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Travelling Solo: Five Things To KnowPage 32
Four Cocktails To Beat The Heat WithPage 56
Plan Vacations With A SmartphonePage 92+
GlobeTrotting: What Lies Above,
ACHIEVe a summer-ready body in just four weeks
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Youre going by taxi, sked the lady, Thats 200 Baht! Take songthaew 8. It costs nine Baht.
That was one of my first songthaew experiences in Khon Kaen, Thailand. When translated, songthaew means two rows, named by the two benches hammered into the modified pick-up truck. Each seats 12 and about eight more standing.
Main bus stations contain route information of songthaew services, but locals usually ask the songthaew drivers directly. While it doesnt offer first-class comfort, the songthaews system of operation is convenient. They are similar to buses, except that there are no designated stops. Commuters flag it down when they see one, and alight by pressing a bell. The driver then promptly stops along the road.
Fares are mostly fixed. Its five Baht for children, six for students, and nine for adults. After six pm, everyone pays a flat rate of nine Baht. Drivers can take you to your exact destination when there are no other passengers on board, but be prepared to pay slightly more.
The songthaew is a win-win for those who are game to try an alternate form of transport. You get to your destination for less than a tenth of a taxi fare, and venture to smaller roads and villages known only to locals.
TWO ROWS APART
Mastering one of Thailands lesser-known public transport systems
By ---------Vincent Lok
Songthaews are similar to buses,
except that commuters can alight whenever
they want along the specified route.
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