- Main Airport – Suvarnabhumi Airport (also known as Bangkok International Airport, or BKK)
- Currency – Thai Baht (THB or ฿)
- Language – Thai
- Population – 67 million
- GDP – $395 billion (27th Overall)
No matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s almost guaranteed that you will fall in love with this Southeast Asian country. From lush jungles to serene beaches, Buddhist temples to bustling city life, Thailand has it all. If that’s not enough, Thailand is also a favorite destination because of its cheap prices. Get ready fill your belly with delicious Thai food, befriend exotic animals, and experience a harmonious juxtaposition between old and new!
Places in Thailand to Visit
- The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is bursting with energy. It’s hot, chaotic, and exciting. With so many sightseeing spots, bargain shopping, street food to try, and rooftop bars that overlook the city’s skyline, you’ll hardly have time to rest.
- If you have say 10 days in Thailand, you could spend 1-2 days in Bangkok
- Chiang Mai
- A much slower-paced and peaceful city in the north to visit is Chiang Mai. Take a break from the hectic Bangkok city life and take in the culture by riding a motorcycle through the villages, visiting vibrant rainforest reserves, and of course, the famous elephant sanctuaries.
- Koh Samui
- Koh Samui is a beautiful Thai island located in the Chumphon Archipelago and has grown substantially as a tourist destination. Expect white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and enchanting lagoons.
- This is Thailand’s largest island and tourist attraction. Phuket is where you go to indulge in luxurious hotels and resorts, high-end dining, watersports, and deep-sea diving. And also, the “h” is silent!
- Other Places
- Pai – laid back town up north near Chiang Mai, you can motorbike there from Chiang Mai
- Koh Tao – scuba diving capital, but you can scuba dive on many of the islands
- Koh Phangan – where the famous Full Moon Party goes down. It’s become a bit overrated and overpriced, but it’s cool to see thousands of people partying on a beach until sunrise
- Huahin – historically, this was the place for Thai nobility to spend their summers seaside. Huahin is now a pleasant combination of city and sea, filled with lively markets, long beaches, and only the freshest seafood.
Getting To and From These Cities
There are various ways to get around Thailand, and they are usually very affordable. Buses are fast and frequent, and often the most comfortable form of transportation. While trains are a bit slower, they are also a safer option and would allow you to sleep during overnight trips.
If you’re going island to island, ferries are an easy way to access the major islands. Last but not least, you can motorbike to different cities if they are close enough. For example Chiang Mai to Pai.
- New York to Bangkok
- Fly to Chiang Mai
- 1-hour flight to Chiang Mai, $40-$50 USD (Thai AirAsia, Bangkok Airways)
- Spend some time in the north (can be more authentic there)
- Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai
- Head to the Islands
- Fly from Chiang Mai to the island of Phuket
- From there island hop, and when ready fly back to Bangkok
When to Visit Thailand
- Monsoon/Rainy Season: May through October
- Lots of humidity and rain, heaviest from June through August
- The rainy season can be very unpredictable. Typically, rain will only last a couple of hours in the afternoon or night time
- Cool Season: November until February
- Probably the most comfortable time to visit Thailand, though temperatures can still reach 30°C or 86°F
- Nonetheless, the cool season offers gorgeous overflowing waterfalls as well as colorful blooming flowers
- Hot Season: Starts in March
- During the hot season, temperatures usually hit around 35°C or 95°F
- It starts to get pretty hot in March
Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak
You’ve probably seen many photos of the Damnoon Saduak markets before, as the 100-year old floating market happens to also be the most famous. Packed with tourists, this is a shopping experience like no other. Pick up your family and friends some Thai souvenirs, practice your haggling skills, and enjoy the overall unique experience altogether. Just beyond the market are more quiet and peaceful canals that you can explore once you’ve finished your shopping.
Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha) and Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha)
Two of Bangkok’s most popular sights are the sacred Buddhist temples, Wat Traimit and Wat Pho:
Wat Traimit houses the spectacular Golden Buddha – a 3-meter tall, 5.5-ton Buddha sculpture made of solid gold. Some scholars believe that the gold covering was added in order to protect the Buddha when the city was under siege by the Burmese. The second floor of the building is where you can find the Phra Buddha MahaSuwannaPatimakorn Exhibition, which explains how the statue was made and discovered. The third floor is where the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center is. This is a smaller museum with multimedia exhibits that educate the viewers on Bangkok’s Chinatown history. The entire temple is speculated to date from the 13th century during the Sukhothai Dynasty.
Wat Pho is another Buddhist temple complex that is home to the largest reclining Buddha in Bangkok, and thus, is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. This temple is notable for various other reasons, including the fact that it holds the largest collection of images of Buddha in Thailand, and was the country’s earliest public education center. Now, the temple also serves as the national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine, including Thai massage. The whole complex covers about 8 hectares on Rattanakosin Island, which is directly south of the Grand Palace – another stunning architectural sight worth visiting.
Amita Thai Cooking Class
Everyone loves Thai food, so why not learn how to make the delicious cuisine yourself in the country of its origin? Amita’s Thai cooking class is among the best cooking schools in Bangkok. The lessons take place in a lovely canal-side home in Thonburi, making the overall atmosphere very relaxed and comfortable. A full course will include first a walk through the resident herb garden as well as instruction in four different dishes. The fee includes transportation, which is a boat ride from Maharaj Pier and back.
Island Cruise and Snorkel Full-Day Tour
Indulge yourself in the undeniable beauty of the island on a full-day cruise and snorkel tour. They pick you up straight from your hotel and depart from Big Buddha Beach. Throughout the cruise, you will pass by many sights including Tong Sai, Cheong Mon, Chaweng Beach, ChawengNoi, Tong Takian, Lamai Beach, Grandfather and Grandmother rock. Once at Green Peace Island, you are free to snorkel and swim around! Take in the bright colors of the vibrant marine life! Lunch is provided on this tour, as well as personal leisure time. You’ll have the option to sunbathe, relax, sightsee, or snorkel even more.
Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong National Marine Park
Among the many clusters of tiny islands together with KohSamui is Ang Thong – more specifically, the Ang Thong National Marine Park. One of the best ways to experience this island is by kayaking amongst the crystal blue waters with an experienced local guide. The natural surroundings you will see on this cruise are sure to blow your mind. One of the beaches you will arrive at is TalayNai, a saltwater lake within the island and also a haven to a myriad of marine life. Kayak and snorkel in hidden lagoons and caves, and make sure to keep your eye out for dolphins, sea turtles, and even whale sharks. Breakfast, lunch, boat transportation and snorkel gear are all provided. The fee for this tour includes admission to the park.
Koh Samui 4WD Jeep Jungle Tour
For those adventure-seeking souls, drive through the tracks less traveled and into KohSamui’s lush jungles while on an open-top Jeep. Continue the rocky drive across rivers and hidden valleys until you’ve reached the divine forest waterfalls. Still not convinced? This tour also takes you to the highest point of the island, where the view will promptly take your breath away. The tour comes with a local guide who will explain all of the different sights to you. Hotel pick up and drop off is also provided, but they only do this with a few specific hotels so make sure to check online if yours is on the list. Lunch is also provided.
Phang Nga Bay Canoe Tour
PhangNga Bay is abundant with stunning limestone caves. Canoe through the sea cave tunnels and lagoons while making your way through the complex web of the island’s caves.The trip starts at LaemSai Pier where a boat will take you to PhangNga Bay to begin your exploration. The interior of each island is unique in its own way, providing a different ambiance with every cave you enter. When you’re done, return to the boat for an epic Thai buffet lunch on board as you continue the cruise towards Lawa Island for more relaxing activities before heading back.
Whether if it’s always been your dream to learn how to surf or you simply want to push yourself to try something new, Phuket’s warm waters and gentle waves are perfect for a beginner. Learn to ride the waves with an experienced instructor and negotiable lesson times between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. You will also have the choice of learning with a group or through private lessons. They provide you with a surfboard, leash, rash guard, sunscreen, and bottled water!
Diving in the Andaman Sea
Calling all divers and aspiring divers! Take a day trip to KohRachaYai and dive into the blue of the Andaman Sea, equipped with several professional instructors. To start off the journey, enjoy a lovely breakfast on the boat on your way to the dive site, which is when the instructors will brief you on your two dives of the trip. You will dive at two different locations and are sure to see an abundance of various corals and artificial reefs, and of course, numerous kinds of different fish. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry. The diving locations have just a slight current, making it a very relaxed environment for divers. Lunch is served after the first dive and then fresh fruit after the second. The boat will also carry bottle water, coffee, and tea, as well as other beverages for purchase. All the necessary diving equipment will be provided.
Thai food is among the most popular and delicious in the world. Experiencing the variety of amazing food at great prices should be part of your trip!
- Chatuchak Weekend Market – the largest market in Thailand!
- Soi Sukhumvit 39 – great street to explore for food
Make sure to explore the neighboring Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during your trip!