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Travel to Thailand, Asia's adventure paradise

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor Profile
A wondrous and geographically diverse destination filled with mountains, jungles, beaches and azure waters, Thailand is Asia's principal holiday destination. Whether you're in search of a relaxing stay in the paradise of a luxury resort in Phuket or living it up in the beach party haven of Koh Phangan, Thailand has everything you need!
In brief In brief
 Bangkok Bangkok 37°C

Travel guide

Geography

Thailand can be found at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma.

History awaits you

Thailand is bursting with history! Some areas are of such significance that they have become UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Experience the legacy of the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya kingdoms in the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Historical Parks. The influence of the Khmer era on Thailand can be discovered at a number of sites around the country including Nakhon, Ratchasima, Bururam and Sisaket. There are over 30,000 temples scattered throughout the country. Don't miss out on a visit to Wat Phra Kaeo, situated in the historical district of Bangkok. A visit to Thailand's ancient sites is essential to fully discover the amazing history of Thailand.

Things to do

The buzzing capital of Bangkok is home to a fascinating array of bazaars, gilded temples and glass towers. From here, the golden triangle is easily accessed. Take an elephant trek through the lush mountain scenery and immerse yourself in true Thai culture by exploring local hill tribe villages. Head south from Bangkok and you'll enter beach paradise. The country offers a fantastic range of coastlines and coral reefs, boasting a host of jungle topped islands and an abundance of water activities.

Transport

There are various methods of transport available in Thailand. For long distances, buses are the most practical. Only slow rail travel is available long-distance, but plans are currently underway to expand services with high-speed rail lines extending to several major regions in Thailand.

Religion

There is no official state religion in the Thai constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all Thai citizens, though the king is required by law to be Theravada Buddhist. The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism, with 95% of the population practicing it.

Buddhism is a compassionate and tolerant religion, the aim of which is the alleviation of suffering. Consequently, Thai people are very respectful of the religious beliefs of others and are very open towards discussing their Buddhist values with visitors. In fact, there are many opportunities in Thailand to visit Buddhist temples to learn about or study Buddhism and perhaps to learn to meditate.

Beautiful weather

The Thailand climate is controlled by tropical monsoons and the weather is generally hot and humid across most of the country throughout most of the year. The average temperature is 28C. There are three distinct seasons - the hot season from March to May, the cool season from November to February and the rainy season from about June to October.

On the Andaman or west coast, where Phuket, Krabi, and the Phi Phi Islands lie, the southwest monsoon brings heavy storms from April to October, while on the Gulf of Thailand or east coast, where Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao lie, the most rain falls between September and December.

Our Editorial team's advice

To really experience Thai culture at its best, we recommend timing your visit to coincide with a Thai festival. Loi Krathong and Yee Peng usually take place during the same week in November (depending on the Thai and Lanna calendars) which makes this a perfect time to travel. November is also the start of high season in Thailand, so travellers who choose to stick around after the festival can enjoy the best of Thai weather.

In the South, behind the sandy beaches, you will find beautiful national parks - most notably, Khao Sok. The Ko Tarautao National Marine Park in the far south of the country is also definitely worth a visit.

By law you must carry photo identification with you at all times. Tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport. Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs are severe and can include the death penalty. Widespread flooding regularly occurs, and can leave travellers stranded for extended periods of time.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla on the Thai-Malaysia border and all travel to the Preah Vihear (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) temple area and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple area located on the Thai-Cambodian border due to the presence of troops in the area and the risk of outbreaks of fighting. There is a high threat from terrorism in some areas. Seek advice before travelling.

pros

  • +Beaches, cities or mountains; sports, relaxation or culture; this destination has something for everyone.
  • +The Thai people are wonderfully hospitable.
  • +Thai cuisine is very sophisticated and varied

cons

  • -The large distances from the north of the country to the south.
  • -Not many people in Thailand speak English.

Traditions

Thailand is one of the most fascinating countries to visit on earth. Culturally there are many practices and beliefs that are very different to those from Western societies.

The traditional greeting is with two hands prayer-like palms together known as a wi. You should not point your feet at people, touch people with your feet, prop your feet up on seats or tables or step over food or people sitting on the ground. Avoid touching people on the head also as this is considered very impolite.

Places like temples and palaces are highly respected by the locals for their religious values and there are certain customs and etiquette you need to respect when visiting these places. You should wear appropriate clothing when visiting official buildings and palaces, for example, no flip-flop, no shorts, no skirts above the knee, and no sleeveless t-shirts.

The Royal Family of Thailand is held in very high respect. Making offensive remarks about any of the royal family is illegal. The penalty is 3 - 15 years imprisonment, depending on the severity.

Food

Thai is classified as one of the best cuisines in the world, including the street food. Thai food differs somewhat from one region to another. Seafood is popular in the southern coastal areas. The spiciest food is found in the northeast.

Thai dishes usually contain delicious herbs and hot spices and are served with rice, which is the main staple food in Thailand. Thais eat two kinds of rice - the standard white rice and glutinous (sticky) rice. Sticky rice is the main rice eaten in northeastern Thailand and is also used in desserts throughout the country.

Most main dishes use beef, chicken, pork or seafood, and vegetarian dishes are also widely available. Try the succulent coconut-milk curry, the various soups with noodles, the seafood along the coast, and the delicious meats in the north-east. For dessert, pastries made from coconut milk and countless varieties of tropical fruit, including the delicious mangosteen.

Thai food is known for its unique combinations of seasoning. Although it is hot and spicy, Thai cooking is carefully balanced to bring out all the different flavours in the dish. Curries are a national dish of Thailand. Hot chillies appear in many Thai dishes, and other popular flavourings are fish sauce, dried shrimp paste, lemon grass, and spices such as coriander, basil, garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Thailand . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Thailand . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Thailand .

Reviewed hotels
Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun

Our journalists' reviews for you 143 hotels Thailand . Take a look at our hotels, their facilities or their value-for-money score according to your departure dates so that we can find the best offer to suit you Thailand . Book a hotel Thailand it's never been so simple !

Souvenirs

It really is very hard to resist the temptation to shop, especially with the prices being so cheap. The Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok and the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar are not to be missed. You will find everything here: fake and authentic antique objects, tribal objects, wood and silver handicrafts from the north, elegant silk from Isaan, watches, clothing, etc. Opt for non-designer clothes rather than counterfeit items, which are often of a very poor quality and do not go over well at customs. You will be able to find Indian tailors in the towns and cities who will make you made-to-measure clothing in 24h. The shops are generally open daily from 8:00am to 7:00pm.

What to see

The Central Plain, Thaniland, The central plain, Landscapes, Thailand
The central plain
The plateau of Isaan, Thailand, The plateau of Isaan, Landscapes, Thailand
The plateau of Isaan
Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand, The mountains, Landscapes, Thailand
The mountains
The Kra peninsula, Thailand, The Kra peninsula, Landscapes, Thailand
The Kra peninsula
Phang Nga Bay, Landscapes, Khao Lak and the surrounding region, Thailand
Phang Nga Bay
The Andaman Sea islands, The islands in the Andaman sea, Coasts, Phuket, Thailand
The islands in the Andaman sea
The Siam Gulf Islands, Thailand, The Siam Gulf islands, Coasts, Thailand
The Siam Gulf islands
Bophut, Koh Samui, Thailand, Koh Samui, Coasts, Thailand
Koh Samui
Boats in the village of Thong Sala, Koh Phangan, Coasts, Thailand
Koh Phangan
Boats in the village of Thong Sala, Koh Tao, Coasts, Thailand
Koh Tao
Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, Khao Yai Park, The fauna and flora, Thailand
Khao Yai Park
Khao Sam Roi Yot Park, Thailand, Khao Sam Roi Yot Park, The fauna and flora, Thailand
Khao Sam Roi Yot Park
Similan & Surin National Marine Parks, Similan and Surin marine parks, The fauna and flora, Thailand
Similan and Surin marine parks
Sukhothai, Thailand, Sukhotai, Monuments, Sukhothai, Thailand
Sukhotai
Ayutthaya, Thailand, Ayutthaya, Monuments, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya
Thailand : Explore