The number one question I get is “What made you want to go to Thailand?” and the answer is “I don’t know.” Hah! Seriously though, I think it all started with that standard picture of the long tail boat in the sea. I’m sure you all know the one. I always thought it was beautiful and I wanted to see it in person. The more I researched Thailand, the stronger the urge grew. When I first started researching, it was a little overwhelming to figure out where to go. I want to share that knowledge with you guys, so if you’re planning a trip to Thailand, start here.
There are a lot of amazing places in Thailand to visit, and if you’re coming from the United States you probably don’t have a ton of vacation time (if you do, just know that I envy you.) I wouldn’t recommend spending less than two weeks in Thailand, and 2 weeks is pretty fast. You need to decide which destinations are most important, and how much time it is going to take to travel between them. I’ve included a list below of a good place to start. These are some popular areas to visit in Thailand.
- Bangkok (You will probably have to connect in Bangkok regardless, I recommend spending a few days.)
- Chiang Mai (My favorite of the cities I visited)
- Chiang Rai
- Pai (I wish I could have had time to visit both Chiang Rai and Pai. Next time for sure.)
- Krabi (Krabi Town and Ao Nang): Krabi Town and Ao Nang are approximately a 20 minute drive from one another. Choose your location based on which island you want to visit, for a shorter and cheaper ferry.
- Koh Phi Phi
- Koh Lipe
- Ko Pha Ngan
- Ko Tao
- Ko Samui
Do some research on these places and see what interests you. The locations I chose:
- Chiang Mai
- Krabi Town
- Koh Lanta (Koh Lanta is not on the list above, because I wouldn’t consider it a “popular” destination. Everyone I told I was going here, hadn’t heard of it. However, I chose it and loved it anyway.)
You can read the details about my budget HERE. The basics though, are that Thailand uses the Thai Baht as their currency. At the time of this post, 100 Baht = 2.83 USD ( 2.65 Euro). The most expensive thing you’re going to purchase is the airfare. Look out for airfare deals. I’ve seen them as low as 450.00. I paid 1,050.00 because I am impatient. I recommend checking out “Scott’s Cheap Flights” newsletter. I get so many great airfare deals to my inbox and I never feel annoyed like it’s spam. I actually look forward to his email. I’ve seen a lot of Thailand deals this way.
Accommodations are cheap. I stayed mostly in hostels and paid roughly 15-20.00 a night. I stayed at one hotel for 30.00 a night, and one very expensive, completely unnecessary (but awesome), luxury beach front room for 140.00 a night. If you’re not interested in hostels but want a decent hotel, there are some nice looking ones on hotels.com for around 50-60 a night. However, the 30.00 a night hotel I stayed at in Krabi was nice and I would definitely stay there again.
The cost of “living” in Thailand is also affordable. Navigating around the Bangkok is easy with the BTS Skytrain. The price per ticket of course, depends on where you are going – but I think the most expensive trip I took was from the airport to my hostel, which required a train change. To go to various places inside Bangkok you’re looking at 25 baht, 45 baht, 30 baht. Those kinds of prices (each way.) 45 baht = 1.25 (isa). Cabs are a little bit more and you should always ask them to run the meter. If they refuse, find another cab. I took a cab to Kao San Road for 150 baht and then on the way back they tried to charge 400. Just be aware of that. Tuk Tuks are cheaper. You can haggle the price.
You can get great meals anywhere from 100-500 baht. Street food cheaper, nice restaurants more – obviously. At one point I did get McDonalds for 170 baht.
Some temples do require an admission fee of anywhere from 50-150 baht.
So there’s your general guide on where to begin when planning your trip to Thailand. Did I miss anything? Is there anything else you are wondering? Check out my detailed Thailand Travel Plan here.