Thailand Travel Guide

Thailand, the ‘Land of Smiles’ always surpasses expectations and is most travelers  first destination and taste of South-East Asia. The well developed tourist scene makes this one of the easiest countries to travel is SEA. Thailand has incredible scenery, rich culture, arguably the best food in the world and, if you’re into it, a decent party scene.

Accommodation

Thailand is a budget travelers dream; accommodation is wide spread, very cheap and great quality. Hostel dorms start from ฿100, double rooms start from ฿300. Wifi is available everywhere; weaker on the islands and in remote locations but still able to be accessed. Most lodging will be inclusive of a basic breakfast of tea and toast. Island lodging can be pricier, expect a double room with A/C to be ฿600, with a basic beach bungalow roughly the same price.

Money Saving Tips

Bartering is a way of life in Thailand, master it and you can really stretch your budget. Remember to always smile, think of it like a game and make the vendor laugh; they will be more likely to give you a decent price. Learn phrases like nee-toi rai (how much) and paeng maag (very expensive), the vendors love that you’ve made an effort to learn their language. When vendors produce a calculator with a number on it, quarter that number as your starting negotiation price.Thist will normally get a slightly shocked reaction from the vendor but  will usually result in a sale price much lower than originally offered. If you get 30-50% off the asking price you are getting a very decent bargain.

Check out the routes tours take and see if you can do them cheaper by yourself. If you can rent a motorbike and drive to sites and temples yourself you not only will save on budget and costs but allow yourself the flexibility of time management and being able to make additional stops at points of interest along the drive.

If no breakfast is included with your hostel, grab a toastie (฿20-25) and a banana (฿5-10) from 7-11 for a half decent and incredibly cheap breakfast, less than $1.

Take the local option. Local food, local transport and local beer are all considerably cheaper than their tourist counterparts, so try living like a local to cut your everyday costs. You can liver as cheaply as ฿320 a day, staying in a local guesthouse dorms, eating street food and getting local buses (Songtheaw’s).

Transportation

Bus and train travel is frequent across all of Thailand, it’s both cheap and easy. Local buses are as cheap as ฿10, the cheapest train ฿20 for a 2 hour journey. Overnight buses and trains are frequent and roughly cost ฿60 per hour of transport. Local Songthaews (red taxi buses) are the cheapest way to get around the city, ฿20 per journey and Tuktuks can be negotiated with for fair prices. In Bangkok only ever get a metered Taxi and make sure they put the meter on, they are considerably cheaper than Tuktuks or an unmetered Taxi. Motorbikes can be hired for as little as ฿100 per 24 hours, remember to negotiate and get a cheaper rate for long term rental.

Where To Eat

Street food is not only an iconic right of passage for visitors to Thailand but is also the cheapest option for a hearty meal. Always keep an eye out for where the locals are eating. Street food can be as cheap as ฿10 for a snack. Expect to pay ฿30 for a small dish, ฿50 for something filling.

Stuck for somewhere to eat head for a shopping mall and find the food court, the food is always half decent, very cheap and quick. You’ll pay at most ฿50 for a decent meal, with a lot being below ฿30.

Best Time To Visit

Thailand is a great destination for year round travel. November through April are the coolest and driest months with the highest point of the season being December though January. Off Season is from April to November and can bring heavy rains and humid temperatures. The best time to visit East Thailand is from December to April, with the best months for West Thailand and its islands being from December to September.

Sim Card

True – Best coverage across all of Thailand with a fair amount of wifi hotspots-  a month’s unlimited internet starts at ฿399


Alcohol

Beers: ฿30 for a large 600ml bottle of Chang in a 7-11, ฿60 in a bar.

Local Spirits: Hong Thong or Sang Som Rum/Whisky (labeled as mixed spirits) ฿100 for a 300ml bottle, ฿180 for a 700ml.

Cocktails: quite often served in a bucket start from ฿150.

Hello: Sawatdee Karp (Man), Sawatdee Kaa (Female)

Thankyou: Kap khoon

How are you? Sabai dee reu

Fine thanks: Sabai dee

If you stick to hostel dorm rooms or cheap guesthouses, eat street food, curb your drinking and skip tours opting to do everything yourself you can live off as little as $21 a day (฿693). Some of the more expensive activities will bring that total up, so try and stick to $30 a day as a reasonable budget.

Hostel: $4.54 (฿150)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: $4.84 (฿160)

2 x 1.5 litres of water: $0.90 (฿30)

Motorbike rental: $4.54 (฿150)

Misc (beer, snacks, soft drinks): $3 (฿100)

Entrance fees / activities: $3 (฿100)

There is no official state religion and the Thai Constitution encourages religious freedom for all Thais. The main religion is Buddhism with a small undercurrent of Hinduism.

Thai & English

Bangkok

The capital of Thailand, and the most internationally well known city, Bankok boasts vibrant street life, temples, culture and districts with distinct themes and iconic destinations. Visit the boat filled canals, tour the Grand Palace and the sacred Wat Pho Temple of the reclining Buddha!

Chiang Mai

Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai is the most culturally significant destination in Northern Thailand and many backpackers use it as basecamp while exploring Northern Thailand. From culturally significant temples, to incredible waterfalls, nature reserves, elephant sanctuaries and incredible cuisine and nightlife this is a must visit destination in Thailand!

Pai

Chill out in this bohemian town which has been overtaken by tourists but still offers fantastic place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Relax or explore with plenty of amazing activities and things to see. The drive up from Chiang Mai is a rush of adrenaline taking on 762 corners.

 Phuket

Home to some of the most popular beaches of Thailand with its clear waters, beauty spas, nightlife and attractions, Phuket is a travelers mecca of activities and cuisine. A popular starting point for those looking to visit the Phi Phi Islands.

Motorbike Northern Thailand

Take a few days to complete the entire Mae Hong Son loop around Northern Thailand. If you’re short on time you can do the Samoeng loop, a 100km loop which starts and finishes in Chiang Mai.

The Islands

With islands on both the East and West of Thailand you’ll have decisions to make: from larger developed islands great for nightlife or activities to tiny islands with just a few huts on them you can find anything to suit your style. Our favorites are: Ko Lanta and Ko Samui and the Four Islands Tour.

Ayutthaya

Visit the old capital of Thailand as a day trip from Bangkok, or better yet dedicate two days to checking out the ancients ruins and temples that are all over the city.

Lopburi

Slightly off the beaten track play with monkeys at the famous monkey temple or go and see vast sunflower fields just outside the city.

Sukhothai

If you visit Ayutthaya you might make the decision to miss Sukhothai but that would be a mistake as the Historical complex is well worth spending a day at, if you’ve had enough of temples you may want to miss it.

Trang

Well off the beaten track with an interesting botanical garden and great culture this is the cheapest place to start the Four Islands Tour.