For those of you who don’t know me too well (and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s probably most of you reading this!), my preferred method of long-term transportation is either car (road trip, whoop!), plane or train.
It’s safe to say that I’m not the biggest fan of bus travel.
However, when we decided to travel from Krabi to Bangkok, the most affordable and convenient way to travel was on an overnight bus, so we made the commitment and booked our tickets online.
Krabi Bus Terminal
We arrived at Krabi Bus Terminal thanks to our minivan transfer from Koh Lanta with over three hours to spare.
When it comes to transport in Asia, I’d rather get there much earlier than you’re “supposed” to, so that we have plenty of time to eat and prepare somewhat for the journey ahead.
As always, I had my email confirmation ticket on my phone from Bookaway, but we soon realized that we needed a paper ticket too, so we headed to the front desk where we swiftly received printed copies of our tickets.
It seems to be quite a common theme in Thailand so far that the language barriers can prove to be a bit of an issue, especially when it comes to transport.
My best advice is just to practice patience and be wary of the fact that the people trying to help you are communicating in a second language that they don’t speak very well.
Patience is a virtue when traveling
After collecting our tickets, we lugged our 15kg backpacks to the restaurant inside the bus terminal where we were delighted to discover that they sold incredibly affordable food.
After a dish of chicken fried rice (40 baht, approximately $1.32) each and a strawberry shake (50 baht), a good few games of our favourite card game, a quick toilet break (3 baht), as well as a top up of snacks for the journey, we noticed that everyone had slowly started to board the bus at 4:45pm.
Traveling in style
Once we’d handed our bags over to the driver, who was placing them in the luggage compartment of the bus, it was time to check out our digs for the next 12+ hours!
Pro tip: remember to put a lock on your bag and keep all your valuables on your person. We’d heard that there have been issues with theft on buses in Thailand, but thankfully we experienced nothing of the sort on the VIP bus from Krabi to Bangkok.
We were so pleasantly surprised to discover that the overnight bus to Bangkok is something of a luxurious mode of transport.
After having only experienced smaller minivans so far in Thailand, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw huge reclining seats, blankets, built-in TVs into the backs of the chairs and a comfortable headrest.
Once everyone had boarded, a lovely Thai lady who was a member of the staff on-board the overnight bus came around and provided everyone with ample snacks including coconut biscuits, a sesame carton drink, bottled water and a can of cola; it was all very lush!
So far, so good
The bus was scheduled for departure at 5:20pm but actually departed at 5:30pm. However, as we were preparing for a lengthy 12-and-a-half-hour overnight journey, the slightly delayed departure time bared no significance to us!
We were seated on the top deck of the bus which was actually quite a novelty for us as we’d never been on a prolonged bus journey on the top deck before.
After settling into our seats for the next 12 hours, I got my laptop out and did some work for a couple of hours, before setting up my downloaded Netflix playlist on my phone and snuggling down with rerun episodes of Friends for hours on end.
Pro tip: There’s no Wi-Fi on the bus so if you’re looking to entertain yourself for a few hours with the likes of movies and TV shows on Netflix, make sure you’ve downloaded them beforehand!
Prepare your passports
At around 10:30pm, just as everyone was starting to get sleepy, there was a scheduled stop whereby several policemen boarded the bus and asked to see everyone’s ID and passports.
We weren’t actually aware that this was going to happen, so we were a little unnerved at the sudden arrival of police on board the bus!
However, it was over almost as soon as it began, and we were soon on our way again.
Stopping and starting
At 11pm, the bus stopped again for around 20 minutes where people were able to disembark from the bus to use the toilet and to purchase several snacks and drinks.
We decided to stay on the bus, however, as the arrival of police on board had unsettled us somewhat and we didn’t want to run the risk of the bus leaving without us, we used the on-board bus toilet instead!
If you can, I would seriously advise against using the bus’s toilet however as it’s very smelly and not too clean at all….
We presumed that the 11pm stop would be the final stop of the evening but unfortunately the bus must have stopped at least a dozen more times throughout the course of the night.
I’m still not entirely sure why the bus kept stopping, but it seemed to be every 20-30 minutes or so and the driver kept getting on and off.
Of course, when you’re trying to sleep, this was quite disturbing and being on the top deck of the bus, we were shaken around a lot, so we didn’t actually get too much sleep in the end.
We arrived at Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal right on time at 5:30am and quickly ordered a Grab to our hostel where we proceeded to sleep for the first few hours of our time in Bangkok!
The overnight bus from Krabi to Bangkok was a much better and more enjoyable experience for our first overnight bus than we could have hoped for and I wouldn’t hesitate to hop back on one again as we’re traveling through Southeast Asia!