If you’re keeping an eye on the news and events around the world, you might have noticed an influx of travelers heading to Southeast Asia. And it’s no wonder, with its natural beauty, delicious food, and welcoming people, it seems like the perfect destination to escape to.
When you start planning a trip to Thailand, you’ll find endless beauty, adventure, and fun attractions. But it can be a little more challenging to plan a trip of this caliber than you might think.
That’s why we’ve gathered some of the most important tips for you to plan your trip successfully. Keep reading to learn more.
When it the best time to visit Thailand?
The peak season for tourists in Thailand is between November/December until around March/April. These tend to be the best in terms of temperature and humidity, and you also avoid the worst of the wet season or monsoon which runs from June until around October.
Avoid booking during April and May as this is Thailand’s hot season, and tends to experience extreme humidity.
Be aware also that around January to March, the air pollution in the north of the country, especially around Chiang Mai, becomes extremely bad. This is because of the burning season when farmers burn the dead crops on their fields in preparation for the coming season. You’ll be fine in the south, but avoid the north around this time.
Where is best to visit in Thailand?
Thailand is a stunningly beautiful country – known for its beaches, jungles, and delicious food. It’s popular with backpackers, digital nomads and package tour visitors, and is also an awesome honeymoon destination.
When it comes to choosing where to visit, you will most likely start your journey in either Bangkok or Phuket. This is where the main airports into the country are based, especially if you’re flying from North America, Europe or Australasia.
Some of the must visit places to visit in Thailand are:
Beaches and islands
The south of the country is home to some of the best beaches and islands in Asia, possibly in the world. Some of the best places to visit in Thailand for beaches include:
- Koh Phangan for full moon parties, beaches and jungle treks
- Koh Tao for world class scuba diving, cheap PADI licences and lush beaches
- Koh Phi phi for some of the most stunning beaches in the world, plus excellent snorkelling and scuba diving
- Krabi for incredible rock formations and rock climbing and great beaches
- Koh Libong for a more secluded and less touristic Thai island vibe. Lots of hidden and unspoilt beaches here…
Thailand is full of seriously sexy beaches, so you’ll find lots of opportunity to explore and enjoy the beach.
Party, shopping, city fun
If you want city vibes, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Thailand. Whether you’re in town to do some shopping, or you want to part the night away, these are the best places to visit in Thailand for city experiences.
- Bangkok: Some of the best nightlife anywhere in the world, excellent shopping at Siam Paragon, MBK Mall and Chatuchak market
- Pattaya: If you’re looking for a sleazy sex tourism vibe then this is where to go. Hedonism central and a decent beach too.
- Hua Hin: Growing more popular with tourists, Hua Hin has been the beach resort of choice of Thais for many years.
- Chiang Mai: The northern city is less hectic than Bangkok but is still a top draw for fun seeking tourists. Its also a digital nomad hotspot – but you knew that already, right?
Local culture and nature
Want a more sedate experience, exploring the natural environment or the more cultural side of this stunning country. No problem. The best places to visit in Thailand for culture and nature are:
- Ayutthaya: The biggest and most impressive ancient temple complex in Thailand is a day trip away from Bangkok. But to do it justice, we recommend making your way to Phra Nakhon and enjoying the experience.
- Sukohthai: In the north, almost halfway between Chiang Mai and Bangkok is this impressive UNESCO heritage site. Very similar to Ayutthaya and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
- Khao Sok: The jungles in the south of the country are a popular draw for those seeking a natural wildlife experience. See elephants, go on jungle treks and enjoy swimming in the river. A must visit in Thailand and perfect for adventure travellers or honeymooners alike.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list of the best places to visit in Thailand, but definitely gives you the basics and the essentials.
Solo travel vs group travel in Thailand
Deciding whether to travel to Thailand independently or in a group is another step in planning a trip to Thailand. Traveling in a group can provide a sense of fun and adventure, where stories of exploration and discovery can be shared.
On the other hand, independent travelers have the flexibility to explore what they want when they want. Both offer great opportunities for making memories and connecting with locals.
If you’re worried about solo travel, no need. Thailand is a well travelled destination with millions of foreign visitors every year. It’s literally guaranteed that you will meet people with ease and make new friends. Take the plunge, go solo and thank us later!
How can I find accommodation in Thailand?
When it comes to planning a trip to Thailand, you’ll find that there is a huge choice when it comes to accommodation. In most tourist centeres, prices will vary from a handful of Baht per night (as low as $2 a night at some places), all the way up to … Well, the sky is the limit.
The best way to find accommodation in Thailand is by booking online before you arrive. Sites such as Booking.com and Agoda are very popular with travellers because they offer the best choice of hotels with something for every budget.
Search for the best prices on our handy widget here:
How to find budget accommodation in Thailand?
If you’re looking for budget accommodation, check out HostelWorld, which is the best site for finding the cheapest stays. Hostels tend to mean dormitories, which is definitely the cheapest way to travel and save money. But many hostels also offer private rooms, so it’s always worth checking out HostelWorld.
Hostels are great fun. And even if you have the money to pay for a big hotel we do recommend a hostel for at least a few nights in Thailand so you can mingle with other tourists.
Many hostels even have great facilities and even have party nights and shared cooking spaces.
Getting around in Thailand
Thailand has excellent infrastructure, making getting around incredibly easy. There are a choice of budget airlines including:
- Air Asia
- Bangkok Air
- Thai Airways Domestic
- Thai Smile
- Thai Lion Air
In short, flying around Thailand is very easy, although prices vary from very affordable to surprisingly expensive. The best bet is to book in advance as popular routes can also sell out very quickly especially during peak seasons.
Thailand also has an excellent train and bus network. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, it will be the bus/coach. Don’t worry though, Thai buses are usually decent quality and comfortable and will drop you right in the heart of wherever you’re going.
What visa do I need for Thailand?
When visiting Thailand, researching the visa you need is a vital part of the pre-trip planning process. While citizens of many countries are given a 30 day entry stamp on arrival, including most European nations, Canada and the United States and many Asian countries.
If you’re planning on staying longer, for example to stay and work remotely, you may need to apply for a long stay visa. A popular way for many travellers to extend their stay is by doing visa runs. This usually means leaving the country every 30 days and re-entering to get a fresh 30 day entry stamp.
While this might be sustainable for a few months, it can be very disruptive (and expensive) if you’re planning on staying long term and setting up a life.
You can also apply for a student visa, if you sign up for a learn Thai course.
Or, you can arrive as a teacher, for example TEFL, which will also grant you a long stay visa.
All travelers must have a valid passport for six months past the intended date of departure. Depending on the length of stay, visitors may need either a tourist visa or a non-immigrant visa.
Do I need to take cash or credit card to Thailand?
ATMs are widely available in Thailand, with a bank machine available in pretty much every small town. Keep an eye out for banks as these will obviously have ATMs attached. However you might also spot ATMs on the side of 7-Elevens, in malls and often in random places such as transit stations.
Paying by card is easy and widely accepted in most shops and restaurants. However there is still also a very big cash only culture, especially for street food and stalls. So it’s often good to have some cash on you for snacks, emergencies and buying souvenirs.
Finally, be aware that some outlets accept other forms of payment, such as Bitcoin, although these options are not widely used.
Do I need travel insurance for Thailand?
Organizing your travel insurance for Thailand is an important step in making sure your trip goes smoothly. While Thai healthcare is relatively affordable and of good quality, you can still end up spending a lot if something goes wrong. And things do go wrong!
Make sure to have travel insurance that covers Thailand and is valid for the duration of your stay.
Additionally, look for a policy that includes coverage for activities such as trekking, diving, snorkeling, motorcycling, and any other activity that may be a part of your trip. Bear in mind that if you don’t have a valid motor cycle licence and you have an accident, you might not be covered on your insurance.
Check the small print!
In short: Thailand is an easy place to travel and enjoy
Overall, planning a trip to Thailand is quite simple and the tourist infrastructure is excellent. Oh and the food is obviously incredible too.
Thailand is also known as the Land of Smiles thanks to it’s culture of being open and welcoming. Be sure to respect the locals and you will definitely experience some of that infamous welcome.
If you’ve never been or are planning a trip to Thailand, we think you’ll find a visit is one of the best decisions you make!
Make sure to get the best deals on tours and experience in Thailand with Viator. Check the best deals, cruises, tours and more on our handy widget…