Edited by connda, 2011-05-16 10:21:31.
22 replies to this topic
Posted 2011-05-16 10:20:25
I'm planning on taking a bus trip on NakhonChai Air Bus service. They advertise three types of buses: VIP, AIR1, and AIR2. Does anyone know the specific difference between the buses? Which one is the best?
Posted 2011-05-16 10:54:11
AIR 2 means 2nd class .Has air-con, reclining seats and generally stops at more places, but NOT toilet equipped. Often NOT such good drivers.Sometimes slower ,although drivers may drive faster. AIR 1 means first class .has air-con, reclining seats, better condition than 2nd class, Is toilet equipped. Stops only at Bus stations. Both these classes have 4 seats across each row. V.I.P.Has air-con, reclining seats BUT only 3 seats across each row. Seats are of a much superior quality. With arm rests on both sides. Has only one row of seats on the near side. So, if travelling alone ,you have nobody sitting next to you.Toilet equipped,as well. V.I.P is the best quality travel experience, and therefore the most expensive. I, personally travel V.I.P., if I can. ,followed by 1st. class, with the cheapest and most basic being 2nd. class. V.I.P. and 1st.class , on most routes are White , with a Blue stripe. 2nd class are white with a red stripe.
Posted 2011-05-16 10:59:16
Never travelled on Air 1 or 2, but believe they are basic service with regular-style seating, air con.
Go for the VIP - stewardess service, air, meal, snacks, good seating, usually with in-built massage (not from the stewardess, unfortunately), more space. Also change drivers during long trips.
They also have First Class and Gold now, which are very comfortable (at least for this little fat farang), with individual movie screens, with soundtrack.
Fifteen years usage with NCA, and no complaints ever from various family members or myself; and, remarkably, NCA also receives good reviews from expat web sites!
If in Bangkok, try to make your journey to and from NCA's own bus terminal, near to Morchit. Far more comfortable and less crowded.
Posted 2011-05-16 11:21:02
Lite beer - Nonsense V.I.P. is superior to 1st. class, as reflected in the fare structure. Elwood -1st class and V.I.P. , both have snacks , All 3 classes stop for meal breaks. Some meal break stops the food is good ,others ,particularly 2nd class, not so good. Some Companies also run a Chan 4 , which is even superior to V.I.P., but Limited to major destinations like Khon Kaen..Also V.I.P. and Chan4 have even fewer stops than 1st. class, so are generally quicker . For example Morchit to Plackonchai ,by 1st or 2nd class is 6 hours. By V.I.P. it is 5hours 30 minutes.
Posted 2011-05-16 12:53:52
When in doubt, go by the number of seats.
Super-VIP -> Around 24 seats. That means wider seats, with the left row being single seats, then the isle, then 2 seats so 3 across.
VIP -> Around 32 seats. 2-2 configuraton.
It goes downhill from here onwards, but the above are solid choices.
First class aircon (P1) : Something like 40 seats, small seat pitch. Ok for shorter distances, say Bangkok to Pattaya. Not something you want long distance.
Second class aircon (P2): a metric f*ton of seats; beasically an ordinary bus in a 2-3 configuration, but with aircon. You absolutely don't want this. Also tends to stop all over the place.
Ordinary Bus: This is what battery hens travel in.
Posted 2011-05-16 13:21:30
Sorry Winnie , V.I.P.is 3 seats across. As I stated in my previous post- definitely NOT 2-2. 1st class IS perfectly acceptable for long journeys. Many. many routes , in fact most ,do NOT have any V.I.P., . Though they are just coming to some more now, but slowly. Super V.I.P., correctly known as Chan 4(written in Thai, on the sides of the bus) is only available on some major provincial routs, such as Morchit- Khon Kaen. Not commonly available.Also they are generally double deckers.Definitely they are the most comfortable. And are the quickest ,due to fewer stops. But , also the most expensive.
Posted 2011-05-16 13:39:28
Ah, don't be a piker. Hire a stretch limo with a couple of pretty hostesses.
Posted 2011-05-16 13:53:36
"...- Nonsense V.I.P. is superior to 1st. class..."
afarng, I think you are confused about the OP's question. He was asking about a specific company. You are not talking about the same one.
On Nakhonchai Air, (NCA), First Class is the best. VIP, which is very good, is their regular service. LB was correct.
Posted 2011-05-16 14:01:29
Can confirm that Nakhon Chai Air are different to all other bus companies in Thailand in that their 1st class is superior to VIP. I have no idea why this is the case, it just confuses people.
Posted 2011-05-16 14:56:10
Terry Lh, sorry ,you too are wrong. N.C.A. uses the same system as everybody else V.I.P. is their top class .It is also known as Gold class, which you will see written on their buses.To give you an idea ,the fares on their service Ubon -- Chiang Mai are:: : Gold class:: V.I.P B 893, Silver class::: Air1 B 765, Air 2 B 595. Gold Class -V.I.P. is their top class , then comes Silver class-Air 1.Their bottom of their range is Air 2.They , at this point in time do not run any Chan 4 , super deluxe. Sadly ,they do only run a limited number of routes, for they are a better class of operator.These bus classifications are not set by the operators, they are determined by the Department of Land transport. And licensed by them. To a specific standard.
Posted 2011-05-16 15:33:26
The Ubon-Chiang Mai route isn't covered by their 1st class buses, as shown on their timetables. Their website lists 1st class above Gold class, showing 21 seats on 1st class buses and 32 on gold class.
Posted 2011-05-16 16:22:53
They DO run V.I. P. Ubon -- Chiang Mai . Here are departure times:; V.I.P.: 12.15, Fare B 893. Air 1: 13.15. Fare B 765. Air 2 :14,15. Fare B 595. V.I.P.:16.15. Fare. B 893. V.I.P:17.15. Fare B 893. V.I.P. : 18.15 Fare B 893. You will notice that the V.I.P. fare is higher than the other two classes. Does that not tell you something. ? Classification of buses is NOT done by bus companies. ALL buses are classified by the Department of Land Transport. What NCA> does ,that nobody else does- it calls its V.I.P services "GOLD class" , its Air 1 Services "SILVER Class. You will see this written on the buses. Gold is of a higher value than Silver?If their website that you have ,which is not the one I have tells you something different, then the website is wrong.
Posted 2011-05-16 16:49:10
That's exactly what the website says (I never said there was no VIP service on the Chiang Mai-Ubon route, just there was no option of the higher quality 1st class service). It also says there's a 1st class service on the routes Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Khon Kaen and Bangkok-Ubon. On these three routes the 1st Class service is more expensive than the Gold Class/VIP service and they run 21 seat buses rather than 32 seat buses. You can check on the timetable link I posted above, those three routes have pink times for 1st class and yellow times for Gold Class with prices below.
And yes, www.nca.co.th is the official company website.
10 photos of the 1st class bus
10 photos of the inferior Gold Class/VIP service
edit: Here are the timetables through googletranslate.
Edited by naboo, 2011-05-16 16:52:10.
Posted 2011-05-16 17:38:02
O.K. I agree ,they do run on 3 Routes. My apologies ,what they call first class, which equates to what I and the Department of land Transport call Chan 4 or , if you like super V.I.P. Unfortunately , the photos do not show the class number. NCA , often only put the class number on the back. They are supposed to have it clearly displayed on both sides. Together , with the route number and bus number , which in the photo is 20 -4 , which is Khon Kaen route, fleet number , on that route -4. They are a lot more expensive ,too. To Ubon is B 731 ,V.I.P. is B 552. They are somewhat unique, in that they are single deck. All other Chan 4 are double deck with ,a sitting room downstairs,
Posted 2011-05-16 20:16:44
Yes, I know that they have meal service. NCA Ubon-Bangkok VIP, First, Gold, whatever you like to call them - do not stop for meal breaks; the food is meals-on-wheels! Until recently all NCA services on this route were VIP, with a few First Class thrown in, then they upgraded the route to Gold - the fare last week was 524 baht for a NCA card holder. The First Class is around 90 baht more expensive, and as Lite beer said, much more luxurious, with individual seating down the left side.
Difficult to see why you keep on about VIP being the top service, seeing as VIP buses are not even listed on NCA's timetable, where First Class is shown as the higher grade service.
Maybe the fact that different routes are covered by different levels of service causes confusion, so hardly fair to accuse Lite Beer of talking nonsense! As for Chan 4, whatever, and who decides a bus grade, does it really matter? All we customers care about is what bus is listed on the company's timetable.
No doubt all these comments have confused the OP,so how about we all agree that NCA is good, and the OP should go for the best class listed on his particular route to obtain the most comfort?
OP, have a good journey mate.
Posted 2011-05-16 20:27:19
Posted 2011-05-16 21:16:34
I have made many reference to V.I.P. services as being also called Gold service. Some NCA timetables do refer to "gold" , some refer to V.I.P..They are one and the same.
Posted 2011-05-17 06:54:01
The contradictions here make the choice for one who spends 3-4 months a year here and travels around a lot, very difficult.
The choice of "the bus" or company makes one h--l of a difference to one's plans. I generally go for NCA, but can find their lower classes (which has been pointed out) can be quite disappointing.
Apart from being concerned about the driver, what really gets to me is the level of sound which is blasted through the tinny speakers in a lot of buses. I'm getting on a bit and my hearing may be down a tad, how anyone can relax on some of the long journey's with this noise escapes me.
It's not only the guests in this country, I've heard the locals at times complaining and asking for it to be turned down.
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