Located in southeast Asia, Thailand is a great place to visit.
Known for their famous cuisine, it is also a country full of history and culture and home to many sacred sites and temples. Add in plenty of shopping venues (both on land and on the water), friendly locals, and many natural wonders like beaches, lagoons, and caves, and it all makes a memorable trip.
There are many things to see and do in Thailand. This Thailand travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
- Currency: The official currency is the Thai baht and 1 baht is equal to 0.032 USD.
- Power: Power voltage is 220 V at 50 Hz.
- Visa: To enter, you will need a U.S. passport valid for 6 months after your departure date and a return plane ticket. You can stay for 30 days without a visa.
- Getting Around The best way to get around Thailand is by bus or train.
- Sales tax The sales tax rate is 7%.
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- When to visit Thailand: Thailand mainly has two seasons, wet and dry.
- Thailand’s high season is November to February. This is when it is the driest but this is also when you'll be swarmed with the most tourists.
Southern Thailand is hot all year long, but has a very wet rainy season:
- The West Coast of Southern Thailand is wet between April to October.
- The East Coast is wet from September to December.
June to October is the rainy season and temperatures soar with high humidity.
Northern Thailand's dry season stretches from November to May.
Temperatures are less hot between October and January and can actually be a little cool in the North especially in the evening and early morning.
- The Capital City of Thailand is Bangkok – See the Best Things to do in Dublin
Budget: You can find a number of backpacker hostels in the range of 250-700 baht per night. Enjoy dorm-styled or private rooms, shared kitchens, lounge areas, free Wi-Fi, and great locations.
Mid Range: For mid-range hotels, expect to pay 1,500-2,750 baht per night and enjoy private rooms, free breakfast, an outdoor pool, a hotel restaurant and bar, a gym, and nearby attractions.
High End: Upscale hotels will range from 3,00-12,000 baht per night, with the mostluxurious going all the way up to 76,500 baht. Take in the best of Thailand with top-of-the-line hospitality, polished rooms, and suites with flat-screen TVs, beautiful hotel architecture, rooftop pools overlooking the city, multiple dining options, fitness centers,tennis courts, and more.
If you are starting your trip in Bangkok check out our suggestions for where to stay in Bangkok.
Thai cuisine favors rice, noodles, nam pla (fish sauce), vegetables and fruits, seafood or meat, and herbs and spices. Pad Thai is one of the national dishes in Thailand.
Soups and curries, with various combinations, are also popular dishes. Thailand has many street vendors where you can sample great Thailand cuisine.
When out and about, try some mango sticky rice or banana roti (banana pancake). Expect to pay 90-150 baht per meal when dining in a restaurant.
Getting to Thailand: The Suvarnabhumi International Airport is the main airport to fly into and is about 19 miles from Bangkok. The Phuket International Airport (20 miles from Phuket city center) and the Chiang Mai International Airport (2 miles from the city center of Chiang Mai) are alternatives.
You can check for the best flights to Thailand on Skyscanner.
Transportation: Trains are a fast way to get around, especially the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok. Tickets cost 16-59 baht depending on how many stations you pass through, or you can pay 120 baht to get a one-day pass with unlimited rides. The Skytrain runs from 6:30 AM to midnight and passes by many attractions, including more rural areas
Buses: are a good way to get around and travel through most parts of the country. Pay just 7 baht for shorter rides or 9-19 baht for air-conditioned buses that cover longer distances.
Taxis: Taxis are an alternative way to get around. In major cities like Bangkok, the taxis are metered, and prices start at 35 baht, with 2 baht being added per kilometer traveled
Car Rental: To rent a car, you need to be at least 21 years old and have a U.S. license that you have held for at least one year prior. Prices start at 700 baht per day
We have been back numerous times and have come up with these Thailand travel tips to help you pack right.
That being said, you don't have to pack a lot to travel to Thailand, it is always hot! And whatever you don't have, you can buy there, but here are our top suggestions for things to have while traveling in Thailand.
You can basically live in a bathing suit and flip-flops, although the cities are getting quite chic so it's nice to dress up too.
Pack lightweight breathable clothing.
Thailand is hot and humid. You won't need a lot of heavy clothing. A bathing suit, shorts, t-shirts.
Hiking boots or shoes are good for jungle and mountain treks
- Sarongs – these can be used for anything. From covering up when visiting temples, being used as a towel or keeping cool on a hot night while using it as a light sheet. Check out our Many Uses of the Simple Sarong for more suggestions.
- Ladies, make sure to pack a light long-sleeved blouse for entering temples. A skirt is a good idea for the same reason, although I often just tie a sarong around my shorts.
- Flip Flops – Flip Flops, Thongs, Jandals…whatever you call them in your part of the world, flip-flops are a must for Thailand. They are easy to slip on and off when entering temples. Since the weather is so warm, you don't need a lot of footwear unless you are going for hikes. If you are planning on hikes, pack some lightweight hiking boots.
- Backpacks – We prefer a backpack to a suitcase for Thailand as you'll be on boats, tuk-tuks, motorcycles and trains. Backpacks are easier to carry and you don't have to roll them through the sand of Thailand's amazing beaches.
We buy a lot of our clothing in Thailand. The fabric is lightweight and perfect for the weather.
Things to Do
- Climb in Railay – We went Rock Climbing in Railay for the first time in 2000 and each time we go back to Thailand we climb, King Klimbers and Hot Rocks are our go-to shops.
- Drive a Motorcycle to Myanmar from Chiang Rai
- Go Sea Kayaking – through the Hongs of Phuket
- Volunteer or visit an Elephant Sanctuary
- Take Part in Songkran – It's the world's largest water fight. Actually, it's the Thai New Year and they ring it in in style with a lot of water.
- Take a Muay Thai Kickboxing Course – Sign up for a month and really delve into the culture.
- Get a Thai Massage – Massages in Thailand are cheap and amazing. You'll be bent like a pretzel but feel fantastic.
- Take a Cooking Class – Thai food is a favourite around the world and cooking courses are popular around the country. Sign up for a multi-day course to really get to know the cuisine.
What not to Miss
- The Chao Praya River in Bangkok – See the Grand Palace, Floating Markets, Temple of the Dawn, Reclining Buddha and so much more!
- Beaches – Thailand has the most beautiful beaches in the world. Places like Phuket and Kho Samui are popular with the tourists but there are many other beaches like Railay and Ao Nang in Krabi, Kho Lanta and Kho Lipe near the Malaysian Border.
- Tip: avoid Pattaya Beach it's overrun and just downright depressing.
- Bridge on the River Kwai – Made famous by the movie it was a strategic location during WWII. There is a war memorial here for soldiers who were kept as POWs in unbearable conditions.
Places to Stay
Hansar Hotel Bangkok: This five-star hotel in the Pathum Wan District of Bangkok is the place to be. Enjoy private suites with glass showers, an infinity pool and hot tub, a hotel restaurant and bar with live music, a fitness center, and complimentary breakfast and room service. Shopping centers and the Lumphini Park are nearby.
Royal Phuket City Hotel: Just a short trip to the Tiger Kingdom animal park and Wat Chalong temple, and a short walk to the Trickeye Museum, this four-star hotel is the place to stay in Phuket. Enjoy private rooms with sea views, a day spa, the hotel’s three restaurants, a karaoke lounge, and a rooftop pool, plus more.
Whenever we travel we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices as well as great customer service.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It is usually the has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
Air BnB: Airbnb is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs. I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world's largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Thailand you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.