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Living in Thailand on 500 dollars a month
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Getting around Pattaya is pretty easy and it doesn't cost that much either. The most common way people get around Pattaya is by Baht Bus. These are basically pickup trucks with bench seats running along each side of the truck bed. A canopy covering the bed of the truck keeps the sun and rain off of you. The fare in most places is just 10 baht. The fare for longer distance like between Jomtien and Pattaya is 20 baht. Be careful if you ask the driver if he is going to a certain place he may think you are hiring him as a taxi and the fare is much more for taxi than that of a baht bus. If you want to hire one as a taxi just flag one down, preferably one with no other passengers on it. Tell the driver where you want to go and be sure you both agree and understand the fare before getting on, otherwise there can be big surprises when getting to your destination.
Just say no to green whiskey!
For point A to point B travel, you cant beat motor bike taxi, it is the fastest way to get there. There are no real fixed rates for motorbike taxi so you need to agree on a fare up front before you depart. The reason they are faster to get around town on is cars and trucks are pretty much confined to the road but motorbike taxi can go everywhere, even a sidewalk is fair for the motorbike. When traffic is tied up the motorbikes are weaving in and out of every gap there is. While the cars are stopped the motorbikes are still moving. The drawback of using a motor bike taxi is that it can be dangerous. Everyday there are numerous accidents involving motorbikes, most of them are just minor but there are many that are very serious and some are even fatal.
Motor bike rental can be had for around 100 to 200 baht per day with prices going down to just under 100 baht per day if you rent by the month. You will need at least a copy of your passport or a thai drivers license to rent one. You will be responsible for any dings or scratches so look the bike over along with the owner before hand to point out any preexisting damage even some snapshots with your camera phone can help. As mentioned above motor bike can be dangerous, be sure of your ability to control one of these things. Driving a motor bike in Thailand requires quick reflexes and lots of agility. Most road rules as we know them are ignored by the locals and doing things like riding on the wrong side of the road are commonplace. I have a lifetime of experience on motorcycle but I admit I was terrified the first time riding motorbike in Pattaya. My best advice is to at least watch how they drive here for a few months. Everything you know about driving from back home can land you in the hospital here. Expect, the unexpected is the rule of road survival here in the land of smiles.
Car rental cost from 800 baht per day and can go as high as 5,000 a day for a luxury sedan, the average is about 1,000 to 2,000 Baht. The requirements for renting a car are about the same as motor bike. Along with the size increase over a motor bike also comes an increase in liability, be sure the car has full coverage insurance before you rent it. If you are involved in an accident and there are any serious injuries, the police may opt to arrest you pending their investigation of which could take up to a month. If you have first class insurance it will usually include bonding for such incidences and it could keep you from ending up in jail. One other point about driving in Thailand is that if you are involved in an accident any accident, fault will most likely be pinned on you because you are non Thai. This fact that it will most likely be your fault is something I don't like about Thailand but you got to take the good with the bad.
The big busses for long haul travel are great, they are cheap and comfortable. The fare from Pattaya to bangkok is about 120 Baht or 4 dollars. Busses bound for Bangkok from Pattaya leave every twenty minutes during the day. I like these big busses because I can sit back and leave the driving to someone else. The bus system is very well developed and you can travel to most anywhere in Thailand this way.
Trains are also a very popular way to travel. The cost of travel by train is very reasonable. I love travel by train for its comfort and roominess. If you like to take snapshots like I do then train is a great way to go. Trains have their own route so their are many more photo opportunities along the way. A first class sleeper cabin for the long haul is very comfortable and very affordable.
Most of the bigger cities in Thailand are served by air. Again the fares are very reasonable and travel to almost anywhere in Thailand can be reached within an hour. You can get to the airport from Pattaya for just 130 Baht through Bell Travel. They have an extensive website with online booking so you can be sure to get a seat on the day of your flight. Also they can pick you up or deliver you to your hotel for a total price of 240 Baht all included. In my opinion this is the best deal around for the budget minded traveller. Here is the link to their website Bell Travel Bon Voyage.
For more imformation on transportation between Pattaya and the airport see my page on Getting to and from the airport.
Motor Bike Taxi, fast, cheap and scary
Motor Bike Rental
The Big Busses
1960s Vespa scooter
Grounded Boeing 747
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