Thailand is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia which is famous, around the globe, for its beaches. Laos and Myanmar border the country to the north, and Cambodia border it to the east. Bangkok, the capital city, is the largest and most popular city in the country.
As one of the most popular tourist destination, Thailand is brimming with oriental heritage, bustling metropolises, and pristine highlands and beaches. It is a destination like no other for nature lovers, adventurers, and leisure seekers.
Considered as one of the most budget-friendly travel destinations in the world, Thailand offers myriads of experiences that are truly unforgettable.
However, deciding what to include in your Thailand holiday can become a bit overwhelming. Check out this Thailand Travel Guide to organize and chalk out your dream Thailand vacation.
Best Time to Visit Thailand
Thailand is a year-round destination as the weather changes throughout the country. However, November to March brings in pleasant tropical sunshine making it the preferred season for Thailand tourism.
These months are also the peak season where prices of hotel accommodations and attractions increase. The crowds start thinning out from the end of March.
Travel in April is not recommended as it is the hottest month in Thailand. July to October brings in the monsoon with a heavy downpour. However, September and October are enjoyable in Northern Thailand.
Things to do in Thailand
The capital city of Thailand is a modern metropolitan filled with soaring skyscrapers and fast-paced lifestyle. Yet on the other side, the city is speckled with majestic golden pagodas, sacred shrines, and ornate palaces.
Bangkok is a destination that cannot be avoided on Thailand travel. Even if it is a short stopover, the appeal of this stunning city is charismatic.
Things to do in Bangkok
The gleaming allure of Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Grand Palace, and Wat Prakeaw are must-visit attractions that should be included in your things to do in Thailand list.
Go north and further to the UNESCO Heritage honored protected sites of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya that will take you back into the ancient era of Siam dynasty.
Need a break from the dizzying hustle and bustle of Bangkok, spend an evening cruising down the Chao Phraya River or watch the twilight ebb into dark skies and millions of illuminated city lights from one of Bangkok’s famous rooftop arenas where you can enjoy good food, good music, and good vibes.
Read: Bangkok Travel Guide
Thailand provides over-the-top experience to those who want to broaden their travel experience. It is not just about glitzy cities like Bangkok, but mountain villages too.
The country is old to have a rich history and unexplored enough to have off-beaten destinations. Thailand will live up to your expectations.
KOH PHI PHI
Exotic islands of Koh Phi Phi are popular among the tourists. There are many beaches in these islands like Monkey beach, Maya Bay, Long Beach.
In Monkey beach you will come across naughty monkeys who might snatch your food and camera. So be hyper aware of your surroundings. Maya Bay is an iconic beach where Leonardo Dicaprio’s The Beach is set.
Long Beach is famous of them all and draws a fair amount of crowd. You can do kayaking in wooden boats, or enjoy your stay at gorgeous greenhouses.
THE GRAND PALACE
People travel to Bangkok every single day. It is a favorite among tourists. So why miss it, while in Thailand? Your time away from the beach, will turn exciting if you start sightseeing.
Grand Palace is the major attraction in the city. Its historical importance sets it apart from other landmarks. In the premises of the palace, there are ancient relics, temples (Wat Phra Kaeo), opulent halls. Near the palace are other architectural gems like Temple of Dawn, Wat Po.
The beautiful southern beaches are the reason behind the immense popularity of Thailand. But do not underestimate the mountainous northern landscape. It has quaint mountain villages which attract backpackers from all over the world.
The serene atmosphere, vibrant landscape, and delicious Thai cuisine make it irresistible. Pai is one of those villages where the friendly locals will welcome you with open arms.
Scenic diversity of mountains, canyons, waterfall gives many adventurous opportunities. After a hectic day, you can stroll in the nightly street market.
SUKHOTHAI OLD CITY
It was once the capital of Thailand. This city has seen centuries of battle and destruction. But it has the ancient ambiance which tempts history buffs to visit it.
There is no particular site to visit; you can pick out any ancient site, and it becomes important. The whole total atmosphere of bygone era adds charm to it.
After Sukothai you can visit Ayutthaya which is just a bus ride away from Bangkok. Like the old city, it too creates the magic of ancient times.
Preservation of ruins and relics is necessary. The Old temples stand tall after all these years of war and wear. For a glimpse into the history of Thailand, come here.
The essence of Thailand is in the vibrant culture of bustling marketplaces. Tourists love to spend their time bargaining with the vendors in Floating markets.
Get up early to visit the markets. An array of items will be on full display for you, from fresh vegetables to spices. Local vendors serve fresh and delicious breakfast in their wooden boats.
The most glorified beach destination of Thailand, Phuket is the first place that conjures in any Thailand visitor’s mind when Thai beaches are mentioned. Flanked by swaying palm trees on white sandy shores, lapped up by emerald waters peppered with jutting limestone karsts, the beaches of Phuket are some of the finest in the world.
Things to do in Phuket
There are over 30 beaches you can visit on Phuket edging the areas of Patong, Karon, Kata, Bang Tao and Kamala. While you can enjoy an idyllic day soaking in the tropical sun, Phuket also offers fantastic beach venues for lively night parties and fine dining.
Read: Phuket Travel Guide
Since Phuket is a popular beach destination among Thai visitors, you will find most of the beaches crowded during best season times. Also, do take some time out to saunter around the charming sights of Phuket Town.
An archipelago of islands in Krabi gives you a tropical paradise filled with picturesque beaches, clear turquoise waters and rainforest shrouded landscapes. The waters are clear enough to dive and explore the fantastic underwater realm deep beneath the sea.
Things to do in Krabi
Adventurers will be spoilt with choices for a thrilling adrenaline rushing experience. Krabi is famous for kayaking, rock climbing, snorkeling, and scuba diving activities. Those who are in no mood to give up the idyllic leisure experience can visit the neighboring islands on an island hopping tour.
Some of the famous destinations to visit in Krabi are Ao Nang, Railey, Koh Lanta, and Phi Phi Island. Ao Luk, Ao Nam Mao, Ao Thalane are some of the places that offer a serene islander experience amid fewer crowds.
Chiang Mai is located in the mountainous terrains of Northern Thailand. It is a pristine slice of tropical sanctuary filled with nature’s abundant beauty – perfect for nature and wildlife lovers. The fascinating fusion of misty hills, forest-covered mountains, tribal hilly villages and a walled city packed with heritage spots and temples is worth the visit.
Things to do in Chiang Mai
Culture, heritage and nature experiences of Chiang Mai. Visit the Doi Suthep and old city temples to get an insight into the ancient Lanna culture. Explore the lush green national parks on trekking tours and stop by an elephant sanctuary to witness these gentle giants up and close in their natural habitat.
Visit the hilly tribal villages and pick up some authentic Thai handcrafted umbrellas, lanterns, fabrics and handicrafts as memories of your wonderful visit to Thailand.
Another Thailand tropical beach paradise, Koh Samui is a beautiful mix of vibrancy as well as laid back relaxation. Whether you are a budget traveler, luxury seeker, visiting with family or taking a romantic interlude, Koh Samui’s beaches offer ambiances and settings that suit any type of holiday.
Things to do in Koh Samui
Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut, and Maenam are the main areas where most tourists flock to enjoy Koh Samui’s paradisiacal nature vistas and relax in tropical seashores. The Big Buddha Temple at Koh Faan, Fisherman’s villages and Secret Buddha Garden are some of the popular tourist attractions not to be missed on Koh Samui holiday.
The crystal clear waters of Samui, as well as surrounding islands of Koh Tao, Ang Thong National Marine Park, and Koh Phangan, are perfect for adventure enthusiasts to enjoy diving day trips.
Thai Culture & Religion
For up to 40,000 years, humans have inhabited Thailand. Buddhism and Hinduism have influenced the nation. As a result, their influences are exemplified in various temples, statues, and stupas around the country.
A food lover’s haven, Thailand entices its guests with multifarious epicurean delights at countless food markets, fine dining restaurants, and alfresco bistros. Here’s what you should check out on your Thai food journey.
The staple food is rice, which is an important component of almost every meal. The Thai focus a great deal on respecting other people and have a great sense of hospitality and generosity. Consequently, Thailand is a must visit destination on any travel list.
Thai Street Food Experience
Thailand is considered to have some of the best food street markets in the world. Busy streets lined with food stalls catering to a hodgepodge of flavors and aromas of Thai, Malay, Chinese and Indian origin cuisine is a must-try food experience for Thai travelers.
You can find countless food street markets in all prominent destinations of Thailand but Bangkok beats them all. Enjoy authentic Thai food such as Som Tum salad, Pad Thai noodles and chicken curries at Ratchawat Market and Chinatown in Bangkok. The culinary experience can range from lip-smacking to bizarre dishes.
If you are up for an adventure for your taste buds, you can challenge yourself to bite into fried scorpions, crickets, and grasshoppers at Bangkok’s Khao San Road. The chances are you might even like the crunchiness and flavor of it. These street markets offer a deliciously satisfying meal at value for money prices.
The country knows how to charm visitors with tantalizing venues for a pleasant evening or quality time with family and friends. The cities of Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya are peppered with chic alfresco dining restaurants and bar lounges.
Sip your favorite drink as you watch the city disappear into an illuminating spectacle from restaurants strategically placed at top levels of soaring skyscrapers.
The Sky Bar, Horizon Bar in Pattaya, Sky Bar – Lebua at State Tower and Vertigo in Bangkok, The KEE Sky Lunge in Phuket are excellent choices for stellar city views and eclectic culinary experiences in stylish settings.
Best Seafood in Thailand
While you are exploring the beach destinations of Thailand, you ought to stop by these seafood restaurants for a fresh, scrumptious seafood meal. Kan Eang @ Pier and floating restaurants of Phuket are most loved spots to relish a delicious nautical menu.
Koh Samui offers some of best places to eat by the sea. For a delicious seafood treat of soft shell crabs, squids and octopus, succulent clams and roasted, seared or curried lobsters and king prawns along with amazing sea views, head to Haad Bang Po, Barracuda @ The Wharf and Krua Chao Baan.
Ao Nang’s seafood street is the most frequented place in Krabi by tourists for superb seafood dining and sundowner experiences.
Where to Stay in Thailand
Thailand is quite an expansive destination with a lot of options when it comes to accommodations. You get to choose from a whole range of resorts from international luxury chains, elegant private villas, chic service apartments, kid-friendly family hotels, vacation rentals and low-cost hotels.
Narrowing down to few of the best properties for your stay totally depends on your holiday type and budget. Thailand is quite reliable money-wise and doesn’t stress much on your wallet if you are a budget traveler.
Anyone on a tight budget, planning a trip to Thailand means looking into Airbnb and hostels. There are hotels that can fit also meet a tight budget. Mid-range hotels and boutique vacation rentals can cost twice the amount of low-cost hotels and hostels. Luxury seekers can splurge on deluxe stay options (resorts, and high-end hotels) starting about 7-10 times the cost of the cheapest hotels.
We have avoided using any dollar or Thai Bhat amount here because the prices and currency rates change and when you plan your trip, you can simply search for the current rates.
Thailand Travel Tips
Thailand is the official language but English is widely spoken in popular Thai destinations. The currency used is Thai Baht and the time zone is GMT+7.
Always have possession of all requisite documents. Make sure you have valid Thailand visa, valid passports, medical and travel insurance and carrying enough money to spend your Thailand holiday smoothly.
Thai locals are very fond of the Thai royal family and take offense to any demeaning or criticizing words or action towards the Thai royals. Also, touching someone’s head, pointing to their feet or gesturing to summon someone are all considered rude by Thai locals. You should also dress appropriately and remove your footwear while visiting a holy shrine.
Always consider your safety first. Carry a Thailand travel guide and maps for detailed and correct information about routes and places. Do not mingle with strangers or wander through lonely alleys. It is best to book your taxis or vehicles from the hotel’s concierge. If you are hiring a private cab or any other vehicle, note down its registration numbers.
The official language is Thai. However, most people speak English freely, especially in the tourist sector.
To Rent or Not Rent
In Bangkok, taxis are easy to find, and they are rather cheap. However, to go outside of the capital, it is better to rent a vehicle. You can rent a car, a bike or a scooter from numerous companies in all main towns and cities.
All major roads are in good condition. There are many highways. However, people here drive on the left side of the road.
The official currency is Baht. The approximate exchange rate is 35 Baht for 1 US Dollar. Foreign currency exchange is available at banks, hotels, and bureaus de change. Banks, however, give the best rates, while hotels, on the other hand, require additional charges. All major credit cards are widely accepted.
Also, ATMs are available in all major cities and almost all provincial banks. Traveler’s cheques are accepted by all banks, as well as large hotels and shops. Take them in US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling, to avoid additional charges.
Electricity & Plug Type
As for electricity, Thailand uses types A, B, C, F, and O sockets. You need to bring a travel adapter to fit the proper socket type.
Check out the above-linked page to see the photos and other useful information. The standard voltage is 220 V. Many of your devices may need a step-up transformer to match the electrical voltage.
June 4, 2016 12:00 am 6 Comments
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