Travel to Thailand: Complete Guide!

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Travel to Thailand: Complete Guide!

Thailand, the ancient kingdom of Siam, is a popular destination. For a successful trip, explore our guide with key information on cities and regions, islands, transportation, not to mention our handy tips, essential cultural insights, and curated hotel selections. Bon voyage!

Thailand: An Introductory Overview

  • Thailand: ประเทศไทย
  • Capital: Bangkok
  • Area: 514,000 km²
  • Neighboring countries: Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia
  • Climate : Tropical
  • Official language: Thai
  • Population: 69.8 million (2020)
  • Currency: Bath (THB)
  • Telephone code: +66
  • Time Zone: UTC+7
  • Political Regime: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • King: Rama X

Thailand, located in South-East Asia, shares borders with Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Bangkok serves as its capital, and the official currency is the Thai baht. Renowned for sandy beaches, ancient temples, delicious cuisine, and a vibrant culture, Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, with numerous temples scattered across the country. Tourism plays a crucial role in Thailand’s economy.

Choosing the Best Time to Visit Thailand: A Seasonal Overview

Thailand stands as a year-round destination, catering to diverse preferences.
The peak tourist season, spanning from November to February, is ideal for those desiring cool temperatures and minimal rainfall, attracting European and North American visitors.
For beach enthusiasts, the warm season, running from March to May, provides the perfect climate.
The rainy season, occurring between May and October, showcases lush landscapes and enticing rates, although it may lead to occasional hotel and attraction closures.
Generally, November to February is widely regarded as the optimal time to visit, offering pleasant temperatures and minimal rainfall. However, the rainy season serves as an alternative for those seeking to avoid crowds and capitalize on lower rates.

Here are the monthly figures for the number of international tourists to Thailand for 2019 (the latest year for which full data is available):

3.84 million3.45 million2.71 million2.00 million2.05 million1.98 million2.03 million2.04 million1.83 million2.16 million3.02 million3.87 million

What are the best places to visit in Thailand?

Thailand boasts a diverse array of must-see tourist sites, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Ayutthaya, Koh Samui, Sukhothai, Krabi, Kanchanaburi, and Koh Tao. Each location has its own unique atmosphere, offering a range of activities such as Buddhist temples, beaches, national parks, waterfalls, markets, and historical sites.

  • Bangkok, City of Angels:
  • Chiang Mai, Rose of the North:
  • Phuket, the Pearl of the South:
  • Ayutthaya, the historic capital:
  • Koh Samui: Serene and Vibrant Island:

Thailand City and Region Guide

Thailand Island Guide

Thailand is bordered by the Andaman Sea and the South China Sea, featuring numerous islands, some highly popular with tourists. The most renowned ones include Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, and Koh Tao.

  • Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is famous for its white sandy beaches, clear waters, diving, and snorkeling.
  • Koh Samui is another sought-after island, known for its sandy beaches, vibrant bars, and restaurants.
  • Koh Phi Phi is celebrated for its breathtaking scenery and lively parties, while Koh Tao is a top choice for scuba diving.

Other equally beautiful, less touristy islands include Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta, Koh Jum, and Koh Chang.

Getting around Thailand. Transport Guide

Thailand boasts a diverse transport system, encompassing trains, buses, taxis, and tuk-tuks. Trains and buses are generally affordable and suitable for covering long distances, whereas taxis and tuk-tuks, while pricier, offer greater flexibility for local travel.

In Bangkok, public transport is well-developed, featuring metro, BTS, and bus services. Scooters and motorbikes are popular for local travel, but it’s crucial to wear a helmet and adhere to road rules.

Sleeping in Thailand. Hotel Guide

Thailand is renowned for its range of affordable and luxurious hotels, catering to diverse preferences from youth hostels to 5-star accommodations. Popular tourist destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui offer an extensive selection of hotels. Beachfront accommodations are particularly sought after on Thailand’s islands, including Koh Phi Phi and Koh Tao.

Luxury options abound, including beach resorts, private villas, and boutique hotels. For those seeking an authentic cultural experience, traditional hotels in Thai-style houses are also available. Stay informed about the best deals and essential information with our comprehensive guide to hotels in Thailand.

Discover Thai culture

Thai culture is incredibly rich and diverse, shaped by its history, religion, art, and cuisine. Buddhist traditions are deeply woven into everyday life, with temples and monks prevalent throughout the country. Renowned for its spicy flavors and fresh ingredients, Thai cuisine is a global favorite. Traditional arts, including dance, music, film, and textiles, contribute to the cultural tapestry.
The King of Thailand holds a significant role in Thai culture, revered by the Thai people.

Things you need to know in Thailand

Thailand stands out as a popular holiday destination in South East Asia, offering idyllic beaches, historic temples, vibrant markets, and delectable cuisine. Here are key things to know before your trip:

  • Visa:
    Most countries allow short stays in Thailand without a visa (usually 30-60 days). Check your country’s specific requirements before departure.

  • Currency:
    The Thai baht is the official currency. Easily exchange money at banks or bureaux de change, and most shops and restaurants accept credit cards.

  • Safety:
    Thailand is generally safe, but basic precautions, like avoiding walking alone at night or keeping valuables secure, are advisable in specific areas.

  • Food:
    Renowned for its spicy and fresh flavors, Thai cuisine offers a variety of dishes, from noodle soups to curries. If you’re not a fan of spice, make it clear when ordering.

  • Customs:
    Thailand is conservative; respect local customs like removing shoes before entering a temple. Show reverence to the revered Thai king by avoiding anything that could be deemed disrespectful to the royal family.

Visas for Thailand

How can I obtain a visa for Thailand, and what are the requirements?

Thailand provides various types of visas to travelers, encompassing tourist visas, business visas, work visas, and long-stay visas. Requirements and validity periods differ depending on the type of visa.
Travelers can apply for a visa at Thai embassies or consulates in their home country, or obtain a visa on arrival in Thailand if they meet the appropriate criteria. It is advisable to check visa requirements and complete them well in advance before traveling to Thailand.