Ubon Ratchathani: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

If Ubon Ratchathani is on our itinerary or you live here, getting to and from Ubon, as well as getting around in town is important to you.

There world is changing, oft times, at warp speed. Whereas, Ubon might not be changing as fast, it is dynamic and in a constant state of flux.

Changes have been evident lately in the transportation sector. Some changes might have minor or no impact on most people but another might have a major effect. The results of the changes can be good or bad. The changes I will discuss today have to do with planes, trains, and automobiles (taxi).


Ubon Ratchathani was getting some recognition from airlines, specifically, Air Asia. They added direct flights from Ubon to Phuket and then Chiang Mai. The flights were not every day but you just had to plan your trip. It was definitely more convenient than flying to Bangkok and catching a connecting flight.
Part of that has ended. Air Asia announced, rather suddenly, they cancelled the Ubon to Phuket direct flights. So as of a month or so ago, if you want to fly to Phuket from Ubon you have to, once again, make connections in Bangkok.

Also, as of October 1, 2012, Air Asia will be flying out of Don Muang airport.


Trains have been a good alternative to flying. It is not a bad journey taking the sleeper overnight to Bangkok. If you have a partner, the private berth is great. The fare is a bit more than the regular sleeper berths but it is still cheaper than air fare, unless you can catch an Air Asia flight for 990 Baht.

The express train was a comfortable four hour journey to Korat, which is as far as I have traveled on it. Most every time I rode the express most of the seats were taken. That is why I was surprised to learn, from a newspaper article, the Rail Authority has cancelled the express that runs between Ubon and Bangkok as of November 1, 2012.


Metered taxis began appearing in Ubon not so long ago. It was one small company providing service but has now exploded to six companies. The taxis have proven to be a blessing in many instances. Public transportation ceases at sunset and tuk tuks are hard to find when the clubs are closing. There are a few good hotels in Ubon that are not on mini-bus routes but now it is easy to get a cab to go there or to have one pick you up.

If you are headed to the airport you can now get there by taxi. But if you are arriving by plane you should know taxis are not allowed to pick up fares there. Even if they are there dropping a fare off, they are forbidden to pick up. If you want to use a taxi you must walk out to the entrance and can usually find a few sitting there.

Here are the telephone numbers for the six metered-taxi companies:

1. 045-844050
2. 045-321750
3. 045-265999
4. 045-256111
5. 045-265265
6. 045-280888

The metered-taxis in Ubon only service the greater Ubon City area. They do not service outlying areas. That can be frustrating but if you look at it from the company’s and driver’s point of view, there are not many passengers out there waiting for a taxi. Maybe you can barter with the driver offering twice the meter.

Though there have been changes, it is still easy and convenient to get transportation to and from Ubon Ratchathani and also around town. Happy Travels.


  1. Terry 'TC' Mason says:

    Hi! Sorry, don’t know my way ‘around in here’ but I wanted to drop this note in for you as you may not be aware of this event? Regards, TC PS I als have another sight at FaceBook Ubon Ratchathani 🙂

    Very hot and dry! On Sunday, the Armistice [or Remembrance] Day [signing of the peace treaty [supposedly] ending the war of all wars {forever}, World War One, WWI – at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year… ] was held [once again] commemoration in Ubon went well.

    The salutes [as in the speeches and wreath laying and so on] was kept brief and went well also. Good attendace numbers, great music – all heartfelt [not only for the servicemen and women that gave their lives, but also those that gave their lives directly [such as those Thais that helped the POWs by sneaking food and supplies to them, or working on various projects], or indirectly [as in those men, women and children that died as so called ‘colateral damage’].

    It is of some significance that this ceremony [held each year] has both Thais and farang in attendance. Usually a few hundred people [including military and civil services].

    His Honour the Governor [of Ubon] also giving his address and helping with release of white doves – signifying peace to the world [sigh – a great ideal].

    Of course [from my faded memory and poor of hearing] I couldn’t quite hear but I do believe that Ubon was the last place that the Japanese POWs were released [in Thailand for sure but maybe around South East Asia also??].

    Of course Ubon was one of the sights where ‘Allied Free World Forces’ were given the opportunity to setup a military base [of substantial size and power – namely, the existing Ubon airport [though I imagine now in modified form], during the Vietnam War.

    Sorry my knowledge is patchy [at best] and my grammar appalling but there it is.

    It is amazing how many people don’t know about this commeration each year and would have liked to attend it each year – so I thought I would actually put something here as a means to reach more people [even if only fr interest sake].

    I attend each year [yes, I am ex military [service in Vietnam 1968/9, my dad an Ex-Jap POW [RIP] and a brother also served Vietnam 1070/1 [RIP]; and without fail someone will approach me [I have one of those faces :)] and asks ‘How long has tis been going on?’

    This year was no exception when a man [who didn’t look his age but] served as a Thai/English [now Chinese also] interpretor for the US and Ozzie forces serving here in Ubon during the Vietnam war. He was so surprised – he simply decided to go for a walk through the park for his own thoughts on this day [11/11/2012] and ‘Hey!’ Same as myself and wife and friend did 4 years ago.

    OK this is getting far too long.

    Cheers and chokdi



    PS Most of the farang [I believe] retired to TC’s Kitchen, Spago Pizza, Peppers laterfro a feed, coffee [?] and a chat – I needed to be elsewhere very quickly – unfortunately…

    PPS It may be only my opinion BUT I consider we really do need to have more Tourist Police in attendance [or just more in numbers anyways as Ubon is fast becoming a ‘spot of attraction’ for more farang… 🙂

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