Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for holidays and once you visit, you’ll realize why. Beautiful beaches, amazing cities, mountains, adventure, rich culture, friendly people… Thailand has it all. This post will help you plan a trip to Thailand. You’ll find useful information, tips and things you need to plan before leaving.
How to plan a trip to Thailand:
If you are visiting Thailand as a tourist, you may be eligible to enter the country under the Visa Exemption rule. You can stay up to 15, 30 or 90 days depending on your nationality. You can check the complete list here. Important: Your passport must be at least 6 months valid.
Vaccines for a Thailand trip
Another important thing to check before you travel is whether or not you need any vaccinations for entering the country. If you are travelling from or through a country infected with yellow fever, you will need to show an International Health Certificate proving that you’ve received a Yellow Fever vaccination. The infected countries are the majority of South America and Africa. The complete list is here. The vaccine needs to be given at least 10 days before traveling, because that’s when it begins to be effective. In addition, it is possible to have fever for a few days after the application.
Transport in Thailand
How to move within Thailand? Thailand has a good infrastructure of transport: trains, airlines, ferries, buses… As everything else in Thailand, transportations is also cheap.
State Railway of Thailand is a service that connects most of the country with economic and comfortable, but also rather slow trains. If you want to save money this is a good option. Day trains cost as little as 50 TBH. There is also a wide choice of buses of different categories but of course, it is only a good option if you have time.
Airplanes are also good and cheap since there are several low-cost airlines. Airports are usually close to the city centres and sometimes connected by public transport. The airline I used for all my flights was Air Asia.
On the other hand, for island hopping it is likely that you take ferries. There are high speed boats and normal ferries. The famous long-tail boats are used to make just short journeys and day trips. Tour companies should always provide you with life jackets for safety. Sometimes they also offer snorkel masks if you don’t have one.
If you’re going to carry you for example from Ao Nang to Koh Samui, the journey is made by van+ferry. The company I used is Lomprayah, tickets can be purchased online or at the terminals.
Accommodation in Thailand
In Thailand accommodation, pretty much as everything else is really cheap. Hotels are generally ridiculously cheap, sometimes even more convenient than a hostel.
In Thailand you can stay in luxury hotels which would cost twice (or more) in other countries. Check out Avani Atrium, an affordable 4 star hotel I stayed in Bangkok. You can choose to book upon arrival but if you’re visiting on high season I suggest you book your stay in advance. The sites I typically use to book hotels are Booking and Expedia.
-Read my travel resources page to find out which websites I use to plan my trips and which are my essential travel products.
The official currency of Thailand is the Thai Bath. 35 bath = $1 usd. There are ATMs and currency exchange offices in all the cities and islands. There are not so many places that accept credit or debit card, only hotels and some restaurants. But it is important to have enough cash.
What should I take? Backpack or suitcase? The truth that is up to you and what you usually feel comfortable with. You have to keep in mind that low-cost airlines charge checked baggage, so a good option would be to just travel with a carry on. If you plan on moving a lot, the easiest things is to bring a backpack. You must also keep in mind that if you take a long-tail boat to go from an island to another, you will probably have to carry your luggage on the sand.
Weather in Thailand
Thailand has three seasons: monsoon season (June to October), the “cool” season (November to February), and the hot season (March to may). The reality is that in Thailand, it is always hot and summer is eternal. Rainy season can be cheaper but keep in mind that some ferry routes stop their services during this season, for example Langkawi-Koh Lipe route. November to February is the best time to visit Thailand since the temperature is more bearable (in Bangkok that does not exist), and it doesn’t rain much.
Destinations & Itinerary
Another frequent question is: How much time do I need to travel Thailand? Well the answer is as much as you can because once you are there you will probably never want to leave, at least not soon. I suggest you stay at least 14 days in Thailand. Try to be selective when you choose which places you will visit, narrow down your destinations so you stay enough time in each place.
Most flights arrive to Bangkok, where I suggest to stay at least 2/3 days to see the temples and have a glimpse of the city. Many people hate Bangkok because the traffic, the hot weather, etc, but I loved it.
You might also like: What to do in Bangkok in 3 days
Another popular destination is Chiang Mai, a city in the north of the country that is really worth visiting. Many skip Chiang Mai to go straight to the beaches, but if you want to see more of Thailand’s great culture, and you love mountains you shouldn’t skip it. Stay at least 4/5 days in Chiang Mai, although I’d stay a whole month.
The famous beaches, finally. Islands are divided into two groups: the ones located in the Andaman Sea and the ones in the Gulf of Thailand. The Andaman Sea area is where the famous Phi Phi, Hong, Similan, Koh Lipe, etc are located. They are really paradisiac beaches with white sand and the famous rock formations that emerge in the middle of the sea. I recommend to stay on this side at least 5 days. There are many places to choose as a base point for island hopping, I stayed in Ao Nang, Krabi.
Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan (where the famous full moon party takes place) are located on the Gulf of Thailand. This area is a bit different, there aren’t giant rock formations like on the other side but there are places worth visiting. Nevertheless, if you don’t have plenty of days to spend in Thailand, I suggest you visit just the Andaman Sea side.
Some people go to Thailand just for the beaches that yes, they are beautiful but Thailand is much more than just beaches. There are also mountains, jungles, cities and a culture that is so much worth knowing.
- Is Thailand safe?
Thailand is a safe country, but you need to be cautious and avoid tourist scams which are common, specially in Bangkok. From what I experienced, I can say I felt safe every moment I spent in the country. Always take metered taxis (sometimes hard to find), because some drivers will want to charge you just whatever they want if they see you’re a tourist.
Motorcycle and road accidents are common causes of injury. It is really important to have medical insurance. As some ferry companies tell you when booking a ticket online so you pay for extra insurance: It’s Thailand, anything can happen.
Are you traveling to Thailand soon? More posts including tips and things to do in each city coming soon!
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