Holiday bus tickets escaping Bangkok close to selling out

More than 90% of bus tickets heading out of Bangkok for the holidays on December 28 and 29 had been sold by yesterday evening.

Most advance bookings are for travel to Chiang Mai, Nakhon Phanom in the Northeast and Hat Yai in the South.

Sanlak Panwatanalikit, managing director of the state transport company, said Thursday that about 55,000 passengers will use the company’s buses and vans to escape Bangkok each day, an increase of about 5% over last New Year.

In an attempt to cope with demand, Sanlak said the company has sought permission to supplement the company’s bus fleet by allowing private companies to operate 600 buses and vans on company routes.

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He advised passengers to buy tickets from the company’s ticket booths at bus terminals only, to avoid being cheated, and to arrive at bus terminals 2-3 hours in advance.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects domestic tourism to generate 3 million trips during the New Year holiday, drawing in 11 billion baht (US$300 million), with the northern region posting occupancy as high as 78%.

Countdown celebrations in 12 provinces are poised to stimulate 4.2 billion baht (US$120 million) for local economies.

From December 31 to January 2, 560,000 trips are expected to the northern provinces as travellers seek cold weather and mountainous destinations.

Cool weather in the north and northeast is seen as the most favourable factor to attract families, groups of friends and couples, while the eastern provinces are packed with man-made attractions and various activities for tourists of every age.

Eastern provinces benefit from the short distance to Bangkok and lower costs compared with other regions.

Excluding Bangkok, the top five destinations for domestic tourists are Chon Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen and Rayong. Most Thais tend to choose these destinations as they can travel by car, which can save on costs and time.

However, domestic tourism still faces challenges, with sluggish spending stemming from high household debt, soaring inflation and volatile energy prices.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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