Get the Finder app 🥳

Track your credit score

Free

Thailand travel guide | What you need to know to plan your Thai getaway

Chaotic city centres meet thriving tropical jungles in this beautiful and dynamic country.

Updated

We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .

Infused with that idyllic Southeast Asian combination of immaculate white beaches, clear blue waters, verdant forest and dangerously cheap drinks and villas, it’s difficult to think of Thailand and not conjure up the word "paradise".

Beyond its beaches, busy city centres harbour ornate temples (called wats), ancient ruins, spicy food and some of the most welcoming people in the world.

Fast facts about Thailand

  • Main airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (BKK), Phuket International Airport (HKT).
  • On-ground transport: Trains, buses, taxis, tuk-tuk (rickshaw), motorcycle (for short trips), songthaew (mini-van).
  • Weather: Wet (June-October) and dry seasons (November-May). The Thai Peninsula also experiences monsoon season. This occurs in April to October on the west coast and September to December on the east coast.
  • Visas: 30 days free for Australians when travelling through an international airport, 15 days free when travelling overland. A multiple entry visa can be obtained for stays of 60 days in one visit. This visa is valid for 6 months and must be obtained prior to travel.
  • Top 10 must see: Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, Sanctuary of Truth, Elephant Nature Park, Grand Palace, Ayutthaya, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Chiang Rai White Temple and long neck hill tribe villages.
  • Plugs: Type A (two flat prongs) and Type B (two round prongs).
  • Currency: Thai Baht (THB).

Bangkok.GrandPalace.StockBest places to stay in Thailand

Bangkok: Thailand’s capital city is loud, busy, crowded and chaotic. Shopping malls and temples dominate the landscape and are a haven for escaping the heat. Come nightfall they close, giving way to strips of street entertainers and night markets selling souvenirs, fashionable wears and mouth-watering street food.

Chiang Mai: Nestled in the mountainous region of Thailand’s north, Chiang Mai is a quieter but no less resplendent version of Bangkok. It houses hundreds of gleaming Buddhist temples and is a gateway to the Elephant Nature Park and the long neck hill tribe and Hmong people villages.

Phuket: Phuket is the most accessible and most frequented of the Thai islands. Whether you choose to find a quiet beach to unwind on, go on a boat tour adventure through exotic waters or hit up Patong with its infamous nightlife of go-go dancers and lady boys, there’s an activity to suit your travel style here.

Ko Phi Phi: Made famous by the movie The Beach, Ko Phi Phi is another favourite destination for tourists. This idyllic island offers diving, nightlife and a resort experience similar to that on Phuket, but a lot tamer.

Check out what accommodation is like in these areas:


Thailand.FloatingMarket.StockTop things to do in Thailand

  • Visit temples: Buddhism is one of the main religions in Thailand and at every turn its presence can be seen in the ornately presented temples. Three of the most popular and most accessible in Bangkok are Wat Arun – a tower-shaped temple nicknamed the Temple of Dawn, Wat Phra Kaew – home to the emerald Buddha, and Wat Pho – home to the golden reclining Buddha.
  • Sunbake and snorkel at an island paradise: Popular islands for this include Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao.
  • Eat street food: Everything from pad thai to snake’s blood can be eaten on the street. Choose whichever you feel most comfortable (or confident) eating.
  • Have a close encounter with elephants: The Elephant Nature Park and Elephant Jungle Sanctuaries in the north of Thailand rescue and rehabilitate elephants. In them you can help feed and bathe these majestic creatures.
  • Play with monkeys at the Lopburi temples: Lopburi is a small town 150 kilometres from Bangkok often referred to as "Monkey City" as it’s overrun with crab-eating macaque monkeys. You can find many of them at Khmer temples and shrines. Tourists are discouraged from feeding them as they’re fed by locals, so don’t be fooled into giving them your lunch.
  • Shop the floating markets: A throwback to a bygone era, shopkeepers fill boats with fresh produce and paddle down canals peddling meals and groceries to punters on the shore or in nearby boats. The most famous is Damnoen Saduak but there are smaller less touristy ones that provide a more authentic experience such as Amphawa.
  • Attend a full moon party: Every month when the full moon rises the crescent shaped beach on Ko Phang Nga welcomes thousands to dance on its shores in one wild beach party.
  • Explore the ruins of Ayutthaya: Once the grand Kingdom of Siam, today the ruins of Ayutthaya are but a shadow of its former self. Temples, monasteries and statues are scattered throughout this historical park area which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Boat tour of Phang Nga Bay: The site of Thailand’s most iconic beach images, Phang Nga Bay features a series of vertical limestone karsts in an ocean of emerald green. It’s also home to the famous James Bond Island.
  • See Patpong by night: Bangkok’s famous red light and entertainment district is a mix of clubs, bars, lights and naturally, girls. It’s believed to be where Thailand’s Go-Go culture began and is a particular favourite of expats and tourists seeking to party.

Best events to attend in the year

  • Songkran: A multi-day water festival to celebrate the Thai New Year. Traditions during the day include merit-making where locals visit temples to pray and offer monks food and pour water on Buddha statues as a symbol of cleansing and purity. Sometimes referred to as a water festival, during the day, arenas host friendly water fights. 13-15 April.
  • Loy Krathong: Performers on parade and beauty pageants abound as locals send decorated baskets called krathongs floating down the river with their wishes. In the North of Thailand, for example in Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong coincides with the Yi Peng festival, where revellers fly paper lanterns into the night sky. 14 November 2016.

How much will a trip to Thailand cost?

Prices in Bangkok have been used to give you an idea of the cost of your trip.

Accommodation

  • Budget: Hotels and budget hotels can be booked from $8 per person, per night.
  • Moderate: Moderate hotels, apartments and guest houses can be booked from $17 per room, per night.
  • Luxury: 5-star hotels and luxury resorts can be booked from $65 per room, per night.

Typical meal

  • Main: 40 baht for a plate of pad thai.
  • Beer: 60 baht for a Singha beer in a bar.
  • Coffee: From 30 baht for a regular latte.

Getting around

  • Uber: Uber is available in major cities. An UberX from the airport to Bangkok city centre is approximately 375 baht.
  • Taxis from the airport: Taxis are metered and charged by distance. From the airport, a 50 baht fee applies for the driver and expressway fees may also be incurred. Inclusive of fees, a taxi to the city is around 325-375 baht.
  • Local transport from the airport: Public buses (BMTA) and an airport link train provide transport between the airport and the city. A one-way bus ride costs 34 baht. A one-way train ride costs 45 baht.

Top Thailand travel deals

Tucan Travel Tucan Travel

Up to 33% off + $1 deposit on worldwide tours

Available on tours until 28 February 2022. Destinations include Bangkok, Singapore, Russia, Japan, Croatia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Dusit Hotels Dusit Hotels

Up to 30% off on stays + 20% off F&B

Available on select stay dates when you avail of "SUITE" Moments package at at dusitD2 Chiang Mai.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to $427 off worldwide sailings

Available on select sail dates from October 2020 and May 2021 to Cuba, Croatia, Maldives, Thailand, Geece and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Anantara Anantara

Up to 61% off Phuket getaway

Available for stays until 31 December 2020. Package includes complimentary room upgrade, breakfast and more. Minimum of 2 nights stay required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 30% off worldwide trips

Available on select 2021 and 2022 travel dates to Thailand, Greece, Mexico, Rome and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Anantara Anantara

Up to 25% off Phuket stay

Available for stays until 31 May 2021. Plus get up to TBH 4,000 credits when you stay in a pool villa. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 15% off Asia tours

Available on select dates in 2021. Destinations include Thailand, India, Bali, Laos, Vietnam and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Lebua Hotels & Resorts Lebua Hotels & Resorts

Up to 15% off Bangkok stays

Available on stays until 31 October 2020 in Lebua at State Tower when you use the code. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Cudo Cudo

Thailand: 8-night getaway from $1,999

Available from travels until 24 December 2020. Package includes accommodation in Mövenpick Resorts in Hua Hin & Bangkok, meals, transfers and more. Package is valid for two people and 1 child 11 years and under. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 28% off things to do in Chiang Mai

Available on select travel dates. Attractions include Doi Inthanon National Park, Black House and temples tour, Night Safari Park, Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and more.

Last verified

Voyagin Voyagin

Up to 30% off things to do in Bangkok

Available on select dates. Activities include Siam Niramit show, Ladyboy show, dinner cruise, SEA LIFE Ocean World, Bicycle rides and more.

Last verified

Popular Thailand travel deals coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
4 Jun 2020 Up to 15% off Bangkok stays DIR****
2 Sep 2020 Up to 33% off + $1 deposit on worldwide tours ********
2 Jul 2020 Up to 30% off on stays + 20% off F&B ********
1 Oct 2020 Up to $427 off worldwide sailings ********
23 Jun 2020 Up to 61% off Phuket getaway ********

More guides on Finder

  • Best places to visit in Thailand

    Find the best places right across the country in Thailand that showcase everything from history and food, to islands and temples for the ultimate holiday.

  • Travel insurance for Thailand

    Find travel insurance policies for your next trip to Thailand. Learn the risks of travelling in Thailand and what you should ensure your policy covers you for.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site