Thailand continues to be one of the most popular destinations for expats and vacationers not only in South East Asia but in the world. The friendly people, miles of beautiful beaches, and the large expat community are only some of the things that make it so great. Whether you want to relocate or simply have fun, there are some things you have to know before traveling to Thailand if you want to get the most of your trip. Here are a few tips on how to plan for your first trip to Thailand.
Planning How to Get There
One of the first things you’ll need to start looking for is how you’re going to get into the country. The choice of airports will make a huge difference here. Some will be closer to the city center, and some will be cheaper. Suvarnabhumi Airport is the best choice as it’s the most convenient and the most centrally located if you’re landing in Bangkok. It’s also the busiest, however.
Your second choice is to come in from Don Mueang International Airport. It’s less busy, and more importantly, cheap. If you’re going to Phuket, Phuket International is your only option.
One of the reasons why Thailand is so popular is that it’s easy for tourists to visit. You can stay for up to 30 days in Thailand without having to apply for a visa. However, if you want to stay for longer so you can explore the country more or settle for a while, then you will need to get a visa from the Royal Embassy or a consulate. This visa will allow you to stay in the country for a total of 90 days.
Choosing the Right Time to Go
You also have to know when the best time is to visit the country. The best time for one group might not be the best for the other. If you’re going there to enjoy the weather, nice beaches, and the nightlife, then your best bet would be to go between November and April. Temperatures are pretty comfortable during this period. That’s why we recommend you don’t book between April until early May unless you’re ready to constantly deal with temperatures over the 95 degrees mark.
However, since November to April is the high season, you can expect to see more tourists and everything will be more expensive. Finding places to stay might be more difficult, too. This is why you should also consider May to October, even if it’s considered the rainy season. The rainy season doesn’t start all over the country at the same time, and parts of the country – such as Southern Thailand and the islands – experience the rainy season later. This includes top destinations like Koh Samui, for instance. So be open to these destinations if you want to find some great deals and avoid the rowdy crowds. Also know that the rainy season doesn’t mean that you won’t experience some sunny days, either.
Learn How to Stay Safe
We would first like to say that Thailand is extremely safe, which is one of the reasons why tourists and expats love it. But you still need to keep wits about yourself when going there. The safest areas of the country are the main tourist destinations including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. The south is also fairly safe, but there have been issues in areas like Hat Yai.
It’s also easy to find yourself in some remote and unfamiliar areas if you venture out alone or with someone who doesn’t know the country. This is why it’s a good idea to learn a little bit of Thai before you leave. Learning some basic Thai will go a long way in helping you stay safe and could help you get out of sticky situations. You never know when you might get lost somewhere unfamiliar in the country, and being able to communicate with people who don’t speak English could make all the difference.
Another thing you should consider is traveling with a local or someone who’s lived in Thailand for a long while. Having a guide with you will not only enable you to avoid dangerous situations, but it will also make the whole trip more pleasurable.
Prepare Your Budget
Thailand is a very affordable destination and you can enjoy a pretty high standard of living with a limited budget. For example, you can expect to pay around $20 per day for a hotel room and you can cover meals for the whole day at $15; even less if you decide to cook your food. Transportation and entertainment can run you between $30 to $50 per day. Roughly, you can enjoy yourself in Thailand for about $500 per week.
Also know that you can live on much lower than that if you’re ready to rough it up a little. For instance, the price quoted for meals is at a mid-range restaurant, but you can easily find street food for much cheaper than that. You could even get yourself a plate of chicken noodles for as little as $1, for example. Sharing a home with other people will also cost you a lot less than a hotel room.
Choosing the Right Destination
Thailand is a very diverse country, and you would be cheating yourself by visiting the main tourist destinations. While Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai are all great, the country is full of hidden gems to discover.
Ayutthaya, for instance, would be a great option. It is the country’s former capital and is full of culture and ancient monuments. Krabi and Railway are great places if you want to enjoy the scenery and have fun in nature. Pai is also a great place if you want a hybrid between a small village and a tourist resort. Don’t be afraid to look at other options, and don’t hesitate to ask other people for recommendations.
Thailand is a wonderful country and one that begs to be discovered. Just make sure that you’re ready for the adventure, and have all bases covered before you take your first trip to this beautiful country.