If you’re planning a trip around Thailand, one of the key concerns will be how you get from one point to another. Whether you’re travelling from Bangkok to Pattaya or from Phuket to Chiang Mai, there are two main choices available: road or air. If you are looking for the ultimate in convenience, this means either chartering a private plane or arranging for a personal taxi or minivan. Regardless of your route, travelling by air will be smarter for a number of reasons.
Thailand’s Road Safety
As has been proven time and time again, Thailand is a country with an atrocious road safety record. In 2014, the University of Michigan conducted a survey looking at road accidents worldwide. Thailand was listed as the second most dangerous nation with 44 deaths per 100,000 people. This is well above the global average of 18 fatalities within the same population group.
Drivers in Thailand have been known for their reckless actions on the road. Even if your own driver is safe, travelling by car, taxi or minivan will still put you at risk of other vehicles which may crash into you for a number of reasons including driver intoxication, dangerous speeds, micro-naps, etc.
Safety in the Air
On the other hand, Thailand’s regional airlines have to satisfy internationally recognised safety standards in order to remain operational. There have been no accidents with fatalities involving aircraft since 2009 anywhere throughout the country. This is despite 1,300 flights per day coming out of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airports in Bangkok alone.
These safety standards are especially well protected with airlines offering private executive charter options. In these firms, the required Air Operating Licence (AOL) has to be obtained and pilots are required to have plenty of experience with both single and multi-engine planes in the air.
Thailand Growing Infrastructure
As Thailand is a developing nation, its land infrastructure is in a state of flux, moving from gravel roads to paved highways. While major routes are now fully accessible, those traveling to other, lesser-known destinations will still have to journey down roads which may have potholes, landslides, insufficient lighting or other dangers.
These risks are compounded by the fact that these road journeys can take a very long time. Major urban centres such as Bangkok suffer from heavy traffic which can be gridlocked at peak times. Road accidents and construction can also cause delays for your trip.
Air travel eliminates all of these issues except for the drive to the airport. Once passengers are in the air though, they can be at their destination very shortly. The longest flight within Thailand, from Hat Yai to Chiang Mai takes two hours. Compare this to the estimated 18 hours that this same journey will take by road and you can see why flying is recommended.
As well as being safer, air travel is also far more practical for those visiting Thailand. For this reason, we advise taking a plane instead of booking a car or van for your next journey here.