The Ultimate Guide to Thailand
Thailand is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Millions of tourists visit each year for affordable travel, exotic culture, and to have the time of their lives. And every type of trip is catered for, such as the luxurious beachside Thailand vacation rentals on one of the hundreds of islands to hostel beds costing less than $10. If this is your first trip, keep reading and discover everything you need to know about traveling to the country.
Why Visit Thailand?
There are several reasons why tourists choose to visit Thailand. Firstly, travel costs are much lower than other destinations around the world, such as Europe, Australia, and the United States. And tourists can find the ultimate level of comfort and luxury for much less than they would elsewhere. It’s possible to stay in five-star resorts for just over $100 per night. On the other end of the spectrum, guesthouses, budget hotels, and hostels often cost less than $20 per night. In Chiang Mai, one of Thailand’s cheapest destinations, some beds in mixed dorms cost less than $10.
Other reasons to visit include Thailand’s rich and diverse culture. From ancient temples and former capitals to the endless numbers of golden temples found throughout much of the country. Some head south to enjoy tropical islands where they can relax on the beach, go snorkeling, or dive in the crystal clear waters. Others get off the beaten path and head to lesser-known places like Chiang Rai. And if you want to experience history, you’re never too far away. The infamous Death Railway and Bridge of the River Kwai are popular day trips from Bangkok.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
Thailand experiences two distinct seasons. The wet season which typically starts in late June or early July, lasts until October or November. The dry season begins in November until June. Torrential downpours can happen during the monsoon rains, and flooding is a possibility. But that shouldn’t deter potential visitors. While the rain might be heavy and frequent, it rarely rains continuously for more than an hour or so. Peak season inevitably coincides with the dry season. When more tourists come, the prices shoot up. But you can expect endless sunshine and cloudless skies. Temperatures average in the low 30s for much of the year.
A quick tip: Avoid April and May if it’s possible. These two months are the hottest, and it’s not uncommon for Bangkok to reach the mid to high 30s. Combine this with the humidity, and it makes for a hot, sticky, and uncomfortable trip. That being said, the climate in Thailand varies. When Bangkok experiences rain, it might be cooler and dry in the northern parts or islands. Do your research beforehand.
The Best Places to Visit
Bangkok is usually the first place in Thailand tourists visit. For a start, international flights from around the globe fly directly into the capital. And it’s full of activities and culture such as an active nightlife, the Royal Palace, and a thriving backpacker scene. Those on a higher budget can find rooftop cocktail bars and restaurants. Popular day trips from Bangkok include Kanchanaburi and the ancient city of Ayutthaya.
Island-lovers will find their perfect retreat in either Phuket or Koh Samui. Both islands have a laid-back atmosphere, a decent tourist infrastructure, and cater to all types of travelers and holidaymakers. You can visit both on a shoestring and party the night away with other backpackers. Or splash out a little more and spend your time in the resorts or vacation rentals. Several spas with world-class facilities can be found on the island too. Expect pristine beaches, clear waters, several bars and restaurants, and lots of smiling locals.
Chiang Mai is another popular destination located in northern Thailand. The town has a less chaotic and chilled out atmosphere compared to Bangkok. But the biggest appeal is its affordability. Food, drink, and accommodation are top-notch and have some of the cheapest entertainment in the country. And the town is rich in history and culture too. Whether you want to save on accommodation or splash out and have luxury at an affordable price, you’ll find it here. Chiang Mai has a thriving expat community, and it’s never too difficult to meet new people.
Important Things to Know
As soon as you arrive in the country, it will become apparent that most Thais are friendly and have big smiles on their faces. A large number of the people who you meet will be more than willing to offer their help and to give you suggestions. But not everyone you meet has good intentions. It’s important to know that Thailand has a small number of locals who try their best to scam and rip off tourists. This includes many of the TukTuk drivers, taxis refusing to use their meters, and the general overcharging experienced by foreigners. While this isn’t everyone, you should be aware and have your wits about you at all times. Another important point is that all the temples and religious buildings have strict dress codes. This means no exposed skin above the knees and elbows. Pack a few long sleeves and a pair of jeans to wear when you visit the temples or the Royal Palace in Bangkok.
Enjoying Your Trip
Now you have the essentials on how to plan your trip to Thailand. Consider the season before you book anything and have an idea of where you want to go. Most people come away with a positive experience after having the time of their lives. And you probably will too.