Dreaming about your first big trip? The first time overseas with your friends or even more adventurous you are thinking about traveling to Thailand by yourself? Many people dream about it, still not everyone has enough courage to do it. A solo trip to Thailand can be life changing and therefore I would recommend everyone to try it at least once in their lives. Let me help you planning a trip to Thailand by giving you as many travel tips as possible and a guideline where to start.
My love for the country is so big that I constantly update my Thailand travel blogs. This way I aim to give you the best tips & tricks and inform you about the newest developments in the country regarding traveling. This Thailand travel blog has been updated in January 2019. In June 2019 I am planning a trip to Thailand for myself again. It will be the 18th time in the country and Im already super excited. This time I will add the Golden Triangle to my Thailand itinerary. Some way Im pretty sure I will also end up in Koh Tao, one of my favorite Thai islands.
Secret Thailand travel tip: flying from Phuket or Krabi to Chiang Mai is 50% cheaper than the other way around! These and more tips about searching for domestic flights in Thailand in my latest Thailand blog.
How to get around Thailand
Traveling around the country never was this easy! Transportation in Thailand developed in such a rapid way that it became one of the easiest countries to travel around. For me a game changer was when I found out about 12Go Asia. Their search engine for getting around Thailand is the best. There are busses, boats, flights and even trains that get you around, but which one is fastest, cheapest or most convenient? The search engine of 12Go Asia shows you everything in one go. For example from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, there are busses that take 13 hours, trains that do the trip in 10 hours and a flight is just over 1 hour. But what are the prices and the time tables? Try it below and you will see...
If you preform the search for the route above you will see that you get all the time tables, different companies, availability and prices in one overview. Traveling around Thailand became so much easier, because within a couple clicks you reserve your seat and you get your e-ticket on your phone. Plan your Thailand trip with 12Go Asia.
While on the islands or in Chiang Mai renting a scooter in Thailand is a great way to see some places off the beaten track. But be careful, don't get scammed and drive safely. Don't let a stupid adventure ruin your whole holiday!
5 Things to know about planning a Thailand trip
If I had responded to all your requests to plan your trip to Thailand I would have been able to start my own travel agency. I am still flattered every time you are asking me but I hope you can understand I cannot personally plan your holiday. Therefore I wrote this Thailand trip planning blog to give you a guideline! Questions about the safety in Thailand for tourists? I would actually like say don't worry, but read more about it in my full guide.
There are several things you have to keep in mind when you are planning a trip to Thailand:
1. When are you going?
The best time to go to Thailand is December to March in terms of weather conditions as it is supposed to be dry season. Though this year Thailand was suffering from heavy rain in January and islands were flooded. So What can I say!? During European summers Thailand officially is going through the rainy season but I have been there many times in these months and it never affected my travels. If you are on a budget December to March is not the best as it is high season. For diving these months are not great either as the visibility is not good.
Also the rainy season for the Andaman Coast (West) is different than for the Gulf of Thailand (East). Most rainfall in Koh Samui is during October and November, where Phuket suffers most rain between June and September. So make sure you plan your island hopping Thailand trip carefully!
2. Decide what’s your budget?
Thailand can be travelled for $30 a day or even cheaper if you are creative! Luxury is super affordable in this country and 5 star hotels in Bangkok can be found for less than $100. There are options for all budgets wherever you go. Transportation is cheap and so are domestic flights. So if you are planning a trip to Thailand and want to see the most of the country then definitely check the cheap domestic flights in Thailand.
You can eat in restaurants for $30, but you can also try street food (more about street food in my Thailand travel tips blog) for just $2. Cocktails in a rooftop bar in Bangkok can sometimes be $30, but when you are going to the Full Moon party in Koh Phangan you can buy a bottle of Thai Whiskey on the beach for just $3.
Here are some things to think about putting on your Thailand packinglist:
3. Thailand itinerary or go with the flow
If it is your first trip to the Land of Smiles you most probably have no idea that planning a trip to Thailand can be really simple. What most people do is they book the first 2 nights in Bangkok and from there on they just wing it. Yes it does involve a little more work while being on your holiday, but with so many options available traveling around the country is really easy. Of course I would suggest you to not book that much in advance as it gives you the freedom to go with the flow. Feeling free to do whatever you feel like is the best feeling!
Be prepared to change all your plans. There is always something that comes up. Meeting amazing people that travel in another direction, weather conditions, hangovers, cheap deals you find on your way or just very simple: you fall in love! That can be with a place or with another traveler! Don’t laugh about it, I think it is something a lot of tour operators earn a lot of money from, as no-shows are the order of the day. To help you I created 4 different itineraries for 2 weeks in Thailand for you. From jungle trekking trips to temples to islands, plus an extra itinerary to find your way overland from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok in 2 weeks.
4. How long are you staying?
Time is valuable and definitely when planning a holiday to Thailand. If you only have 2 weeks and want to see all its highlights I bet you need a holiday after your trip. Don’t underestimate traveling, it will exhaust you, definitely if you are changing places every 3 nights. To see all of Thailand I would suggest you take 4 weeks. But obviously for a lot of people that is out of reach and 2 weeks is max. In that case I would advice you to stick to a certain area. Check out my blog suggested itineraries for Thailand.
5. What are you looking for?
You will understand that island hopping Thailand has not much to do with its culture, as you will most probably end up with a beer in your hand every evening. The islands are amazing don’t get me wrong! You will see fantastic landscapes, beautiful beaches, and the most stunning sunsets, but for a cultural trip you will need to head North of Bangkok to places like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai, Ayutthaya, etc.
Planning a trip to the islands in Thailand
You are spoiled for choice with so many beautiful islands to choose from and I can’t tell you what is the best island to visit in Thailand. Every island is different, some small and quiet, some big and busy, some are die-hard party islands, some have a yoga vibe, some have a mix of everything! I have been to most of the touristy islands and wrote a complete guide for island hopping in Thailand in where I explain what you can expect where. Read this first before you choose your island while planning a trip to Thailand, I don’t want you to end up on the wrong island and be disappointed.
Traveling to Chiang Mai
For me this is a tricky subject to talk about, you will find out why. But lets just face the facts. If you are coming to Thailand for the beaches and you only have 2 weeks in Thailand I would not recommend going North. It takes a day to get there and a day to get out. Obviously you want to explore Chiang Mai and may be even Pai and everything in and between which means you need to calculate at least 5 or 6 days. If your time is limited it will be a rushed trip up North, but hey I am not saying it is impossible. Mostly I have too much fun on the island hopping Thailand tours (banana pancake trail) are also called. These adventures have always drawn me to the South or I was stuck in Bangkok! ;)
Planning a trip to Thailand on a budget
If you are on a budget things do not really change in terms of where to go in Thailand. Price levels do not differ that much and even at the more expensive places like Koh Samui and Phuket you will find plenty budget options. Though there are some places you want to avoid traveling to if you are planning a trip to Thailand on a budget. Forget places like Koh Lipe and Similan Islands as they are pretty remote and therefore harder to get to.
I would suggest you choose your preferred region so you can limit the transportation cost rather then trying to see it all. Plus visiting all the best islands in Thailand takes time. If you are going from the islands in the Gulf to the ones in the Andaman Sea then be prepared to travel a whole day. Distances are long and although transportation is definitely affordable, in the end it will all add up!
Want to stay online during your trip? Check my most popular article about what is the best SIM card for traveling in Thailand.
A very handy article for you if you are planning a trip to Thailand on a budget is How much does a trip to Thailand cost. In where I tell you exactly how much you pay for transportation, beers, accommodation, massages, etc.
How to plan a trip to Thailand
As you can see there are a lot of things you have to consider and there is no simple answer on how to plan a trip to Thailand. But now you at least now where to start. What is your budget, where do you want to go, when do you want to go and how long do you want to go. Have you been to Thailand already? How did you plan your holiday?
Get your Thailand transportation e-ticket here
Great way to safe money on transportation is to find the cheapest tickets online. Simply search for the best routes, times schedules and prices for busses, train, flights and boats through the search engine below of 12 Go Asia.
Oh yeah don't worry about safety issues too much! Thailand is a very safe country to travel to! I wrote an article about the safety issues in Thailand and also about the Koh Tao Murders as they took place on my birthday while I was on the island. Very tragic, but read my article first before you judge!
Booking you hotels in Thailand? I recommend you to use Agoda, the biggest hotel booking platform in Asia. They compare prices for Booking.com, etc. and give you the best deal available. Find the most and best deals on Agoda, click on the link below!
How to get to Thailand? The middle Eastern Airlines always have great deals to Bangkok, check them out! I always tend to buy the cheapest tickets regardless what airline and mostly it is either Qatar Airways or Emirates. On top of that they are both fantastic airlines!