With a rich cultural heritage, Thailand is one of the most popular Southeast Asian destinations. Famous for the full moon parties, iconic Buddhist temples such as Wat Arun, Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew, royal palaces, ancient ruins and hospitality. In the capital, Bangkok, the modern cityscape contrasts with the quiet canal side communities, as the world’s best street food simmers on every street corner. Don’t stay too long in Bangkok, head south to the islands or north to Chiang Mai; the ultimate hang out for hip digital nomads and retirees alike.
THAILAND TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
The heart of Thailand and one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia. Most travelers spend a few days in Bangkok before heading north to Chiang Mai or south to the islands. Bangkok has temples, palaces, luxury shopping malls and arguably the world’s best street food. Or hang out on Koh San Road, the holy grail for burnt out backpackers.
Visit the Grand Palace
Possibly Bangkok’s most famous landmark. Constructed in 1872, the Grand Palace is the home of Thai Kings, the administrative seat of government and the Royal Court for about 150 years. Make sure you visit the Emerald Buddha and Wat Pho for the largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand.
Hill Tribe Tours
The north of Thailand is home to several tribes like the Akha Karen, Lisu, and Hmong. Spend a day or for the more adventurous travelers a whole night with a local family to experience their culture. Choose your tour guide carefully and be mindful of the do’s and don’ts before you head to meet a local tribal family.
In Thailand, there are around 5000 miles of coastline to explore (or sunbath on). Take a long boat and enjoy exploring the remote islands and beautiful beaches at your own pace. Discover the Phang Nga Bay and the famous limestone rocks off the west coast of Thailand. Island hop on the Andaman Sea from Krabi to Phuket. While away the the days on white sand beaches and take advantage of the world class snorkeling opportunities at Kho Phi Don and Kho Phi Phi.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak Floating market is the largest and most famous floating market in Thailand. Roughly 100 km outside of Bangkok you’ll need to leave early for the best experience and photo opportunities. Watch the boats going up and down the canal and the locals selling their produce. This authentic market is vibrant, colorful and a top experience for anyone visiting Thailand.
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THAILAND TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Thailand is an ethnic and cultural melting pot where travelers can experience a huge variety of festivals, cultural events and ceremonies throughout the year. Dive into Thailand’s festivals and celebrations to see how the people come together to celebrate and honor century old beliefs and traditions.
Songkran Water Festival
Songkran is the Thai New Year’s national holiday and one of the most fun-filled festivals in Southeast Asia. If you are visiting Thailand in the middle of April make sure you partake in Songkran. Songkran is on the 13 April every year, but the holiday period extends from 14 to 15 April. In 2018 the Thai cabinet extended the festival nationwide to five days, 12–16 April, to enable citizens to travel home for the holiday.
Loy Krathong – Festival of Light
Get ready to celebrate one of Thailand’s largest and most picturesque festivals, Loy Krathong. This is a Siamese festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand and in nearby countries with significant southwestern Tai cultures. People gather along rivers, lakes and canals to pay their respect to the water goddess. Loy means to float, and Krathong stands for baskets. People make thousands of baskets from banana leaves and place small candles and flowers inside. Once set free on the water, it is believed that they are releasing their pain and suffering too.
Phi Ta Khon – Ghost Festival
Thailand is a country filled with her own unique ghosts and demons. The Phi Ta Khon festival is the biggest attraction to the otherwise sleepy farming village of Dan Sai, nestled in the mountains of Loei province of northeastern Thailand. Phi Ta Khon, sometimes known as Ghost Festival, is an event that takes place over three days some time between March and July, the dates being selected annually by the town’s mediums.
Language: The official language of Thailand is Thai. The most commonly spoken language in the Thai Islands and main tourist destinations is English.
Currency: Thai Baht.
Visa: Visiting Thailand requires a valid passport and commonly a visa upon arrival is granted. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for Thailand is required (which depends on the country you’re from) and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: Electricity in Thailand is 220V AC, 50 cycles/sec. Power outlets usually feature two-prong round or flat sockets. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Thailand: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN THAILAND
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in Thailand are listed below. Don’t drool!
Pad Thai: The dish was made for the first time in 1093’s by a Chinese-Thai chef and is made up of thin rice noodles which are stir-fried with shrimp, tofu, and eggs. The locals season the dish with tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, dried chili, and vinegar.
Tom Yam: Also called sour Thai soup on English menus, this is a herb flavored broth. The preferred broth is Tom Yam Kung, a shrimp version that’s a combination of prawns and a spicy soup. The result is a unique and a traditional Thai flavor.
Noodle Soup: The soup comes in many varieties and includes pork, chicken, vegetables, and seafood.
Som Tam: The dish is an amalgamation of all five tastes, i.e. hot, sour, salty, sweet and savory. It is a staple street food found all across Thailand. Prepared quickly, Som Tam has some variations including salted preserved eggs or fermented fish sauce.
Green Chicken Curry: For the ones who are new to Thai cuisine, this is the best starting point; creamy coconut milk, Thai eggplant, and a herbal spice paste. Eat green chicken curry with Jasmine rice.
WHERE TO STAY IN THAILAND
Thailand is a reasonably affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Thailand is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget. Hostels and dormitories make travel to Thailand affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Thailand will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in Thailand can cost less than $20 dollars. If you’re looking for accommodation that includes western amenities and comforts then there will be more options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Bangkok, Pattaya or Chiang Mai. If you’re traveling to Thailand during peak season or wish to stay in a luxury hotel then it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. Thailand is a very popular year-round destination you know!
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Thailand. However, if you are backpacking in Thailand or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Southeast Asia very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
The best time to visit Thailand depends on where in Thailand you’re visiting. Although the climate varies throughout Thailand, you can visit all year round. In the south, the climate differs between the eastern and western coasts. If it’s rainy in one place, it’s a short trip over to better weather on the other side. The best time to travel to Thailand is during the dry and cooler season between November and April.
THAILAND TRAVEL BUDGET
Thailand is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Thailand really depends on the level of comfort you will expect while here. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating street food then budget between $25 to $35 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $35 to $60 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants in places like Bangkok then budget about $60 to $150 plus a day.
IS THAILAND SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety is a concern for most people traveling to Thailand. Pick-pocketing, bag-snatching and other scams to take advantage of tourists are common. Female travelers should be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Some areas in Thailand are more dangerous than others so do your research before you go and avoid these places. Based on many years of solo travel in Southeast Asia I would never leave home without travel insurance and recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your Thailand trip.
GET YOUR THAILAND VISA
THAILAND FLIGHT DEALS
THAILAND TOURS & ACTIVITIES
THAILAND PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to Thailand, like most other places in Southeast Asia, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to Thailand and it’s always best to travel light whenever possible.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our fabulous finds with you.
It’s so easy to travel light in hotter climates just remember to pack lightweight and breathable lose-fitting clothing. Be prepared for very cold morning and evenings depending on the month you visit and pack a warm sweater, coat, gloves and hat.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Thailand include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected. Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.