THAILAND TRAVEL GUIDE

As one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations, Thailand is on the bucket list of many a seasoned traveller and wanderluster alike. Whatever you’re looking for, Thailand probably has it. From a rich history and culture to abundant nature, and from daredevil activities to incredible nightlife.

Discover lush jungles, beautiful beaches, friendly locals and delicious food. All for a very affordable price. If you’re all about nature and taking in stunning views, take a trip to Khao Sok National Park and the Phi Phi Islands. For a bustling city vibe and heaps of culture, discover the eclectic capital of Thailand, Bangkok. 

There really is no wonder why Thailand is a favourite place to travel for so many people, and why visitors return time and time again. This Thailand travel guide provides all the essential information you need to know before visiting Thailand. From how to get around and the best time to visit, through to destination highlights and FAQs. 

Contents

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How to get to Thailand

There are six main airports in Thailand, so you aren’t short of options if you want to travel by plane. The main airports are:

  • Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
  • Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)
  • Phuket International Airport (HKT)
  • Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX)
  • Hat Yai International Airport (HDY)
  • Mae Fah Luang – Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI)

Depending where you are travelling from, most visitors will fly into Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport). It offers the most options in terms of international connections and airlines, plus Bangkok is a great place to start your Thai adventure.

If you’re flying from somewhere within Asia, such as Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong, then it may be worth looking into the other airport options. It all depends on where you’re trying to get to.

If you’re travelling to Thailand from the UK, your best bet is to fly nonstop from London to Bangkok. Airlines offering direct flights from the UK to Thailand include British Airways, Thai Airways, and Eva Air. The flight takes around 11.5 hours. A number of other airlines offer indirect flights, which are usually cheaper but less convenient.

For those travelling to and from Phuket airport, book a transfer in advance for peace of mind.

How to get around Thailand

Top tip: You need to haggle a price for a tuk-tuk ride and the drivers are known to take advantage of naive tourists. Find out the going rate for a tuk-tuk in the area before haggling, so you know what to expect. Even better, say you live in Thailand – or have lived in Thailand – and they will be less likely to rip you off.

Grand Palace
Phuket
Bangkok Tuktuk

Best time to visit Thailand

While you’re sure to love Thailand all year round, it’s important to consider how the weather will impact your plans for travelling in Thailand. Thailand’s hot season, rainy season, and dry season all bring a different take to the Asian travel hotspot. 

Hot Season: March-June

Thailand’s hot season runs from March to June, and this is also the shoulder season. Many people who aren’t acclimatised to warm weather find the hot season just too hot, so prefer to travel during other seasons. The hot season in Thailand is perfect for beach days and pure relaxation, as it’s probably too hot to do much else! Be prepared to sweat if you visit in this season, as the humidity is seriously intense. Don’t even think about make-up, it’ll just slide off!

Rainy Season: July-October

Rainy season in Thailand comes between July and October, and makes it the low season. While you’ll likely have to contend with frequent rainstorms, you’ll benefit from less tourists and reduced rates. If the rain doesn’t bother you, this may be the perfect time to visit Thailand as you’ll be able to get on with your activities without the crowds of people. It’s still warm at this time of year, and heavy downpours can be good fun. Dancing in the rain is a must!

Dry Season: November-February

The dry season in Thailand is between November and February, and is also the high season. Many people prefer the slightly midler temperatures of this time of year, as it means they’ll be able to get stuck in with activities like hiking and swimming in the sea. As this is the most popular time to travel, attractions will likely be busy. It also means that flights and accommodation will be more expensive than in the hot season or rainy season.

Thailand highlights

Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi Islands are a group of six islands located on the west coast of Thailand. The islands are situated in the Andaman Sea, and are probably best known for being the location of Leonardo Di Caprio’s film ‘The Beach’. The Phi Phi Islands are part of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, so are very popular to visit for tourists and locals alike.

The two main Phi Phi Islands are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. Known to locals as Ko Phi Phi, the Phi Phi Islands have an average temperature of 24°C to 32°C year round. Koh Phi Phi Don is the main island of the group, and the only inhabited one. You can find accommodation here to suit your style, from budget to luxury, as well as restaurants, bars, and stores.

Be sure to go an island hopping tour to explore all the small islands. It’s also worth noting that the iconic Maya Bay has just reopened to tourists after years of being closed.

Discover more in my Phi Phi Islands travel guide.

Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is located on the mainland in southern Thailand, between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui. The nature reserve contains the spectacular man-made Cheow Lan Lake at its heart. There are set tours that you can experience, or you can roam around. Many people choose to see the reserve via non-conventional travel modes: elephant-back safari and rafting being some of the favourites.

You’ll have the experience of a lifetime exploring all that Khao Sok has to offer, including its abundance of rare species. See up close and personal the giant parasitic Rafflesia flower (just don’t touch!), hornbill birds, gibbons and tigers that reside in the jungle. You’ll be immersed in nature as you trek through the jungle landscape and have the absolute experience of a lifetime. For the full experience, book an overnight stay in a floating raft house.

Learn more in my guide to visiting Khao Sok National Park.

Krabi

Located on the southern west coast of Thailand, Krabi is a highly popular tourist destination for both tourists and locals alike. With immense limestone cliffs, dense mangrove forests and over 100 picturesque islands offshore, there’s plenty to see in Krabi. From island hopping and snorkelling to hiking and rock climbing, there’s something amazing to do in Krabi to suit every traveller. 

Aside from the Phi Phi Islands, you can visit Ko Khao Phing Kan – aka the ‘James Bond Island’ from The Man with the Golden Gun – for stunning views. There are hiking trails and designated viewpoints where you can take in the best of the best views in Thailand. Just remember to pack your walking boots or trainers!

The fun doesn’t have to stop as the sun goes down: experience the incredible nightlife in Krabi for a truly unforgettable night and lots of laughter.

Discover more amazing things to do in Krabi.

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Frequently asked questions

What language is spoken in Thailand?

Thai is the official language of Thailand and it’s quite a challenging language to master. Luckily, most Thais speak and understand English, thanks to the rise of TEFL jobs in the region. This is particularly the case in the main tourist areas, so you should be just fine unless heading off the beaten track.

What is the currency in Thailand?

Thai baht (THB) is the official currency of Thailand and the only legal currency. It can take a bit of time to get your head around the Thai currency. Based on exchange rates at the time of writing, 500 THB is equivalent to 11 GBP, 13 EUR, 15 USD, 19 CAD, and 21 AUD.

Is Thailand expensive?

No, Thailand is not an expensive place to travel. Thailand is significantly cheaper than most western countries, so travelling in luxury is a lot more accessible. Despite it being comparatively affordable, it is actually one of the most expensive countries to visit in Southeast Asia, primarily due to its popularity. The biggest expense is likely to be the flights.

Is Thailand a safe country to visit?

Thailand is mostly safe to visit and is generally considered to be one of the safest countries for travellers in Southeast Asia. However, travelling in Thailand is not without its dangers. Common issues to be aware of are petty theft and tourist scams. There is also a higher risk of drug trafficking, terrorism and social unrest throughout the country. Tourists should also be careful when out drinking, as this is when many crimes take place, from theft to assault.

Crime aside, check which vaccines you need before you travel. The most important jabs include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid – but speak to your doctor about the best options for you. Malaria risk is low in Thailand but you may want to consider anti-malaria tablets if you’re travelling in dense jungle during the rainy season.

Can I drink the tap water in Thailand?

No, do not drink the tap water in Thailand. You will most likely end up with food poisoning, even if you’re in a nice hotel or resort. Stick to bottled water throughout your trip. Ice is usually made from purified water, so you should be fine. But if you’re concerned, just ask for no ice when ordering drinks.

Is Thailand a good destination for solo travellers?

Thailand is an excellent destination for solo travellers – male or female. As one of the most popular backpacking countries in Southeast Asia, solo travelling through Thailand is actually a very social adventure. There are plenty of accommodation options which are tailored to solo travellers. For more advice on travelling solo – particularly as a woman – have a read of my solo female travel tips.

What is traditional Thai food?

Sampling the street food in Thailand is an absolute must. No, you don’t have to eat a scorpion on a stick if you don’t want to! Trust me, there are much better options. My personal favourite is the deliciously simple Pad Thai. Other classic Thai dishes include Pad Kra Prao, Green Curry, Mango Sticky Rice, Tom Yum Soup, and many more!

How many Michelin star restaurants in Thailand?

There are 32 Michelin star restaurant in Thailand – six two Michelin stars and 26 one Michelin stars. There are 133 Bib Gourmand restaurants in Thailand, plus 196 Michelin recommended establishments.

What are the best day trips from Bangkok?

There are plenty of stunning destinations easily accessible from Bangkok. Popular Bangkok day trips include Ayutthaya, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Kanchanaburi, Koh Samet, and Khao Yai National Park.

Luxury accommodation picks

Thailand is home to some truly breathtaking luxury accommodation. From stunning beach resorts to hidden jungle properties, all these establishments offer impeccable services and unforgettable surroundings. The best part is that it’s far more affordable than it would be in other parts of the world. Here are some of the very best luxury hotels in Thailand.

Siam Hotel, Bangkok

A luxurious escape from the city with a world-class spa.

Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui

Immerse yourself in Thailand’s island life at this five star hotel.

Amanpuri,
Phuket

An idyllic Thailand retreat with a Holistic Wellness Centre.

Soneva Kiri,
Koh Kood

Ultimate luxury and eco-friendly design on a secluded island.

Bangkok landmarks

Bangkok is awash with unique and iconic landmarks, from temples and palaces to markets and parks. If you’re looking for something a little different to the well-trodden tourist attractions, discover my list of 10 quirky things to do in bangkok.

Grand Palace

The former royal residence and Bangkok’s biggest tourist attraction.

Lumpini Park

A gorgeous green oasis, perfect for a break from the chaos of Bangkok.

Wat Pho

A beautiful temple and home to Bangkok’s biggest reclining Buddha.

Chatuchak Market

The largest market in Thailand, shop antiques, food stalls, and more.

Best islands in Thailand

Thailand is famous for its stunning islands. With pristine white sandy beaches, turquoise oceans and lush jungle, these islands offer a picture-perfect slice of paradise. Whether you’re after a remote island away from the crowds, or the best spot for scuba diving, here are the best islands in Thailand to add to your Asia bucket list:

Koh Samui

For luxury beach resorts and world-renowned spas.

Koh Similan

For the best diving and snorkelling spots in Thailand.

Koh Yao Islands

For sleepy fishing villages and off-the-beaten-track charm.

Koh Lipe

For the most beautiful beaches away from the crowds.

Thailand travel inspiration

Planning a trip to Thailand? Have a read of these Thailand travel articles to help you plan your visit.

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