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Cha-Am: general information

How to go to Cha-Am

Assuming you're travelling from Bangkok, you can go to Cha-Am by train, by bus, by minivan, by car or even by plane. Prices and time schedules can change frequently, so even if we try our best to give you fresh information, you should always check directly at the train, bus or minivan stations.


 

Quick links:
 Going by train
 Going by minivan
 Going by bus
 Driving instructions from Bangkok to Cha-Am and back (with pictures of roadsigns)
 NEW New bus liaison between Bangkok international airport (Suvarnabhumi) and Hua Hin

 

By train

Southbound trains leave from Hualamphong station in Bangkok 13 times daily between 8:05 and 22:50. Whereas most trains stop to Hua Hin, only two trains, 9:20 and 15:35, stop at Cha-Am (respectively at 13:10 and 19:42).

You can go to Hualamphong station in Bangkok by bus or by taxi, but also with the subway (the MRT), which is very convenient during rush hours.

New: a train heading to Prachuap Khiri Khan is also leaving from Bang Sue (in the north of Bankok, near Chatuchak market) at 12:45 and stops in Cha-am at 17:23.

 Display the railway schedule: from Bangkok to south - from south to Bangkok (in Thai and in English, last update September 2013)

 Click here to locate Hualamphong train station with Google Maps

 State Railway of Thailand (online booking available)


 

Arriving in Cha-Am

When you arrive in Cha-Am, you will find taxis and moto-taxis who can take you to your hotel or to the beachfront. It's quite a long walk to the beach (2 kilometers), but if you're up to it, walk straight in the direction of the sign that says "Welcome to Cha-Am". You will pass the police station and post office on your left, then you will arrive at the main intersection of Cha-Am. Cross the road at the traffic lights and keep on walking straight to the beach.

 For more information on means of transportation available in Cha-Am, see our page: Getting around


From Cha-Am to Bangkok

The train to Bangkok, according to the official schedule, stops at Cha-Am at 14:33 and arrives in Bangkok at 19:00. Most likely, the train will stop at Cha-Am around 15:00, and you will arrive in Bangkok around 19:30! So it's quite a long journey: 4.5 hours, while it takes only a bit more than 2 hours by road. This is because the train stops often, and takes a longer road northwards (through Ratchaburi and Nakhon Pathom). You can't beat the price though, as it is only 40 baht (3rd class).

You can also catch an early morning train at 04:45, and arrive in Bangkok at 9:00. Please check the official schedule at the train station for confirmation, and don't forget that the trains in Thailand are often late.

New: a train leaving Prachuap Khiri Khan at 4:51 stops in Cha-am at 6:41 and takes you to Bang Sue (in the north of Bankok, near Chatuchak market) at 11:10. From Bang Sue you can take the MRT (underground subway) to downtown Bangkok.


Cha-Am train station.

BAN CHA-AM is the exact name of the station.


Train #262 from Cha-Am to Bangkok.

In the train (class 3).

Pros and cons

Pros: the train is safe, cheap, and you can enjoy the scenery. The station in Bangkok can be reached easily.
Cons: only two trains a day stop in Cha-Am, the trains are not always on time and it's not the fastest way to travel.

By bus

Buses leave from the new Sai Tai (Southern Terminal) station, in Talling Chan, outside of Bangkok. So first you have to go to the bus station, either by taxi, or by bus if you are on a budget. If you live or stay in downtown Bangkok (that is to say the old town, Banglamphu, Khao San Road or Chinatown), then the station can be reached rather quickly, but if you are on Silom or Sukhumvit, depending on the time of the day you can lose quite some time in the traffic.

The new bus station is very nice and offers a whole range of restaurants, shops and facilities (much more, actually, than the disastrous new airport). The buses themselves are quite comfortable (air-conditioned), but the normal buses hardly ever leave on time, as they leave only when they are full or almost full, so you can easily lose an hour waiting at the station. If you want to make sure the bus leaves on time, you have to book a seat in a VIP bus.

Reservations can be made in advance at the station or through a travel agency, but it is usually not necessary. In theory, the buses depart every 30 minutes, from 4:00 am to 10:20 pm.

The new Southern Bus Station opened at the end of year 2007, so if you want to locate it on a map, please be aware that some maps still show the old location (which is a few kilometers away, closer from Bangkok).

 Click here to locate the new Southern Bus Station with Google Maps


In Cha-Am the buses stop at the main traffic lights junction (this is the junction between Phetkasem Road and Narathip Road).


The ticket office in Cha-Am.

The time schedule to Bangkok.

Pros and cons

Pros: buses depart frequently, they are quite comfortable and fast.
Cons: the Southern bus station may not be convenient to reach, depending on where you stay in Bangkok.

By minivan

Minivans (minibuses) start from Victory Monument, which is on the BTS line (Skytrain). Make sure you take exit #2 and you will find the minivans down the station. Typically they can accommodate up to 14 people including the driver. The cost is 160 baht, and it takes a bit more than two hours to reach Cha-Am. The first minivan leaves at 5:00 am and the last one at 8:00 pm. Minivans leave only when they are full or almost full, so depending on the moment of the day, you may have to wait a little. The space available for luggage is quite small, so if you have big suitcases it's not convenient (you can also be charged - 100 baht per piece of luggage).


Go to Victory Monument with the BTS.

Exit #2.

The minivans can be seen from above the station.

The "ticket office".

From Cha-Am to Bangkok

There are several minivan services in Cha-am. The first one is on Narathip road, next to the clinic of Doctor Samran, almost opposite to the Family Mart. They go to Victory Monument for 160 baht, every 30 minutes from 05:00 to 19:00 (or 20:00 on week-ends).

The second one is on the left side of Phetkasem road when going to Bangkok, near the 7/11, between the bus ticket office and an optician. We wrote about it in our blog. The price is the same, 160 baht, but they go to Victory Monument (04:30-19:30, every 30 minutes), Mo Chit (07:00-18:00 every 1 hour) and southern bus station (05:00-20:00 every 30 minutes). They also have a service to Nakhon Pathom (06:00-18:00 every 1 hour, 140 baht) and Pattaya (06:30-18:30 every 2 hours, 350 baht).

The third minivan service is on the right side of Narathip road when going down to the beach, near the Friday market. The price is still the same, 160 baht to Bangkok, from 04:30 to 20:30, every one hour. They also go to Ratchaburi (05:00-19:30, 120 baht) and Nakhon Pathom (05:00-19:30, 140 baht).

Finally a fourth service can be found in soi Bus Station (the soi where all the bars are). They go to Victory Monument (07:00-17:30 every 30 minutes) and to the new southern bus station (07:00-17:30 every one hour). As you've already guessed the price is the same, 160 baht.


A minivan on Phetkasem road.

The ticket counter on Phetkasem road.

The ticket counter near Doctor Samran's clinic.

The ticket counter near the Friday market.

Pros and cons

Pros: not expensive, fast and convenient, as Victory Monument can be reached easily by the Skytrain.
Cons: little space available for luggage, not comfortable, some drivers drive fast, pause for gas can take a long time.

By taxi

A taxi from Bangkok airport to Cha-Am will cost you around 2,000 baht. It's convenient when going to Cha-am directly from the airport, or back, as the airport is not serviced by buses or minivans to/from Cha-am or Hua Hin. It's a bit expensive, but you can share the cost if travelling with a party.

Pros and cons

Pros: you can go to Cha-Am directly from Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok airport).
Cons: expensive.

By car

The road from Bangkok to Cha-Am is not particularly nice until you reach Samut Songkhram, then it gets much better. You can get out of Bangkok by Rama IX bridge, then follow Rama II road until you reach road #4 (Phetkasem) which goes down south. From the airport, take Kanchanaphisek road (the eastern outer ring) and exit on Rama II. Drving from Bangkok to Cha-am usually takes around two hours.

If you have never driven in Thailand and you consider renting a car, please be aware that driving in Thailand may be a lot different than driving in your own country. You will have to deal with reckless drivers, confusing roadsigns, people or animals crossing the highway, trucks overtaking each others, unpredictable [sic] policemen... You need to have a good knowledge and experience of this country, and also a good deal of patience and "chay yen yen", in order to be able to drive without risking a heart attack every five kilometers.

 Click here to see the route in details (indications and pictures of roadsigns)


Pros and cons

Pros: you have the confort and privacy of your own car.
Cons: traffic can be hectic, so it's hardly ever a stress free experience, especially if you are new to Thailand or if you are not a confident driver.

By plane

There is an airport in Hua Hin, and Thai Regional Airlines is operating five weekly flights from/to Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi). It's a 35 minutes flight, everyday except Tuesday and Thursday, departure from Bangkok at 09:50 am. Return flight departs at 13:30 from Hua Hin.

 Click here to visit Thai Regional Airlines' website


Pros and cons

Pros: scenic flight, departure from Suvarnabhumi.
Cons: it's a bit expensive and it takes some time to get to the airport and go through the security checks, so in the end you don't save much time.



 
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