Are you planning a trip to Thailand in the near future? If so, you’re in for a treat! This beautiful country is home to some of the most exotic and amazing scenery in the world. Not to mention, the Thai people are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people on earth. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of everything you need to know about visiting Thailand. From culture and history to food and nightlife, we have got you covered! So sit back and relax – let us take you on a journey through one of the most fascinating countries on earth: Thailand!
What do I need for travelling to Thailand?
In order to travel to Thailand, you need to have a tourist visa, a passport that won’t expire in the next six months, and proof that you are leaving the country within the tourist visa expiration date. Depending on your nationality, in general, you will most likely enter Thailand without a visa for 15 or 30 days. If you want to stay longer, you have to apply for a tourist visa.
The so-called Visa Exemption Rule, which allows passport holders of 55 countries to enter the Kingdom of Thailand for the first 30 days without a visa, makes it easy for the majority of visitors to enter Thailand. If you want to know if your country is listed in this Visa Exemption Rule, please check the Official website of the Thai Embassy. If you are planning to stay longer in Thailand, or when your country is not listed in the Visa Exemption Rule list, you have to apply for a Tourist Visa. How to do that, is described in the next paragraph.
When it comes to planning a trip to Thailand, the first thing you need to do is decide where you want to go. Bangkok, the country’s capital, is a great place to start. This bustling city is home to some of the best shopping, dining, and nightlife in all of Thailand. If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, Chiang Mai is the perfect spot for you. This charming city is filled with temples, markets, and cafes – perfect for exploring at your own pace. No matter where you choose to go in Thailand, you are sure to have an amazing time!
The next step in planning your trip is deciding what type of accommodation suits your needs best. There are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique, there are also many options for vacation rentals. No matter where you stay, you’ll be sure to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Now that you know where you want to go and where you want to stay, it’s time to start planning your itinerary. Thailand is home to so many amazing sights and activities, it can be hard to know where to start. A great way to get started is by deciding what type of traveler you are.
When is the best time to visit Thailand?
The best time to visit Thailand is between December and March. During this period, the weather is optimal for traveling as there is no rainy season and you avoid the extremely hot month of April. Especially in December, the weather is relatively cool making it perfect to explore Thailand. Also, at the start of March, the smog levels in Northern Thailand are extremely high. If you are planning to visit the Northern parts of Thailand, the best time to visit is between December and February.
It’s very simple, the rainy season is called the rainy season for a reason. Perhaps you might have heard stories from friends that they did not have a bad experience during the rainy season, but the fact is that it rains a lot in Thailand during that time. And not having a bad experience is not the same as having the best time of your life under the best circumstances you can get. The weather during raining season is unpredictable and it can ruin complete days by the vast amount of water that falls from the sky. Everyone who visits Thailand imagines themselves sipping ice-cold cocktails at beautiful beaches with the sky as light blue as possible. During raining season, the sky is most of the time grey and clouded, especially in southern parts of the islands of Thailand. I strongly advise planning your trip to Thailand between December and March.
Are you the type who likes to plan everything out in advance, or do you prefer to wing it and see where the wind takes you? Regardless of your style, there are plenty of great things to do in Thailand. If you like to plan ahead, there are a few must-see attractions that you won’t want to miss.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand is the Grand Palace in Bangkok. This stunning complex was built in 1782 and served as the home of the Thai king for 150 years.
How to plan your trip to Thailand?
In order to plan your trip, you have to think of the purpose of your visit and the duration of your stay. For example, if you want to see beautiful nature in particular, you should spend a long time in the North. If you just want to relax at a resort while enjoying the most beautiful sunsets, you should head to the southern part of Thailand. Most importantly, when it comes to planning your trip to Thailand, you should avoid visiting too much in such a short time.
Let’s say you are planning to visit Thailand for two weeks. In your mind, you are already picturing the beautiful temples, the elephant sanctuaries, the wildlife spotted at one of Thailands National Parks, sipping cocktails at the beach, scuba diving in Koh Tao, eating all the street food in Bangkok, standing on top of a rooftop bar, etc. But when you put all of this into practice, you will come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to do all these things in such a short time. You didn’t take all the traveling in between into account. The best practice when it comes to planning a trip to Thailand is by skipping a few things.
Today, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, and it’s easy to see why. The palace is a beautiful example of traditional Thai architecture, and it’s surrounded by lush gardens and courtyards. Another must-see attraction is Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. This Buddhist temple is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River and its distinctive design makes it one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity, consider taking a boat ride through the canals of Bangkok. These narrow waterways are often referred to as the “Venice of the East,” and they offer a beautiful glimpse into Thai culture.
Of course, no trip to Thailand would be complete without spending some time on one of its stunning beaches. The country has over 3000 miles of coastline, so you’re sure to find the perfect spot to relax and soak up some sun. One of the most popular beaches in Phuket is located on the west coast of Thailand. Phuket is known for its clear waters and white sand beaches, and it’s a great place to enjoy some watersports or just relax in a beach chair with a good book.
How to get around in Thailand?
The best ways to get around in Thailand are by train, plane, (night) bus, and ferries. While there are other ways of transport available as well, including a minivan, I would highly recommend you stick to these four much safer ways of transportation.
Unfortunately, Thailand has one of the highest road traffic deaths in Asia, with 22,000 deaths per year. Taking or renting motorbikes, especially in high-speed traffic zones is incredibly dangerous and should at all times be avoided. The best way to get around in Thailand is by train, plane, or ferry. If there is no train or plane available, I would suggest you take the (night) bus. Avoid taking the minivan, as these often have reckless drivers and minivans getting into accidents on a regular base.
The most common ways of transportation when traveling through Thailand:
- In Bangkok, you should use the MRT (subway) and the BTS (Skytrain). More details about traffic in Bangkok and Thailand can be found in our article about Bangkok Public Transport.
- To get to Chiang Mai, it’s recommended to either take the train from Hua Lamphong to Chiang Mai or take a flight to Chiang Mai. If you are in Bangkok, you most likely fly from Don Mueang, which is the airport that has the most domestic flights.
- To get to Koh Samui, Koh Tao, or Koh Phangan, you can fly to Koh Samui Airport and take the ferry to one of the other islands. Or, you can take the night train to Surat Thani. From Surat Thani, you take the ferry to the islands.
- To get to Phuket, Koh Lanta, and Phi Phi, I would recommend flying to Phuket. Alternatively, you can take a group minivan or bus from your destination. This all depends on your current location, but nowadays, plane tickets are cheap and save you a lot of time.
Khao Sok National Park is a highly recommended destination during your stay in Thailand. If you booked accommodation in this national park, you most likely have the option to get picked up from Surat Tani by the accommodation. It’s always a good practice to ask the staff in advance how to get to the accommodation, at any destination.
Tips for your trip to Thailand
Take your vaccinations based on your doctor’s advice. No need to ask the internet. Ask a specialist and take your shots. Simple as that. The same rule applies to whether you have to get Malaria pills with you during your trip to Thailand: ask for medical advice from specialists. Depending on where you go in Thailand, you most likely don’t need to bring Malaria pills but ask for medical advice from the specialists in your country.
COVID Update: there is a high chance that in the near future, you must have a COVID vaccination before visiting a country in Southeast Asia. This is still speculation, however, the first Southeast Asian airlines seem to communicate this with their customers. As mentioned earlier, ask your Embassy what the current status is regarding (mandatory) COVID vaccinations in Thailand.
It’s as simple as this: get proper travel insurance. Each year you hear stories in the news about tourists who are not insured and friends who have started crowdfunding. You never want to be in this situation. You can get sick from infections or get injured in an accident. Thailand can be dangerous, so make sure you are prepared well. Also, you are usually not insured by your travel insurance when you rent a motorbike. Most of the time, you need an international driver’s license for this. Ask your travel insurance agent for details.
COVID update: one of the requirements for entering the Kingdom of Thailand as a tourist is to have travel insurance that covers a minimum of $100,000 in potential medical bills.
Book in advance
Especially when you are on a two or three-week trip to Thailand, it’s recommended to plan ahead and book in advance. If you are planning to stay 60 days in Thailand, it’s nearly impossible to make accurate planning with advanced bookings. But even when you stay that long in Thailand and you want to experience the full moon party or sleep on a lake in Khao Sok National Park, you have to do some advance bookings. Also, when you are planning to take the night train to Surat Thani to attend the full moon party, make sure that you get your train ticket on time, as this is one of the most popular train rides in the country.
Get a sim card
It’s very easy and cheap to get a 4G sim card in Thailand, which makes your life so much easier for obvious reasons. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, you will find a lot of shops that sell sim cards. But I would recommend buying a sim card at an official shop in one of the shopping centers in Bangkok. In almost every large shopping mall near one of the BTS Stations, you can find an official shop. In my own experience, AIS is the best provider and for a few bucks, you can enjoy high-speed internet during your whole trip.
Everywhere in the world, where there are tourists, there are scams. When people start to approach you on the streets, especially near tourist attractions, and ask where you are from and where you stay, how long you stay, and if you travel alone, your alarm bells should go off. Also, when people are offering you free tuk-tuk rides or free taxi rides, you should ignore these rides as we can guarantee you will end up in a scam. Last, when strangers tell you that the attraction is closed and they want to take you somewhere else, again, ignore it. This all might seem very obvious, but scammers trick people every day.
Dress appropriately when visiting temples
When entering a temple, you always need to take off your shoes. Also, there are rules on how to dress: no tank tops, short skirts. Make sure that you cover your shoulders and knees. It is good practice to pack a scarf for women. Also, when you visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok, there are even stricter rules. The dress code and other rules for the Grand Palace can be found on the Offocial Website of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, Thailand has plenty to offer. You can go hiking in the jungle, take an elephant ride through the countryside, or go whitewater rafting down one of the many rivers. There are also several national parks where you can enjoy activities like bird watching and camping.
So whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, Thailand has something to offer everyone. So start planning your trip today and experience all that this beautiful country has to offer! Check out our blog post about things to do in Chang Mai and Phuket.