Thailand travel guide

Escape your every day routine and discover rich culture and amazing food in Bangkok, or get off the beaten track in the hills of Chiang Mai. Then head south and plunge into Thailand's crystal clear waters to discover rich marine life below the surface, kick back on one of the perfect islands, or find your zen on a wellness or yoga holiday. No matter what it is that tops your travel bucket list, you're guaranteed to find your own slice of paradise in this dynamic country. And since it covers almost 200,000 square miles, there's enough of Thailand to go around...

Thailand: fast facts

Languages spoken

The official language spoken in Thailand is Thai, otherwise known as Siamese, but you'll hear plenty of locals speaking fluent English.

Currency

Thai Baht (THB).

100 Thai Baht is approximately £2.30

Time zone

UTC +07:00, making Bangkok 7 hours ahead of London.

Thailand highlights

Thailand is home to over 1000 islands, so it's no surprise this country is the beach escape capital of the world. No matter what you're chasing - a complete escape, a bit of zen, your perfect sunset, or yourself, you'll find it here. Culture vultures needn't worry - away from the southern islands, there's hilltribe trekking, elephant encounters, temple hopping and street food at seemingly every turn.

Island hopping

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health, wellness &

Beach escapes

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Chiang Mai

Hilltribe Treks

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Elephant Conservation

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Top Thailand destinations

Say hello to Bangkok, one of the most fun and colourful cities in the world. Head north to Chiang Mai to trek to remote hill-tribe villages and bathe with elephants, before kicking way back amidst some of the most beautiful islands in the world... Where will your quest to find paradise take you?
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Bangkok

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Chiang Mai

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Phuket

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Koh Phangan

Thailand Fast Facts

cost-of-beer-asia

Drinks

A bottle of local Thai beer from a café or shop can cost as little as 40THB (around £1). A Sangsom and soda bucket can cost between 124THB (about £3) to 300THB (about £7) depending on where you find it, and are so strong they're best shared!

cost-of-food-asia

Meals

Thai street food can cost as little as 50THB (just over £1) and can be every bit as delicious, if not better, than in some restaurants. For a sit-down meal somewhere midrange, expect to pay between 150THB (£3.50) to 300TBH (£7).

cost of accomodation in thailand

Hostels

A basic dorm bed in Bangkok can coast you as little as 125THB (about £3); expect to pay double on the Southern Islands such as Koh Phangan, especially if you're staying there over Full Moon.

thailand hotel cost

Hotels

For a mid-range room for two people in a hotel or guesthouse, you'll pay upwards of £10. Fancier hotels can cost around £25-40. Book in advance with STA Travel to bag the cheapest rates; we always have awesome Thailand accomodation on offer!

taxi cost thailand

Taxis

Taxis cost around 5TBH (15p) per kilometre, after the initial surcharge. A 10km ride should cost you under 150THB (£3.50), and from the airport to Khao San Road, expect to pay between 350-530THB (£8-12.50). Always ask for the meter to switched on; it's fun to haggle a price before you start the journey, and you'll get a better price.

transport cost thailand

Buses & boats

A 10 hour bus journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on a pretty comfy sleeper coach costs around 500-600THB (or anywhere between £10-15). A 12-15 hour bus journey from Bangkok to Phuket costs 1000THB (just over £20). Boat trips between islands cost around 500THB (£10).

When is the best time of year to visit Thailand?

Thailand's hot, dry season occurs between November and April, meaning the best time to visit Thailand is during our winter. April and May are the hottest months, whereas May to October is most of Southeast Asia's rainy season. Don't be put off by the sweeping monsoons during this period; it means the beaches are quieter and hotel rates are often cheaper, making it still a great time to travel.
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Thailand adventure tours

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Total Thailand | 16 days
Explore Thailand's buzzing cities, dense jungles, often overlooked history, mountains, national parks and beaches in this complete Contiki tour. Highlights include lazing on the river in Khao Sok National Park, chilling hard on Koh Lanta, chilling even harder in Pai, and meeting gentle giants at Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park.
Now from £1,975 | Was £2,275 | Save up to £300!
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wellness tour thialand
Wellness Thailand | 9 days
From the moment you first feel the warmth of Thailand’s golden sun, you can’t help but take in the positive vibes. This nine-day tour immerses you in ancient restorative practices, yoga sessions, and healthy food that will leave your smile beaming and your soul stirring. 
Now from £1080 | 20% off​
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thai island hopping
Thai Island Hopper West | 9 days
You've seen The Beach, you've dreamt of limestone islands, & you've foamed for Thai food since before you were born. Now you're ready for the real deal, to witness this paradise with your own two eyes. We'll float you from Phuket to Phi Phi, Krabi and Ao Nang, gawping at karst mountains, chilling with amazing marine life and partying the whole way.
Now from £616 | 10% off 
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Thailand's ultimate beach escapes

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Thailand health and wellbeing holidays
Boldly enlightening, spiritually enriching, and downright relaxing... there's a reason why we love southeast Asia so much. Tick off a 2019 goal and see Thailand with one of our health and fitness packages. Hilltribe trekking, guided meditation, and beach Shavasanas are what we do best.
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Thailand beach escapes
Koh Lanta has the peace and quiet. Krabi has the insane landscapes and awesome activties, like kayaking and climbing. Phuket and Koh Samui have... well, everything you'd ever need for the best beach holiday ever. Grab your snorkel, pull together your £49 deposit, and get planning...

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Get beyond the beaches with these active Thailand tours

thailand hike and bike
Thailand Hike, Bike & Kayak | 14 days
Perfect for those who believe the best way to appreciate paradise is to jump right into it. This adventure will have you hiking through forests and rice paddies, experiencing Thailand's  combination of culture and the great outdoors. Kayak the turquoise waters of the Andaman and discover coral coves and white-sand beaches.
Now from £1104 | 15% off​
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Northern Hilltribes & Villages | 8 days
From the luxury of Bangkok's malls and gleaming high-rises, head north to Thailand's hills. Eating and sleeping with the hilltribes will bring you face-to-face with these colourful cultures. Well leave plenty of time for fun in historic Chiang Mai with its night market and delicious cuisine too.
Now from £356 | 15% off​
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Create your INDIvidual adventure

Want to explore Thailand but don't want a group tour? Whether you're into floating markets or full moon parties, with INDI tailor made you get exactly the transport, digs and day trips you want, tailor made into a trip to thai for!
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Do I need a visa to travel to Thailand?

As long as you’re in possession of a UK passport with at least six months validity left on it, you’ll be granted a free visa upon arrival in Thailand. You’re allowed up 30 days in the country; if you'd like to stay longer, you can speak to the Thai embassy in Bangkok, a reputable travel agent, or one of our travel experts. 

Another popular way for backpackers to see more of Thailand than 30 days would allow, is to see some of the country, then visit neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam or Malaysia too, before looping back into Thailand for your flight home, seeing more on the way!

What should be on my Thailand packing list?

It's easy to get carried away with your packing list when you're taking a trip to such an exotic country, but if you're planning on travelling to multiple locations, pack light! Don't forget a 220-240 AC voltage, or a universal plug adaptor, mosquito repellent, earplugs, a waterproof and waterproof bag if you're visting during rainy season, and comfortable shoes for all the exploring you'll be doing. Don't, under any circumstances, forget to organise travel insurance before you go!

Which vaccinations do I need before I travel to Thailand?

Check with your doctor to see which of the following vaccinations you've already had in school, and which ones you might still need, out of Tetanus, Diptheria, Typhoid, and Hepatits B. You can book an appointment at one of our STA Travel Clinics to get these, six weeks before you depart. If you're off to a remote area that's far off of the beaten path, you might need malaria pills.

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