Thailand

Elephants, beaches and Thai food. Are you ready for Asia’s #1 best vacation destination? This tropical country is 198,117 square miles of rich history, clear beaches, and rich jungles.

Whether you’re here to relax in the sand, explore ancient temples, or indulge in street food, there’s something for every kind of traveler in each of its 1430 islands. Luxury resorts in Koh Samui or beach huts in Koh Lanta – A Thailand trip would fit any budget!
Girl on a beach swing
longtail boats in the ocean

AT A GLANCE

Where: Thailand is located east of the Andaman Sea, sharing a border with Myanmar and Laos to the North and Cambodia to the East.

Best For: Elephant Sanctuaries, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Beach Days, Market Shopping, Food Adventures

Visa: Western passports are granted a 30-day visa-on-arrival, free at the airport and at land borders.

Language: Thai

Religion: Buddhism

Population: 69 Million

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Card & Cash: You can withdraw THB from the local ATMs using your debit card, but they charge you 200 baht per withdrawal. Most hotels and restaurants let you use MasterCard and Visa. For smaller businesses and cheaper accommodations, definitely go with cash! Don’t exchange cash in your home country. Wait to do this in Thailand, where you’ll get better exchange rates.

 

WHEN TO VISIT

Best Months: November – February

High Season: November – March

Low Season: July – October

Wettest Month: September (8.6 inches at minimum, it’s worse for some places)

Hottest Month: April (temperatures around 88 degrees)

Most Humid Month: December – April

Golden Temple, Bangkok
Wat Pho, Bangkok

TOP 5 AREAS TO CHECK OUT

Bangkok

The best markets and food in Thailand

Koh Samui

Beach days and boat trips

Krabi / Railay Beach

Rock Climbing, Kayaking and Snorkeling

Chiang Mai

Golden Temples and Retired Elephants

Khao San Road

Backpackers paradise with temples, shopping, partying, and super cheap accommodation

PRO TIP

When visiting temples, be sure you cover your knees and shoulders (this goes for both genders!) – bring a shawl, wrap skirt, or wrap dress and stick it in your day bag.

PACKING

Bring to Thailand

Sunscreen, bathing suits, tampons, walking sandals, active shoes, rain jacket (only for wet season)

Leave at Home

Heels, curling iron, jeans, thick foundation

Long Tail Boats in Thailand
Girl jumping off a boat in Thailand

GETTING AROUND

Tuk Tuk: These little 3-wheeled vehicles are great for A) short distance rides or B) one day of sightseeing around Khao San Road. Don’t rely on them for your regular mode of transport.

Songtheaw: A collective taxi picking up & dropping off passengers one-by-one for 40-80 baht. Just flag ’em down and tell them your destination. Ask the price first!

BTS/MRT: Beat the Bangkok traffic and to the sky or the underground. Tickets start at $1 per journey and connect you all around the city quickly and comfortably.

 

Motorbike Taxi: Look for the motorbike guys in orange vests! Rides around the neighborhood cost around 25 baht; rides across the city cost up to 200 baht.

Taxi: Usually giving a bogus price – 3x more than the meter price – insist that your driver uses the meter…or get a Grab.

GrabTaxi: Just like Uber, GrabTaxi has regulated fares at authentic prices with GPS. This is also why it pays to get a SIM card when you land.

Longtail Boat and Speed Ferry: Short distance and boat trips for longtails and speed ferries for longer journeys.

Train: Headed to Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, or Ayutthaya? You can take direct trains from Bangkok.

Bus: You can take a mini bus or big bus on long-distance journeys. For example, the drive from Bangkok to Surat Thani is 10 hours for $20.

Pro Tip: Use 12go.Asia to book your boats, trains, and check out bus/plane routes.

HOW TO GET TO

Fly into Bangkok via BKK / SVB (Suvarnabhumi) Airport or DMK (Don Muang) Airport

  • 2-Hours 25-minutes from Singapore
  • 9-Hours 30-minutes from Sydney
  • 13-Hours 35-minutes from London

Or fly into Phuket via Phuket International Airport

  • 1-Hours 20-minutes from Bangkok
  • 1-Hours 50-minutes from Singapore
  • 14-Hours 35-minutes from London

There aren’t any direct flights from the US, so expect a layover. I like to make good use of my layovers by taking the chance to explore layover cities like Tokyo, Manila, and Taipei!

Alternatively, you can travel to Thailand by land. Take a 12-hour bus ride from Siem Reap, Cambodia that head to Bangkok via the Poipet border. Though, your travel can be shorter depending on the bus company and time of day.

 

Want all the inside info?

Bodega Party Hostels

Tropical vibes, party people, and the most amazing dorm beds you’ll ever sleep in…ever. Bodega Hostels are my home-away-from-home when I’m feeling like being social, having a few drinks, or just going on an adventure with a collection of international people. For you social girls, check out Bodega Hostels in any of these locations…

Hug Hostel Rooftop, Chiang Mai

After a long day of elephant tours and temple hikes, all you want to do is chill out in a laidback hostel with some laidback people. Hug Hostel is famous for being a low-key social spot where you can easily meet other travelers on the rooftop.

Style: Dorms

Starts at: $7 USD/ 220 THB

Where: Northern Wall of the Old City

Address: 115/3 Sri Poom Road, T.Sri Poom, Muang

New Joe Guest House, Bangkok

A simple and affordable guest house that’s perfect for solo travelers to relax at after a long day of sightseeing! In the alley behind Khao San Road, you’re close enough to adventure, shop, and party by foot –  but far enough that away that you can sleep without German techno tunes.

Best for: Easy access to Bangkok’s best attractions

Starts at: $25 per night

Where: Phra Athit Road, across the UNICEF office of Thailand

Lamphu House Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai  

My vote for the best solo girl hotel in Chiang Mai is Lamphu House. Cozy beds, a sparkling pool, and the most convenient location within walking distance to The Sunday Market, Chedi Luang Temple and Tha Phae Gate.

Best for: Culture Adventure & Pool Days

Starts at: $38 per night

Where: Old City

Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, Bangkok

Octave Skybar
Marriot.com

If you want to be smack dab in the center of Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road surrounded by the best shopping, street food and night markets – The Marriot is the place to stay. Ultimate comfort, top-tier service, and best of all, on the rooftop you’ll find Bangkok’s #1 sky bar called Octave.

Best for: Luxury Stay & Local Culture

Starts at: $150 per night

Where: Sukhumvit Soi 57

Railay Princess Resort and Spa, Railay Beach

The best bang for your buck over on Railay East! You get two massive pools, a filling buffet breakfast, and a spacious room with a private balcony starting at $40 a night. Oh and the location! You’ve got Phra Nang Cave Beach to your right and party central to you left- all within a few steps of your hotel.  

Style: Private

Starts at: $40 USD/ 1,200 baht

Address: Railay Beach

The Coast Resort, Koh Phangan

The Coast Resort, Koh Phangan

As beachfront as beachfront can get!!! The Coast Resort is where tropical meets comfortable with air-conditioned rooms just steps away from the fine sand and warm turquoise water. The ocean view pool is one of my favorite in Thailand and the swim-up bar makes the best Pina Coladas for breakfast (What? You’re on vacation)!

Best For: Glamourous Beach Days

Starting at: $115 USD / 3770 baht

Where: Rin Nai Beach, 10-minute walk to Haad Rin Beach!

The Waterfront Boutique Hotel, Koh Samui

No competiti0n – The Waterfront Boutique is the best and most affordable resort in Fisherman’s Village! Choose between the ocean-view pool…or the ocean…to cool off. Then go for a walk in Fisherman’s Village where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and the night market.

Best For: Beachfront on a Budget

Starts at: $60 USD/ 2000 baht

Where: Bo Phut Beach

Sensimar Resort and Spa, Koh Samui

Sensimar Resort, Koh Samui

My #1 pick for a luxury resort on Koh Samui, Senismar is an adults-only resort that will throw you in vacation mode the moment you arrive. They’ve got the most grandiose infinity pool over-looking the glittering ocean, a swim-up pool bar with daily happy hours, a private beachfront with pristine sand, free yoga classes…the list goes on. Ps. My favorite private-pool villa to date is here at Sensimar…

Best For: Dream Vacation Spot

Starts at: $80

Where: Maenam Beach

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