I hardly believe that there is anyone out there who needs to be convinced that a trip to Thailand is a good idea. The place itself has already made a huge reputation for being one of the best tourist locations in the world. Why? Simply because this gateway to Southeast Asia has earned its reputation during the many years of its amazing hospitality.
First, Thailand is a very beautiful place, geographically speaking. The nature is amazing, there are many clean beaches with soft sand, the sea is not polluted and the climate is very pleasant throughout the whole year. Thailand also has an amazing culture that is both interesting and very welcoming to all tourists.
Additionally, Thai food is so fantastic that I can even taste it now just by thinking of it. But, this country is far from simple. There is a lot of mystery around it and I think that this is yet another reason people who come here once return repeatedly. The culture in Thailand is truly unique and there are a lot of things that might seem strange to people.
Given the circumstances, there are simply a lot of interesting things to do and see here.
General things to know before going to Thailand
The currency in Thailand
The currency of Thailand is Baht, so make sure to check the current exchange rate when planning your trip so that you know how much money you have.
Water in Thailand
Around Thailand, you can find a lot of land water which might seem clean enough to drink, but most of it isn’t.
It might be good for swimming, but drinking it is a big no-no. If you are planning to go to rural areas, always make sure to bring a lot of water with you. Additionally, look for the nearest restaurant or bar and get water from them; it’s always filtered.
The Internet in Thailand
The internet in Thailand is quite stable and reliable. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t have the fastest web connection in the world, but it works well, and all major cities guarantee great uptime.
In case your accommodation doesn’t have good internet, you will easily be able to find an internet cafe with a stable connection and nice hot beverages.
Additionally, most bars, restaurants, hotels, resorts, and other accommodations around Thailand have websites and you can get additional information online if you need it. However, most tourists, including myself found Koh Samui condos for rent, which were greatly equipped and I had no internet problems during my whole stay.
Level of safety
The whole of Southeast Asia is a secure region. A lot of people recommend it for inexperienced travelers and first time travelers who want to travel alone. Over the years, Thailand has developed a great tourist network and it’s the main hub for most backpacking travelers in Southeast Asia.
Still, if you are not careful, there are opportunistic thieves that will pickpocket you, so it’s not a completely safe area, but still, name a country where pickpocketing and small thefts don’t exist. However, those violent crimes that happen to tourists are almost nonexistent, and those that do happen have mostly been provoked or started by the tourists themselves.
It’s also a good idea to be on the lookout to for frauds, as they do happen to tourists, but if you are careful, there’ll be no reason to worry. The biggest threat here are traffic accidents, not crime. It’s advisable to get yourself some good travel insurance before coming to Thailand.
Requirements for entering Thailand
There are three ways you can enter Thailand as a visitor, and all of them require you to have a valid passport with an expiration date that’s at least six months away. Given the fact that visa requirements change often, you should always look for the nearest Thai embassy and consult with them.
If you don’t have an embassy nearby, you can look up that information online, on their Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, or find a reliable travel agent who works with tourists.
For people from western countries such as the US, Ireland, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia or Canada, their passports allow them to enter and stay in Thailand for short periods without even having to apply for visas. This is called a tourist visa exemption, and it’s only valid for the countries.
When you enter Thailand, the officials will check your passport and, on your way back, they will look at it once again to make sure you haven’t breached your allowed time of stay. Additionally, you must give them some document or proof that you plan to go back home.
If you are not from these countries, or you plan to stay longer than fifteen or thirty days (some countries have longer tourist visa exemptions), then you must apply for a visa. Don’t even think about exceeding your allowed time of stay, because Thailand authorities are very strict about this.
60-day tourist visa
Apply for a 60-day tourist visa at your nearest Thai consulate or embassy and bring along a valid passport and a couple of your photos. Currently, the price for these visas is around 30 – 35 US dollars and there can be slight differences depending on the country you are from.
You can also get multiple-entry 60 day visas. With them, your next visit to Thailand will cost you 30 dollars. You can find visa application forms at the Thai Ministry of foreign affairs website. These visas usually take 2 or 3 days to get processed and approved.
90-day non-immigrant visa
Thai officials also consider applicants for longer visas that last 90 days, which cost around 65 dollars for single entries and over 150 dollars for multiple entries. Still, you must give the officials a valid reason for such a long stay; whether you are doing a study, visiting your friends or family members, or doing business in Thailand.
This can be an exhausting process, as Thai officials are very strict and careful when it comes to giving out these visas and they want to make sure that their visitors don’t plan to do anything shady while on Thailand soil. On the other hand, if you really like Thailand, there is an easier alternative.
You should get your sixty-day visa and, once it’s close to expiring, if you want to say longer, you can apply for an extension of your tourist visa, for another 30 days.
Traveling to Thailand
At the moment, Thailand has 6 international Airports, including Koh Samui, Bangkok, Hat Yai, Phuket, Krabi, and Chiang Mai. Most tourists that pour into Thailand during the year fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, so if you can, it would be a good idea to avoid it because you can expect a big crowd at the airport, especially during the tourist season.
The air fares to this Southeast Asian country depend on the current season. From the end of November until the end of February, when the weather is the most suitable for swimming, they are more expensive. You can also expect high fares during August and July, when students are on a break.
It’s generally a good idea to book your flights a couple of months in advance to get a secure ticket and good prices. You should look to do this if you are planning to go to Thailand during peak season.
Getting to regional airports
The cheapest option for getting to regional air stations in Thailand is generally through Bangkok. Simply buy a direct ticket to Bangkok and book a separate domestic flight in Thailand to travel quickly to some of its regions or to the islands south.
On the other hand, there are also a lot of international options for getting into Thailand’s regions with a plane. Phuket has a lot of seasonal international flights and these include a couple of direct airline flights from Australia.
Koh Samui has direct flights from Hong Kong and Singapore, which are both Bangkok Airways’ flights. You can also fly to Koh Samui from Kuala Lumpur with Firefly airlines or Berjaya Airlines.
You can fly to Krabi from Singapore on Tiger Airlines, from Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia or from Scandinavia with charter flights which are non-stop. For Chiang Mai, you can fly with Silk Air from Singapore, with AirAsia from Macau and Kuala Lumpur, and for North American visitors, the best option is to look for flights from Seoul with Korean Airlines.
Flights from North America
Thai Airways constantly offer suitable non-direct flights from Los Angeles to Bangkok; this flight has a one hour stop in South Korea (Seoul) and the price for is around 1500 dollars during peak season.
There are a lot of other air companies that offer flights to Bangkok from all major cities on the West and East coast, and most of them are one-stop routes. In general, to get cheap prices, it would be better to go on flights that stop in Asia rather than Europe, even if your flight takes off from the east coast of North America.
For example, if you are traveling from New York, you can expect to pay around 1300 dollars, while a ticket from Los Angeles can cost you around 1200 dollars. If you are traveling from Canada, the best airlines to go with are Air Canada.
They have the best prices from all major cities in Canada. A ticket from Toronto will cost you around 1600 US dollars, while a flight from Vancouver should be expected to be at around 1400 dollars. There are also cheaper options if you are prepared to take flights that make two or three stops.
The duration of the flights from Toronto or New York are about 20 hours (minimum) if there are stopovers. The flight time for nonstop flights are 17 hours and around 19 hours with one stop if you are traveling from Los Angeles.
Flights from Britain
The most comfortable and the quickest way of flying to Thailand from Britain is to catch a nonstop flight from London to the Thailand’s capital with Eva Airways, Qantas, or Thai Airways. A nonstop direct flight lasts around eleven, eleven and a half hours.
What’s great about these airlines and their flights to Thailand is that they often have promotions which are a lot cheaper, however a regular air ticket during peak season will cost you around 900 pounds. Air ticket fares for indirect flights that have one or more stop during their route are cheaper and they go at around 550 pounds if you booked them in advance.
However, traveling with these flights can make the journey from 2 to 12 hours longer. You should know that no regional airports in Britain offer direct flights. However, you can fly to Frankfurt and catch a flight there with Lufthansa.
You can also grab a flight with Emirates from Dubai, Etihad from Abu Dhabi, or Swiss from Zurich. In Newcastle upon Tyne, you can catch a return flight with Emirates which costs around 650 pounds, or from Dublin for around 800 pounds.
This is everything you need to know about traveling to Thailand. Be on the lookout for promotions and make sure to compare prices from various airlines before you buy your tickets. Thailand is an amazing place both for lone travelers and families who want to go on vacation.
If you are looking for adventure, hiking, swimming or enjoying the exciting nightlife, Thailand has it all. On top of that, there are also secluded beaches and resorts where you can relax and truly rest with the best Thai food you can find.