Thailand vacation travel guide
Why choose Thailand?
Planning your Thailand vacation
• Visa: Many visitors enjoy a Thailand vacation without a visa for a limited time, but others might need to apply in advance. Check the latest visa requirements for your nationality.
• Vaccinations: Consult your doctor or a travel clinic a few months before you travel to get recommended vaccinations like Hepatitis A and Typhoid.
• Flight Booking: Check out our flight booking tips to make sure you get the best value for your money.
• Currency: The Thai Baht is the local currency. It’s wise to carry some cash for places that don’t accept cards and to get better rates at local markets.
Thailand packing tips
Bring lightweight clothing for the hot and humid weather on your Thailand vacation, and a good rain jacket if you’re traveling during the rainy season, and appropriate attire for visiting temples (covering shoulders and knees).
• High-SPF sunscreen
• Mosquito repellent
• A sturdy pair of shoes for exploring
• Adapters for Type A, B, C, and O outlets
• A waterproof bag for electronics during island trips
Can't-miss Thailand attractions
• Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Temples: The historic heart of the city, featuring striking architecture and cultural significance.
• Chiang Mai’s Temples: Particularly the mountaintop temple of Doi Suthep, offering both cultural insights and panoramic views.
• Phi Phi Islands: Known for being featured in movies (such as Tomorrow Never Dies) and for their breathtaking natural beauty.
• Ayutthaya Historical Park: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this park is rich with the ruins of the ancient capital of Siam.
Our favorite food in Thailand
• Pad Thai: A stir-fried noodle dish that’s a staple of Thai street food.
• Tom Yum Goong: A spicy and sour shrimp soup.
• Som Tam: A spicy papaya salad that’s both refreshing and tangy.
• Green Curry: It’s made with coconut milk and fresh green chilies.
• Mango with Sticky Rice: A popular sweet dessert, perfect after a spicy meal.
Remember, Thai food can be spicy, so if you prefer milder flavors, you can request “mai phet” (not spicy). Enjoy the rich flavors and vibrant street food culture!
Cultural experiences in Thailand
• Traditional Performances: Attend a traditional Thai dance or puppetry show, often held at cultural centers or during festivals.
• Cooking Classes: Learn about Thai cuisine from local chefs.
• Temple Visits: Experience Buddhist rituals like giving alms to monks early in the morning.
• Craft Workshops: Try your hand at local crafts such as lantern making or silk weaving in villages.
• Martial Arts: Watch or partake in a Muay Thai boxing match or class.
Thailand customs and etiquette
• Greetings: The traditional Thai greeting is the “wai,” where you press your palms together near your chest and bow slightly.
• Respect for Monarchy: Always show respect for the Thai royal family.
• Temple Etiquette: Dress modestly in temples, covering shoulders and knees. Remove shoes before entering.
• Dining: Use a fork to push food onto your spoon. Finish most of your meal to show appreciation.
• Head and Feet: The head is considered sacred and the feet profane. Never touch someone’s head and avoid pointing the soles of your feet at people or sacred objects.
How do I avoid Thailand roaming charges?
Travel tips for your Thai vacation
Explore Thailand on a budget
• Affordable Transportation: Utilize local buses, the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok, and songthaews (shared taxi trucks) for cheap travel options.
• Local Markets: Shop and eat at local markets for unique finds and low prices.
• Street Food: Take advantage of Thailand’s famous street food for delicious and cost-effective meals; they offer a taste of authentic Thai cuisine at a fraction of restaurant prices.
• Activities: Take advantage of free and low-cost attractions like public beaches, temples, and nature hikes.
• Tourist Attractions: Look for combo tickets or passes for multiple attractions, and ask about discounts.
Thailand phrases that will come in handy
Try to learn a few basic phrases, as this is appreciated by locals and can enhance your travel experience.
• Hello/Goodbye: “Sawasdee (krub/kha)” — [sah-wah-dee (krub/kah)]
• Thank you: “Khob khun (krub/kha)” — [kop koon (krub/kah)]
• Yes: “Chai” / No: “Mai” — [chai] / [my]
• Excuse me/Sorry: “Khor thot” — [kor toht]
• How much is this?: “Tao rai?” — [tow rye?]
• Can you speak English?: “Pood paasaa anggrit dai mai?” — [poot pah-sah ang-grit dye my?]
Thailand safety tips from the experts
• Stay Hydrated: Drink bottled water to avoid waterborne illnesses.
• Food Safety: Dine at busy eateries with hot, fresh food.
• Protect Against Mosquitoes: Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.
• Traffic Safety: Use seatbelts in cars and helmets on bikes, and be cautious when crossing streets due to busy traffic.
• Emergency Numbers: The general emergency number in Thailand is 191. If you’re in need of police assistance, the number to call is 1155, which connects you to the Tourist Police.
Go on a Thailand shopping spree!
• Markets: Visit Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok for a vast variety of goods, from clothing to souvenirs.
• Local Handicrafts: Purchase unique handicrafts like handwoven textiles, silverware, and ceramics from local artisans in Chiang Mai.
• Floating Markets: For a unique experience, shop at floating markets such as Damnoen Saduak.
• Street Vendors: Bargain with street vendors for the best price, especially for items like Thai silk and spices.
Plan the perfect Thailand vacation
Thailand in January
Traveling to Thailand in January is ideal, as it’s one of the coolest and driest months, offering great weather for a variety of activities.
In Bangkok and central Thailand, you can expect warm days and mild nights, perfect for urban exploration.
Northern Thailand offers cooler, breezy days, great for trekking and cycling, though evenings can be chilly, so pack some warmer clothes.
Since January is peak tourist season, it’s wise to book your travel and accommodations early.
Thailand in February
Visiting Thailand in February is ideal due to the warm, dry weather, with temperatures between 23°C and 32°C (73°F to 90°F), with lots of sunshine and minimal rainfall.
It’s the perfect month for beach activities in places like Phuket and for city exploration in Bangkok and Chiang Mai without the extreme heat.
As the final month of Thailand’s cool season, February attracts lots of visitors, making it a popular time to travel.
Thailand in March
March in Thailand presents a hot and dry climate, with central and northern areas experiencing temperatures from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F).
In the northern mountains, evenings can bring a cooler breeze, dropping temperatures to around 19°C (66°F). The south is slightly wetter but still sees minimal rain, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 33°C (75°F to 91°F).
Tourist numbers begin to drop, offering a quieter experience at attractions and beaches, but the “smoke season” starts in the north (due to agricultural practices), requiring the use of masks for comfort.
Thailand in April
April in Thailand is hot and buzzing with excitement. Cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai get really hot, regularly hitting highs of 36°C (97°F).
The beaches in the south like Phuket start seeing some rain showers, with around 15 rainy days.
But it’s also the time for the big Songkran water festival, especially in Chiang Mai, where the whole city feels like a huge party. After the festival, you can check out temples or hit the malls in Bangkok.
For beach lovers, Ko Samui and Koh Pha Ngan are great because they’re not as rainy or busy, making for top-notch snorkeling without the crowds. Krabi and Phuket might be wet, but they’re free from the smoke that can affect the north.
Thailand in May
May in Thailand marks the start of the rainy season, yet the east coast islands like Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan are usually sunny, making them ideal for beach activities and water sports.
Bangkok remains a good visit even with rain, offering indoor attractions and a vibrant food and nightlife scene.
May is also a culturally-rich month with festivals like the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, the Rocket Festival in northeastern Thailand, and Visakha Bucha, a significant Buddhist holiday, as well as the colorful Chanthaburi Fruit Day, celebrating local fruits.
Thailand in June
June in Thailand is the off-peak tourist season, making it cheaper and less crowded. You can enjoy discounted hotel rates and smaller tour groups.
Bangkok experiences fewer rainy days, mostly in the late afternoon, leaving most attractions like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho accessible and enjoyable. The north, including Pai Canyon, is hot but can be comfortably explored with some rain gear.
Gulf of Thailand beaches offer sunny breaks for beach activities, with luxurious yet affordable hotel stays. Notable events include the Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival in Loei and the Hua Hin International Jazz Festival.
Thailand in July
July in Thailand offers a mix of indoor and outdoor adventures amidst the rainy season.
Bangkok is relatively drier with about 13 rainy days, making it great for visiting grand indoor attractions like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, or dining in trendy neighborhoods.
The northern regions like Chiang Mai and Pai are wetter, but the lush greenery and fruit season can make for beautiful treks and canyon hikes—just pack good rain gear.
For beach lovers, the Gulf of Thailand’s beaches like Ko Samui are warm and less crowded, perfect for water activities during sunny breaks.
Thailand in August
August in Thailand is lovely despite the heavy rains, as the countryside bursts into life with lush greenery, and the beaches and tourist sites are less crowded.
The warm weather persists with temperatures around 33°C (91°F), and while the northern regions like Chiang Mai are the wettest, the rain usually comes in short bursts, often in the afternoon.
Bangkok offers many indoor activities, making it less affected by rain, and the south promises sunny mornings perfect for beach outings.
August’s off-peak season means lower prices and quieter experiences, ideal for exploring Thailand’s rich culture and natural beauty without the crowds.
Thailand in September
Traveling to Thailand in September means experiencing the beauty of the rainy season, with fewer tourists and lower costs.
Bangkok offers plenty of indoor activities with its vast array of restaurants, art galleries, and temples like Wat Pho, making it a prime destination during the wetter months.
Beaches are less crowded and offer lower rates, with plenty of sunny intervals for outdoor fun, and ample indoor alternatives when it does rain.
Thailand in October
October in Thailand is known for its wet weather, marking the end of the monsoon season with a gradual reduction in rainfall, especially in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
The rains usually occur in the afternoon but leave the mornings sunny and bright, making it a good time for sightseeing and exploring the cities’ indoor attractions like temples, restaurants, and shopping centers.
The northern regions, such as Chiang Rai and Pai, offer lush landscapes and fewer tourists.
While the beaches might be rainy, the off-season presents a quieter and more affordable opportunity for those willing to take a chance on the weather.
Thailand in November
November in Thailand marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the high tourist season, with the weather improving dramatically towards the middle and end of the month, especially in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, where the average rainy days drop to just five for the whole month.
The southern peninsula still experiences monsoon rains, but the west coast, including Phuket, offers intervals of sunshine amid intermittent showers, without the high-season crowds.
Bangkok buzzes with activity, perfect for enjoying its vibrant markets, rooftop bars, and historical sites like Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.
Chiang Mai shines with the Loi Krathong festival and its lively night bazaars.
While it’s more crowded than October, November is considered a shoulder season, offering a balance between pleasant weather and manageable tourist numbers.
Thailand in December
December in Thailand is a prime time for visitors, with cooler temperatures and dry weather in the northern and central regions, making it ideal for exploring Chiang Mai’s night bazaars or the temples of Chiang Rai.
Bangkok offers vibrant markets and riverside strolls, while the Andaman Sea is perfect for beach activities in Phuket or Krabi.
Despite some rain on the Gulf of Thailand, the mornings are usually sunny, offering opportunities for snorkeling and kayaking.
While it’s a busy month for tourism, the cultural events like King Bhumibol’s Birthday, Constitution Day, and Chiang Mai’s Red Cross and Winter Fair add to the allure of visiting during this time.
How do I use my phone in Thailand?
Choose a data package
Install your eSIM
An eSIM is a downloadable SIM card, so you’ll install your eSIM on your phone or tablet. It takes less than two minutes, and then you will have a Thailand eSIM on your phone.
Activate your package
When you’re ready to start using your Thailand eSIM you’ll activate your data package and make sure your device knows to use your Thailand eSIM for all mobile data.