Thailand Travel Guide
Thailand is the most visited country in Southeast Asia. Travelers go there to explore the country and use it as their base for their Southeast Asia tour. I've been to Thailand several times and I have nothing but fond memories of the country.
Blessed with dense jungles, rugged cliffs, towering mountains, idyllic beaches, bustling towns, and mouth-watering cuisines, there's never a boring moment in Thailand. The citizens of Thailand are popular for their hospitality.
Spend your time practicing yoga or engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Explore the streets of Thailand and have the time of your life trying out the delicious cuisines, watching a Muay Thai boxing match or a ladyboy cabaret.
This page is your complete guide to visiting Thailand. Continue reading to learn more about the country.
Capital city: Bangkok
Currency: Thai Baht (THB). 1 USD = 35.38 THB
Electricity: Power voltage is 230 Volts. Power socket type A, B, and C.
Languages: Thai is the sole official language although many citizens understand and speak English, especially in major tourist destinations.
10 Handpicked Highlights of Thailand
Ao Phang-Nga National Park, including Koh Phi Phi Islands and other islands off Krabi
The Ao Phang-Nga national park is one of the most popular attractions in Thailand thanks to the beautiful landscape and the over 40 islands it encompasses. Thanks to the mesmerizing azure waters, you can indulge in a wide variety of watersports here ranging from canoeing to kayaking, snorkeling, and even rock climbing. There are many opportunities to spot wildlife as you explore the park.
Remember I mentioned there are many islands in the park? The Ko Phi Phi island archipelago is worth checking out thanks to the beautiful beaches and underrated viewpoints. It’s worth mentioning that the iconic Phi Phi islands tend to get overcrowded which may ruin the experience. Still, I’ll recommend a day trip to experience the beautiful islands.
Located in the Andaman Sea, the Similan islands are popular for their stunning beauty. The pristine turquoise water, fine white sand, and diverse marine life makes it a favorite of many travelers. Have fun exploring the nine islands of the Similan archipelago and enjoy the beauty of their underwater world through snorkeling and diving sessions. You can plan a day trip to the Similan islands or spend more time there if you aren’t pressed for time and money.
Khao Yai National Park
Filled with nature and great experiences, Khao Yai National Park offers great reprieve from the city life of Bangkok (the park is easily accessible from Bangkok). For nature lovers, the park offers an opportunity to see some of the natural beauty of Thailand.
Khao Yai has many hiking trails of different difficulty level with the trails leading tourists through dense jungles and to several viewpoints that provides panoramic views of the park. Waterfall are abundant in the park, same with birds and wildlife.
Doi Suthep National Park & Doi Suthep Temple, near Chiang Mai
Doi Suthep National Park is popular for its waterfalls, viewpoints, and numerous hiking and cycling trails. Evergreen forests dominate the park and wildlife such as dholes, wild boars, Indian muntjacs, Asian golden cats, Malaysian Porcupines, Asian black bears, and so on can be found in the park. There’s also an impressive number of bird species at the park.
When you are done exploring the park, head to the Doi Suthep temple to see the majestic golden temple and savor its architecture and art. You’ll also be rewarded with panoramic views of Chiang Mai at the temple top so you are basically killing two birds with one stone.
Mu Koh Chang National Park (covering large parts of Koh Chang island) – jungle hiking and snorkeling around nearby islands
Located in Eastern Thailand is a jewel called Mu Koh Chang National Park which covers most of Koh Chang Island. The park is a beautiful mix of jungle-dressed hillsides, rustic fishing villages, pristine beaches, rugged bays, and wildlife. Have a nice time hiking through the jungle or snorkeling around nearby islands. Koh Wai and Ko Mak are some of the most beautiful nearby islands to explore.
Compared to the more popular islands of Thailand, Koh Lanta is relatively unknown. But the island is worth visiting thanks to the beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and legendary sunset. Spend time canoeing or kayaking, diving, snorkeling, or just enjoying some tranquility on the beaches.
Sukhothai Historical Park
There’s a lot of history behind the Thailand town of Sukhothai and the historical park located in the town is the best place to see past culture, art, and history. Sukhothai is Thailand’s first legitimate empire, the birthplace of the Thai language as well as the Theravada Buddhism which is now the country’s official religion.
Composed of several ruins, the historical park is divided into five sections which are priced differently. Take a walk back in time as you walk through the ruins, some of which have been adequately restored. The park is very picturesque so bring a camera along.
Ayutthaya Historical Park
Ayutthaya historical park is a fascinating place to visit. The park features the ruins of the original Ayutthaya town that was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. You’ll see remains of ancient temples, palaces, and statues. Most of the temples have been renovated or conserved although there aren’t enough monks to run them. You’ll also find a couple of museums in the park with all of them dedicated to the history and culture of the region.
Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
Chatuchak Market is the biggest market in Thailand with about 8,000 categorized into 30 sections. From clothing items to food, shoes, and bags, you’ll find almost anything at the market. I like the travelers on a budget can afford to shop on some things here. You have no reason not to visit the market especially if you are entering Thailand via Bangkok. My personal favorite? The weekend plant market.
Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai
One of the most popular things to do in Chiang Mai is to visit the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for elephants rescued from poachers, circuses, the tourism industry, and so on. The park is a genuine sanctuary for the elephants and you get to meet them on their own terms. Guides are available to lead tours and they’ll teach you a lot about elephants.
Thailand's Geography & Landscapes
Thailand can be divided into five distinct geographic regions namely:
- The folded mountains in the north and west.
- The Khorat Plateau in the northeast.
- The Chao Phraya River basin in the center.
- The maritime corner of the central region in the southeast.
- The long, slender peninsular portion in the southwest.
The landscape of the country is diverse ranging from forested mountains to sandy beaches, dry plateaus, and fertile river plains.
Best Time To Go To Thailand
Thailand has a subtropical climate that’s leads to high temperatures all year round. The hottest months regularly see temperatures exceeding 40°C. Even the cooler months have temperatures reaching around 30°C.
Temperatures cool occasionally, especially in the Northern regions where the temperature can drop to about 10°C. However, it’s the amount of rainfall that determines the seasons as temperatures and humidity don’t vary much across the different seasons.
Overall, the best time to visit Thailand is between November and March and this corresponds with the peak tourist season. The shoulder months of April to June is also a good time to visit although the temperatures can be too much (around 35°C) for those not used to them.
Traveling in Thailand
Thailand is a very safe country and incidents of violent crimes are very low. The people who get into trouble here are those that do drugs or sex tourism. So, you’ll do well to stay away from those. Below are safety tips to follow when in Thailand:
- Make photocopies of your documents and keep the original in your hotel safe.
- Petty theft can occur so keep an eye on your belongings.
- Don’t leave your stuff unattended at beaches.
- Don’t accept drinks from strangers.
- If you won’t do it at home, don’t do it in Thailand.
- Purchase good travel insurance.
Getting to & Around Thailand
Thailand has seven main international airports. Two are in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang), while Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui have one international airports each. However, most people traveling to the country go through Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Travel in Thailand is affordable and efficient, although not always fast. Local buses and the metro are very cheap. Trains are also cheap, albeit slower but offers the opportunity to see some scenic views. You also have more chance to sleep, especially during an overnight trip.
Taxis are available and it’s advisable you use metered ones to avoid being ripped. Tuk tuk are commonly used for short trips but can be very expensive for long ones as they are unmetered.
Songthaews (literally “two rows”), which are essentially open-ended vans, supplement the bus network in rural areas. They squeeze as many people as they can in the back and have no fixed routes. They go where customers tell them to.
Boat and ferries are the mode of transportation between islands and beaches.
Ridesharing is available and you can use Grab, Asia’s version of Uber.
Domestic flights in Thailand have become more affordable over the years although it costs more to fly to the islands than between big cities.
Car rentals are available but not recommended since they are far more expensive than public transportation.
Budget accommodation in Thailand are guesthouses and hostels. The services usually include free wifi, a cheap restaurant, and safe storage for valuables. Budget hotels are also available for travelers.
Fancy resorts and tourist hotels are generally more luxurious but cost more. Airbnb is also available in the country.