interesting book or map).

In the following post a list of some lines I came across on my recent Khon Kaen and Roi Et trip (take pictures of buses and timetables and information on ticket counters).

Apart from that, I have to use my experience to figure out if there might be a line that goes past a place I want to visit, leaving just a few km to walk or hitchhike from main road. Knowledge of Thai geography or a map help as well, to get from Roi Et to Phon Tong, you can take the bus that goes from Khon Kaen to Mukdahan!

Some generalizations: If the town is big enough to have its own bus system (Phuket, Ubon Ratchathani), they start numbering from 1. Buses to and from Bangkok usually have two digits. Buses (usually big bus) between provinces have three digits. Buses (usually small bus, van or songtheo) within a province usually have 4 digits.

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC


  1. 2 Posts in a row on bus lines and time tables. What an exciting life you lead.

  2. Anonymous above, may be you should start travelling around the country like Christian does so you may find that this kind of information is hard to find and comes handy in ones hour of need.

    Dispersing snarky remarks as blog's comments doesn't count as exciting life either IMHO
    Thank you Christian for trying to systematize Thai bus system

  3. no dear , its different. There IS a very complex system of national bus-route nrs and there is some in Thai only publication about it. Its definitely only for those insider-knowledge.
    Roytes BETWEEN provinces are nrd 1-998, and those to BKK from 1-110 and then from 901 up, in blocks for various regions.
    Those in 1xx are for north, 2xx Isan, 3xx central TH, 4xx for south TH, but the system ran out and then they started using new blocks. 5xx is for routes North-Isan etc, 8xx again more for south.
    Routes IN provinces and between amphoe are nbrd from 1001 up to somewhere in the 6xxx. However, as every few years provinces get teared apart-the route nrs thus also have to chnage.
    Routes wholly IN amphoe are nrd (nr of chiangwat, 23 for Cholburi) then from .001 op-but most only show that last 1, these are not licensed by the ministry but by the chaingwats.
    THus in theory a busroute nr can tell already a lot about where that bus is likely going and how far. No other country has such a tought out system. In old socialist times some east-block communist countries had something similar.

    1. Thank you very much for clarification.

  4. the VANs in BKK are in some of the JPNese magazines for free in Kinokuniya orZEN But they change so often, its impoosible to keep up.
    Also the TAT in many local chiangwats have booklets in Thai only for tourists with lists of most buslines. Often these are well out of date though.
    Thai just ask-or most routes are for those living near them anyway so they know.
    And I just arrived back in steamy BKK yesterday for the cool season to come soon now.

    1. I did look for these magazines (for a map for vans around Victory Monument, see earlier post) in vain (the magazines in Japanese are there, but there was no map or list in them).

  5. Bus station is not the place where all public transport starts or ends or passes. Often, songtheos start/end at market/shopping center/other landmark and don't even pass bus station.


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