Thailand, the “land of smiles” is one of the most visited countries in South East Asia. The country offers stunning beaches, culture, nature, and an abundance of history. It’s one of the easiest countries to travel with numerous travel options and countless accommodations.
The majority of travellers fly into Bangkok, the Capital City, to start their adventures and then head south to the beaches or make their way up north to Chiang Mai. A great way to start your Thailand trip is to begin with exploring the rich history and Thai culture in the North and then heading south to soak up the sun and relax on the gorgeous beaches.
To provide some extra help with planning your trip, we share our top 3 favourite destinations in Thailand: Chiang Mai, Koh Tao, and Krabi.
1. History, culture and local food are just a few of the reasons to visit Chiang Mai. This city is home to several famous festivals including The Lantern Festival and Songkran (water festival). There are numerous things to do in and around the city and the Night Market is one of the most famous in Thailand. Check the route of “How to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai” to find your best travel options.
2. If you’re ready for crystal blue waters and pure relaxation then it’s time to go explore Koh Tao. This island is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is extremely popular for diving and snorkeling due to it’s crystal clear, blue waters and abundance of sea life. Read “How to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao” to find your best travel options to this divers paradise.
3. Ready for one of the most beautiful beaches, without the craziness of Phuket? Then it’s time to head to Krabi, this destination is located in the South of Thailand and offers a landscape of beautiful beaches surrounded by limestone cliffs. Make sure to visit the famous Railay Beach to take in nature and the stunning sights. See our post on “How to get from Bangkok to Krabi” to find your best way to visit this province.
Are you looking to spend more time on the islands? Then we also recommend to check out Koh Chang. Koh Chang is located in the east of Thailand, just a few hours from Bangkok. The island is filled with beautiful nature, waterfalls and stunning viewpoints. There are also numerous beaches to explore with crystal clear waters making it a destination with something for everyone. To travel here read “How to travel from Bangkok to Koh Chang” to find your best options.
Destinations North Thailand
Destinations South Thailand
When to travel to Thailand
While Thailand is known to be warm all year round, there are many different climate zones depending on your location. From the north of Thailand to the south is nearly 2,000 km offering endless sights, beaches, and Thai history along the way. The north can get quite cool in the evenings while the South will remain hot all day. The best months to visit Thailand are from November to April.
The “hot” season beings around May and temperatures will reach the low 40’s, for some this can be quite unbearable. The ‘rainy’ season starts in September where you will see the temperatures cool down and torrential rains almost daily. Fortunately, the rain usually only lasts about 1 hour per day and then clears up, so if you can handle a little rain, this season might be ok for you.
Getting a visa for Thailand is quite simple as most travellers will be Visa Exempt or can receive a Visa on Arrival which is good for 30 days. However, some travellers will need to apply for a visa in advance at your local Thai embassy. The 30 day Visa Exemption is extendable for an additional 30 days with a trip to the Thai immigration office, the correct documents, and a nominal fee. The Visa on Arrival is valid for 15 days and proof of a departure flight from Thailand will be required before entry is permitted. Visa on Arrival is not extendable.
To find the right visa for you, see our Thailand Visa guide and get to know which Thailand visa you need by answering 3 simple questions.
How to get around Thailand
We recommend taking a (night) bus for the majority of your travels throughout Thailand. This will save you time, money, and ensure you are well rested when you reach your destination. The buses are safe, spacious and often offer sleeper beds for your comfort. Trains can also be a great way to travel long distances and especially night trains provide a relatively comfortable bed.
Taking the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or from Bangkok to Surat Thani are great alternatives to visit the North or South of Thailand without having to fly. Obviously, flying is often a faster way to travel long distances, but they can also get quite expensive and are more polluting for the environment.
However, for certain routes, train rides take much longer than buses or require extra transport to and from the railway station from the city center. In this case, taking the bus will save you time and the hassle of arranging transport to and from the railway station.
Luckily, most buses in Thailand offer a good standard of services and many even have toilets on board. There are options for sleeper beds, as well as standard seats which can be reclined for your comfort. The majority of the buses offer quite a bit of legroom and storage for your luggage.
Favourite Accommodations in Thailand
If you’re looking for a little more comfort and an ideal location, the Tawan Bed Club is a great option. They offer single rooms, bunk bedrooms, and family rooms to suit all your needs. The staff is more than happy to go out of their to assist you with all your special requests. Located just outside of Chiang Mai Old City, just 500m to the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, this hotel is in a great location. The rooms are extremely clean, the beds are very comfortable and there are flat-screen TVs in all rooms.
- Ideal location
- Extremely clean
- Comfortable beds
- Very friendly staff
Rooms start at $42 per night
Enjoy the views and beautiful greenery surrounding this resort. Located in Krabi town just a few km from most sights, this is an excellent place to stay if you want to take advantage of the free bikes and cycle around town. There is a restaurant on-site to enjoy a meal and TV’s in your room for quiet nights. Staff are extremely friendly and can help with tours and travel arrangements.
- Surrounded by nature
- Free bicycle rentals
- Restaurant onsite
- Friendly staff
Private rooms start at $18 per night
This lovely hotel is located just 500m from Sairee Beach and offers an onsite swimming pool. The stunning mountain views, lush greenery surrounding the hotel and tranquility will make for a perfect escape from the busy streets of Koh Tao. An affordable breakfast can be added to your stay for just $3 per day. Staff are very helpful and will assist in booking tours, onward travel plans and renting motorcycles or bicycles.
- Swimming pool
- Close to the beach
- Stunning mountain views
- Friendly and helpful staff
Private room starts at $25 per night
Packing list for Thailand
How to make sure you packed everything you will need for your trip? Short answer: Impossible. There is no such thing as a perfect packing list.
Luckily there are 2 little steps that we can share with you to become an awesome packer:
Step 1: Put all the clothes you want to take with you on your bed.
Step 2: Pack half of them.
If you follow the steps above, you will be one of the top 1% packers in the world. Packing around heavy bags is not enjoyable when travelling so we suggest packing a lot less than you think you will need.
Often, after a few days of travel, you will realize you have too much stuff and begin to throw things away that you are not using daily. Also, keep in mind that shopping is very cheap in Thailand, and all amenities can be purchased as needed.
I do suggest packing sunblock as it can be quite expensive in Thailand.
To see the complete packing list visit our page in which we share our ideal packing list.