Why Thailand Makes for a Holiday Well Spent
More and more people are checking off Thailand from their wayfarer bucket list, and for good reason. This tropical destination offers lush landscape, finger-licking fare and a laid-back way of life like no other. If you’re considering a Thai experience for your next destination, you’ve got the right idea.
A Destination for Backpackers, Honeymooners and Families Alike
The story of Thai travel is a diverse one. From backpackers on a shoestring to families seeking a safe stay, this welcoming country delivers with open arms.
Backpackers are notorious for making their way through Thailand, whether it be in the northern province of Pai or the southern island of Koh Tao. One can find food, accommodation, and transportation for even the tightest budget (yes, taking a five-hour train from Pran Buri to Chumphon costs less than 50 thb).
Couples visiting the land will find it to be a romantic getaway like no other. Beautiful islands like Koh Lanta and Koh Samui line the southern tier while lush mountains dapple the north. Private rooms and resorts are everywhere and are much more affordable than resort regions like the Caribbean.
Kids will find the world of Thailand to be utterly amusing. From Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World to Railay Beach snorkeling, you and your family can stay busy. Western food is available in more tourist-centered places like Phuket and Chiang Mai for picky eaters.
Experiences You Don't Want to Miss
The Loi Krathong Lantern Festival is a once in a lifetime opportunity that happens every November in Chiang Mai. Festival goers get to light a lantern aflame before setting it off to float in the sky. If you’re in Chiang Mai in April, you can take part in the Songkran Festival, when everyone shoots water guns in the street. While you’re up north, head to Chiang Rai and visit the Wat Rong Khun, an all-white temple artisanally crafted by hand.
Get a scuba diving certificate on Koh Tao. This small island houses nearly a hundred dive shops with open water courses for about 11,500 thb, cheaper than most places in the world and just as professional. The Scuba Club and PADI Open Water Course are great options. Take your certification with you as you visit Railay Beach, Koh Lanta and beyond. [More info]
Planning Your Accommodation
Whether a backpacker, couple or family, this website makes booking your Thailand itinerary simple.
Work stays are common in Thailand, with organizations like the Worldwide Organization of Organic Farmers (WWOOF) and Workaway being a couple of the most popular. By signing up, you can access a range of hosts that are willing to trade housing, food, and stipends for a bit of work. The Thai lifestyle is a relaxed one, however, so you will have plenty of free time.
Foodies, Get Your Fix
Wherever you roam in Thailand, you’re bound to find a home cook, street-side chef or restaurant prep willing to fix you up a meal, often for much cheaper than you could ever find at home.
Landing in Bangkok, you’ll want to make time for an evening in Chinatown. Vendors line the streets offering up smells and tastes of every fare you can imagine. Do yourself a flavor and sample small bites from a variety of booths rather than filling up in one place.
Som tam, or papaya salad, is a spicy meal made from an unripe variant of the famous fruit. You’ll find it many places, often accompanied by sticky rice for dipping. Savory breakfast enthusiasts will want to try chok, or rice soup, particularly with fried dough dipped in the broth. Of course, you’ll encounter pad thai all over, as well as noodle soups made from beef, pork and chicken alike.
Many unnamed restaurants populate Thailand, so if you’re seeking an authentic eatery, simply head out on the street and see what you find.
What to Buy in Thailand
Tailoring services are notoriously inexpensive in the country, so you may want to take advantage of getting your finest attire fitted to you for a modest fare.
Definitely, buy a Thai massage. You’re bound to find a parlor wherever you look, and with prices ranging from 150 to 300 thb, the deal is to die for.
Silk scarves and sarongs make a great gift, whether for you or a loved one. Take advantage of the quality and value of these by purchasing them from a small shop.
Pack up dried Thai spice packets. That way, even when you head back to your California or Berlin home, you’ll be able to recreate your favorite Tom Yum flavors.
Take home some SangSom Whiskey for you or a liquor-lover you know.
With many reputable dealers selling gold, ruby and more, you can get a beautiful and affordable piece of jewelry with a certificate of authenticity to go along. Moreover, you’ll have an everlasting piece of Thailand by your side.
A 14-Day Thailand Itinerary
- Days 1-2 – Visit Bangkok’s Khao San Road, Silom, and Chinatown. Stay near metro stations and bus taxi stops.
- Day 3 – Take a day trip to Ayutthaya and find old temple ruins that stun.
- Day 4 – During the day, visit the Rose Garden an hour from Bangkok. Take a night bus or train to Chiang Mai and enjoy your comfortable and unique sleeping arrangements.
- Day 5 – Arrive in Chiang Mai in the morning. Check out Old City and Doi Suthep, then make your way to a jazz club in the evening.
- Day 6 – From Chiang Mai, visit the Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls, which you can literally walk up.
- Days 7-8 – Take an early morning bus to Pai and revel in mountainous quietude.
- Day 9 – Fly from Pai or Chiang Mai airports (VietJet and AirAsia flights are super affordable and quick) to Chumphon. Take the ferry over to Koh Tao.
- Days 10-12 – Give yourself a few days on Koh Tao and learn to scuba dive. Get a joint ticket from Koh Tao and take a night boat and bus to Krabi Town.
- Day 13 – Take a boat to Railay Beach and do some snorkeling.
- Day 14 – Enjoy old-fashioned Krabi Town and relax on your last day before flying out from the Krabi International Airport.
Thailand Dos and Don'ts
- Do learn basic Thai phrases to communicate with locals. Learn things like “hello” and “thank you” at the very least, and be sure to incorporate a wai (prayer hands showing respect) when appropriate. Don’t assume people speak English.
- Do remove your shoes before entering a building, especially if you see shoes or a mat to wipe your feet hanging outside of the doorway.
- Don’t touch anyone’s head or point your feet directly toward someone. These maneuvers are considered disrespectful in Thai culture.
- Don’t disrespect the king or royal family.
- Do cover your knees and shoulders when entering a temple. And don’t forget to remove your shoes!
- Do show respect to monks. Give up your seat on the MRT, provide a higher wai than normal, and don’t touch them if you are a woman.
- Do experience the Tuk Tuk ride at least once, but don’t fall for the scams. Be sure to agree on a price before entering.
- Do bring a reusable water bottle as well as metal straw and utensils. Plastic usage in Thailand is high, so be conscious when you can.