This article is part of a comprehensive travel guide to Thailand which you can find here.
Everything you need to know about traveling to Thailand
Thailand is one of the treasures of South East Asia and East Asian Cultures, famous for its beaches, wildlife, and rainforests. The country is a proud heritage of East Asian cultures that retains a traditional past. It also offers more of what the millennials want from a travel destination.
You must travel to Thailand once in life because it has something to offer everyone. From trying adventurous activities to visiting religious temples, from beach life to nightlife, Thailand shows you how to do it all.
Thailand is also famous for its exotic cuisine that gives you endless seafood recipes to taste. Thai people are extremely friendly and helpful, so you’re in for an exciting time. The best part about visiting this country is that it is affordable compared to many Western tourist’s destinations.
Please take my word on that: you are going to fall in love with this country.
Where to visit in Thailand?
You need to understand the geographical location of Thailand to choose which part you should visit. To start with, you must know that the country is located in the middle of Southeast Asia.
It locates within the tropic and encompasses diverse ecosystems. From hilly forests in the north to the fertile rice fields in the center, from a large plateau in the northeast to the rugged coasts of the southern peninsula, there is a lot of travel options to choose from. Keep your options open and figure out what’s best for your travel to Thailand package.
Safety in Thailand
Thailand rank 91st among the safest countries across the world, and that makes it pretty safe to travel to. It is one of the least dangerous countries compared to other Southeast Asian places.
The crime rate is higher towards the South of Thailand — close to the border of Malaysia. Even urban areas that are common with tourists like Pattaya and Bangkok, is prone to theft. Tourists have to be careful with their money, taxi bookings, and local shopping.
One of the important travel to Thailand tips is to know where to go when tripping solo. Options like Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, and Krabi, are safer to go alone compared to other places.
When you plan a trip to Thailand, the most common places you’d think of are Phuket, Pattaya, and Bangkok. Note that the crime scenes are high here and there is also the possibility of sexual harassment.
One of the things to be careful of in Thailand includes not getting stranded. Take help from guides hotels and be well-informed at every step to avoid any possible problem. Make sure you keep your passport intact — you can afford to lose almost anything but not your passport.
Cost to travel to Thailand
Total up the approximate amount of money you will need to travel in Thailand with the list below:
An average cost for a roundtrip to Thailand from most part of the US is $1,000. It can go up to $1,500 depending upon where you are, season, flight, and other factors.
If you travel from countries in Western Europe, like Germany, France, and Belgium, the average roundtrip cost will be around €500 or more.
When coming from Australia, the cost will be A$ 750 and when coming from Canada, you’d have to pay around CAD 1,100 or more.
Depending on your budget, a hotel in Thailand can be as cheap as $50 per day to $500 per day. If you’re a backpacker traveling solo and decide to stay at hostels and dorms, you can get stays within $20 per night.
Couples looking forward to their honeymoon might like beachside suites that cost $100 or more. If you are a family of four, consider the budget to go to around $150 to $200 per day.
Depending on where you stay will determine the cost of hotels at an average. For example, places like Bangkok and Koh Samui are cheaper compared to Phuket and Pattaya. These are, however, the average rate and you’d get places around this cost.
Thailand has endless transportation options. From their local tuk-tuks to private luxury cars, you have many ways to go around the city.
The public buses in Thailand run from 5 am to 11 pm, and cost you an average of $0.30 per ride. Private cabs will charge you around $20 per ride, while tuk-tuks will cost you around $3 (but depends on the distance of course).
If you’re looking to travel by train from places like Bangkok to Phuket, the cost will be around $30-$50 or more.
Basic meals at a local restaurant in Thailand will cost you around $5 — you can get a plate of noodles for that. Seafood will charge you a little more and you need to ensure of quality to avoid food poisoning.
The street food scene in Thailand is amazing and you’d get lots of meat and fish preparation in skewers. They’re a must try!
Note that the food proportion might seem less to you because Thai people eat moderately. It could be unlike what you plan for holiday hogging, so order your dishes and calculate budget accordingly.
How to get a Visa to Thailand?
Travel to Thailand visa is easy to get when coming for leisure. If you’re planning to come here only on a holiday, you’re not allowed to work or conduct any business activities. You need a tourist’s visa for around 15–30 days to explore the beautiful country.
Tourists visa is stamped on your passport on arrival and includes the specific days you’d stay there. You can get it from your home country through the Thai Embassy or get it done when you reach the country.
Tourists visas are allowed for 30 days, but you can extend it if you want to. There are some countries that have signed an agreement, to let you avail of this benefit. You can extend your stay to 60 days, depending on the places to plan to go and the possible allowances for you.
The average cost to get visa on arrival is $30 per person. The price of a tourist visa can change frequently so you should keep a check with the nearest Thai Embassy.
You can easily avail the service of visa on arrival. The service has 32 appointed channels of immigration checkpoints. Depending on how many people are there, the process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour.
You will get a visa on arrival from the following airports:
- Don Muang Airport, Bangkok
- Phuket International Airport
- Samui Airport, Surat Thani
- Suvarnabhumi International Airport
- Hatyai International Airport, Songkhla
- Chiangmai International Airport
If you come from places like Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, without a visa, you can only stay here for 15 days.
What do you need for getting visa on arrival?
For travel to Thailand visa you need:
- Boarding pass
- A valid passport that doesn’t have a record of you visiting the country six months prior to your current visit
- Proper visa application from the Immigration checkpoint
- Recent passport size photograph
- Confirmed air ticket that records departure within 15 days of entry
- Arrival-Departure card that the airline staff distributes before you land
- Proof of expenses you’d spend while staying in Thailand. It needs to be a minimum of 10,000 Baht ($315) per person and 20,000 ($630) Baht per family.
Interesting Facts about Thailand
Before you travel to Thailand, you must have detailed knowledge about this place. This blog article will take you through some of the interesting aspects you must know.
Here, we list some interesting facts that make Thailand more special than how you might know it to be until now:
- Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that the Europeans did not colonize. This is why the name translates as the ‘Land of the Free’.
- Thailand homes the smallest and largest creates in the world. The smallest one is a bumblebee bat and the largest one is a whale shark.
- There was a time when every Thai male had to be a Buddhist monk before they turned 20. They didn’t have to mandatorily continue but they had to live the monk life for a while. This rule is not levied on them now — it is an option that they may or may not choose.
- There are around 35,000 temples in Thailand and that makes it a land of temples. You need to wear modest clothing that covers most of your body to get an entry at the temples.
- Showing respect for other people is imperative in this land. It is a part of Thai culture and forbids people from touching anyone without consent. People lower their head to bow and show respect to each other, especially elders.
- Thailand has more birds than what America and Europe have combined.
- Thailand lets you explore 1,500 orchid species, which also makes it the national flower. They are the largest exporter of these flowers.
- Thailand has lots of elephants and that’s why the locals associate the animal in many ways. From t-shirts to souvenirs, there are many places where you’d find elephants.
- More than 60, 000,000 people travel to Thailand every year.
- Thai people are always smiling. At every step of your trip, you’d find the best travel to Thailand guide who simply help you out without expecting anything in return.
- Thailand was once called Siam and is also the origin of Siamese cats. There were 23 of is species, but have now come down to six.
- The streets you’d drive past in Bangkok might have once been under water. Most parts of the city were filled by a river, but it eventually dried down due to infrastructural developments.
- Thailand has around 1,430 islands and they’ve been featured in several Hollywood movies. It also gives you endless options to travel to.
- Thailand has a unique festival that celebrates monkeys. They have a grand feast in front of the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple as a gesture to thank monkeys for flocking in tourists to the village.
Best sites to visit in Thailand
You can divide your tour to Thailand into three distinct parts — the north, south and central. We recommend you to come to each of these zones once in your life and possibly in three different trips. If you want to get it all done in one tour, you need to know the best places to get to.
Best places to visit in Northern Thailand
Northern Thailand is an enclosed area that lets you explore the best of its cultural side. It doesn’t include islands or water bodies, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you need to scroll down to the next.
Northern Thailand lets you explore the local lifestyle of Thailand at its best. It is filled with nature reserves, remote tribes, and a far distinct side of Thailand when you compare with places like Bangkok or Pattaya.
You are likely to come to Chaing Mai first when traveling to northern Thailand. It gives you a laidback atmosphere that is apt for a leisurely trip. It is famous for sites like the hilltop temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, then for temples like Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man, Wat Suan Dok, and more.
Next, visit Chiang Rai if you take interest in trekking and explore hill tribe villages. This place borders with Laos and Myanmar, and perfect for eco-tourism.
The temple of Wat Rong Khun is of primary attraction in Chaing Rai and looks like a white paradise. It is exquisitely built with traditional design and is one of the most unique Buddhist temples in the world.
You must try to get to the Sukhothai province when you visit northern Thailand, to experience the famous UNESCO site of Sukhothai Historical Park. It consists of a partially restored temple dating back to the 13th century. It also has remains of a palace and was Siam’s first capital province.
When coming to Chaing Mai, you must visit markets like Wua Lai Saturday market, Ratchadamnoen Sunday walking street market, and Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.
You must also visit the Night Bazaar at Chaing Rai when traveling there. This place also has a walking street and Saturday market like the latter.
Doi Suthep National Park is the most visited nature site that locates right beside the famous temple. Chiang Mai is also known for stunning waterfalls and you must visit the ones closest to you.
Come over to the Elephant Valley and Khun Korn Waterfall to experience the natural beauty of Chaing Rai. You can also book private trekking routes to explore remote areas.
You must come over to places like the Siam Insect Zoo, Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls, Tiger Kindom, Elephant Sanctuary, and try Night Safari with kids in Chiang Mai.
Tad Kwan Village Park and Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park are two places you must visit with kids. They are popular natural sites and has lots to learn from.
Best places to visit in Central Thailand
Bangkok resides somewhere between central and south of Thailand and helps you reach out to any part of the country. We’d list in the center even though its more towards the south. Find out what’s best about the capital city along with other regions.
You’re most likely to land in Bangkok when coming to the center and it is by far the most popular tourist’s hub of Thailand. From skyscrapers to street food, from shopping areas to the best of spas — Bangkok is a treat in itself. You can’t miss out on attractions like The Grand Palace, Temple of Emerald Buddha, and Wat Arun.
You must visit Lopburi, once you’re done with Bangkok. Although most people don’t talk about this place, it homes famous Buddhist temples like Wat Phra Si Mahathat and monuments like Phra Prang Sam Yot.
This place is famous for monkeys that you’d find in almost every corner. Also, visit the Wat Khao Wongkhot as you stop by the Ang Sub Lek.
Bangkok is the shopping hub of Thailand and many people just come to the city to shop. Watch out for the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Pratunam Market, Seri Market, and Patpong Night Market when visiting this city.
When coming to Lopburi, make sure you stop by the Lopburi Market for shopping souvenirs and get to the Talat BoranBan Si Bhak Market to buy traditional goodies.
Bangkok homes a beautiful Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. You can also visit the Saranrom Park that locates opposite the Grand Palace.
Relax at the Ang Sub Lek when you visit Lopburi. It is just a 30-minute drive from the center of the town and is perfect to unwind on a leisurely evening.
Kids would love to come to the Siam Ocean World in Bangkok. You must also visit the Khao San Road for shopping with kids or head to the MBK Mall for pricier shopping options.
Bring your kids to the sunflower fields at Lopburi if you’re visiting during the peak time. They’d give you some of the best picturesque views.
Best places to visit in Southern Thailand
The southern part of Thailand is where all the fun begins because it brings you to the beach life. You can start off your journey from Bangkok, head to the gorgeous islands of Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Krabi, and much more.
Ko Phi Phi is a small group of islands in the Krabi Province. The Ko Phi Phi Don is the biggest among all the islands and is a major tourist’s attraction.
Phuket is the most common island people get to from Bangkok. The province gives you the best of city and beach life and makes it an ideal way to experience Thai life. It is famous for food, nightclubs, and shopping along with historical museums and monuments.
Koh Samui is another popular beach destination that has the best of accommodations for the ultimate comfortable vacation. Apart from the crystal clear waters, this place is known for festivals like Ten Stars Samui Art Party, Buffalo Fighting Festival, plenty of street fairs, and more.
If you come to Krabi province, you must visit Railay Beach. It is one of the cleanest beaches with clear blue waters that sums up as pretty beach paradise. You need to take a ferry to get to this island from Krabi town.
Krabi gives you many other reasons to visit. From the hidden AoTonsai beach to the perfect Malay food, Krabi is one of the best honeymoon options for the newly married.
The stunning beaches of Phuket like Karon and Patong are a must visit in southern Thailand. The town of Phuket opens you up to several Sino-Portuguese shophouses and architectural beauty. The best part about Phuket is that it is a distinctive cuisine and you got to taste what that’s like.
Pattaya is a lovely coastal city that became popular tourist’s site during the 80s. The brimming life of Pattaya is an attraction from dawn to dusk and bustles with people at all time. From exuberant nightlife to the best of hotels, Pattaya gives tough competition to Bangkok when it is about selecting places for Thailand holidays.
Krabi has a famous night market where you’d want to shop till you drop. You must also come over to the Krabi Town for grabbing the best local deals.
Phuket is another place where you’d love to shop and have their own distinctive Weekend Night Market. If you’re here on a Sunday night, you must shop from the once a week Sunday night market too. The Town Central Market is also a great place to get the best of clothes, accessories, shoes, local food, and more.
Pattaya is famous for a floating market that sets it apart from most other places in Thailand. The Night Bazaar and the Prasit Night Market are two more places you can try when looking for the best things to shop here.
The Khao Sok National Park is one of the apt jungle adventures that take you away from conventional Thailand. It includes the famous Elephant Hills that takes you amidst the wild animals and their habitat.
The Kids Club Phuket is something all children crave for on their visit to the city. It is a beautiful playground that you must bring your child even if it is for about an hour or two. If you want to visit a theme park, come over to Phuket Fantasea. The Splash Jungle Water Park is another place, children love to come over.
When you’re in Pattaya with kids, you must bring them to the Magical Ice Kingdom of Siam. It lets you all get into a snow-cold zone even when the heat is scorching outside.
The Cartoon Network Amazone is another lovely water park in Thailand that your kids will love. If you have budding artists at home, you must bring them to the Bottle Art Museum.
Click here to learn more a lot of information that needed when traveling to Thailand
Originally published at https://east-asian-cultures.com on June 2, 2019.