Travelling in Thailand
There’s a reason so many people choose to go travelling in Thailand, and it’s not just for the tuk-tuks and the ping-pong shows (although they do have their merits, if that’s what you’re into). Thailand is, and we’re going to shoot from the hip here, genuinely one of the world’s greatest travel destinations.
The beaches, the jungles, and the food are all second-to-none so remember to pack your camera. And if that’s not enough to wet your whistle, there’s also loads of breathtaking temples and some seriously full-on nightlife to enjoy . It might not be as “off-the-beaten-track” as it used to be, and it might have become a gap year cliche for many 20-somethings but don’t let that put you off. There’s so much to love about a country known as the “land of smiles.”
But before we splash the 10 best places to visit in Thailand all over your screen, and you get all excitable about travelling in Thailand (trust us, you will), let’s quickly run you through an introductory guide to the country; as well as some do’s and don’ts for those travellers wanting to explore it.
Facts About Thailand
- Thailand is the world’s 20th most populous country (67 million).
- The currency of Thailand is the Baht (55 Baht = £1).
- Thailand is in South-East Asia.
- Buddhism is the country’s main religion (95% of the population).
- Bangkok is the capital city (population: 6.4 million).
- Bangkok is the world’s most visited city.
- In an average year, it welcomes 16 million international visitors.
- Thailand is home to 1,430 islands.
- Thailand has over 29,000 temples.
Do’s – Travelling In Thailand
- Do – remove shoes and hats when entering temples.
- Do – pay attention to the Foreign Office, as some parts of Thailand are off-limits for British travellers (due to the presence of troops, and the risk of fighting).
- Do – haggle when buying things in marketplaces. Stall owners will aim to get the best price they can, especially when dealing with visitors.
- Do – speak quietly and respectfully while visiting temples.
- Do – hail taxis with your fingers facing down (fingers up is considered disrespectful).
- Do – keep an eye on your possessions (certain beaches and bars, especially those frequented by travellers, can become crime hot-spots).
Don’ts – Travelling In Thailand
- Don’t – criticise the monarchy. In Thailand, this is strictly against the law.
- Don’t – get involved with the Royal Thai Police (they are highly corrupt).
- Don’t – forget to wash, as personal hygiene is a big part of Thai culture.
- Don’t – take advice or directions as the gospel truth (many Thai people will lie in order to avoid appearing ignorant in front of a visitor/traveller).
- Don’t – sit with your feet towards the Buddha (while visiting temples).
- Don’t – take flash photography in temples.
- Don’t – throw things in front of someone (it’s considered extremely rude).
Best Thailand Locations, Beaches and Resorts
Koh Pha Ngan
In recent years, you might have noticed that your Facebook thread has become awash with photos of friends having an awesome time at Koh Pha Ngan’s legendary full-moon party.
This is because Koh Pha Ngan, an island in the Gulf of Thailand, draws travellers towards it with an almost irresistible force.
If you’re in Thailand, you really do have this hit one up. It’s, quite possibly, the best party in the world.
Chiang Mai is seen by many people to be the ultimate destination when travelling in Thailand. It’s surrounded by the mountains, in the north of the country, and is a great place from which adventurers and travellers can spring off form.
That’s not to say Chiang Mai isn’t a great city in its own right. Visit it, and discover a beautiful mix of historically significant and modern Thai architecture.
This is one of the most culturally significant places in Thailand, and a must for anyone travelling in South East Asia.
Koh Samui is Koh Pha Ngan’s sensible older sister. Located 15km away, this island is for travellers who want their beautiful
Thai-island at a more relaxing speed. It’s got a reputation as being a great spot for honeymoons, and romantic getaways. This is, in large part, down to the breathtakingly beautiful beaches that surround it.
Bangkok is a must-visit for anyone travelling in Thailand. It’s a buzzing capital city, with more palaces, temples, nightclubs, and markets than you shake a tuk-tuk at.
Speaking of tuk-tuks, they’re literally everywhere. It can feel seriously humid and polluted, depending on when you visit, but don’t let that put you off.
The city is a giddy mix of old and new, conservatism and hedonism; there’s something for everyone.
Ko Tao is the smaller sister of Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan. But, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with its awesome scuba diving scene.
Named after its turtle-like shape, the island’s surrounding ecosystem is a must-see for anyone who loves swimming around in the blue and looking at beautiful fish.
Founded all the way back in the year 1350, Ayuthaya was once considered to be the most magnificent city on earth (it was once the capital of Siam/Thailand). In 1767, the Burmese conquered the region and moved the capital to Bangkok.
In its glory days, Ayuthaya possessed three palaces, more than 400 working-temples, and a population of almost 1,000,000. The ruins of this legendary city are only 50 miles north of Bangkok, and a major attraction for people travelling in Thailand.
Railay is a tiny peninsula, and a real slice of paradise in a land already teeming with small slices of paradise. Due to the giant limestone cliffs, that cut it off from the mainland, Railay is only accessible via boat.
For obvious reasons, the cliffs are a popular attraction for rock climbers, but the stunning beaches and chilled atmosphere make this place a genuine diamond even if climbing stuff doesn’t float your boat.
Pai is one of those hidden gems that is, due to the internet and articles such as this, becoming less and less hidden as time goes by. It used to be a small village, but is now a thriving town.
Its picturesque panoramic views, and seriously chilled vibes, has made it an increasingly popular destination for backpackers travelling in Thailand. If you want to go trekking, and visit hill tribes, Pai is bursting with possibilities.
The Pai River also offers travellers the chance to go on tubing and whitewater adventure.
Chiang Rai is often mistaken for Chiang Mai (due to obvious similarities in spelling). However, if you can find time to visit both citiies, Chiang Rai is thought by many to be one of Thailand’s best travel destinations.
It’s a really great Northern base from which to explore the surrounding region, and has plenty of neon lights and restaurants to keep you entertained when the sun goes down.
Khao Sok National Park is widely considered to be Thailand’s most beautiful wildlife reserve. Jungle forests, limestone karsts, and awe-inspiring rivers and lakes; it’s all here…ready to take your breath away.
The park contains numerous paths for intrepid travellers to explore, as well as some amazing trekking opportunities. If wildlife is your bag, then you’ll love Khao Sok (it’s got monkeys, elephants, and so much more).