THAILAND TRAVEL TIPS: How to plan a trip to Thailand
Located in Southeast Asia, It has been a popular destination for decades. Thailand is a stunning combination of intricately built temples, idyllic beaches, and modern cities. Therefore, across the cities and villages, there’s certainly something to fulfill every traveler’s desire. If you want to visit Thailand, these Thailand travel tips will come in handy: find out how to plan a trip to Thailand, why you should visit Thailand, the best time to visit, some essential travel tips, what to eat in Thailand, and the best things to do.
Why visit Thailand
Why should you visit Thailand? With its rich cultural heritage and laid back way of life, Thailand attracts countless tourists each year. Here you can find ancient temples and ruins, royal palaces, sparkling beaches, and vibrant nightlife. There is delicious food everywhere, on street markets, and traditional restaurants.
A large amount of tourism has created convenient and accessible facilities and resorts, but you can still find hidden gems away from big crowds.
Essential Thailand travel tips
LANGUAGE: The main language is Thai. However, in most major cities some English is spoken.
MONEY/ATM: The currency is the Thai Baht. Most major cities have ATM’s available and establishments accept credit cards. However, you’ll need cash for smaller purchases.
ELECTRONIC APPLIANCES: All plugs are type A, B, and C with standard voltage 230V and frequency 60Hz. Pack your universal travel adaptor!
VISA: Citizens from the US, UK, and other EU passports are allowed a free 30-day visa if they enter by air. If you enter overland, you’re given 15 days. It’s easy to extend it to a tourist visa if you’d like to stay longer. Visit the Thai Embassy website for more information
Best time to visit Thailand
Although Thailand is clearly beautiful all year round, the weather can vary quite extremely. Therefore, the best time to visit Thailand is between November and April, with high temperatures and no rain you will be able to enjoy outdoor activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling. The low season, between July and October, is rainy with occasional storms, therefore not recommended.
How much is a trip to Thailand?
Thailand on a budget is very easy and fun to do, otherwise, there are many luxurious options available.
A budget dorm in a hostel starts at $6 a night and $10 for a private room. A high-end hotel might be from $40 upwards. You can find a bungalow on the beach for $15. Airbnb is also growing in popularity.
Street food is unbelievably cheap, with some snacks costing less than a dollar. Western food is more expensive than Thai food since it’s made for tourists. However, with such a vast range of local delicacies and low prices, you will be able to try something new every day.
Visiting museums in Thailand can be very cheap, entry starts at $1.50. Day tours are around $15-36 and jungles treks $30-50.
Some of the most popular activities to do in Thailand are the PADI dive certification courses, the price starts at $300 or more, depending on your entry-level.
Wait to book tours and activities until you arrive in Thailand in order to negotiate fees and rates.
What to eat in Thailand
Thailand offers food of spectacular and bold flavors like no other country. Discover what to eat in Thailand and enjoy this incredible cuisine full of rich flavours and colourful dishes.
A classic staple and favorite amongst travelers and locals alike, you can’t go wrong with a Pad Thai. They’re available in most street food carts and restaurants. Thick rehydrated rice noodles, stir-fried in chicken or shrimp, egg, beansprouts, firm tofu, garlic, and sometimes other vegs too.
Tom Yum Goong:
Or ‘spicy shrimp soup,’ is an iconic hot and sour bowl of steamy goodness. Its soup is made with an aromatic watery base, infused with fiery chili, fish sauce, and lemongrass for a bold spicy kick. It also contains galangal, shallots, mushrooms, and fresh shrimps.
Tom Kha Kai:
Translated as ‘chicken in coconut soup,’ it’s like a milder twist on Tom Yum Goong. The Thai love their coconuts, and for good reason. Here, they use coconut milk as a sweeter, softer base. It’s then infused with chilies, young galangal, lemongrass and topped with shallots, lime leaves, and chicken strips.
This is a green papaya salad served as a refreshing palate cleanser. You can order it at every street food vendor, they take their fresh ingredients and prepare it right in front of you. They shred the papaya, mix it with lime, garlic, chilies, sugar, and coriander to make a sweet and spicy treat.
Khao Neeo Mamuang:
If you hear the words ‘mango sticky rice’ together anywhere other than Thailand, you probably wouldn’t give it a try. However, Thai’s combine the silky sweet flavor of ripe mango with coconut rice to create an incredibly tasty dish. At $1.50 per portion, you’re likely to want a second one.
Thai Coconut ice cream:
Thai people love their coconut. Instead of the usual cow’s milk for the ice cream base, they use rich coconut cream. Often sprinkled with pieces of fresh coconut to add a crunch against the sweet creaminess. This is the perfect refreshing snack.
Best things to see and do in Thailand
Everywhere you see in Thailand will be beautiful and exciting. Although, if you have to narrow down your itinerary, here are the best things to do in Thailand.
You must include this metropolitan city into your trip. Its vibrant weekend markets, elegant intricate temples and crazy nightlife will leave you mesmerized. Opulent religious buildings can be found just streets away from bustling markets. Bangkok is an international city that offers a large variety of things to do. From weekend parties to floating markets and high-end hotels, you can easily spend days exploring the wonders of the city.
Explore Chiang Mai
Known as the ancient capital of Northern Thailand, this laid-back city has it all. The outdoorsy types can walk around the outskirts of the town, go white-water rafting down the river or hike the beautiful hills. Alternatively, you can find cooking classes, Thai massages, vibrant markets and spas.
Avoid riding elephants as it’s considered a barbaric and cruel activity, instead, you can volunteer in a conservation centre, knowing the elephants aren’t being harmed.
Koh Samui and the Gulf of Thailand
This is an incredible location that offers cheap dreamy bungalows on white-sand beaches, as well as luxury spas and resorts. The beach lifestyle and fishing villages create a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. On the island, make sure you visit the 12m tall statue of golden Big Buddha.
Koh Tao “Turtle Island”
Koh Tao translates to ‘Turtle Island,’ due to its fantastic underwater life, on top of that, the island is also adorably shaped like a turtle. Here you can scuba dive amongst colourful coral reefs and discover many sea creatures.
The island is 70km north of Koh Samui and hosts budget guesthouses, bungalows and hotels. At night, you can enjoy traditional restaurants and charming nightlife.
Kop ha-ngan and the Full Moon Party
This place is known for its once-a-month full moon party. Imagine an 800-metre beach hosting up to 30,000 people dancing through the night. Definitely a once in a lifestyle kind of experience, even if only suited to some travellers.
Ko Phi Phi and the Hollywood famous Maya Bay
This is another popular tourist destination, known for its Hollywood famous Maya Bay in the movie ‘The Beach’. Since the catastrophic tsunami in 2004, it has been rebuilt to have better infrastructures than before. Here you can go scuba diving and enjoy some incredible nightlife.
The stunning beaches and activities of Phuket made this one of the most popular destinations in Thailand. The city itself blends together an old-town with modern aspects, creating a buzzing feeling around the clock. Browse the local markets and wind-down, after a day of activities, with traditional food at local restaurants.
This is a collection of small islands, 84km northwest of Phuket. They offer some of the best diving in the world (also very good for beginners). With colourful corals and an incredible amount of sea life, it’s no surprise that Similan islands are placed among the top ten most interesting dive site in the world. The best time to explore this fascinating sea life amongst clear blue waters is between January and March – Thailand peak season.
Have my descriptions of sensational affordable food, indescribable beaches, and bustling cities left you curious? Thailand is definitely an unmissable destination. If you found my Thailand travel tips useful, leave a comment below.