Most of the country's international trade is handled through the port of Bangkok, at the mouth of the Chao Phya River. Port facilities include modern cargo and container handling equipment and improvements in recent years have included the construction of additional wharves to help with the increasing volume of international traffic.
There is a draught limitation of about 8 metres which normally restricts the berthing of vessels to those under 13,000 tons, but in practice the Port Authority allows vessels of up to 18,000 tons provided they are wellequipped with powerful engines. The overall limitation on length is 172 metres. Larger vessels must anchor in deep water and have their cargoes loaded and unloaded by lighter.
In addition, two deep-water ports have been completed at Sattaheep and Laem Chabang in conjunction with the development of the eastern seaboard as a major industrial zone.
Thailand has a railway system consisting of 5,185 km of track connecting Thailand with Malaysia and Singapore. All the main towns except Phuket are linked by rail. The trains are equipped with modern rolling stock and have air-conditioned coaches and sleepers on the main express routes.
Air Thai Airways, the domestic airline, also flies to Penang and Kuala Lumper in Malaysia, Hanoi in Vietnam and Vientiane in Laos, as well as servicing 17 provincial airports. Boeing 737s is used on the majority of internal routes.
Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport now caters to 38 international airlines which fly to all the major cities in the world. A second international airport is planned for A.D. 2000 at Nong Ngu Hao which will be larger than Don Muang and facilitate cargo and passenger services.
Road building has been given high priority under the development plans, and the construction and improvement of roads has proceeded rapidly. The road network plays an important part in the country's transport and communications system.Thailand's road system consists of roughly 14,500 km of national highways, 31,000 km of provincial roads and another 70,000 km of tertiary roads.