Thailand! It’s on everyone’s bucket list! Planning a trip to Thailand can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been to Southeast Asia before, but not to worry. This guide will help you plan a trip to Thailand so you can have the perfect vacation.
Thailand is a wonderful country full of kind people, delicious food, breathtaking national parks, and more! There are local villages and major cities to visit, and of course, there’s island hopping. The country is open and welcoming to international travelers and remains relatively affordable for budget travelers.
Where will you go first on your Thailand vacation?! Let’s get going so you can plan your trip to Thailand.
Regions Of Thailand
Before planning a trip to this country, it’s important to know about the geography. Thailand is divided into 5 regions; the north, northeast, central, east, and south. Within these regions are 76 provinces. The most popular regions travelers like to visit are the southern, northern, and central regions. It means you’ll get a taste of the big cities, the mountains, and the beaches.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Thailand?
The weather in Thailand is affected by the seasons. There are only 3 seasons in Thailand which are the hot season (dry season), the rainy season (monsoon season), and the cool season (although many would argue it’s not cool at all.
The hot season is generally between March and May. The cool season runs from November to February.
Temperatures Throughout Thailand
During the hot months, temperatures can reach above 36 degrees (97 Fahrenheit), while in the cool months, temperatures average around 28 and 33 degrees Celsius (82 – 91 degrees Fahrenheit). You can see now why some people would argue that it isn’t cool, but in the north and especially in the mountains, temperatures are known to drop to near 0 degrees (32 Fahrenheit).
In the rainy periods, temperatures average around 30-33 degrees (86-91 Fahrenheit), but it will feel humid and muggy.
The wettest months are typically August through October, although this can change depending on specific locations. For example, if you visit the south of Thailand, the monsoon season will differ depending on the eastern and western coasts.
The monsoon season runs from September through December on the east coast, so it’s not a good time to visit islands such as Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. While on the west coast, monsoon season is from May to October, which means Phuket gets a lot of rain.
In the east of Thailand, where Koh Chang is, their monsoon season is from September to December, making that not a great time to visit.
Outside of Northern Thailand, it’s difficult to argue if there even is such a thing. Still, in places like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, or Pai, temperatures are way cooler from November to February. Mornings can be as cool as 14 degrees (57 Fahrenheit), and nights can dip to freezing near the mountains. The daytimes remain hot at about 28 degrees (82 Fahrenheit).
Therefore, the most popular time of year to visit Thailand is location-specific. Check this weather website to find location-specific data. However, most travelers tend to come to Thailand between November to March.
Check Entry Rules And Restrictions Before You Plan A Trip To Thailand
The government of Thailand is working hard to make it easier to enter the country, but entry rules are changing. I would suggest going to your local Thai embassy, Thaiembassy.com, and see if the Thailand Pass is still a requirement for entry.
Will You Need A Visa?
Always check to see if you need an entry visa, no matter which country you plan to visit. Sometimes it’s possible to get visas on arrival, but not always! Visa Guide provides a list of which countries require a visa (and which one) and which countries are visa-exempt to visit Thailand. It also stipulates how long you can stay in Thailand for each visa.
How Long Will You Stay In Thailand?
Your type of visa will ultimately determine how long you can stay in Thailand. However, it can be possible to extend certain visas. Make sure you investigate visas first before purchasing any flights. Visas start at 14 days and go up to 90 days in length.
Do You Need Travel Insurance Or Covid Insurance?
Some countries mandate that you must show proof of travel insurance to enter their country. Thailand mandates that you must have a Covid insurance policy coverage of up to $10,000 to be able to enter the country.
While travel insurance isn’t a requirement for entry, it’s just a smart thing. Medical care here is relatively affordable. However, costs can add up quickly.
Plan Your Thailand Itinerary
Planning is the exciting part! Where will you go? There are many Thai islands to visit, so many temples to see, and elephants to watch. We recommend looking at each region to determine the best places to visit.
Northern Thailand Cities And Attractions
The north of Thailand is home to some very popular destinations which you’ll want to include in your Thailand itinerary. When you are in the north, be sure to visit these cities and their famous attractions:
- Chiang Mai – Famous for its relaxed atmosphere, old city, nomad lifestyle, mountains, hiking, waterfalls, bamboo rafting, historic temples, night markets, elephant nature park, food, national parks, Thai massage, and so much more!
- Chiang Rai – Famous for the white temple, the blue temple, and the black temple.
- Chiang Dao – Famous for its cave, relaxing with mountain views, and hiking.
- Pai – Famous for its openness, rice paddies, canyon, waterfalls, and overall chill vibe.
Central Thailand And Its Attractions
The central region is home to Bangkok‘s most obvious destination, but it’s also home to other amazing places! The places and their attractions to include in your Thailand itinerary are:
- Bangkok – Visit Bangkok to see the king’s grand palace and Wat Ton Pao, Khao San Road, Silom, Soi Cowboy, Patong, floating, and night markets. Of course, shopping malls like Siam Paragon and MBK are also very popular.
- Hua Hin – See the night market and the beach.
- Kanchanaburi – Famous for the death railway, you don’t want to miss learning about this part of history. While here, stay by the beautiful river.
Well, this is quite obvious… you go here for the beaches – the never-ending choice of beaches! There are so many islands the most popular Thai islands or areas to visit in the south of Thailand are:
- Koh Samui
- Koh Sak
- Koh Phangan
- Koh Lak
- Koh Phi Phi
- Koh Phayam
- Koh Yao Yai
- Koh Yao Noi
- Koh Muk
- Koh Lanta
- Koh Tao
- Khao Sok National Park
Again, you go to this region of Thailand for the beaches to add to your Thailand trip planner:
- Koh Larn
- Koh Samet
- Koh Chang
The most popular way to find a place to stay in Thailand is to use accommodation apps. However, these won’t always show the true availability or get you the best rate. It’s better to call a hotel or resort directly. They are likely to give you a direct booking deal and inform you that they have rooms left!
You can also easily walk around and scope a few places out. Walk-ins are still welcome! You don’t necessarily need to find accommodations before you arrive unless you plan to stay on a really small island or during an extremely popular time so keep track of public holidays in Thailand!
Types of accommodations include bamboo huts, bungalows, boutique hotels, luxury resorts, dorms, and Airbnb.
Plan How You Will Get To Thailand
Will you enter Thailand overland or by air? It will affect your ability to get the visa you want. There are different rules to apply for overland entry. If you’re planning to fly to Thailand, you’ll likely land at one of the country’s international airports.
You may need to hop on another flight to reach your destination; a van, a taxi, a bus, a train, or a ferry may also be involved. Besides flights, you can book other ways of transportation a few minutes or a few hours in advance.
Learn How To Get Around In Thailand
There are many ways to get around Thailand and its cities. Lets’ take a look at local transportation, so you know what to expect when planning your trip to Thailand.
|English Phrase||Thai Translation||English Phonetics|
|Tuk tuk||ตุ๊ก ตุ๊ก||took took|
|Songtaew||รถสองแถว||rote song tao|
|Private van||รถตู้ส่วนตัว||rote tu suan tua|
|Ferry||เรือข้ามฟาก||rua kan faak|
|Speed boat||เรือเร็ว||rua reao|
|Motorbike taxi||มอเตอร์ไซค์รับจ้าง||moor sai ra jang|
What Will Your Daily Budget Be?
Well, that entirely depends on your budget. The highest upfront cost will be your plane ticket, although you can find cheap flights once in Thailand. Beyond that, you need to decide if you’re going to be a budget traveler, a mid-range budget traveler, or a luxury traveler to get a general idea of your budget.
It’s possible to get by on as little as 1,000 Baht (about $30) per day if you try! Otherwise, it’s best to budget $50 per day, especially more if you’re booking tours.
How Will You Pay For Things In Thailand?
It’s suggested that you bring Thai baht with you or exchange money at the airport (don’t worry, they all have the same rate). You can also pull money from ATMs, but you’ll be charged high fees and a higher exchange rate. Mastercard and Visa credit cards are accepted at only larger places such as name-brand hotels or shopping malls.
You’ll see most people using QR codes (PromptPay) to pay for most things, but you can only do this if you have a Thai bank account.
Carrying around cash – (cash is still king here!) is honestly the best way to pay for everything.
You can learn all about Thai currency here!
Food In Thailand
Ah, Thailand! It’s full of delicious Thai food. The most popular form of food is street food. You can eat to your hearts’ delight from the food stalls that line most streets. Don’t worry – Thai food from street stalls is safe to enjoy. You can also find sit-down restaurants on the scale from a hole in the wall (delicious food, though!) to high-end restaurants.
You’ll be able to find western food and vegetarian food, and in major cities, you can find vegan food too.
How To Ask For Vegetarian Or Vegan Meals In Thai
|English Phrase||Thai Translation||English Phonetics|
|Is this vegetarian?||นี่คือมังสวิรัติ||Mee keu mang saw see rat, mai (ka/khup)|
|Vegetarian||มังสวิรัติ||Mang saw see rat|
|Is this vegan?||นี่คือเจ||Mee keu Jay, mai (ka/khup)|
|Do you have vegetarian food?||คุณมีอาหารมังสวิรัติหรือไม่||Khun mee ah han mang saw see rat reu mai (ka/khup)|
|Do you have vegan food?||คุณมีอาหารเจหรือไม่||Do you have vegan food? / คุณมีอาหารเจหรือไม่? / Khun mee ah han jay reu mai (ka/khup)|
All Right, You’re All Set!
Now it’s time to learn some basic Thai phrases and vocabulary to help you on your Thailand trip. You can do that easily with Ling App, which will teach you, in less than 15 minutes a day, how to understand Thai, speak Thai and even write in Thai!
Head on over to Ling and start learning Thai today.