Beware of fake VIP buses in Thailand

After staying for a couple days in Ao Nang I started look how I can get back to Bangkok on time of my international flight. I realized in is not so easy task as I expected because it was very busy season in Thailand. All flights are booked out, so only alternative was 12 hours trip by bus (train would be last resort).
Trip is very long so at least I wanted to take it in comfort but tickets to the most comfy bus – Super VIP with only 24 seats on it – were already sold out. What about VIP bus then? Agent made a call and an answer the same – tickets sold out..But then she made another call and said there are seat on other (VIP) bus. Perfect. Now I can relax.

fake vip bus
Fake VIP bus stop in Krabi,Thailand

Next day in afternoon guy picked me up from guest house and dropped in some coffee shop on edge of Ao Nang. There another mini bus should pick up me and transfer to Krabi from there bus goes to Bangkok. Never travelled with bus in Thailand before, so didn’t have any expectation how it works and wasn’t worrying much about it, as after 20 minutes mini bus came and dropped all passengers including me somewhere in Krabi. Place doesn’t look like bus station at all. But bus was were and a lot of other people also were waiting for it. No worries. Only after talking with another guy I met there I understood it is fake (not government run Transport Company) VIP bus. What I can do now? I must in Bangkok tomorrow. Bus wasn’t full and I had two seats available. Not bad, as usually in such private buses they have more seats then in real VIP bus. Which means less leg space. So far so good, except driver was smoking and all bus was full of smoke. At night when we stopped for a break a could look at real VIP buses. Not much difference from outside, except serial numbers and company title on it. But inside it was much cleaner, had working TV and probably could find other cons, but I will check it next time I come to Thailand.

Fake and real VIP buses in thailand
Fake(left) and two real(right) VIP buses in Thailand

This time I arrived safe and sound to Bangkok and actually it stopped near Khao San Road there a lot of hostels are, so no need to take taxi from bus station.
My experience with fake VIP bus in Thailand was not such bad, but want to know everybody about it. Next time I at least will know about it’s existence and will think should I take it or not. Price I paid for ticket was higher then real VIP bus, don’t know what insurance they have in case of accident and most unpleasant thing happened – at night somebody checked bags left in bus storage unit and even didn’t bother properly to close bags after they opened them. Nothing was stolen, but it is not very nice feeling when you know somebody went through your stuff. So don’t ignore warning: “KEEP YOUR VALUABLES WITH YOU”.


5 responses to “Beware of fake VIP buses in Thailand”

  1. Rob in Thailand Avatar
    Rob in Thailand

    Good info,I had bad experience from one the Bangkok hotels when I was told it was a VIP bus.

  2. YOu should try to go to the bus station to buy your ticket otherwise you will always risk a fake vip bus..stay away..and i mean stay away from phi phi family..thats the name of the bus line…they operate all over krabi and ao nang and they are a total rip off..if you get them from kao san road they will take you like a hostage to their bus station which is far from krabi town and then try to get you to pay 3 times the price for a taxi to the town..i know this all too well and when they tried this the 2nd time, i walked off their property and they were literally screaming at me that I would get lost and I should take their taxi..i ignored them and knew in 2 blocks there would be motor bike taxi drivers happy to take 50 baht into the city center…if you take the phi phi family bus line to kao san from will be a horrible experience where they take you again to their station and try to get you to buy food, load you on the bus, it has cockroaches and then at 2 am in the morning literally kick you off the bus to eat at their cafe half way to bangkok..once you arrive at kao san they drop you again far away from kao san and all these taxi drviers like wolves are there to meet you grabbing your bag and not even asking where you want to go..its complete stay away from phi phi family bus line or i assure you the experience will be pissy

  3. My wife and I recently took an overnight “VIP” bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani. Sometime during the trip, one of two of our checked bags underneath were “inspected” unbeknownst to us. Later that day, we discovered the “inspectors” stole our Leatherman tool and a corkscrew that we were bringing to a friend. We’ve taken 1000s of buses around the world. If we can avoid it, this is the last VIP backpacker bus we’ll have ever taken in Thailand.

  4. We have been caught out by touts waiting inside the Southern Bus Terminal building. They ask what you want and are so helpful in escorting you to the counter to buy your VIP ticket.

    Unfortunately what you get sold is a standard ticket for a VIP price.

  5. hey i hope this information helps you
    Robbery of travellers by force is very rare in Thailand, but it does happen. Isolated incidents of armed robbery have tended to occur along the Thai–Myanmar and Thai–Cambodian borders and on remote islands. The safest practice in remote areas is not to go out alone at night and, if trekking in northern Thailand, always walk in groups.

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