Thailand is one of the world’s top travel destinations, famed for its tropical beaches, exquisite cuisine, and golden temples.
While the pandemic resulted in its borders being closed for 18 months, Thailand is now open to tourists again, giving you the perfect chance to visit the Land of a Thousand Smiles once again. With Chinese tourism still on hold, you can see Thailand with much fewer crowds.
But different parts of Thailand appeal to different travellers — from wide-eyed adventurers at the start of a Thailand backpacking trip to package tourists on a lazy beach holiday.
That means to get the experience you’re looking for you have to know where to go!
Plan your Thailand trip
Where to go in Thailand
In a hurry? Need some quick answers?
Depending on your interests, here are some of the best places to go in Thailand:
Best for culture, history and temples
Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya
Popular vacation spots (resorts and beaches)
Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui. Many excellent resorts here, though less interesting if you’re a backpacker or independent traveller.
Top nature experiences in Thailand
Khao Sok National Park, trekking in northern Thailand, Erawan National Park, Khao Yai National Park
Best spots for partying
Bangkok, Koh Phangan, Pai, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Chang (Lonely Beach). All of these have a party scene and attract younger travelers, though the bars are also easy to avoid if you prefer some quiet time.
Calm or less touristy places in Thailand
Try the Mae Hong Son region, Chiang Dao, Kanchanaburi, Koh Lanta, or the Koh Chang archipelago.
If it’s your first time in Thailand, then you might enjoy some of the more established travel routes that are sure to give you a great experience.
For a quick 1-week loop focused on culture and nature, consider doing Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, and Khao Yai National Park. Since these are all close to each other, you won’t waste too much time in transit.
Alternatively, you can do a 1-week cultural loop in northern Thailand, starting in Chiang Mai.
For some ideas for a longer route, you can check out this Thailand itinerary for 2 to 4 weeks, which includes the cultural north and islands in the south.
When creating your route, it’s often a good idea to go to the north first.
You will find more cultural and natural attractions there, so many people think it’s nice to tick these off the list before heading to the southern coast.
If you go to the beaches straight away, you might just get stuck in a hammock and not do anything else!
Top places to visit in Thailand
Even though the best places to visit in Thailand will always depend on your personal interest and travel style, many travelers would agree the following are all among the highlights in Thailand.
You are likely to arrive in the capital Bangkok, which is located smack in the middle of central Thailand. Besides the capital, it’s worth highlighting the archaeological site of Ayutthaya, and the gentle riverside town of Kanchanaburi makes for an easy escape from buzzing Bangkok.
Enjoy the hustle-and-bustle of the Thai capital
Some tourists arrive in Bangkok believing it to be way too chaotic, busy, or stressful, immediately escaping straight to the islands. I think this is a real shame because Bangkok is an amazing city to explore!
With so many things to do in Bangkok, you could easily spend several days in the capital.
Bangkok’s Grand Palaces make for a great first stop. The palatial grounds in Bangkok were long the nerve center of the Siamese kingdom. The vast complex is full of throne halls, royal residences, and golden Buddhist temples, and nowadays most of the court and temples are open to visitors.
However, the Grand Palace and royal temple of Wat Phra Kaew can get very busy (in normal times), so consider an early morning visit.
Where to stay in Bangkok
Suneta Hostel Khaosan
I love this hostel! It's not too big and great for meeting people. Just a block or two from Khaosan
The Yard Hostel
Chilled out garden and in a local neighborhood. It's a bit far from the center, but my fave!
Budget-friendly hotel (also has 2 dorms) in super-central Siam district
Siamotif Boutique Hotel
Cosy boutique riverside hotel in the less-touristy Thonburi area
For a great taste of the vibrant hustle-and-bustle of Bangkok, go to the Chinatown district and get lost in its maze of markets and narrow alleys. You’ll see fishmongers chopping fish, welders fixing equipment, and exotic foodstuffs for sale—all amid a sea of Thai and Chinese neon signage. It’s one of my favorite parts of Bangkok; check out our dedicated guide for the best areas to explore in Bangkok.
Tip: there is so much more to Bangkok than the tourist street of Khao San or the main commercial districts. Consider going on a longboat tour through the canals of hidden Bangkok, visiting non-touristy temples and some of the local markets. This was easily my favorite activity in Bangkok.
Relaxing riverside base for nature and history
If Bangkok feels a bit much, then Kanchanaburi is the perfect place to unwind. This gentle riverside town is about two hours from the capital.
The town is famous for its railway, once built in 1943 by the Japanese during WW2. At the local museum, you can learn more about why it earned the nickname of the ‘Death Railway’. Despite its dark past, today the railway makes for an enjoyable ride passing cliffs along the river and crossing the famous Bridge Over the River Kwai.
Kanchanaburi is a chilled-out town with a small traveler scene. Relax by the river, stroll the local food markets, or rent bicycles to explore the tranquil countryside.
Consider taking a tour to nearby Erawan National Park, one of Thailand’s best-protected nature areas and home to gorgeous waterfalls. For more ideas, take a look at these 33 things to do in Kanchanaburi.
Ancient Thai capital near Bangkok
Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was once the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom (after Sukhothai). The historic city of Ayutthaya is now a UNESCO-recognized site that encompasses many ruined ancient temples and palaces.
Ayutthaya has become a popular day trip from Bangkok and so it gets busy in the afternoons. However, as this blog shows, it can also be a great place to stay a night or two.
A town taken over by monkeys
Lopburi is a historic city about 2 hours from Bangkok. It gained notoriety in recent years for the ever-growing colony of macaques that has overrun the town.
They are based out of an abandoned cinema but can usually be seen roaming around the Prang Sam Yot temple in the old town. They are a fun attraction but beware: they can be a little aggressive!
Besides the monkeys and several Khmer-style temples, there arguably isn’t that much else to do in Lopburi, so most people visit only on a stopover on their journey from Bangkok to the northern capital of Chiang Mai. Some stay the night in order to enjoy a bit of a real Thai city, while using it as a base for a day trip to Ayutthaya, or to explore the nearby countryside which is covered in sunflowers from November to January.
Koh Chang Archipelago
Oft-overlooked islands near Cambodia
Most people go to Thailand’s southern islands, like the ones mentioned later. But Thailand also has a third island group in the center off to the east, near Cambodia. Depending on your itinary, the Koh Chang Archipelago may be a bit out of the way, but that’s also part of what makes it rewarding to visit.
Koh Chang, the largest island, gets its share of resort tourism, though it also has a thriving backpacker scene. Not all of the beaches are sandy (some have rocks or pebbles) and the island’s large interior is mountainous and covered in jungle, which can make it still feel a little wild. There are plenty of quiet spots, and it’s a perfect island for hiking.
Koh Kood (a.k.a Koh Kut) is very picturesque and unspoiled. It’s mostly the domain of some isolated resorts, but it’s also possible to be an independent traveler on Koh Kood and stay in a local B&B or guesthouse. This very quiet island is best for doing nothing at all. Ferries to the islands depart from the town of Trat, which is about 5 hours by bus from Bangkok.
This part of Thailand is more mountainous, has cooler temperatures, and is more relaxed. With its misty mountains and lush valleys, the region is popular for jungle trekking and visiting indigenous hill tribes.
The main city Chiang Mai has super low prices and an easygoing atmosphere, making it a great base from which to explore. The province also has some small mountain towns where you can kick back and relax, such as Pai or Chiang Dao.
Northwest of Chiang Mai is the Mae Hong Son province, Thailand’s least populous region. For a great road trip, you can rent some scooters and ride the Mea Hong Son loop through these tranquil backwaters of Thailand.
Largest city and cultural hub in northern Thailand
Chiang Mai is the gateway to northern Thailand, a city with a population of over 1 million (in the metropolitan area) but with a pleasant and calm atmosphere.
If Bangkok was a bit much, arriving in the comparatively green and quiet Chiang Mai can be a literal breath of fresh air.
It’s a city with many interesting things to do, so you may wish to spend at least 2 or 3 nights there, though plenty of visitors stay longer. Besides the many temples, food markets, and other attractions within the city, Chiang Mai also makes for a great base for heading into the surrounding mountains and countryside.
Popular trips include jungle trekking, ziplining, Thai cooking classes, and cruising down the Mae Ping river in a small wooden boat, stopping by small riverside villages with traditional teak houses.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai
Chilled out family-owned hostel for good vibes in a relaxing garden
Bodega Chiang Mai
Hostel with party atmosphere - for the young and young at heart
Rainforest Boutique Hotel
Traditional lanna-style hotel with swimming pool - amazing value
Anoma Boutique House
Another charming hotel at budget price
As one of the cheapest developed cities in the world, Chiang Mai is popular with tourists but also expats and digital nomads staying for months at a time. This lends the city a certain cosmopolitan feel, despite being a provincial capital.
If you’ve come to Thailand for the culture and nature, then Chiang Mai will be the perfect launching pad for exploring the north.
The ruined capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom
Sukhothai is a small city in the center of Thailand, roughly halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Its main attraction is the ruins of the ancient city Sukhothai, once the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What makes this site different from Ayutthaya is that the ruins are spread over a very large area — a total of 70 km² (~27 square miles) — making it feel much less crowded. The perfect way to explore the historical park is to rent a bicycle.
Hippie-like town in a picturesque valley
Pai is a small town (population 3,000) about a 3-hour drive from Chiang Mai. Once a hippie hangout, it gradually evolved into a laidback tourist town filled with bars, tattoo parlors, hostels, and all manner of restaurants — serving anything from traditional Thai to Mexican wraps and açaí bowls.
Some say that Pai isn’t very Thai. I mean, that’s a fair point. Off the beaten track it definitely isn’t and most businesses are there for tourists.
But it’s best to simply enjoy Pai for what it is and settle in one of the backpacker hostels or cute bamboo cottages by the river. Although it can get busy during high season (Oct-Feb) it maintains a gentle character thanks to its small-scale development. Its scenic location among rice fields and jungle-clad mountains lends itself well to exploring by bicycle or scooter, visiting nearby hot springs and waterfalls.
Our contributor Jade spent several months living in Pai and wrote this useful guide to the best places to stay, eat, and the best things to do.
Northern city on the way to Laos
Chiang Rai is a city about a fifth the size of Chiang Mai, located near Thailand’s northern borders with Laos and Myanmar.
While it was once a little off the beaten path, new flight connections to Chiang Rai have unlocked tourism to this city. Several unusual contemporary Buddhist temples make for the main attractions. There are also some gentler attractions in Chiang Rai, such as the mountaintop town of Mae Salong, or hill tribe treks into the nearby national parks.
If you have limited time and you’re not sure where to go in Thailand, then maybe you’ll want to focus on Chiang Mai first. But if you want to see more in the north, or you are on your way to Laos, then Chiang Rai makes for a perfect stopover.
A quaint town off the beaten path
If a town like Pai feels too touristy, then something like Chiang Dao might be more your jam.
It’s not the biggest or best at anything, which happily keeps the masses away, but with its cute bungalows, green hills, and small temples and caves, it’s a delightful slice of rural Thailand. If you’re looking for a more authentically Thai town to stay, then this is it.
Our guide to Chiang Dao will tell you much more.
Mae Hong Son
Remote province perfect for a road trip
The northwest province of Mae Hong Son is one of Thailand’s least populated and most ethnically diverse.
The best way to explore it is to rent a scooter or motorbike in Chiang Mai, typically costing under $10 per day, then riding all your way around the Mae Hong Son Loop, which takes about 4 days minimum.
Several places make for ideal stopovers, including the tourist town of Pai described earlier, as well as Thai towns such as Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, and Mae Sot. Along the way, you can visit numerous temples, stay at an ethical elephant sanctuary, and explore the epic cave of Tham Lod (don’t miss the sunset spectacle of thousands of swifts flying into the cave entrance!).
The town of Mae Hong Son, with its mountain lake and breathtaking views, really is a jewel. Along with the local northern Thai, peoples from various minorities reside here or close by. Shan, Karen, and Hmong can all be found here and are easily distinguished because of their looks and traditional dress.
The Mae Hong Son Loop is perfect for those looking for a deeper exploration of Thailand, or just to stay in gentle riverside towns and gently falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle.
The south of Thailand is all about the beaches and islands. There is seemingly an island for every type of traveler, whether you are looking for comfort and luxury, or to swing in a hammock in a reggae bar, it’s all there.
The west coast along the Andaman Sea has some of the most developed resorts in Thailand, with Phuket focused mainly on sun-seeking package holidays. Phuket (and the city of Patong) maybe aren’t the most exciting places to be for an independent traveler. Tourism there is rather massive-scale, though it is convenient if you’re just looking for a lazy well-catered beach holiday. Since it’s such a large island, you can always find some nice beaches.
Still, if you’re traveling around Thailand instead of on a resort holiday in a fixed location, then the coast of Krabi and Khao Sok National Park are better places to visit in the south — as do the islands of Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe or Koh Kradan, which are perfect for island-hopping.
The east coast of Thailand has fewer islands, but thanks to a shorter monsoon they can be enjoyed almost year-round. Koh Samui has its own airport and is mainly home to upmarket holiday resorts. Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are more popular with backpackers, digital nomads, and scuba divers.
Pro tip: the word ‘Koh’ means island in Thai. It’s pronounced like in the first part of ‘copy’, not as in ‘coworker’.
Southern coast famed for its limestone cliffs
The province of Krabi is famed for its beaches fringed by tall karst cliffs. Some of the most iconic of these are Ao Nang beach and the beaches of Railay (or Rai Leh), a peninsula reached only by longtail boat from Ao Nang.
The beach of Railay itself has only high-end resorts, but you can still find some medium-budget options if you look well enough. Since Railay beach is getting increasingly busy, consider staying in Ao Nang or Krabi (where there is more space and more accommodation) and taking a day-trip to Railay.
The scenery is impressive and worth seeing despite the crowds — be sure to climb up to the lagoon and viewpoint. The area is also world-famous for its rock climbing, with introductory courses and equipment rental available in Railey, Ao Nang or Krabi Town.
Khao Sok National Park
Lakes and jungles filled with impressive limestone peaks
Khao Sok is a wildlife reserve in the south and easily one of the best places to see in Thailand.
It’s a spectacular park, featuring lakes with floating bamboo houses, and limestone karst often rising from the jungles. Spending some time here on a 2-day (or longer) excursion is a great way to add some adventure to what will inevitably be a very beaches-and-islands focused part of your trip to the south.
There are several trails from Khao Sok village that you can walk independently, though most of them technically require a guide. Organized tours are a little easier in practice and often include additional activities such as kayaking, bamboo rafting, caving, ziplining, wildlife spotting, or overnighting in the jungle. You can easily book tours from most guesthouses and locations in Krabi.
Thailand’s Gulf Islands
Koh Samui, Koh Tao & Koh Phangan
A trio of islands sit in the Thai Gulf, each with a different character. Ferries from Surat Thani can take you to each of the islands.
Koh Samui is the largest of the three and has its own airport. Backpackers often consider this island ‘dull’ or ‘too expensive’, though it’s the best place for finding upscale resorts, luxury hotels, and clean beaches. Many of those who come to Thailand for a resort experience rate Koh Samui higher than the more mass-market oriented Phuket.
Koh Phangan tends to get pigeon-holed as a party island because once a month it is host to Full Moon Party, which once began as a psychedelic hippie beach bonfire but since grew into a massive event attracting tens of thousands of revellers. It’s a classic on the Thailand backpacker circuit, but the festival area of Haad Rin represents just a tiny slice of the island. Go west or north and you’ll find some of the best Thai beaches and small-scale resorts and beach bungalows.
Koh Tao meanwhile hosts the largest concentration of scuba diving schools in Asia (and quite possibly the world), with high competition resulting in unbeatable prices. If you ever wanted to become a certified SCUBA diver, it’s one of the most convenient places to do it. The reefs aren’t the best if you’re already an experienced diver, but beginners can see many fishes, rays, and sea turtles in calm waters.
Thailand’s Western Islands
Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi & Many More
The Western islands have been less visited by yours truly, though one highlight is surely the island of Koh Lanta. It has a mix of family-friendly beaches, scuba diving resorts, and a few social backpacker spots. If you’re looking for a larger island that has lots to offer but doesn’t get too crazy, then Koh Lanta is a great choice.
The island of Phi Phi is objectively stunning but arguably became a victim of its own success, with its crass party scene and over-commercialized development. Some people say I’m being unfair to Phi Phi, so you should make up your own mind, but it’s telling that the island has disappeared from influential travel guides’ top 10 lists in recent years. The nearby Maya Bay had to be closed in 2019 due to overtourism.
Luckily there are numerous other islands on the Western coast, including Koh Phayam, Koh Similan, Koh Kradan, Koh Lipe, and many others.
Thailand travel tips
Thailand sees millions of tourists a year but that does mean traveling there is pretty easy—even if you have little travel experience.
Flying to Thailand
Bangkok’s airports are amazingly well-connected internationally. You can often find cheap flight deals to Bangkok from around the world.
The above link goes to Kiwi.com, which is a flight search engine with some pretty great tools for finding the best deals more easily. If you feel lost, I also have a tutorial on how to find the best flights.
Finding places to stay
Thailand has great accommodation for any budget, ranging literally from bohemian bamboo huts to 5-star luxury resorts. I have highlighted a few picks on this page (scroll up if you missed them).
If you like smaller independent hotels then I recommend searching on Agoda.com and Booking.com. They have the largest selections of independent and boutique hotels, and Agoda is also specialized in the Asia region. I have a few tips on how to find the best accommodation.
Keep in mind that if you’re backpacking in Thailand, it’s also possible to wing it and just look for places when you get there. There’s almost always something available, though your time is not always well spent just walking around town looking for a place, and it does help to book ahead to get the best beds or the best deals.
Hostels are an excellent option if you’re on a budget. They are often of fantastic quality in Thailand these days. If you’re a backpacker-style traveler, don’t miss by specific guide for backpacking Thailand, which also tells you how to find the best hostels.
Don’t worry too much about travel logistics as there are always plenty of options. You can usually book your trips at any reception desk, but there are also tons of little travel agencies everywhere.
- Buses and minivans are cheap and convenient and can you can easily book them from hostels or local agencies. If you need to book online, try 12go.asia which has the widest coverage in Southeast Asia for buses, trains, ferries, and transfers.
- Air travel is widely available with plenty of regional airports. AirAsia is the leading budget airline, offering a range of convenient island transfer packages from Bangkok which include connecting ferry tickets to the islands.
- Trains are a good option for traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the north (these trains also go overnight) or from Bangkok and Surat Thani in the south. Traveling by train has a certain charm and romance that flying just doesn’t have.
While Thai people do not so commonly speak English, those working in the tourism or service industry often do—or at least, they will be able to understand what you want to buy/order/etc. with minimal effort. Most signs are also in English, unless you venture far off the beaten track.
Thailand is quite safe. Crime does occur (just as in any country), so keep your belongings secure and always apply common sense.
While Thailand is relatively worry-free, scams targeting tourists can be a problem. Be firm with taxi drivers or they may try to rip you off. Also, make sure you take some photos of any bicycle, bike, water scooter or anything else you rent before any use, as a popular scam is to claim you have caused damage and need to pay compensation.
Cost of travel
You can travel in Thailand on a backpacking budget of about $30 USD a day (which is €27 or £20). This assumes you eat local and stay in hostels or basic guesthouses.
The center and the north of Thailand are the cheapest. In Chiang Mai, for example, you can still find dorm beds starting at $5 a night, while the most affordable private room might cost about $10.
Things are more expensive in the south, particularly along the coasts and on the islands. Prices on Phi Phi Island, for instance, have drifted towards the mid-range, with dorm beds costing around $20 and a basic private room at least around $40. Even a budget traveler might see their expenses approach $50/day in the south, depending on season and location.
Double these values if you’re not a budget traveler or backpacker and going for more comfort or style.
When is the rainy season?
Broadly speaking, the rainiest months are from September to October. The monsoon has a different length on each coast though: roughly May to October on the west coast and September until December on the east coast.
If you are in Thailand for a short time and need the weather to be ‘perfect,’ you may wish to go in the tourist high season of December to February. But outside of these months, you’ll have other advantages such as lower costs, more available accommodation, and fewer crowds.
Even in rainy reason, it won’t rain literally all the time. The forests and rice fields look greener and lusher during this time of year. Most travelers will nevertheless want to avoid visiting in the middle of the rainy season, when many hiking trails are closed and many island ferries might not run.
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your article really makes me put Koh Tao in my top 3 destinations for next year! I have a friend who recently spent 3 weeks in Thailand and went diving in Koh Tao as well, she absolutely loved the Sail Rock (https://dive.site/explore/site/sail-rock-OZNE) and generally the whole island. she also fell in love with the food there and just remembering her food pics makes me crave it soooo badly!
I spent two months this year in Thailand and I already dream about going back there. I focused on the Nothern part of the country last time so I sill have all the beautiful islands to explore. This could be my plan for upcoming January… 🙂
Thanks for the tips!
Hi Marek, really love this post and your blog in general. I’ve just spent a month in Thailand and I felt that it wasn’t enough time and this post backs that up! Will have to return in the future!
Hi Marek!!! Your blog it’s being my guide for days since I found it….Congrats! It’s amazing… I’ll be travelling on January, and I’d like to give more time to temples and ruins instead of the beaches… I’d like to go to Sukhothai, and I’m thinking it would be a ood choice to get there from Chiang Mai….before going to Angkor Wat and get further away. What do you think?? What would u do in terms of public transport??? I’d appreciate so much your response… Thanks for all the info you share with the world…So grateful!
Hey Valeria. Yeah, Sukhothai is definitely worth it 🙂 There are plenty of buses going from Chiang Mai. Takes about 4 hours if I recall correctly.
Hi Marek, I plan on travelling to Thailand and staying for a month sometime around December. I’ve never been before so this is a great itinerary to keep in mind. Thanks!
Glad it’s helpful!
Hey! I know that this is a tough question but I only have one week to explore Thailand (plus an additional 3 days in Bangkok) and I was wondering what do you think is the best way to split my time? What would you recommend doing in just one week?
I always struggle to answer this question! I usually have the luxury of more time available.
It depends on what you like. If you want to focus on culture, nature, temples, etc. then you might as well spend that whole week in northern Thailand – e.g. around Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai. There’s just loads to see and do there.
If you want to include some beach time as well, then maybe spend 4 days in Chiang Mai and go to, say, Koh Phangang for 3 days (which is easily reached by flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui, then ferry).
You have some excellent tips.
I lived in Bangkok for 14 years (just left last year) and can’t wait to get back, as I miss just about everything about the country, the food, the culture and, of course, the amazing Thais 🙂
Marek- thanks so much for this guide. Visiting my brother who lives in Beijing and we’re flying down to Thailand for 10 days. Not a ton of time obviously, but we’re adventurers and want to fit in what we can. Given the time constraint, do you definitely recommend flying to those destinations? How easy is it to navigate those airports in Chiang Mai and the other smaller areas?
Again, this guide is the bomb, thanks!
Thanks Eric. Yes, flying is a good idea if you don’t have that much time. Don’t worry, smaller airports like Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, etc. are very easy to deal with. They get loads of international visitors and they’re really no different from other airports you may have been. 🙂
Great summary! This seriously inspires my wanderlust and gives me the urge to return to Thailand! How fascinating is the Muay Thai kickboxing?! We went to one in Chiang Mai and they even had ‘blind’ fights with eye masks on!
Hah that’s awesome! I definitely love the Muay Thai, and especially how worked up the crowds get. 🙂
Have you ever been to Chumphon? Really enjoying how quiet and untouristy it is. Close to some islands, parks and beaches so there are things to do and see. We were unsure of the area, but are really glad we gave it a shot!
I haven’t yet been, but good tip!
I like the new menu system you have at the top. A good improvement!
Wow Marek that’s really helpful guide for Thailand. I’m glad that you have spent your time to write this wonderful guide.
However, I just want to add something. I went to many blogs about guide to Thailand. None of them talks about the festivals in Thailand. For me, some of the festivals itself can be the main reason you want to visit Thailand.
Right? I mean sometimes people just went to Spain just for the La Tomatina.
Anyways, I have written down some the festivals in my blog. I hope maybe this can be a factor when you plan to visit next time.
Fabulous blog. I just booked my Thailand trip for 6-14 November. Unfortunately, I read about the king’s death recently. I believe the clubs/bars/markets will be shut now. I plan to chill, shop and a bit of partying. Some of my hotel bookings are non-refundable. What do you suggest I do? I’m a bit panicky. Thanks in advance.
It’s hard to say without knowing more about your expectations for the trip, but personally I would still go. There’s some useful info from the Thailand Tourism Authority here. Some more info here. The mood may be more subdued but tourists are still welcome.
We love your blog and wanted to share an app that food lovers might find helpful on their next trip to Thailand. It’s called Travel Iago (www.traveliago.com) and it’s kind of like Tinder for food. It is packed full of local dish options to swipe through, and you can even apply your personal preferences to ingredients and flavor choices. Anyway, check it out. I’m sure you will love it! http://www.traveliago.com
hey, me and a friend are planning on going to vietnam and cambodia in october and i was just wandering, how bad is weather in thailand in october for doing snorkelling elephant riding and other beach activities. just because we were hoping we could fit thailand in as well .
October is apparently a bit of a lucky draw with the weather. I was in Thailand in October and while there were a few rainy days, it was mostly very sunny and nice. If you have enough time on your trip you can take your chances, otherwise maybe aim for September or later.
BTW elephant riding is typically not recommended from an animal welfare point of view – might want to read something about this before deciding to do this activity.
If you are traveling as an independent traveler, the North East of Thailand is the most authentic area. Much cheaper than other areas and truly beautiful. There are so many things to do in the area where we live around Nong Khai, including The Sculpture Park only 7 km away, The Historical park 60 km away where people lived 3500 years ago, The Mekong River, and Giant Cat Fish…
10 days of thailand in 5 minutes: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=OnMplejKwsI
Congrats for all the info you posted here! My friends and I are planning to go to Thai on August, so we were a bit scared mainly about the weather…
For sure we’re gonna follow some of your advices, thank u so much!!
Come 2 days to teach English to novices at a temple, Monday and Tuesday, as a volunteer, in our city Nakhon Si Thammarat. You don’t need to be a native speaker of English but just be reasonably fluent and have a clear accent. We provide free breakfast, lunch and transportation. Like this you can experience real Thailand. Respond to this comment if you are interested.
I am interested!! Can we connect? I will be in Chiang Mai soon and can go after that. Can you give me some details?
Hey, I am interested in teaching the kids too, I will be in Thailand from 20th June to 27th June 2017. Could we connect please?
I’m gonna visit Thailand by the end of 2016, and I’ve heard that their waterfall sceneries are beautiful, any tips on that. I’m very interested in aquatic nature, so cna anyone tell if it would be worthwhile organizing a trip around Thailand only to see waterfalls (i.e. are they that good)?
Thank you for such a wonderful guide! I’m just starting to think about a trip to SE Asia and this is full of incredibly useful information to come back to. Much appreciated!
Hi I want to visit Thailand for 15 days. Can you suggest a good itinerary which includes: BKK, Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Rai and the Andaman Region? is it doable? flights from BKK to Krabi is okay.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you for this! very helpful blog
Wow this is such a great comprehensive list. It definitely gives Fodor a run for their money (is that the saying?). And yes to the food part!! I always include eating at street carts as part of the tips I give my family and friends.
I can totally recommend Rainy’s Tourist and Taxi services. We’ve been in Phuket Thailand many times and only used Rainy’s travel services, she speaks very good english and is friendly woman. Also this year we will definitely be using her services, which are very much cheaper than tourist offices provide. It’s so good to find someone you can trust.
Contact info: Rainy mobile: +66843073993 or +66887541237
Love this post, it has almost every tip that a first- timer would be looking for. I loved Pai.
Just noticed you linked to my Full Moon Party article… glad you liked it! This is an awesome guide you’ve got here.
Hi Marek, Im planning a 19 day trip to Thailand and I want to fully know the country… what places do you recommend? traveling with my wife so maybe not up for sex tourists
Hi Marek. I plan to go thailand by the end of january and early february 2015. I will flight from Singapore straight to Phuket. How many days should I spend on Phuket -> Koh Phi Phi -> Krabi? cos I don’t wanna miss the Full moon party on the 3rd of feb on Koh Pha Ngan. Thank you!~
Hi Marek. Your posts are truly informative. I’m planning to travel to Thailand for 6 nights / 7 days in dec 2014. I’ll be landing and departing from Bangkok. Which island would you suggest for a peaceful getaway? I would avoid ‘sex tourism centric’ places as I’m traveling with Better Half. We were thinking either Krabi or Koh Samui. Please suggest itinerary. Thanks.
Depends on what you’re after! Koh Samui is a very glossy and upmarket island and suitable for more of a luxury holiday. If you want something more backpackery then Krabi is worth looking into. The nearby island Koh Lanta is peaceful but still has a lot to do.
Thanks. In your post I read about rice fields and bamboo huts. Are these basic ones or luxury accommodation?
We would prefer being away from the hustle bustle so I guess John Samuel is kinds out? What about Phi Phi or Paint?
Finally, should I be taking flights from BKK any of the locations or there are ferries or trains or taxis as well?
I’m guessing your phone autocorrect has gone to town on your message 🙂 Koh Phi Phi is very much a party island, so definitely a lot of hustle and bustle there. Trains in Thailand are pretty good so if you want to take the scenic route you can do that from BKK down to Krabi region. Another easy option is to fly: AirAsia sells combination tickets that fly out from BKK and get you a connecting ferry too.
Hi, I have read all of your post about southeast asia, and they are really good.
I was wondering where you have made your orientation map? I’m trying to get something similar for Sydney, but I cannot find a nice clean map anywhere. Hope you can help me.
Huge fan of yo blog.
Finding clean maps can definitely be difficult. I create the maps myself using a vector image editor and map outlines provided by FreeVectorMaps.com. Hope that helps!
I will go to Thailand in Dec 2014. Can anybody help me to get a idea of a short trip of 4 days how much I shall bring? S$500 will be enough? I don’t want to do any shopping, want to hop to floating market, Pattaya of course and picturesque islands..
I love to visit provinces in the northeast ( Isarn ) like Khonkaen and Sisaket. People are nice and friendly. Interesting culture 🙂
Hey man, thanks for the information. I plan on going to Thailand for the second half of February. This will be my first backpacking trip so I’ll take all the help I can get. I want to try and do this itinerary: Bangkok -> Chiang Mai -> Pai -> Koh Tao. How many days do you think I need (excluding days for international travel)?
Hi Pat. It’s always difficult to answer that question as it depends on how much you want to see! For Bangkok > Chiang Mai > Pai I would probably say a week at bare minimum if you want to spend at least several days in each place, though there’s enough to do in all of these places that you could spend two weeks or more. Transportation is another factor. Going from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will take about 15 hours by train – taking a sleeper train is a good idea if you want to cover this part of your itinerary overland without eating too much into your travel time. Backtracking down to Koh Tao is going to take you the most time, so if you don’t have that much time it might be worth checking if there’s a flight from Chiang Mai down to the islands (or first to Bangkok and then to Koh Samui, from where you can take a boat to Koh Tao). Good luck on your trip!
I loved Chiang Mai and Pai! Pai was my favorite. I would spend the least amount of time in Bangkok but I’m spoiled with NYC and wasn’t so enthralled with Bangkok… cept for the food carts. Those are awesome.
oops I realized I posted on an old comment 🙂