Who hasn’t dreamt about traveling to Thailand? Thailand is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia that attracts travelers from all over the world. The success of Thailand can be attributed to the fact that in this country everyone can find what he or she is looking for. There are not so many countries in the world that are so abundant in beautiful white sand beaches, paradise islands, lush rainforests with spectacular wildlife, amazing religious monuments and a super interesting modern capital. Travel to Thailand is something very easy, it’s hard to find a country more prepared to tourism. At the same time, this can be sometimes the downside of your travel experience in Thailand, since it’s hard to get off the beaten path, tourism arrives almost everywhere. People in Thailand are friendly and very pleasant, although in some places they want to take advantage of the travelers. Travel scams are quite common in Thailand, so you’d rather pay attention to that, too.

Nevertheless, it is a fantastic destination, and in order to get the most out of your travel to Thailand, we prepared you this mini travel guide based on our experience. Altogether we spent more than 2 months in this wonderful country, where we would go back any day.

How to organize your travel to Thailand

First of all, you will see that Thailand is the country, where traveling is the easiest in the whole Southeast Asian region. Everything is perfectly prepared for tourists, and we usually just say that in Thailand tourists seem to be packages that arrive at the destination without even putting to much effort in it. Therefore, if you have never been to Southeast Asia, Thailand is a perfect first destination to start exploring this region.

When to travel to Thailand

In Thailand, the climate is warm and humid during the whole year. In Northern Thailand you can find cooler temperatures between November and February, especially in the hilly areas.

In general, the best time to visit Thailand is between November and May. The temperatures are usually milder till February, while the months between March and May are the warmest. However, we can tell you that we spent some time in Thailand even at the end of April, and we didn’t have any problem with the weather.

As far as spending time on the beaches is concerned, we have to consider which side of the coast we want to visit. On the side of the Gulf of Thailand (East Coast), where you can find for example the beautiful islands of Koh Tao, Koh Samui, etc.. the best time is between June and September (although the weather is usually relatively decent in the rainy season, too). Nevertheless, on the Andaman Coast, where most of the paradise islands are situated, it’s highly preferred to go between November and April. In the monsoon season it rains a lot and the sea becomes very rough quite often. Between April and October the majority of accommodations is closed on the Andaman Coast.

Koh Lipe Island, Thailand

Vaccines and medicine in Thailand

It’s very important to take into account that in Thailand there are several regions, which are high risk zones for getting infected by dengue. Even in the capital the number of people getting infected is quite significant. The use of a good mosquito repellent (min. 50% DEET) is obligatory, especially around sunset and sunrise, when dengue mosquitoes are the most active.

There is not any obligatory vaccine to enter Thailand. Nevertheless it is recommended to have certain vaccines and the best you can do is to ask for information in the travel clinic in your country, where doctors will provide you with all the necessary information.

Travel insurance in Thailand

In Thailand, just like everywhere in Southeast Asia, it is very important that you have a good travel insurance, since Western travelers are not so well protected against the potential diseases you can get in a topical country like Thailand.

Visa for Thailand

In general European travelers don’t need a visa to travel to Thailand for less than a month. You only need a passport valid for 6 months, fill in the immigration form that is distributed on the plane and your passport will be stamped at the airport on arrival.  No fee has to be paid for the latter stamp.

If you enter the country by plane, this stamp will give you permission to stay in Thailand for 30 days, whereas if you cross the border on the ground, the permission is for only 15 days.

If you want to extend your stay, you have 3 different options: leave and enter the country again (this is free), get a visa before visiting Thailand in another country or you extend your visa in Thailand, when you are already there.

For more specific information on Visa questions check out the Visahq webpage.

White temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Time Zone

Thailand can be found in the UTC + 7 time zone.

Language

The official language of Thailand is the thai, but in Thailand you will not have any difficulties in finding people, who speak English, especially in the more touristic regions.

Currency

The currency in Thailand is the Bath (THB). The current exchange rate is 1 euro = 37 THB. On xe.com you can find the up-to-date exchange rate.

WI-FI

You will not have any problem in finding Wi-Fi connection in most of the accommodations in Thailand.

Safety

Thailand, just like the rest of Southeast Asia is quite safe. All you need is some common sense and not to leave your valuable belongings unattended. In the bigger cities beware of pickpockets, especially in more crowded areas.

Where to sleep in Thailand

You can get to your next destination in Thailand without having booked any accommodation previously. In most places there is a huge offer of decent places to sleep, and there’s also margin for bargaining in most cases.

In Bangkok, especially if you arrive late at night, it’s better to book your hotel in advance. There are several hostel areas in Bangkok, Khao San Road is the most popular amongst backpackers, since there you can find very cheap accommodation close to the tourist attractions. However, the area is quite noisy, not the best choice for a longer stay, if someone pretends to sleep, too. We really liked the neighborhoods of Silom and Sukhumvit, although hostels are more experience there.

How to move around Thailand

Low cost flights

To move around Thailand, one of the options is to fly in one of the low cost companies. We took a few flights operated by AirAsia, and there are other options like Bangkok Airways or Tiger Airways.

Trains

There’s a decent train system in Thailand, which is a great option to move around the country, especially if you are not in a hurry, since trains move pretty slowly and stop everywhere. There are two major routes from Bangkok, one towards the North and another towards the South. Trains can often get very crowded, especially around holidays, in those cases you should book your tickets in advanced.

Buses

Most of the time in Thailand you will travel by bus or in private minivans. Thailand is one of those countries, where traveling in a private minivan service operated by one of the local agencies can be cheaper than taking the local transport. Even in your hotel/hostel they will be able to give you all the necessary information, and in many cases they can even book your transport directly, which then comes to pick you up in the hotel. Just as we said, in Thailand tourists are like packages.

Tuk tuk

When you arrive at the bus- or train station somewhere, taking a tuk tuk is the best option. You can easily negotiate the fare, since in all places, there are dozens of tuk tuk drivers fighting for being your driver. We warn you that when you travel to Bangkok, you have to be careful with tuk tuk drivers, since in many cases they end up not taking you to your destination, but to an artifact shop, which pays them some commission for that. Thai local bus, Lopburi, Thailand

How to move around Bangkok

Get to the city center from the airport:

Taxi: the initial fee is around 50 THB, and if you want to get to the center from the airport, the cost is around 250-300 THB.

Rail link: The skytrain opens at 6 AM and works till midnight. The prices is 45 THB, and the trip takes around 30 minutes.

Airport Express: Theses buses stop in several places in the city center, the price is 150 THB. Theses buses leave every 30 minutes.

BTS Skytrain

The single ticket costs around 30 THB. There’s a day ticket with unlimited trips during 24 hours, which costs 120 THB.

Metro

The price of the ticket depends on where you get on and off the metro. The price oscillates between 16 and 40 THB. The ticket is a small plastic coin that you have to keep till the end of your trip. If not, you can’t leave the metro station.

Where to eat in Thailand

Just like anywhere else in Southeast Asia, we ate in most of the occasions at food stalls on the street, where you can have a delicious meal (Pad Thai, etc.) for around 1 euro.

In the local markets and local restaurants you can eat great food without spending more than 2-3 euros.

A great option, which can be a real life saver sometimes, are the 7eleven shops, which are little supermarkets selling many types of food, like sandwiches, fruit or ice cream.

Inn bigger cities or around touristic places in Thailand, you will also find the American fast food restaurants, like McDonalds or Burger King.

In Chiang Mai if you don’t want to miss out on any of the local delicacies, here’s a very complete guide of what to eat in Chiang Mai.

Street food in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Budget for your travel to Thailand

We spent a little bit more than 15,00 € a day each in Thailand, including accommodation, food, transport and other activities. We have to mention, however, that we always looked for the cheapest accommodation without A/C, we ate most of the time in street restaurants, or markets, and we almost never took a taxi, but traveled by train, bus or minivan.

Other useful tips

Respect local traditions. Take off your shoes and cover your shoulder when entering Buddhist temples.
Don’t make fun of the Thai king. It’s a very serious offense. you can even get to jail for that.
If you are on holiday in Thailand, it’s highly probable that you will end up buying a lot of stuff, so have space in your luggage for that.
Bargain everywhere but without being disrespectful.
Enjoy thai massages and street food without fear.
Avoid eating raw salads and drinking anything with ice.

We really hope that this short guide will be useful to organize your travel to Thailand.

 

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