The best Thailand travel guide | everything you need to know

Thailand is one of the most popular backpacking countries. This is because Thailand is so diverse, you can do many different activities. In the north of Thailand, you can enjoy the pure wilderness, imposing mountains, cozy cities, and beautiful temples. In the south, you can discover the tropical islands and do hikes in the jungles. The reason for many travelers to travel to Thailand is to get to know the Thai culture and enjoy the white sandy beaches. Another reason Thailand is so popular is because of the food, the food in Thailand is amazing! This Thailand travel guide helps you plan your trip through Thailand.

Bangkok

Main information Thailand

Thailand at a glance: In Thailand, you can find absolutely everything. In the central part is Bangkok, the cosmopolitan city of Bangkok. In the north are the mountains and cozy Chiang Mai. Here you will find the most beautiful temples in Thailand. In the south, you can visit Khao Sok, Thailand’s most beautiful national park. You also have beautiful islands, beaches, and jungles that you don’t want to miss!

Most popular destinations in Thailand:

  • Bangkok: for many, this is the arrival and departure point. Where sometimes the capital is not the most beautiful place in a country to visit, Bangkok is anything but boring. Bangkok is a super fun city where you never have to get bored.
  • Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai is the largest city in the north and is a cozy place. From here you can organize many fun activities. You can find the most beautiful temples here.
  • Khao Sok National Park: The most beautiful national park in Thailand is located in the south called Khao Sok. You can stay in this park for several days where you spend the night in a bungalow on the water. The safari in this park is amazing!
  • Koh Samui: Visiting an island while in Thailand is a must. Koh Samui is one of these islands that is popular but where you can still find places that have not yet been affected by mass tourism.

Currency in Thailand: Thailand Bath | 2021 exchange rate: 100 THB = €2.68 / $3.21

Tipping in Thailand: You are not expected to tip nor will you be charged. You can of course leave a tip if you thought the service in a restaurant or tour was very good.

Religion and Culture: Buddhism is the official religion in Thailand. You will see many temples throughout Thailand. When you visit a temple, you must have your shoulders and legs covered. It is best to bring a thin cloth to cover yourself.

Transport in Thailand: Traveling in Thailand is cheap even though it is a large country. Simply put, use the plane, night bus, or night train for long distances. A minivan or bus for normal distances and a tuk-tuk for shorter journeys. You can reach the islands by ferry. 12Go.Asia is a site where you can quickly find out how best to travel to a specific destination.

The best period to visit Thailand

Thailand has a tropical climate with a dry and rainy season. However, Thailand’s climate can be divided into three parts and three categories:

Temperature seasons

  • Warm season: Mar-Jun
  • Cold season: Nov-Feb
  • rainy season: Jun-Oct

Sections

  • North: rain Apr-Oct / heat peak: Feb-Apr
  • Central: rain Jun-Oct / heat peak: n/a
  • South: rain Sept-Nov / heat peak: n/a

If you combine the above temperature seasons and parts, you get the three tourist seasons below:

  • High season (Nov-Mar): cool and dry season after the monsoon season. Temperatures are pleasant. Best time to visit Thailand and because of this the prices are the highest during this period;
  • Moderate season (Apr-Jun & Sept-Oct): Apr-Jun, like the high season, is pleasant due to the temperature. Sept-Oct is cooler, making the north and the Gulf of Thailand pleasant to visit;
  • Low season (July-October): the rainy season, because of the rain activities can no longer be accessible. This means you have to be flexible during your trip.

The best period to visit Thailand: This is between Nov-Mar because the temperatures are a lot lower and you can discover all parts of Thailand with great pleasure. The moderate season is also a good period because it doesn’t rain much. Despite the rain, the low season is still a great time to travel to Thailand. We were in Thailand in August and the rain didn’t ruin our trip, sometimes it was even nice because the temperatures dropped a little bit. The disadvantage is that sometimes activities are not possible to do or the destination cannot be visited. For example, during our trip, we could not travel from Chiang Mai to Pai because of the rain.

Is Thailand safe to travel?

Thailand is safe to travel to. The only thing to watch out for are pickpockets in crowded places. For example, markets, airports, stations, and other busy places are attractions for pickpockets. So be well prepared and use your common sense to avoid unpleasant situations. If you follow the tips below, you will most likely not experience any problems:

  • Busy places like airports, bus stations, and markets are attractions for pickpockets. Carry your bag in front of you to avoid pickpockets;
  • Do not walk in strange neighborhoods where no other tourist is, this only applies to the big cities;
  • Do you use common sense, especially in the evening;
  • Do not accept drinks or cigarettes from strangers, you do not know what has been done with this;
  • If you take a taxi from the airport in the evening or station you need to take an official taxi. Better pay a little more than getting into unpleasant situations afterward.

Do you have travel insurance? If this is not the case, we recommend that you take out travel insurance. It is not wise to travel uninsured. Should an unpleasant situation arise and you are not insured, this can have unpleasant consequences. Your cell phone could be stolen or you could break your leg, requiring you to visit the hospital. In these cases, you need travel insurance. Be smart and get travel insurance before you go. We always use and recommend World Nomads for our trips. Fill in the form below to take out travel insurance immediately.

Best things to do in Thailand

Behold the beautiful underwater world

Thailand is one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkeling. If you want to learn to dive Thailand is the best place because you will find one of the best diving schools in the world in Thailand + it is cheap in comparison with other countries. Koh Samui, Koh Tao (best place for diving and snorkeling), and Koh Phangan are one of the islands where you can do this activity.

Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary

First of all, urgent advice in case you don’t know, don’t go for a ride on elephants. This is bad for the elephant’s well-being. If you want to volunteer and learn more about the elephants in Thailand, you can go to Chiang Mai visit one of the elephant rescue centers.

Go on safari

No Africa is not the only place where you can go on safari. In Khao Sok National Park this is also possible. For example, you can go on an early morning boat safari and try to spot gibbons among other things.

Take a cooking class

Thai cuisine is one of the best in the world. When in Thailand the food is always a treat. It is great fun to learn how to prepare this yourself during a cooking class. Chiang Mai is one of the best cities to take a cooking class.

Discover the islands on your scooter

When you are on an island, there is nothing better than renting a scooter for a few days and discovering the island independently. Koh Samui is an island where you can make fantastic trips.

Learn more about Buddhism

In Thailand you will find the most beautiful temples, in the north, you can visit the most beautiful complexes. The most beautiful temples in Thailand are located in Chiang Mai and the area of Chiang Mai.

elephant sanctuary bath

Best travel itinerary for Thailand

Thailand is a big country where you can do many different things. You must have an itinerary to follow during your trip through Thailand. Most travelers have +/- 3 weeks to travel through Thailand. This is enough to see the most important and fun highlights of Thailand. It is not possible to see everything, you simply need more time.

In advance, you have to choose what you want to see based on this you have to select a part of Thailand where you want to go. Keep in mind that distances are big and moving between destinations takes time. For long distances, we advise using the plane, night bus, or night train.

We have created a travel route for Thailand that we used during our trip. This Thailand itinerary has a good mix between nature, culture, adventure, cities, and an acceptable travel time. The last thing you want is just being on the road during your trip and not having enough time anywhere to really get to know it. If you follow our travel route through Thailand, for example, you will only visit Chiang Mai in the north and not Chiang Rai, because you already visit enough cities with Bangkok and Chiang Mai. In our Thailand itinerary, you can read about the best places to visit in Thailand. If you now want more information about a specific destination, you can easily open the article and read all the detailed information.

Thailand itinerary

Best dishes in Thailand

Dinner time in Thailand is always a party. Each time you will be surprised how delicious you have eaten and how cheap it is. In Thailand, you can eat everywhere without any problems. Our experience is with the tourist spots, the simpler the restaurant looks from the outside, the better the food is. Try to eat at the local places and not where all the tourists go.

Dishes you must try in Thailand are:

  • Tom yum Goong: a spicy soup that usually consists of grains;
  • Som Tum: a spicy papaya salad;
  • Tom Kha kai: a soup made with coconut oil and chicken;
  • Gaeng daeng: a red curry;
  • Pad Thai: fried noodles with delicious vegetables and herbs.

Budget type for Thailand

Thailand is a cheap country to travel to despite being one of Asia’s more expensive countries to travel to. In Thailand, you can take a cooking class, do safaris, ride a scooter, snorkel, do amazing hikes, relax on the beach, and much more. With every budget, you can have a great trip through Thailand. Depending on what type of traveler you are, you have to take into account a budget of:

  • Budget traveler: if you have a tight budget and you pay close attention to what you spend, $25 – $30 per day may be sufficient.
  • Mid-range traveler: if you want a bit more luxurious, such as doing a few more expensive activities or staying at better accommodations, a budget of $35 – $55 per day is sufficient.

Want to know more about how much it costs to travel through Thailand and how much it costs in particular if you use ours Thailand itinerary you can read this article for all the detailed information: Thailand budget. For each cost category, it is explained in detail what the costs consist of and how you can save on them. You can also read how much our trip cost.

Where to stay in Thailand

In Thailand, you can spend the night very basic to mega luxury. You can spend the night in a basic hostel in a dormitory or a mega-resort with a private beach. At every destination, there are enough choices for every type of traveler.

Searching for the right accommodation is time-consuming. To help you, we have written an article in which we give accommodation recommendations for each destination based on our Thailand itinerary. If you want to save yourself a lot of time, we recommend reading our article about Read the best hostels and hotels in Thailand and immediately book the accommodation you prefer. This ensures you a place to sleep. An advantage is that you still retain your flexibility because if you book via our links you can adjust your reservation free of charge up to two days before check-in.

Khoa Sok floating houses

What to pack for Thailand

Packing your bag for Thailand of course depends on what you are going to do specifically. The advantage is that it is always warm, so you don’t need thick clothes that keep you warm. Based on our experience, we recommend the following packing list for a trip to Thailand:

Tip: pack as little as possible. Anything that you bring too much you have to lug along throughout your holiday.

  • Swimming and normal (hike) clothes (pack as light as possible, work with layers)
  • 1 pair of good walking shoes, 1 pair of slippers
  • Toiletry bag with stuff
  • Mosquito spray
  • Sun protection
  • Crazycap (UV water bottle)
  • Personal items

  • Medication
  • Drybag
  • Sleeping bag
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Rain jacket (for the rainy season)
  • Medical kit (very important for your personal safety!)
  • Other (zip bag, combination lock, and universal charger)

Other travel tips from this Thailand travel guide

  • Try street food at the market or street stalls to experience real Thai food.
  • Citizens of 21 countries are currently eligible to apply for a Thailand Visa before arriving in the country.
  • Make sure you have the correct vaccinations. Contact your own doctor for more information.
  • Check if your passport is valid for 6 months before departure.
  • Change settings at your bank so that you can use your bank cards as you are traveling.
  • Pay as much as possible with cash. Also, bring a credit card should something happen to your normal bank card.
  • Learn a few words of Thai and always show a smile.
  • Try to arrange everything yourself and don’t book an organized trip. This saves you a lot of money and you keep your flexibility during the trip. There is nothing more fun than going on an adventure yourself.
  • Enjoy your holiday and let yourself be surprised! Thailand is a great country to travel through. Because of the diversity of Thailand, you will never get bored.

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