This Thailand Travel Guide is all you need to know what to see there, how to travel, how much to spend and more…
Officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand, this country is a backpackers paradise.
From lush jungles to white beaches to crazy city markets – you can find it all here. In fact, the country has so much to offer that it is literally impossible to summarize its diversity in one article.
Its capital, Bangkok, is a perfect metropolis with gilded temples and a night market. The north offers you hill tribes ruling the mountainous jungles. And the South, on the contrary, is all about postcard-perfect beaches and crazy moonlight parties.
Now, before wasting any time, let’s get started with…
Thailand Travel Guide
Travelling in Thailand is super easy. In fact, so easy that you actually feel that the country was only designed to function on a traveller’s will. Here you can find super cheap hostels, for less than $5 a night, and then right next door you can find a luxurious property charging you a whopping $10,000 each night.
And then there is cheap street food – something so awesome in its standard that no other country in the world can beat it. But cheap food doesn’t mean that this place lacks quality dining experiences. There are more fine-dining restaurants in Bangkok than in any other Southeast Asian destination.
So no matter what you like during a holiday, if it’s available on our planet, you’re going to find it during your Thailand holiday.
Here are a few useful tips I want to discuss in this Thailand Travel Guide first:
- The best way to travel is on Thailand visa on arrival. It is cheap, easy to get and hassle-free.
- The country is basically divided into three parts. North Thailand is mountains. Central Thailand is old towns and Bangkok. South is famous for its beaches.
- If you want to do offbeat things, visit the mountains in the north.
- To travel inside the country, there are three options – trains, buses, and minivans. Buses are the most convenient option and charge around 500 to 1500 Baht for a 700 km journey. A minivan would cost around 2000 Baht. And a train between 500 to 3000 Baht.
- The entire country is very safe to travel, even for solo female travellers.
Top Places To See In Thailand
Of course, the first mention in any Thailand travel guide goes to Bangkok, and this one is no different.
Cheap, fascinating and colourful, Bangkok City has something for everyone.
Explore temples, night markets, crazy party scenes, and of course, the amazing Thai food. Whether you’re in Bangkok for a day or a month, there’s enough to see and do there. And if you just happen to be in the town for a limited time, refer to my Bangkok Three Day Travel Guide.
Hands down, Bangkok is one of the top places to see in Thailand.
Pattaya Walking Street
Walking Street in Pattaya is one of the biggest party spots in the entire country. Spread over a stretch of one kilometre with nightclubs and go-go bars, with Thai Kickboxing live shows, Pattaya promises an intense party scene.
The place is infamous for ladyboys and prostitution, so be careful.
The Golden Triangle
Not for the opium, but to see the border with Myanmar (Burma) and Laos all in one sight, divided by a river. Google Images for The Golden Triangle and you would see what beauty I am talking about.
Floating Markets of Bangkok
One of the most amazing and not-to-be-missed cultural experiences in Bangkok is visiting a floating market. Here you will find rickety boats selling different varieties of food and goods. If you are a photographer, you will love the surrounding.
Some of the popular floating markets are Amphawa floating market, Damnoen Saduak floating market, and Taling Chan floating market – all within a distance of 100 km from Bangkok.
For me, the Amphawa floating market was certainly one of the top places to see in Thailand as a tourist.
Maeklong Railway Market
Ever heard of a daily food market running on a railway track? Perhaps not.
The food market on the Maeklong railway track is the only such market in the world, making it a must-not-miss and one of the top places to see in Thailand. It’s located only a 2-hour drive from Bangkok’s Victory Monument.
Regular minivan services make it easy to visit the Maeklong Railways market on a day trip from Bangkok too.
Thailand is all about street food. Forget McDonald’s, forget KFC, as street food in Thailand is much better, contrasting, fairly hygienic, and far cheaper. Night markets are always an ideal place to enjoy the best of Thailand street food.
Road Trip In North Thailand
With lush green mountains surrounding a smooth hilly road, riding a motorbike in North Thailand is a great experience. One of the most popular trails is from Chiang Mai to Pai.
Pai is a small, secluded town, located on a 3-hour drive from Chiang Mai. If you’re looking to escape the craziness of cities and want to lose yourself in the peaceful mountains, this town can just be your thing.
Read my other article on things to do in Pai for more tips.
You may also want to read why I didn’t like Pai the way I expected.
Thailand Hill Tribes
There are several colourful ethnic minorities living in the northern hills of Thailand – a total of 7 of them, with the popular ones being the Akha, Lisu, and Karen tribes.
If you love the tribal culture, visiting the many tribal areas are certainly going to be your favorite Thailand travel experience.
Temples In Ayutthaya
Around a two-hour drive from Bangkok lies the cultural and historical city of Ayutthaya. Destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century, Ayutthaya is all about ruins and ancient temples, and hence an obvious mention in this Bangkok travel guide (I love ancient temples).
One of the major tourist attractions in Ayutthaya is Buddha’s head in tree roots – the only thing that’s remained of Buddha’s real existence.
A day trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is what I recommend.
Thai Kick Boxing
Known as Muay Thai, Thai Kickboxing, is, by far, the most Thai sport you can experience. To have a real Muay Thai experience in Bangkok, book a ticket for Bangkok’s Rajadamnern Stadium or for free at Channel 7 stadium.
Adventure Activities In Chiang Mai
Make Chiang Mai your base camp to explore the many adventure activities, jungle treks, and day tours outside of the town. Some of the most popular adventure activities include the Chiang Mai night safari, Mae Sa Elephant Camp, climbing the highest peak in Doi Thanon national park, and visiting the long-neck tribes.
Tropical Islands In The South
Islands in Thailand are the most frequented places for backpackers in the country, where people end up travelling from one island to the other for months.
The white-sand beaches, the parties, the bungalow retreats – you will find it all there. Ko Lipe, Ko Samet, Ko Phi Phi, and Ko Samui are some of the most popular beaches and top places to see in Thailand. But please note that staying on an island can be comparatively more expensive than in the other parts of the country.
Also, most of the popular islands in Thailand can be very crowded. If you are looking for a peaceful alternative, I suggest you read this article on CNN for peaceful alternatives to Thai islands.
This is all for top tourist places, in this Thailand travel guide.
What Is The Best Time To Travel Thailand
Visit any time of the year and you will find this country full of tourists, particularly Europeans.
I do not recommend travelling to Thailand in the summer. Visit between the months of October and March when the temperature is better. August and September are also months to travel, but frequent rains, predominantly in the north of Thailand might make it challenging at times.
What Is The Cost of Travelling In Thailand
A meter taxi is a best and safest way to travel to Thailand and not get ripped off. Tuktuks are a good and cheaper option but only if you know the price well. Most tuktuk drivers in Thailand are known for ripping tourists off.
If you are just one person and not carrying any luggage, use a bike taxi. They charge around 5 Baht a kilometre. A bike taxi is an ideal option for solo travellers and for short and quick trips inside a city.
Use BTS and Skytrain (only applicable in Bangkok). A BTS is moreover the cheapest option to travel from Bangkok airport to the city.
Scooter rentals in Thailand start from 150 Baht for a 100 cc scooter.
It is one of those countries where street food dominates the culture. And that’s where you should be eating when you’re in here.
You can have the regular (but of a good taste) meat+rice or meat+noodles at any roadside stall, throughout the country, for as little as 50 Baht. Roadside snacks, which include things like Pork sausages and pieces of BBQ chicken can be availed at 10 or 20 Baht.
I was literally amazed to see how cheap the accommodation can be in this country. Expect to get a really nice (often king-size) clean bed in an air-con dormitory for somewhere between 150 to 300 Baht – the price fluctuates depending upon whether you’re in a city or the countryside.
Private rooms start from 250 Baht per person that are generally shared between two people.
On the islands expect to pay around 500 Baht per night – for private rooms and basic bungalows alike. Hotels start at 1,200 Baht per night and can go sky-high. 18 Coins Hotel (Pattaya), The Overstay (Bangkok), Mapping Hostel (Chiang Mai) and Kanravee Guesthouse (Pai), Phuket Backpacker (Phuket) are some of the nice and tried and tested properties around the country.
Check this cost of travelling in Thailand guide for more tips on how much I spent during my trip.
How To Travel to Thailand
How to travel to Thailand is one topic that needs no discussion. From buses and trains that connect nearby Southeast Asian countries to flights that connect the world, travelling to Thailand – especially Bangkok – is no hassle.
But what about how to travel to Thailand on a Budget? Well, that’s one topic.
Bangkok is the hub of all transportation in Thailand (in fact, the entire Southeast Asia). So that’s one thing to remember. If you are travelling from India, the cheapest flights from India to Bangkok are either from Chennai or Kolkata. Delhi to Bangkok is relatively expensive. So one thing you can do is take a train to Kolkata (or Chennai) and fly from there.
A few other places with cheap Bangkok flights are Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore Changi and Jakarta.
That’s all in this Thailand Travel Guide. If you think I have missed something useful or you found any information given in this travel blog a little outdated, please leave a comment below.