It’s yet another morning when you look out of the window with hope. It’s been two weeks since you’ve seen the sun. Maybe it’s going to be different today? You sigh, disappointed. It’s rainy and grey out there again. If only you could be somewhere where it’s warm, beautiful and sunny… Your friends sent you some pictures from Thailand recently but how can you organize a trip yourself if you have hardly any travel experience? Well, you just need a handful of reliable Thailand traveling tips 🙂
Vacations in Thailand are immensely popular now. Despite that, for some, it’s still an exotic destination and a lot of people are still afraid to go there on their own. But there’s nothing to fear 🙂 Even though Asian culture can shock and surprise, Thailand is a country with a well-developed tourist infrastructure and you can easily organize a trip there by yourself.
What travel tips for planning a trip to Thailand do you need?
Make sure to also check my Thailand itinerary for 14 days. With alternatives and a possibility to extend… 🙂
Click below to download an example travel itinerary for Thailand prepared in my custom-made Travel Planner. You’ll also get access to the Secret VIP Travel Resources Database 🙂
How to organize a trip to Thailand? Traveling tips.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through these links. Thank you for your support!Dorota
Before planning your trip to Thailand make sure if you need a visa to enter the country. A lot of nationalities don’t need to arrange anything in advance as long as the visit doesn’t exceed 30 days – this applies to Polish citizens too. Make sure what are the regulations for your country.
If you’re Polish and you want to enter Thailand for more than 30 days check this post to learn what to do (Polish only)
When to go to Thailand?
It’s one of the first Thailand traveling tips you need to know 🙂 The high tourist season in Thailand lasts from November to February. It’s a dry season there, the weather is good and the temperatures are pleasant. Hot, but livable 🙂
From March till April, there is a hot season and temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celcius.
From May till mid-October, there is a rainy season. It rains often and intensely but the rain rarely lasts the whole day. It is not the preferred time for most tourists to go to Thailand but if it is the only option for you – it is still worth going, you will benefit and enjoy a lot anyway 🙂
You will find more information about it in a separate post:
Travel Bloggers Reveal: What Is The Best Month To Go To Thailand?
Thailand traveling tips: Accommodation
It’s best to look for accommodation via booking.com or agoda.com. That’s where I booked all the places I have stayed in. You can also look for them once you arrive. However, from what I noticed – in high season a lot of places are fully booked. Prices and standards are diversified, I usually used medium ones.
You can find more information on costs and places I recommend further in this post under “Costs”. Click here to go there directly 🙂
Thailand travel tips: what to arrange before going?
Before planning your trip and booking accommodation you need to take care of the following things:
Before going to Thailand you don’t have to get any vaccines, none of them is obligatory to enter the country. However, some are recommended and you shouldn’t ignore that.
Recommended vaccines are against typhoid and hepatitis A. You can get both of these diseases by eating contaminated food.
If I’m supposed to give you one top Thailand traveling tip, looking at the hygiene around street food stands, get your shots. I was very happy I got them. And let me tell you, the food was the best in the worst-looking places… 😉
Check the vaccine information on local websites for your country as there might be some additional pieces of advice specific to you.
Make sure to get insurance before traveling anywhere, that’s a general rule. I rarely get sick or hurt myself in general – but I wouldn’t risk going anywhere without insurance. I don’t want to challenge my luck 😉
Thailand travel tips: Best ways to travel in Thailand
There are a lot of domestic flights in Thailand. If you want to get from Bangkok to the north or south of the country you can take a train which takes around 12 hours – or a one-hour flight. Prices are affordable and there are a lot of destinations to choose from. The only problem is if you are traveling with a big, checked luggage, you will need to pay sometimes double for it. Check it beforehand and either prepare your budget – or limit the luggage 🙂
I flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai using Thai Lion Air and it was a good experience. The plane was better than the Austrian Airlines plane from Warsaw to Vienna we took on our way here… 🙂 Thai Lion Air accepts checked baggage up to 10 kg plus cabin luggage.
Taking a local train is an experience in itself and I recommend it to you 🙂 The trains are slow, after half an hour you have enough of hard, wooden seats and the air-conditioning in the form of open windows and fans at the ceiling.
On the other hand, you can watch Thai people travel. You can buy fruits, drinks and even a whole lunch on the train, you can see the suburbs and some villages from the window. Tickets are cheap too – a trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya takes 2 hours and costs only 25 THB (1$ = around 36 THB. Use this currency converter to know the exact amounts in USD and in EUR)
On the train, you can also get a more comfortable place but I’ve read these are much more expensive. I don’t know the details because we didn’t use it 🙂
A lot of places can be reached by bus too. A big bus company connecting the most popular tourist destinations is Green Bus. The buses are comfortable, new and you can easily spot them. We also used smaller local companies and it was all fine. Just be prepared for 16 degrees C inside the bus even if the outside temperature is boiling hot. They go crazy with A/C.
Thailand is becoming a more and more popular travel destination so we need to be mindful and travel sustainably not to destroy this beautiful place. Check these tips on how to minimize your carbon footprint and travel sustainably.
Thailand travel tips: Getting around cities
In Bangkok, the easiest way of getting around is by metro and boats along the Menam river which will get you easily to the most interesting things to do in Bangkok (here is my guide 🙂 ). Other Bangkok guides are here: Bangkok attraction, extensive guide to Bangkok.
In other cities, you can also use:
Taxis, Uber, Grab application
A taxi with a meter is a good and not too expensive option unless you’re stuck in traffic for an hour 🙂 There’s no way the driver can cheat you if he turns the meter on.
Also, download an app called Grab before you go. You can order a taxi with it or a GrabCar which works on the same rules as Uber. Uber works too – but Grab is simply more popular and gives you more options, it’s a Thailand traveling tip worth remembering 🙂
Tuk-tuks are everywhere and if you don’t see any at the moment, wait five minutes and you’ll have one honking at you – their way of asking if you need a ride. Agree the price beforehand and make sure it is ok for you.
Songthaews are pick-ups adjusted to be able to carry people in tourist places. They connect the most popular tourist spots and attractions. On less popular routes and outside of tourist areas – they are like buses for Thai people. If you want to stop an approaching songthaew, just wave. If there is space, they will stop and take you. Ask for a price before taking a ride!
Timetable and routes are usually difficult to understand but it’s cheap and sometimes – the best way to reach some places. In Chiang Rai, it is the best way to get to the White Temple. These buses are meant for tourists so they are also very well marked. Less popular routes are more challenging especially if you can’t read Thai 🙂
Thailand travel tips: Costs
While organizing a trip to Thailand you need to take into consideration the following costs:
There are numerous planes from all over the world going to Bangkok. An average price from most European destinations is around 520-570 EUR for a round trip. If you hunt for a good promotion it can be cheaper. I recommend you check the price on Skyscanner and turn the price alerts on.
You can sometimes find cheap charter flights directly to the south or north of Thailand which can be very convenient, depending on what you are looking for.
I counted the costs of our accommodation and on average we paid 860 THB / night / for 2 people in 2017. We haven’t used the cheapest options though and we preferred to have a bit more comfort. It’s possible to do it cheaper.
Now, as I’m reupdating this post in October 2023 the average accommodation cost in Thailand would be 910 THB / night / for 2 people.
Here’s the map and list of all the places we stayed in and liked. Use them if you choose my Thailand itinerary for 14 days or happen to pass through any of these locations 🙂
In Chinatown Hotel it was ok but the staff wasn’t that great and to get to Wat Pho or Khao San Road we needed to take a boat.
Peace Factory Hostel is cheaper but also in a great location. Clean, comfortable and with breakfast included – highly recommended! Check it out 🙂
Chiang Mai: Jimmy and Jeng Homestay. The room is very basic but it has all you need and the owners make this place unique. They made me want to come back 🙂 I’ve never been so warmly welcomed in any hostel in the world, the first thing we heard was “you can relax, you’re home now”. Agata and Krzysiek from Before We Get Old recommended this place to me and I’m super grateful they did 🙂
Chiang Rai: Na-Rak-O Resort. A comfortable and clean guesthouse located close to Chiang Rai bus station and night market. The staff was super friendly and helpful.
Ayutthaya: Aiyara House. A pleasant hotel located close to Ayutthaya’s night market and a few famous temples. An amazing breakfast is included, and you can also rent bikes there.
Koh Samed Island: Samed Big Tree. A lovely hotel located super close to the main pier and a 10-minute walk from the main beach. A good breakfast is included. I definitely recommend it 🙂
If you travel with kids, check out this list of family-friendly hotels in Thailand.
We paid around 120 EUR to get the vaccines in Poland before the trip in 2017. Check the prices of them in your country and don’t save money on that!
Tours to remote places
In Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, we took tours organized by local operators. These were – visiting an elephant sanctuary, trekking in a jungle, biking and kayaking trip, a trip to the highest peak in Thailand or seeing a sunrise on a mountain on the Thailand-Laos border. It consumed a big chunk of our budget but remember this Thailand traveling tip – it is worth every penny!
On average we paid 1700 THB / person for one trip. We don’t have any negotiation skills though and I’m sure it’s possible to get a better price if you’re patient enough 🙂
Now, at the end of 2023, a trip to the elephant sanctuary costs 2400 THB.
Also if you’re not afraid to rent and drive a scooter there you can get to many of these places by yourself. I have never driven one and I didn’t feel ready to learn in a country with left-hand traffic.
Also, remember that some activities are more expensive than others.
In 2023 if you go to the south and decide to dive, this might cost you over 2800 THB – check this guide to diving around Phi Phi island.
Food and drinks
You can eat lunch for as little as 40 THB per person in a very local place with no menu in English. And let me tell you, it’s totally worth looking for these gems because the food is the best 🙂 You can also buy snacks for 20 THB in little street stands.
The price for lunch in a bit more touristic place ranges from 65 to 130 THB.
In 2023 it’s more expensive in the southern Thai resorts. For example, on Koh Samet island lunch prices start from 100 THB and may reach 400 THB per meal.
You can get fresh tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, papaya, and jackfruit for 40 THB per portion. Oh, how I miss Thai mango back home… 🙂
If you are on any specific diet – it is also possible to travel to Thailand. Check this genius guide to gluten-free food in Thailand and don’t let even celiac disease hold you back 🙂
Juices, local tea and fruit shakes are cheap and they usually cost up to 40 THB per cup. You will pay 80-120 THB in tourist places and better coffee shops like Starbucks or a cat café. You often get free water for your meal (or you can buy it for 20-25 THB).
Alcohol has always been expensive in Thailand – in 2023 you will pay around 150 THB for a 620 ml bottle of beer in a restaurant. The lowest beer prices start at about 110 THB
In a shop the same bottle costs around 60 THB. Craft beers are super expensive and to get a pint you need to spend as much as 350 THB! We heard that it is forbidden to brew beer in Thailand, only the national company is allowed to do so. That’s why smaller breweries make their beers abroad, e.g. in Laos and then bring their product to Thailand!
Trip to Thailand for the first time in Asia – what to expect
If the trip to Thailand is going to be your first time in Asia you need to expect a lot of surprises. You’ll need time to get used to Asian reality and deal with culture shock. So – what should you expect?
Shock related to the chaos in traffic
Never mind how many posts on the internet you will read – if it’s your first time in Asia, the traffic will surprise you and you’ll need a few days to learn how to cross the street. To make it even more difficult, they drive on the left side of the road there. If you’re not British, this is a challenge… 🙂
Well-organized public transportation and tourist infrastructure
Before coming here I was stressed that I wouldn’t manage this Asian chaos and that it would be too much to understand and deal with. The stress wasn’t necessary at all.
There is a reason for Thailand being called an “easy” country to start travelling in South-East Asia. The chaos is manageable here, everything is usually well-marked and even if it’s not – you can ask basic things in English.
Smiling, helpful people – and some number of cheaters
Everywhere I looked – someone was smiling at me. If your eyes meet a Thai person’s eyes, he probably won’t turn away but smile at you and greet you with a nod or a “sawadee-kaaa!”. If you pass next to a school – kids will wave and say “hello”. Amazing!
I noticed a trend though that the less tourist the place, the nicer Thai people are.
In tourist places, you need to watch out for “helpful” tuk-tuk drivers who offer you the best (four times too high) price, fake guides for whom you are just walking a bunch of money or “honest” vendors who happen to make mistakes when giving you a change. It is a minority though.
Despite a few unpleasant situations I am so enchanted by how sweet and helpful Thai people are.
Learn more about everyday life in Thailand in this post: 10 Unique Facts About Thai People And Life In Thailand.
Tasty food even in the worst-looking place
I’ve not eaten “bad” food there. You can rate Thai food from “good” to “outstanding”, and nothing below that 🙂 A lot of dishes are spicy but it seems to me Thai people know now what kind of spicy is acceptable for a tourist and we didn’t get anything above that.
Prepare to use chopsticks too… In most local places that’s the only thing you get, along with a spoon for soup. Don’t freak out though – after a few days you’ll master it. I even felt underestimated the next time I got a fork… 🙂
Long pants and covered shoulders despite the heat
Thailand is a Buddhist country and to visit any of the temples you need to have long trousers or a skirt, covered shoulders, and back, your clothes can’t be transparent. Moreover, I haven’t seen Thai people wear shorts or tank tops. In my shorts hardly covering my legs and in my tops with no sleeves I felt… naked.
Here’s one of the most important Thailand traveling tips – if you’re not into shopping or won’t have enough time to do that during your trip to Thailand, pack some loose and light trousers and shirts with short sleeves. Otherwise, you’ll end up wearing baggy colorful trousers most of the time 😉
So the next time you look out of the window with hope and sigh, disappointed because it’s rainy and grey out there again – improve your mood by planning a trip to Thailand. You can do it, trust me. And you will charge your batteries 🙂
Make sure to check my other Thailand-related guides:
- Thailand – Complete Itinerary For 14 Days
- 10 Things To Do In Chiang Mai You Can’t Miss
- Full Guide To The Most Stunning Ayutthaya Temples And Attractions
- 15 Top Things To Do In Bangkok
Also, remember to get your Thailand travel itinerary example made in my custom-made Travel Planner. You’ll also get access to my Secret VIP Travel Resources Database 🙂
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