Explore Thailand

Explore Thailand
Thailand is referred as “the land of smiles” and contrasts, with its quiet, serene temples in amongst the noisy, congested stage of a city, all the while having local people offering as many smiles as you can take. And there are typically two types of travellers who really publicize Thailand as the tropical paradise of sparkling blue-green waters and white sandy beaches. They are backpackers and luxury seekers – reaffirming the theme of contrasts, and of course they are right! Thailand’s coastline is spectacular. If you are going to travel to Thailand, remember that there is world of Thai culture that exists outside of the stereotypical tourist spots.
Bangkok City
Rice Fields, Chiang Mai
Street food, Phuket

Places to Visit in Thailand

  • Bangkok
  • Chiang Mai
  • Ko Phi Phi
  • Koa Tao
  • Phang Nga Bay
  • Phuket

Unique Things to See and Do in Thailand

  • Visit an elephant sanctuary
  • Swim with sea turtles
  • Shop the night bazaar in Chiang Mai
  • Visit the Karen Hill Tribe (long necks!)

Thai Temples

Thailand has hundreds of temples to visit and they welcome everyone, but deciding which ones you should put on your itinerary can be an overwhelming task. Temples range from small shrines located in the streets to huge elaborate palaces with gold adorning statues of demons and protectors on the outside and large buddha statues on the inside. In smaller villages the temple could be a wooden room decorated with buddhist pictures, statues, and an open floor for meditation. One of the most distinct features of Thai temples is the Stupa, which is a structure shaped almost like a bell. Some stupas are incredibly large like the Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhom Pathom. Stupas contain important artifacts, such as relics, or objects, or the deceased.

When you do go, remember these temples are places for devotion and not simply a tourist attraction. Thailand is a hot country, but out of respect for the Thai culture - dress appropriately and don’t wear shorts or bathing suits.

Getting around Thailand

Flights
Most people fly into Bangkok International Airport, which is a central location to work from. There are major airports in Chiang Rai and the popular destination of Phuket, but typically flights are cheaper to Bangkok. Domestic flights between major cities are pretty cheap and can save a lot of time. For example to travel between Chiang Mai and Phuket would be at least an 18 hour drive, whereas a flight is only 1.5 hours! Costs between airlines can really vary. That trip could run you anywhere from 3800 Baht to 6800 Baht (depending on class), however there are even cheaper airlines that run less frequently and have more restrictions that can be had for around 1200 Baht. The two main airlines are Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways and they offer full service flights. Air Asia, Nok Air, and Orient Thai are a couple of the lower cost airlines. Some companies offer airpasses for those who plan on travelling frequently within the country.

Buses
The countryside of Thailand is simply stunning and worth exploring and you can do so fairly cheaply when taking a bus. Buses are incredibly convenient in terms of getting to remote locations too, whereas flights are often limited.

Did you know…?

Bangkok, the capital city, used to be called the “Venice of the of East” because most of the buildings stood on stilts above the many canals on the Chao Phraya River.

Did you ALSO know…?

That Thai Buddhists always sit in temples with their feet underneath them and pointed away from the Buddha. Feet are considered part of human suffering since they are attached to the ground and therefore should never be pointed towards another person.

There are some differences between bus companies in terms of space and comfort. Most buses offer VIP services which is a must for any of the overnight trips. You get a lot more room, but beware that some of the lesser known/private buses will offer VIP but put you in a standard section.

You can buy tickets at the departure terminals for the VIP services, otherwise you can purchase regular tickets on the bus.

TIP: When travelling by bus remember that pickpockets are everywhere, so use caution when packing your luggage in the overhead compartments – especially if you fall asleep.

Taxis, Tuk Tuks, and Songtaews
Taxis are supposed to be regulated by the government and offer only metered trips, however there are many drivers who try to scam tourists. To make sure you are not getting ”taken for a ride” - establish the approximate cost of the trip before getting in the cab and make sure they turn the meter on – if they don’t get out of the cab. Most rides cost between 100 to 200 Baht.

Tuk Tuks are three wheeled little motortaxis that have an overhead cover with usually open sides – sometimes referred to as Rickshaws in other countries. Similar to taxi drivers, you want to establish the price before getting in. If you are travelling to your hotel make sure you have your hotel name and address written down in Thai because many drivers can not speak English. Avoid their convincing “sell” for shopping trips too! Tuk tuks are less expensive that taxis and typically cost about 50baht.

Songtaews are an even cheaper way to travel. Typically these are trucks that will pick up multiple passengers, but again agree on the price before getting in.

Best time of year to travel to Thailand

Thailand’s climate can divided into to two main seasons: dry season and rainy season, or according to Koopen’s they have “tropical wet, dry, and in the south tropical monsoon climates.” The northern area of the country can vary from the south quite drastically, particularly in the rainy season.

Overall the easiest time for most travellers is during the cooler months between November to February. During this time is considered high season, the busiest time of year. The prices will go up and the crowds will become even more dense, but weather wise you can expect very little rain and warm temperatures of 30C.

Rainy season lasts between May to October, with July and August experiencing the heaviest downpours. Most of the time the rains will only last for a 4-5 hours a day, but they are intense and can bring traffic to a halt and causing some flash flooding.

The hot season last from March to May and can reach a high of 40C. And in some time in May the southwest monsoons will arrive signalling the start of rainy season. During this time it’s incredibly hot and sticky with the high humidity.

 

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