Arriving Bangkok airport BKK get a free tourist map of Bangkok that includes buses then take lift to departures and grab meter taxi dropping off if rush hrs then up to 80 baht road tolls + taxi around 230 baht to Kaosan Rd area. If on ones own, then take sky train to Paya Thai 35baht then taxi around 80 baht to Kaosan rd area. For connections to Mochit bus station most destinations North or East or Sth East ie overnight buses to Chiangmai/Chiangrai, Nong Kai (for Vientianne) and also for Southern Laos and Cambodia plus Koh Chang etc.
There are also cheap minivan services from Victory monument to all points east and south ie Cambodia, Koh Chang, Pattaya, cha Am and Hua Hin
Bangkok cheap distraction Klom bus
If you are at a loss for something to do in Bangkok for a day. take the river bus Nth to Nonthaburi early morning. Look on the right for the Royal barges, There is a cheap market here and Bangkwan prison (foreigners all appreciate a visit from someone from their Home country and a few ‘goodies’ purchased for them at the prison shop.) Back on river bus to Sathorn / Saphan Tachsin(end stop south) take sky train ticket to ASOKE If time just ride nth to Moh Chit walk underneath without leaving station and get train back to Asoke this gives great views over Bangkok.
Walk up Asoke Nth to Klom over bridge and back alongside klom to catch the Klom bus/boat heading West ticket to Kaosan rd.(about 12 baht) At Petchuberi it stops; walk over bridge to other side and continue by boat to Kaosan Rd (Democracy Monument) Sometimes you just walk in front of boat you get off to the one to Kaosan rd This boat goes through the back of China town and a great ride. If you get off at “The Prince’s Palace” Hotel there is a great market here for clothes Bo Be market also china town short walk away is good for shopping. And Old Siam 5mins walking Nth of China Town. Get a few photos done for your visas ie 2 for each country Laos /Cambodia/Vietnam/ Myanmar and China . The River bus is good for taking you to the Palace and other sites
For shopping Chitlom around central world is very interesting & Siam shopping centre also Pantip plaza on Petchaburi rd great for cheap computing solutions.
Kaosan Road is good also for cheap minivan day trips ie Bridge on River Kwai + side attractions included. Ayuthaya tour of archeological site is another great day trip . They also include lunch and pick up from your GH.
From Kaosan rd the number 3 bus will take you to Chattachak weekend market and also last stop is Morchit Bus station for your further travels north.
If on tight schedule then take Overnight bus from Morchit Bangkoks North Western Bus terminal. When you arrive at Chiangmai’s main bus station the tuk tuk touts will be after you to rip you off for the trip into town which should be no more than 50 baht. I always walk out of bus station to left onto next street turn right and on main rd turn left and from here flag down any shared tuk tuk should cost around 30 baht to Katchasarn rd near Lai Thai GH walk then up street from Tiger Trails restaurant North to next main street where most backpacker places are within the city walls between here and Ratchapakhinai rd. Grab a map from the tourist office and what to do in Chiangmai. Must do is 1 day to 3 day treks to Mae Rim & Mae Teng areas to include Bamboo rafting ethnic minorities waterfalls a elephant ride and white water rafting. Must see is the night bazaar and the traditional music at the Kalari centre (see my photos) also an evening at Tiger trails restaurant with music theydo have some reasonably priced meals and if on budget drink your beer slowly lol. If on a tight schedule ie Sth East Asia in 3 -4weeks then take the all inclusive food and accommodation ,tourist trip to Luam Phrabang from Chiangmai with the speedboat. It stops over night at the Lao border. Alternatively with more time on ones hands, one could take a minivan ride direct to Mae Hong Song I stayed Johnnies reasonable prices and very clean and friendly, I thoroughly recommend, or Pai then from there onto Thaton. Here cross over the bridge first left after small mkt and bus stop and Garden Home is on left great place to stay relax with good food. Also new Gh opened back across bridge and on right for breakfast and evening meal.
On the Burmese border from Thaton there is a minivan after breakfast to Maesalong (Eat and stay ShinSane GH 150baht) tel +66 053765026 which is a Chinese area on the Burmese border, home of Drug baron Kuhn Sar.
If you are coming from Burma Hpa an and Myrwaddy /Maesot then grab local bus to Sukhuthai (Thoroughly recommend ‘TR’ Guest House)and spend a day cycling (bike hire at entrance) around archeological site before continuing to Chiangmai etc.
South and South East Thailand beaches
I always tend to crash on Koh Chang for a few days, white sands or lonely beach are popular good music on main road. Minivans from Victory monument is cheapest and fastest or kaosan rd minivans . To South I only ever stopped at Koh Jum with overnioght bus from Kaosan rd but a lot of people have had valuables stolen whilst on Kaosan road overnight buses to south normally they change you at surathani. So I never let my backpack leave my side. And money is secretly hidden within my jeans ie a pocket sewn into the inside of jeans. I have even heard of people being drugged on these buses before being robbed. So be careful if using Kaosan Road overnight buses. Mine transferred to Krabbe (nice place for overnight stay) and then Koh Lantha where I jumped ship for Koh Jum much quieter and also cheaper than other Islands ie Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phnang, etc etc