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Thailand Travel Guide

There’s something special about Thailand, and the magic of this Southeast Asian nation can only be experienced first hand – the inviting, friendly atmosphere will have you mesmerized within moments. Your first pad thai (not from your local takeaway shop) will please your taste buds, and your first tuk-tuk ride may frighten you – but it’s all part of the grand adventure that is a Thailand trip.

The Highlights

  • Wat Pho

    Home to the 46-meter long and 15-meter high giant reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Bangkok. In addition to the sprawling Buddha, the surrounding grounds are sprinkled with ornate stupas along with other ancient monuments or statues that exemplify the unique Thai craftsmanship matched with a strong attention to detail.

  • Pai

    If you’re travelling in the northern parts of Thailand, you won’t want to miss the relaxed town of Pai, set against picture-perfect mountains. When in Pai, you can set your sights on the many kayaking and rafting adventures that can be found, or take it easy with a gentle trek to the Lahu, Lisu, and Karen villages.

  • Chiang Mai

    Escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and head north to Chiang Mai for an immediate change of pace where you will be surrounded by dozens of decadent temples. Visitors can explore the many food markets and allow your tastebuds to experience the unique flavours of northern Thailand cuisine, organize a local hill-tribe trek or simply sit back and take in the beauty of the area.

  • Koh Phi Phi

    Existing as one of the most iconic destinations in Thailand, Koh Phi Phi is even more impressive in real life. Accessible only by boat from the mainland, there are no cars on the island and everywhere can be reached on foot. Fill your days by island hopping to the nearby Maya Bay, go rock-climbing across the jagged cliffs that tower over the island or snorkel through the blue-hued waters.

  • Khao San Road

    If you’re searching for the hub of activity in Bangkok, this market strip is where you need to go. The atmosphere is infectious – the street is filled with the scent of freshly cooked Pad Thai or spiced noodle dishes, the local vendors can be found selling their finest goods, and it is home to some of the most inexpensive guest houses and bars which cater for travellers on a budget.

  • Khao Sok National Park

    Holding the title as one of the oldest evergreen forests in the world, this is not your average national park and is home to rare species such as bears, boars, tapirs, gibbons and tigers. The diverse terrain makes it a haven for travellers searching for challenging jungle treks or even a gentle walk. You can also search for the many hidden waterfalls and secret caves.

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    November to March

    Most of the country enjoys a dry season from December through March, making it an ideal time to travel. Due to the timing of Western Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Thailand will be incredibly busy over this period, meaning accommodation will be more expensive and likely to be booked out in advance. Temperatures will reach an average high of 35°C in Bangkok and surrounding areas. Notable festivals include the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in February along with monthly Full Moon parties.

  2. Low Season

    July to October

    While Thailand boasts consistently warm temperatures year round, it does suffer from monsoons that occur, in short, intense bursts and may cause some islands to shut down. Visitors travelling to Thailand during this time will enjoy fewer crowds and might benefit from lower flight or hotel prices. During the low season, you can enjoy the Ubon Ratchathani Khao Phansa celebrations in addition to smaller festivals across the country.  

Thailand Tours

  • Visit Responsibly

    Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Thailand:

    Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

    Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

    Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

    Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

    Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Thailand or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!

     
  • Sustainable Tourism in Thailand

    Thailand's natural beauty is one of its greatest draws for both domestic and international travel. In an effort to conserve the varied and diverse natural resources across the country and its famed islands, organizations within the country have begun to enforce sustainable initiatives.

    Plastic-free Parks
    The Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has taken action against plastic pollution with its single-use plastic ban that is being enforced in over 150 national parks.

    Reducing Plastic Waste in Hotels
    The Thai Hotels Association has outlined a 12-step guide for reducing plastic waste that hotels across the country are encouraged to carry out.

    Tourism Authority of Thailand
    The Tourism Authority of Thailand is encouraging travellers to get off the beaten path and enjoy the main sights and cities while also visiting lesser known regions within the country where tourism can benefit the local community. Read this article we wrote in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to find out more about them.

FAQs about Thailand

  • Do you tip in Thailand?

    There isn’t much of a formal tipping culture in Thailand, however, it is always appreciated. In all restaurants, it is customary to leave behind any loose change in coins as a tip, and at least 30-60 baht is reasonable.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Due to a large number of tourists in Thailand, WiFi is available in many cafes, hostels and hotels for free, but outside urban areas, this is not as common or may suffer from a poor connection.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Avoid all tap water in Thailand and instead, stick to bottled water or use water purification tablets. As for ice, there are a number of ice factories that use purified water and avoid washing fruit in tap water.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Yes, credit cards are widely accepted throughout Thailand. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction charges.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Thailand celebrates Makha Bucha March 1, Chakri Day on April 6 and Songkran on April 13-17, Labour Day May 1, and Constitution Day October 23.
  • What are the toilets like?

    Asian-style squat toilets are becoming less of the norm in Thailand, however, you will still need to be prepared to squat. The Western-style toilet is becoming more prevalent, especially where foreign tourists can be found, and it’s always a good idea to carry spare toilet paper with you. 
  • Is Thailand safe for women to travel solo?

    Thailand is an incredibly popular destination for first-time travellers, especially for women, however, the usual travel precautions still need to be adhered to. This includes avoiding walking home at night and to always keep an eye on your belongings.
  • Is Thailand safe for families?

    Thailand is a family-friendly country and there are many water-based activities to keep children entertained along with other cultural experiences including nature walks, child-friendly market experiences and traditional cultural shows.
A TRAVEL MAGAZINE BY TOURRADAR

Watch Our Beginner's Travel Guide to Thailand

Visiting Thailand: A Beginner’s Travel Guide is a compilation of the very best travel tips and tricks to help guide your next adventure to Thailand this year. It’s no secret that Thailand is full of local encounters and experiences to behold, and it’s time to find out everything you need to know. 
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