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Thailand is a wonderful hitchhiking country - but you have to be persistent. People are not familiar with the concept of hitchhiking and they always want to drop you off at a bus station.
Hitchhiking in Thailand
Hitchhiking in Thailand is relatively simple and safe, on the contrary to what some people might tell you. Using the usual protocol of standing with your thumb out, where traffic is slow and leaving enough room for drivers to pull over is all you need to do. Prepare to spend a lot of time in the back of pick up trucks. By this I mean; bring a rain coat, some warm clothes (especially if hitching at night), a waterproof cover for your rucksack, even in the summer! There are wonderful experiences to be had hitch hiking in Thailand. In several cases, user haggismn was asked if he wanted a ride when simply walking on the path to a place to hitch from. Some people will also invite you to stay at their homes. Whilst people do not recommend it, sleeping outdoors is safe, especially where people do not often walk.
There are lots of motorbikes in Thailand, who are happy to pick up hitchikers. Remember it can be difficult if you're wearing a backpack and always ask/signal/mime if they have a spare helmet. Hitching you don't have to freeze in the buses and you can get acquainted with locals and some foreigners too. They don't ask money for the rides but if a someone not so rich offers you a long ride, it would be polite to offer him a lunch if you can afford it.
The nature of the Thai people makes Thailand a really good country to use a hitchhiking letter if you can't speak thai. You will often find yourself surrounded by locals who are willing to help you, but who are not familiarized with hitchhiking and cannot speak any English, which may lead to you being dropped at police offices or bus stations. The letter makes these situations much easier, and the hitchhiking in Thailand drastically faster.
Exception: the taxi mafia in the tourist areas such as Phuket
In some tourist areas like Phuket the taxi maffia is in charge. You have to specify at least 3 times that you are not going to pay. "No money", "no taxi", "free ride", rinse and repeat. guaka (talk) had a nasty experience with a guy who suddenly wanted 500 baht for a short ride. He then actually called the police. The corrupt police was actually ready to go to the police station so guaka (talk) settled with paying 400 baht (100 baht was not enough). (This was after 4 very nice rides across the island, including a free veggy dinner in a restaurant.)
See also http://phukettuktuks.com/
Entering & Leaving Malaysia is swift and easy. Because of traffic volume choose Bukit Ayer Hitam over Padang Besar for the western Side. There are two more border crossings at Betong and Sungai Kolok in the center and on the eastern side respectively. On the Malaysian side of Bukit Ayer Hitam border Craig found it easy to get a lift near immigration and parking .
- Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri
- Khon Kaen
- Nakhon Ratchasima
- Pattaya, Phuket
- Nong Khai
- Hat Yai
In Thailand, 1st & second class buses often have air conditioning - way too cold and you have to watch B-class movies on the video screen. On the other hand, local buses are often great value in order to exit big cities - and exciting if you're packed in with animals, bags & anything that will fit. In some instances, you may as a white person be denied access to local transit when there are more tourist-oriented buses available.
Another good option are 3rd class trains, which are really cheap (48 THB from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, which is 6 km from the Cambodian border). They might also be convenient to get to a good hitching spot when you're leaving Bangkok.
In addition, there are certain trains in Thailand that are free for Thai passengers (for example, the trains going from Udon Thani to Bangkok, and from Surat Thani to Hat Yai), and it is also possible to get onto them for free as a tourist. If you attract the attention of the train station officers, they might insist that you pay the tourist price for the ticket, but if you just get into the train no-one should bother you there. The hardest part is finding out which are these trains exactly and when they come without asking the train station officers, but the locals can probably help you with that.
Thai is a language with 6 tones.-->