Heading to Thailand? We share tips on how to visit Thailand, including the best things to do in Thailand, what to pack and essential tips.
You want to take a trip to Thailand, and you don’t know where to start? It’s essential to prepare for your trip well before leaving. Whether you are alone, with your friends or with relatives, you have to be organized as to the route to follow, the formalities and the visa to be acquired, or even know when to leave. Here are our top tips for organising your trip well and not missing anything!
Preparing for your Thailand Trip
When planning your trip, there are a few things you need to know before you go:
- The currency – The currency in Thailand is Baht and there are exchanges in most tourist areas. However, we recommend using the ATMs as this can often offer a better rate.
- Go slow – If you are traveling on a budget and have plenty of time, visit Thailand slowly. There are so many hidden gems and beautiful places in Thailand that are worth exploring.
- Carry Cash – Malls, restaurants and hotels take cards but markets and street food vendors are cash only. Carry cash during your trip to pay for your everyday needs.
- Avoid the scooter – Scooters are popular choices to rent in the country but we don’t recommend them. Thailand’s terrible road safety leads to way too many bike crashes, so instead, stick to taxis.
- Download Grab – Similar to Uber, the Grab app will help you get around easily and affordably.
- Follow the laws – Although known as a party destination, Thailand’s police are hot on the law. Drugs are strictly prohibited and remember to always respect the Thai King.
- Get insurance – Get travel insurance before your trip. There are too many horror stories of people getting into accidents and not having the adequate insurance needed to pay for hospital bills. We use World Nomads to protect ourselves when travelling; they offer yearly plans and include cover for activities like scuba diving and hiking through jungles; the types of things you will want to do in Thailand.
The Best Time to Go to Thailand
The climate is an important factor to consider when planning your trip to Thailand. If you visit during the rainy season, it will be harder to enjoy your stay. There are plenty of indoor activities to do such as cooking classes, Muay Thai and online casinos, but it is best to avoid the rainy season when possible.
Temperatures remain very high throughout the year although, in the north of the country, it can turn out a little cooler after the rainy season.
The summer months from May to September are not recommended. Winter in Europe is one of the best times to go to Thailand. The rains are much less frequent or even non-existent in some regions and the temperatures are a little more pleasant.
Also, if you are interested in traditional festivals and events that are held on-site, make sure you write down the dates and times when they take place so you don’t miss them. This is why it’s important to book your plane tickets as early as possible so that you don’t miss anything, make the most of the good weather, and possibly benefit from advantageous prices.
Getting to Thailand
Getting to Thailand to visit the country is relatively straightforward. For people wishing to stay 30 days or less, no formalities are necessary. Enter the territory, by land or air with a valid passport, the visa will then be affixed to your passport. You will then have the option of staying in Thailand for up to 30 days.
You may be able to extend your visa for 30 days once there. If you wish to stay longer in Thailand it is possible to apply for a tourist visa, valid for 60 days at the Thai Embassy.
It’s also important to prepare your local currency! Several solutions are available to you to obtain baht: go to a currency exchange office near you, opt for the Traveller Checks solution, use your bank card or change your cash at an exchange office in Thailand. Of these four possibilities, some are more economical than others, so you should analyze each solution to determine which one is best for you.
Best things to do in Thailand
Thailand is a backpacker’s paradise. Between the white sand beaches and the turquoise ocean, this country offers a multitude of things to do off the beaten track. For many travelers, Thailand is a must-see, and often the first country to start with when it comes to Southeast Asian adventure.
- Visit an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai – Your priority when arriving in Thailand will be to see elephants! For an unforgettable experience with elephants, you can visit the Elephant Rescue Park in Chiang Mai, which collects and cares for mistreated animals. Of course, riding on their backs is out of the question, but you can feed them, wash them, and even walk with them.
- Admire the sunrise over Chiang Mai in a hot air balloon – Admiring the sunrise from the top of a hot air balloon, floating peacefully in the sky of Chiang Mai, it’s magical. Chiang Mai remains a beautiful place but gliding above this mountain city when the first rays of the sun come to caress the wonderful temples of the city, it’s an unforgettable sight. Choose to hop on a balloon with a group or solo. The trip starts at 6 a.m and lasts about an hour.
- Snorkelling on Koh Tao – Snorkelling is probably the cheapest way to experience the underwater wonders of Koh Tao. Don’t miss Lighthouse Bay and Mango Bay, where you can admire colourful fish and crystal-clear waters. Consult tourism agencies for advice on the must-sees but also the places to avoid.
- Relax at Koh Nang Yuan – Koh Nang Yuan is the answer to your wildest dreams of tropical beaches, thin strips of white sand between lush jungle and turquoise waters. These are two magnificent mini mountainous islands, connected by Nangyuan Island and its superb beach. To get there, the easiest way is to rent a boat in Koh Tao. The viewpoint of the island is a must-see and will offer you a breath-taking view of these fairy-tale islands and the crystal-clear sea.
- Immerse Yourself in Thailand’s History by Visiting the Most Prestigious Temples – With over 40,000 Thai temples, it can be a bit tricky to choose. One of the must-sees is the Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai. Clad in gold, this temple is perched on top of a mountain, and is populated by monks in brightly coloured cult attire and enveloped in the vapors of incense. Another iconic Thai temple is Wat Phra Yai on Koh Samui. There you will find an impressive statue of the Buddha at the top of a very long staircase. At 12 meters high, this golden wonder is a pleasure to behold and undoubtedly one of the things not to be missed if you are visiting Thailand.
Most Thai dishes are spicy. The basics of their cooking habit is rice. It’s fried and accommodated in many ways (with fish, beef, pork, crab, shrimp). In its steam version, it’s eaten with a spoon. Sticky rice is eaten with your fingers. Breakfast usually consists of rice soup. Another must: stir-fried noodles (pad thai). There are generally 3 types of noodles: “sên yài” (large), “sên lék” (fine) and “sên mée” (super fine) as well as “bà mèe”, a curly noodle whose composition of egg and flour of wheat is reminiscent of our usual pasta.