Thinking of traveling to Thailand? You haven’t yet ventured to Southeast Asia’s “Land of Smiles” and not sure how to start planning a trip? Planning a trip to Thailand by yourself is easier than you might think. Thailand has a lot to offer - wonderful beaches, delicious local food, amazing cultural sites and the warm friendly people. You will definitely find there something for yourself.
Here you will find information that is essential for planning a trip to Thailand.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia where you will many possibilities for sightseeing, shopping, eating, entertainment or just relaxing. Nearby Central Thailand is rich in history with ancient Ayutthaya, Khmer temples of Lopburi, Death Railway in Kanchanaburi and natural beauty in places like Erawan National Park.
Beautiful beaches can be found on the islands of Eastern Thailand - Koh Samet in national marine park and Thailand’s second largest island Koh Chang, and crazy nightlife can be experienced in the worldwide famous seaside resort Pattaya.
Huge variety of options for a perfect beach vacation are offered by Southern Thailand – choose beautiful limestone islands of the Andaman sea on the West Coast or the Gulf of Thailand, its islands and resorts on the East Coast.
Stunning natural scenery in Northern Thailand is created by mountains and dense jungle, and the cities of the region Chiang Mai and Sukhothai feature ancient temples. Northern part of the country is an ideal place to relax after the chaos of Bangkok and touristic islands, but if you feel that it’s not authentic enough, head to Northeast Thailand and experience Thailand as it once was.
Thailand's climate is tropical with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. Three seasons can be defined in the Northern and Central Thailand - the cool season (November to February), the hot season (March to May) and the wet season (May to October). December and January are the coolest months here and April is the hottest. Southern Thailand has only two seasons - the wet and the dry. These seasons do not run at the same time on both coasts as Southern Thailand is affected by two different monsoon seasons. It means that different islands have good weather at different times of the year.
The peak tourism season of Thailand is the cool season lasting from November to February when the weather is coolest and driest. Crowds and prices are at the highest during that time so if you want to avoid crowds and save some money, you should evaluate other options too. If you have a trip plan in your mind already, checking what is the best time for you to fulfill it might be a good idea. For more detailed weather information, see our Thailand Weather page.
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Tips on choosing hotels in Thai cities and islands you will find here: Hotels in Thailand.
Thai Visa is relatively easy to obtain. Most nationalities can get a free visa for 30 days at the airport or for 15 days at land border crossings. Others can obtain Visa on Arrival that is valid for 15 days and costs 2,000 THB. If you wish to stay longer, consider applying for a tourist visa at any Thai embassy or consulate worldwide. For more detailed information on Thai visa options suitable for you see our Thailand Visa page.
Thailand's currency is called the Thai baht (THB).
ATMs can be found across the country, and international withdrawals are not a problem. Currency exchange booths are found in all international airports and touristy areas. Credit cards are widely accepted in the tourist industry, at restaurants, shopping malls and some shops. Small businesses usually accept only cash so you should be ready to use cash (Thai baht only) for most of your daily purchases in Thailand.
Check Thai Currency page for detailed information about Thai baht - current exchange rates, cost of withdrawal and much more.
Cell phones and internet
There are 3 main cell service providers in Thailand: AIS, DTAC and Truemove. All three offer ‘pay as you go’ deals for short and long term travelers and have 3G/4G capability providing fairly good coverage in all but the most remote corners of the country. The easiest way for you to buy a SIM card and to set up your phone is to head directly to a provider's shop or service booth. Your phone must be unlocked for you to use a Thai SIM card on it. All three providers have offices in most major malls and on the arrivals floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Check for more information about Getting Thailand SIM Card.
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Transportation is one thing that you don’t need to worry about in Thailand. Country's public transport system generally offers excellent value. Buses are cheap and convenient with many routes to various destinations. The railway network connects four corners of the country and is a cheap, scenic but slow way to travel around Thailand. Minivans and songthaews (pick-up trucks with two rows of seats) can help you to reach even the most distant villages. A combination of public transport, consisting of songthaews, public buses, tuk tuks, regular taxis and motorbike taxis can be found in most cities. Bangkok has a reliable and constantly expanding metro system. Large islands can be accessed by large ferries and smaller islands can be reached by speedboats and smaller boats. Thailand is also well-served by domestic airlines. For more detailed information on Thailand transportation see our Thailand transportation page.
English is quite widely spoken by Thais in touristy destinations. Hotel receptionists, travel agents, taxi drivers, vendors and other people related to tourism industry usually speak some English. Learning some basic Thai would be a good idea. Phrases like "hello" and "thank you", numbers and food names can be really handy, especially if visiting more remote areas. Learn some basic phrases and words with our Thai Language page.
When you are traveling to Thailand, no one expects you to be perfectly polite in Thai way. However, it's important to know the basics of local culture before your trip in order to better understand Thai people and Thai language. Check our 10 Thai Culture Aspects You Need to Know Before Traveling to Thailand listed by a Thai and surprise locals with your nice behaviour.
Cost of Traveling
Traveling on a budget is easy in Thailand as there are many cheap accommodations available almost everywhere. By spending as little as 20-30 EUR a day you can get yourself accommodation, street food and a bottle of beer or two at night. Choose fancier hotel, dine at restaurants, drink cocktails at nightclubs and your daily expenses will multiply but it will still be much cheaper than back home.