Assuming you’re travelling from Bangkok, you can go to Cha-Am by train, by bus, by minivan or by car. 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.
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.
Pros: not much anymore since the minivans have been moved out of Victory Monument.
Cons: little space available for luggage, not comfortable, some drivers drive fast, pause for gas can take a long time, the minivans depart from the southern bus station in the western outskirts of Bangkok.
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 a bit more than 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.
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.
A taxi from Bangkok airport to Cha-Am will cost you around 2,500 to 3,000 baht. It’s a bit expensive, but you can share the cost if travelling with a party. Taxis used to be the only way to reach Cha-Am from the airport, but there is now a bus operating from Suvarnabhumi Intl to Hua Hin, and it stops in Cha-Am.
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. 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.
In Cha-Am the buses stop at the main traffic lights junction (this is the junction between Phetkasem Road and Narathip Road).
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.