Travel Agents in Thailand - Essential Information
There are more travel agents in areas of Thailand which have more foreign visitors, such as the main tourist resorts and cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Staff speak good English and often speak other European languages as well. These can help foreigners book local flights, reconfirm flight tickets, book bus or train tickets, arrange tours and excursions, advise on local tourist attractions, or sort out visas for other countries in South East Asia.
Flights can be arranged to many destinations in Thailand and South East Asia, and travel agents usually know of any special offers or discounts available. If you book ahead there are usually discounts on one-way air tickets on main routes. Thailand airlines have flights to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China and these can also be arranged through Thai travel agents. They can sort out visas for these places usually within a few days but sometimes a one-day express service is available. This tends to work out cheaper and less time-consuming than going round the embassies yourself as transport to and from the embassies usually makes up for any saving on the commission charged by the travel agent.
Most airlines require that you reconfirm your flight home a few days before departure. Thailand travel agents will usually do this for you for a small fee if you provide them with the information they need.
Private bus transport can be arranged through travel agents. These can sometimes be cheaper than the government air-con buses but are usually more expensive. VIP buses travel overnight and have more space and toilet facilities. Train tickets can also be booked and paid for at the travel agents - it is usually worth the commission charged for the convenience. Trains can get booked up, particularly over weekends and holidays, so unless you are travelling mid-week, it is worth booking the tickets in advance.
Travel agents can usually organise tours, trekking or specific activities for you. For instance, it is possible to book diving courses through travel agents - the price will usually cover transport and accommodation so can work out to be a good deal. There are agents for dive resorts around the Khao San Road area in Bangkok and these can arrange all-inclusive packages with transport to the dive resort included. Intense competition around Khao San Road tends to keep prices down but elsewhere it may be worth shopping around.