When travelling for long distances by bus the good reputation of your operator is a big deal. Lignite Tour can boast one. With its headquarters in the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok (Sai Tai Mai) Lignite buses connect the capital with the southern Thai tourist hubs of Krabi, Phang Nga, Suratthani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Ranong. The company also operates an unusual Krabi–Nakhon Ratchasima route making it possible to travel from the south directly to Isan without connection in Bangkok.
Lignite’s fleet consists of 3 types of buses: most expensive VIP24 buses (3-seats-in-a-line), VIP buses (high-decker with 4-seats-in-a-line, and budget-friendly Standard Express buses, also with 4-seats-in-a-row but with less leg room compared to their VIP version.
All the buses are equipped with air-con and reclining seats. Blankets are provided for all long haul rides and there is a toilet on board. Needless to say comfort gradation hinge on the ticket price.
Routes served by Lignite Tour
The most popular routes of Lignite are Bangkok–Krabi and Bangkok–Suratthani.
Lignite operates 3 daily departures from Bangkok to Krabi, all leaving the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok in the evening between 17.30 and 20.40, arriving to Krabi the next morning between 6.00 and 9.00/ The whole trip takes about 12 hours.
In the opposite direction there are both morning (8.00) and evening (17.00) departures with tickets priced between THB600 and THB900 depending on the class of the bus.
There are two daily departures to Phang Nga, one at 18.40 and the other at 19.05, both from the Southern Bus terminal in Bangkok. Note that the latter departure is usually a double-decker bus which has both VIP and VIP24 options. Pricier seats are located on the lower deck with more budget option – on the upper deck. VIP24 seats are about 1,5 times more expensive than VIPs but they are worth investing in if you wish to survive through an 11-hour journey with all possible comfort.
There is one daily departure from Krabi Bus Terminal to Nakhon Ratchasima at 16.50. It is a tiring 16-hour journey which passes via Bangkok but you do not need to change the bus there. There are both VIP and VIP24 options (THB950 and THB1250 respectively) within the same bus and we encourage you to opt for a more expensive one.
It is a great pro that Lignite tickets are available online – it is a good time option. Those really careful and picky travellers may want to visit Sai Tai Mai Bus Terminal first to see how the things are at place. The terminal is integrated with a spacious mall and Lignite ticket counters are located on the 1st floor. It is also the place where you can easily exchange your e-ticket for the boarding pass (you do need that if you buy online through the main Thai booking sites) or handle the whole check-in procedure from the very beginning and proceed to the platform.
After boarding the passengers are offered complimentary snacks and bottled water. The ticket price also included a major meal. For this purpose the bus makes a stop about midnight at a food court where you can exchange your meal coupon for a bowl of rice with curry – do keep your ticket with the printed coupon in order not to miss this perk. The café staff will need your ticket, so make sure you have it at hand. Alternatively you can stock up on munchies at a mini-mart (not included into your ticket price).
Lignite staff are usually very accommodating and though limited English – or no English at all – can be spoken, you will be served well.
No English spoken by the crew can be rather distracting when you need to know how long the stop will last. The major meal stops usually are about 20 minutes – just follow your fellow passengers not to get lost.
It is a constant issue with many operators and Lignite is no exception: blankets on board are not washed before every departure.
No charging points onboard are available.
Keep in mind
Avoid booking seat right in front or directly behind the stairs to the upper level as there will be no leg room.
Lignite’s ‘express’ class is an economic option –do not expect much of it. VIP guarantees the most comfortable ride and it is worth investing some extra baht if your trip is going to last over 6 hours.
As it is the case with many other operator throughout Thailand, it can get freezing cold inside Lignite’s buses. An extra layer or a jacket will be very handy.