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Maps of Thailand


There are several good maps of Thailand to be used by cyclists. Personally I prefer maps with a scale of 1:500.000 to max 1:1.000.000. There are several options.

Many travelers use the Nelles maps. I have used several of them over the years. They're quite good. However, there are other options, Michelin, Borch, Berndtson & Berndtson (terrific!) and Streetwise, a Thai made maps of Roadway.

Maps of Thailand Maps of Thailand Maps of Thailand
These are the maps for Thailand I have been using over the years.

While the scale of the Nelles is 1:500.000, Roadway has 1:850.000. They're less detailed but they're excellent in use, clearer and less cluttered. And for someone like me who needs glasses to read a map, it's a serious benefit that the letter type on the map used is bigger than on the Nelles maps.

Roadway maps of Thailand
The very useful Roadways maps of Thailand are easier to obtain than other maps in the country, for example in the local 7-Eleven stores.

Other benefit of the Roadway maps, they have quite a few bigger cities city maps (the southern Thailand has for example: Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai, Trang, Surat Thani, Koh Samui, Nakhon Si Thammarat and a distance table of the main cities in Southern Thailand), names in Thai and, best of all, you can buy them in the local 7-Eleven stores although I admit, only in the bigger cities you might find them (I got my Southern Thailand map in Ranong).

Nelles and Roadways

Nelles maps you may find in Bangkok, Khao San Road area, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui but apart of the main big tourist areas Nelles maps are hard to find.

Compare for yourself: a part of the map of southern Thailand, Krabi area:

maps of Thailand
The Nelles map also gives you an idea of altitudes, not very detailed though

maps of Thailand
Maps of Thailand, here details of the Nelles map (top) and Roadways (below)

While it seems the Nelles map gives more details, the Thai made Roadways map is also very easy in use. I have used both, next to each other and found that I prefer the Roadways maps.

Michelin

So what about the Michelin map? I never use it. The reason is the scale: 1:1.400,000 which I find too big for use on the bicycle. Here is a scan from my Michelin Map of Thailand. The Michelin map is even more difficult to find in Thailand although at Khao San Road you should be able to obtain it.

The Michelin Map of Thailand, fewer details but still good to use
The Michelin Map of Thailand, fewer details but still good to use

Berndtson & Berndtson

Another map to check out is made by Berndtson & Berndtson. These are city maps with on the flip side regional maps. The regional maps are on the scale 1:750.000 and are very detailed including altitudes. The set back of course is that they are regional, so if you cycle in different areas of Thailand, you will need several of them.

I found mine in a bookstore in Chiang Mai. Another great thing about this map is that it is laminated, so you can write on it with a marker pen and wipe it off later. I like them very much.

Maps of Thailand, Chiang Mai and region
Berndtson & Berndtson map of Chiang Mai

Local made maps

During one of my visits to Krabi I was able to obtain another local made map that gives slightly more info about the Krabi area. In March 2012, I was not able to obtain a new copy of it but it might still here and there in Krabi town available:

Free map from the Krabi area
A part of the map of Krabi

Google Maps and Google Earth

These days with mobile phones and internet cafes some people consider not using a map or GPS but depend on the internet available with Google Maps and/or Google Earth, Google Maps big brother. There can be little discussion that Google Earth has excellent info but you need to use it online. Printing a screen print hardly serves the purpose. But for online research, Google Earth is excellent.

If you consider buying online, check the bicycle map store:

and more books and audiovisual materials at:

Check also my general maps page with why you should use a map or a GPS.

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