Thailand is a country of perpetuated natural and cultural heritage with the blend of modernized lifestyle; this is the reason more than six million tourists visit Thailand per year. Though, Thailand is much enriched with monuments and natural resources, the natives of Thailand adapted cultivation and fishing as their profession; other than this, after globalisation tourism is the more flourished business. After the war of 1980’s and 1990’s tourism has been only one think about the country’s development, which helps to raise the hospitality industry as well. Moving from the basic infrastructure, let’s see, what to see and where to go in the majestic Thailand.
Bangkok and Nearby: Nowadays, tour package to Bangkok is the most preferred package by the young tourists as they want to see the night life of Bangkok as well as this has the largest collection of fashionable clothes. As Bangkok is a young capital (established in 1782) it is more inclined to modernity, which attracts the youngsters the most. However, Bangkok’s Grand Palace is worth visiting; it covered the area of 218,000 square-meters and known for its architecture all over the world.
Banglamphu district is a good place to visit; this is nearby Bangkok and a heaven for budget travellers as it caters with amazing collections of DVD’s and street food. If tourists want to see the trading tradition of Thailand, one must visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market; this is the oldest market of Thailand, half an hour drive from Bangkok. Here one can get most amazing and authentic Thai soup and various other things, which are fresh and a must watch thing in Thailand.
The Central Plain of Thailand: most of the Thailand packages include the central plain area as this is full of natural beauty and is highly populated as well, thus, the travellers get to know about the cultivation and local cuisines of Thailand. Kanchanaburi is the most visited town of the central Thailand because of the bridge over the river Kwai. However, this place not only attracts people because of its amazing view, but it serves the floating raft-house, riverside restaurants, boutiques and hotels; so this has become the most popular hangout place in central plains of Thailand.
Moreover, package to Thailand is not complete without the visit of Sukhothai; some of the finest monuments and artistic heritage are there. The city was abandoned to the jungle once, but now, it has been reconstructed as the Sukhothai Historical Park, which is worth visiting. Though, most of us enjoy urban and modern culture, they can head towards New Sukhothai, the city is situated towards east and is not so far from the Old Sukhothai Park. Unlike the Old city, New Sukhothai is very modern in terms of culture and tourists can enjoy finest street food as well as finest cuisines in the luxurious restaurants.
Furthermore the central Plain of Thailand offers the exciting and breath-taking travel experience of the Death railway. Sangkhlaburi, a small hilltop town allures the visitors through its simplicity and taking a small detour to this small town is worthwhile. Apart from this, The Central Thailand offers the tourists Lopburi, Ayutthaya, Umphang and many more cities and towns which can steal the heart of the tourists.
The Northern Thailand: unlike the plain area, northern area is full of tribal lifestyle and temperate climate; nights during December to February are very cold, the climate is very good for the cultivation of rice, beans, and groundnuts. The agriculture fields and farms allure the visitors as well as the life of the natives. Chiang Mai is the transportion capital of the Northern Thailand, which connects Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Mae Sai and many more hill stations, including Pai which is considered as the most sophisticated hill station and is very popular for treks and other adventure activities.
The East: Eastern side of Thailand is coasting; this is not only surrounded by beautiful beaches, but plays an important role in the economy of Thailand, as this is the major point of international trading and connectivity to rest of the world. Ko Samet is the prettiest beach and has some of the beautiful resorts as well. Apart from this, Pattaya is a must have place in one’s Thailand Package because of its pleasant weather and luxurious hotels and resorts which offers amazing Spas and special Thai massage to their customers. Si Racha, Ko Chang, Ko Si Chang are some of the coastal areas of Thailand which are very exotic and are not very far from Bangkok.
Nevertheless, Thailand is not a place to visit once, this country is a perfect blend of charming history and modernity, artistic monument and skyscrapers; all of them are capable to steal the heart of the tourists and bound them to visit again to taste a different flavour of Thailand.
Thailand is the travel hub of Southeast Asia. Most people coming into the region fly into Bangkok and make that their base for doing the circuit around Southeast Asia. With its lush jungles, famed beaches, world-class diving, amazing food, friendly and cheap prices, Thailand is by far my favorite country in the world! I’ve been coming to the country since 2005, lived there for 2 years, and always seem pulled back to it. It’s an easy country to travel and you can meet a lot of other people there. You’re never alone! The country is a well-worn destination on the backpacking trail and everything is convenient and easy. However, there are still many off the beaten path destinations aways from the crowds and the prices they bring. Overall, Thailand speaks for itself. When you hear its name, you already think about beaches, beauty, jungles, and food. And your thoughts are spot on.
Accommodation – Thailand is very cheap, though the north is far cheaper than Bangkok and the southern islands. You can find cheap guesthouses for as little 300 THB per night in cities and 200 THB per night in the countryside, though in the big cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, rooms start at about 400 per night. On the islands or for a nicer room with air-conditioner, expect to pay 600 THB and up per night. Basic bungalows cost the same. Hotels start at around 1,350 THB per night and go up from there. Big resorts on the islands start at 1,700 THB per night for a bungalow on the beach. Dorm rooms, which are increasingly widespread throughout the country, range from 100-150 THB per night. A shared room starts around 350 THB per night and renting a full apartment starts around 700 THB per night. Suk 11 Guesthouse (Bangkok), Chada Guesthouse (Bangkok), Julies (Chiang Mai), Kodchasri B&B (Chiang Mai), Pooh’s (Ko Lipe), Greenhouse (Khao Yai) are my favorite places to sleep in the country.
Food – Food is really cheap in Thailand. Street food costs as little as 20 THB, though on average you’ll spend about 35-50 THB per meal if you want something really filling. If you stick to the local street food, you can eat for around 120-170 THB a day. Most western dishes (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc) cost between 170-340 THB, though they can be higher in the fancier western establishments. Since food is so cheap, there’s no point in grocery shopping unless you’re looking to get some pre-made salads or fruits. Visit each city guide for specific food recommendations in each place!
Transportation – Like everything in Thailand, transportation is also cheap. Local buses cost as little as 8 THB per trip, the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok cost 15-50 THB per trip and metered taxi rides are usually 60-100 THB each. Tuk-tuks are un-metered and generally more expensive, costing 100-235 THB per ride. Motorbike taxis (in orange vests) are available all over the country with short trips costing about 35 THB (you need to negotiate the price). Train service around the country is cheap – day trains cost as little as 50 THB. Night trains start at 575 THB for second-class without air-conditioning. Boats to/from the islands cost between 250-475 THB. (Note: It’s often better to get a bus/boat package then pay for them separately.) Coach buses are a great way to get around the country. For example, a bus ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai costs 550-700 THB and a bus ride from Bangkok to Phuket costs 500-1,000 THB.
Activities – Day tours cost 500-1,200 THB depending on the activity. Jungle trekking costs 1,000-1,685 THB per day. Keep in mind, you have more bargaining power if you go with a group. Most parks and national museums cost between 50-100 THB to get into (as a non-Thai, you’ll always pay a higher rate). A PADI dive certification course (very popular in Thailand) costs around 10,000 THB (but often includes accommodation).
Suggested daily budget – 900-1080 THB / 25-30 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)
Top Things to See and Do in Thailand
Explore Bangkok – The heart of Thailand, this crazy city is a must-see. Most travelers don’t like it right away but it grows on you. Explore temples, palaces, amazing markets, shops, one of the craziest nightlife scenes in the world, and of course, amazing Thai food. At first, I didn’t like this place but now it’s one of the places I feel most at home in. I love this city and return frequently.
Find adventure around Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai is an old city ringed with temples and surrounded by jungles. It’s a good launching pad for jungle treks into the area; there is a nearby elephant sanctuary, and the Chiang Mai night market is a place for some of the best handicrafts and deals in the country.
Visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pho – Thailand’s royal palace was built at the end of the 18th century by King Rama I and is the official residence of the current monarch (though he doesn’t live there anymore; now it’s just used for ceremonies). It’s a striking place filled with numerous temples, including Wat Pra Kaeo, which houses the 15th-century Emerald Buddha. Nearby Wat Pho is famous for two things: a larger-than-life golden reclining Buddha statue and a very relaxing massage school.
Hike in Khao Yai National Park – Khao Yai National Park located about 2.5 hours north of Bangkok and is one of Thailand’s best national parks. It’s truly amazing — visually stunning, empty of tourists, and filled with lush flora and fauna and even a few wild elephants. This park is an excellent place to hike and swim. It’s not very crowded so you’ll have the jungle to yourself. Stay at the Greenleaf Guesthouse for the best tour/accommodation deals in the area. Park entrance costs 400 THB.
Hop around the ancient capitals – Between Chiang Mai and Bangkok are Thailand’s three ancient capitals – Sukhothai, Lopburi, and Ayutthaya. Visiting them on your way north is a unique way to head from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. You’ll get to learn about ancient Thailand and see rural life at its best. My favorite is Ayutthaya.
Relax on tropical islands – Thailand has a million and one beautiful tropical islands. Some are overdeveloped, while others only have a single bungalow on them. You’ll find everything here. Some of the best islands here are – Ko Samet, Ko Taruato, Ko Lanta, Ko Chang, Ko Tao, Ko Jum, Ko Lipe, Ko Phi Phi, Phuket, the Similan Islands, and Ko Samui.
Visit Khao Sok National Park – Located in the south of Thailand, Khao Sok National Park is constantly rated as one of the best in Thailand, with incredible trekking, camping, limestone karsts, cooling rivers, and a glistening lake. You’ll find semi-challenging hikes, tons of wildlife, walking paths, and incredible sunsets. Park entrance costs 200 THB.
Partake in the Full Moon Party – If you like partying, there’s no better party in the world than the famous Full Moon Party. The Full Moon Party is a giant festival-like party with a lot of drinking, dancing, and drugs. Each bar has its own sound system, so you’ll hear different music loudly blasting onto the beach every few feet. The beach itself is lined with people selling alcohol, fire dancers putting on shows, and little booths selling glow-in-the-dark face paint. Sure, it is super touristy but that doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of fun and it’s as much a part of Thailand as anything else.
Go jungle trekking – There are some great jungle trekking opportunities in northern Thailand. Be sure to go on a multi-day hike. The shorter hikes aren’t as good and the hill tribes you visit are like visiting a rural impoverished Disney World. The biggest departure points are Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Don’t book any tours ahead of time, you can book these sorts of outings through the hostel or hostel you’re staying in closeby. If you book online ahead of time, you will pay more.
Go scuba diving in the Similan Islands – Scuba diving here is a popular activity because of the crystal clear waters and majestic sea life. The cheapest place to learn is on the island of Ko Tao, which caters specifically for dive trips. Most people don’t go unless they’re planning on diving. While you can dive all over the country, the Similan Islands offer the best diving. If you dive the Similan Islands, be sure to see Elephant Head Rock, and the reef houses plenty of fish, snappers, rays, and turtles. Day trips start at 3,700 THB.0