People regularly ask us about ways to book inexpensive domestic flights. By now, we’ve made our fair share of domestic flights, most of which cost us less than 20 dollars. Finding the best ticket prices is pretty easy; here’s how to do it!
The benefits of flying domestically in Thailand
Flying domestically in Thailand is very cheap – it’s hard to imagine money being an issue. You can travel to the other side of the country for a mere 20 bucks. Especially if you book well in advance!
If you’re in Thailand for a short period, domestic flights are the perfect way to get a good sense of the country. But, every now and again, if you’re not starved for time (like us), being able to get from A to B quickly and in comfort, is quite nice as well.
I’m sure you’re very curious to find out how to book one of those cheap domestic flights. Well, we’re about to tell you!
How to find the cheapest domestic flights
After many hours of research and taking several domestic flights, we concluded that the best place to book them cheaply is through Skyscanner.
Six airline companies operate within Thailand. Skyscanner searches them all and then shows you which flight’s the cheapest.
One handy feature is their monthly search option, which allows you to see the cheapest day to fly, at a glance. For instance, it took us less than one minute to find this $13 plane ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai!
Click here to try it yourself.
Cheapest domestic flights we could find
Not only can you fly cheaply from Bangkok to the north (Chiang Mai), but to anywhere else in Thailand as well. Below is a list of the cheapest domestic flights leaving from Bangkok we could find:
- Bangkok – Chiang Mai: from $15 →
- Bangkok – Chiang Rai: from $15 →
- Bangkok – Chumphon (for Koh Tao): from $36 →
- Bangkok – Hat Yai (for Koh Lipe): from $15 →
- Bangkok – Koh Samui: from $85 →
- Bangkok – Krabi: from $13 →
- Bangkok – Phuket: from $15 →
- Bangkok – Sukhothai: from $47 →
- Bangkok – Surat Thani (for Koh Samui): from $15 →
- Bangkok – Trat (for Koh Chang): from $81 →
- Bangkok – Ubon Ratchathani: from $15 →
- Bangkok – Udon Thani: from $15 →
Another convenient website
Another piece of practical advice when it comes to booking transport is to check out 12Go Asia, the most reliable place for the latest up-to-date information on bus, train, plane and boat tickets.
You’ll encounter many of the same flights as you would on Skyscanner; some a little more expensive, others a little cheaper.
Try it yourself at 12Go.Asia.
Airlines in Thailand
Various airlines in Thailand fly domestically. There are low-cost carriers like Air Asia, Nok Air, and Thai Lion Air and then there are the more high-end, luxury airlines such as Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways, and Thai Smile Airways.
We usually book based on flight times (preferably early in the morning), the price and, because every airline has its own set of rules concerning luggage check-in, the terms and conditions.
Baggage allowance for checked bags:
|Bangkokair.com||Free up to 20 kg|
|Airasia.com||THB 334 up to 15 kg|
|Nokair.com||THB 525 up to 15 kg|
|Lionairthai.com||Free up to 15 kg|
|Thaiairways.com||Free up to 30 kg|
|Thaismileair.com||Free up to 20 kg|
FAQ’s on Domestic Flights in Thailand
1. When’s the best time to book?
That depends on what time of the year you’ll be traveling and on how flexible you want to be during your trip.
If you’re traveling during the high season (December 15 – February 15, plus the month of July) or on public holidays, we would recommend booking your domestic flight as early as possible, meaning anywhere between two and six months in advance. Flights around this time tend to fill up quickly which in some cases leads to price increases often times the original amount.
If you’re staying in Thailand for a short while, like two weeks for instance, and your travel schedule is more or less fixed, then booking a ticket a few months in advance is cheaper.
In case you have more time at your disposal and don’t need to stick to a fixed travel plan, it’s better to book your ticket on the spot. We usually don’t even start looking for domestic flights until about 1 or 2 weeks before flying, even if we’re already certain of our travel dates!
2. Should I book online or through a travel agent?
Booking online is the cheapest option, but also takes more time and effort. Moreover, you often need a credit card to pay for the flight.
So if you’re on a tight schedule or don’t feel like comparing all the flight times and prices with each other, booking at a travel agent can be a viable option.
This can be done both in Thailand and in your home country. Any travel agent should be able to produce an overview of all Thai domestic flights quickly. One downside, however, is the fact that lots of travel agents work with “preferred” airlines with which they have agreements on pricing and sales commission. Also, you’ll be paying a booking fee, which means that booking via a travel agent is the more expensive of the two options.
3. How much time in advance do you need to be at the airport?
Make sure you’re at the airport at least two hours before departure so you won’t need to rush around.
You can still check into domestic flights up to one hour before departure.
4. I don’t own a credit card. Can I still book online?
Yes, you can, but not with every airline.
For example, Air Asia has something called the “Counter Service Option” which allows you to pay for your flight at the 7-Eleven, a local supermarket. This will cost about 50 baht extra. For more information, click here.
Payment at the 7-Eleven (30 baht extra) is also possible with Nok Air, who’ll also allow you to pay through affiliated banks and even through various ATMs (20 baht extra). For more information, click here.
Note: payment with someone else’s credit card is not possible! At check-in, you’ll need to show the credit card you paid with, and it has to have your name on it.
5. Is it safe to book with these airlines?
Each of the abovementioned Thai airlines is a reliable company that uses modern planes. So you can travel with them without concern.
The online payments are secure as well. All of these companies’ digital payment environments are secured, and your personal and credit card information is protected.
6. Is there an overview of airports in Thailand?
Yes, there is! Below is a map of all the most frequented airports (by tourists) in Thailand.
Our final tip
Don’t become fixated on a single destination. For instance, in the country’s south, there are several airports really near each other, and flight prices can vary considerably from one airport to another.
If you wish to travel from Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand to the country’s south, then search for Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, Hat Yai and Koh Samui. There’s bound to be a super cheap flight to the south in there somewhere!
Questions? Remarks? Let us know!