The Eastern Bus Terminal in Bangkok – located just off the Ekkamai BTS skytrain station – is one of the primary gateways to Thailand’s popular travel destinations on the eastern seaboard and the Cambodian border. Buses leave several times daily to Pattaya, Ban Phe (where the ferry leaves for Koh Samet), Trat and Laem Ngob pier (gateway to Koh Mak) and Arayaprtathet, the border crossing to Cambodia. The majority of buses leaving from Ekkamai are large buses although one company in particular also operates mini buses.
Buses come in two classes, 1st and 2nd with the differences being price and comfort. Keep in mind that the 2nd class buses also make several stops along the way to pick up additional passengers, which could add considerable length to the travel time for not substantial savings.
Buses are operated by the government as well as licensed operators, each with a ticket booth displaying the destination they service clearly marked in English on the ticketing windows as well as the next departure time. The government-run Transport Company Limited operate mainly second class buses, but the rest of booths at the station only sell tickets to the 1st class buses.
Here are example prices to different destinations as of April 2014:
> Pattaya (1st class): THB 124, large bus leaves every half hour starting from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
> Pattaya (2nd class): THB 102, government bus leaves every half hour from 4:40 a.m. to 9 p.m.
> Laem Ngob pier: THB 275, leaves 6.45 a.m., 7.45 a.m. and 9.45 a.m. with government bus.
> Trat: THB 265 with an additional THB 60 to Thammachart pier (for Koh Chang). This route is also operated by a mini bus company that charges THB 300 directly to the pier and between them the buses leave every hour from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Eastern Bus Terminal is small but well-organized and easy to navigate for visitors. With regular departures to all destinations, travelers who are unsure should show up earlier in the day, and (unless it is a long holiday), soon they will be on their way to the next holiday destination in no time.