The city limits (and slightly beyond) of Khon Kaen, although expanding, is still relatively
small enough to travel around without any serious problems. Cost and quality of transportation vary from the type
selected to the time of day.
The most common (and expensive) form of transportation in Khon Kaen is the tuk-tuk, Khon Kaen does
not have a taxi service. The best way to describe a tuk-tuk is a three-wheeled buggy with an engine. The tuk-tuk can be
a very convenient way to go, but be sure to set the price of the ride in advance. Some of the drivers take great pleasure
in overcharging both Thai and foreign riders at the end of the journey. This is not all drivers, there are many
that will charge an honest fare to your destination, but it has happened where a tuk-tuk has gone in circles and charged
an unsuspecting non-local rider 200 baht for the pleasure. Be warned that there are very few destinations in Khon Kaen
that will cost 200 baht, anything over 100-150 baht is too much.|
The average cost of
riding a tuk-tuk varies. Prices for a short ride within Khon Kaen city are around 20-40 baht. The price of a ride
outside the center of the city (North or South on the Mittraphrap Highway, to Khon Kaen University) will generally be
around 60-80 baht. Sometimes a driver may ask for 100 baht. The higher price is usually asked in the late evening, early
morning hours. Bartering the initial price asked is common practice, but don't undercut too much. The driver has to make
a living. 10 or 20 baht below what is asked is reasonable (they may not drop below the price asked). Tuk-tuk's are
available 24 hours a day.
Common sense plays an important role when riding in a
tuk-tuk. Obviously do not stick arms, legs, or head outside the passenger area. Be aware of your surroundings, traffic
in Thailand can be intense. Keep a close eye on the driver late at night or early in the morning, they tend to work a
lot of hours and have been known to sleep periodically while driving. They sometimes have had more to drink than the
passengers. And finally, enjoy the ride in one of Thailand's most interesting forms of transportation.
Air Conditioned Public Bus
Sam Lar (Three wheels)
Sam lars are three-wheeled tricycles with
a covered seat in the back that are powered by the individual driving them. Years ago, before the development of
tuk-tuks, they were the only way to get around town. Nowadays they tend to be a nuisance and very dangerous weaving in
and out of modern day traffic. Their prices tend to be slightly lower than tuk-tuk's, and really are not feasible
transportation in the ever-growing community. They should be avoided unless a photographic opportunity presents itself,
or you are very sure of your destination. For those driving at night in Khon Kaen be aware that Sam lars are quite
common and have no lights or reflective objects so they are extremely difficult to see.
Khon Kaen instituted the use of
government-endorsed air conditioned public buses in an attempt to help alleviate impending traffic problems in the downtown
area. This convenient and cheap form of transportation has not caught on with the local population as yet, but is probably
the best way to travel along certain planned routes throughout the city. The buses are easy to spot, they are the red buses
traveling the streets of Khon Kaen. There is a big number 14 in the front window, and the cost is 5 baht to ride. They can
be waved to stop at any location and normally stop at all bus stops along on their route. The red air con buses are a very
safe way to go and generally run from 5:00 AM until 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM. The time of the last bus depends on how late the
driver wants to work and if he wants to stop for a fare or not.
Songtaew's (also known as baht buses) are privately owned, government endorsed
pickup trucks that have two bench-style seats in the back and are covered in an attempt to keep out the elements. The
cheapest form of travel in Khon Kaen, there are at least 18 different routes (probably more) servicing the city. They are
distinguished by their color, being green, red, yellow, white & blue (yes, there are more). They can be waved to stop at any point along their
route, and the cost is 4 baht. Song tauw drivers generally have a total disregard for traffic laws and it can be an
interesting ride on them. Also at "rush hour" (6-7 AM, 6-7 PM) the trucks tend to be so over-loaded that the front
wheels bounce off the ground. Songtaew's run from 5:00 AM until 9:00 PM.
Songtaew routes can be confusing. Riders should look for a number on various parts of the bus to
determine their route. The number can be placed in more than one location, so finding the route number can be difficult.
Some trucks have only one number, which designates their route number, some have a route number followed by a number that
KhonKaen.com cannot determine the meaning of, some trucks have a route number followed by the route followed (in Thai).
As plainly as we can explain it (as it was explained to us), look for the leading/first number on the truck, it designates
the truck's route.|
Songtaew Route Maps:
Routes 2-9 Routes 10-16 Routes 17-21
When you arrive at the airport you can
purchase a 50 baht ticket for the Airport Limo that will take you to most addresses in Khon Kaen City. You can purchase your
ticket before you pick up your bags.
When you depart Khon Kaen you can purchase a 150
baht ticket to the airport. They will pick you up at most addresses inside Khon Kaen city.
The following hotels have limo service
to and from the airport during the 4 or flights that service Khon Kaen daily: Charoen Thani Princess Hotel, Kosa Hotel,