Thailand travel guide

When to go, what to see and what to expect: your Thailand travel guide

With experiences that tantalize all five senses and activities appealing to a wide variety of travel styles, Thailand is the perfect destination to witness an exciting blend of natural, cultural, historical and urban delights. Few places have the gorgeous beaches of Phuket, the wild enthusiasm of Bangkok, the 40,000- year-old history, and the natural appeal of the mountainous rural areas all packed into one country. Distinct surroundings remind visitors of Thailand’s rich Siamese influence, while the progressive civilization in the capital city propels it into modern age and the tribes' people in the north near Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai still preserve their ancient traditions.

When is the best time to visit Thailand?

The climate and temperature in Thailand varies, but you can visit all year round. If you’re looking to experience some of the country’s famous temples and markets, the best time to visit is during the winter months between November and early April, when the weather is cool and dry in the west. Monsoon season runs in the summer months, between May and late September.

Weather and climate in Thailand

Thailand has a tropical climate resulting in a relatively warm, balmy climate all year round. However, there are three distinct seasons: hot (March to May), rainy (June to October) and cool (November to February).

To help you plan, below are average high and low temperatures for Thailand.

 

  Month   Chang Mai     Bangkok  
 January  15/30 C  15/30 C
 February  15/30 C  15/30 C
 March  15/30 C  15/30 C
 April  15/30 C  15/30 C
 May  15/30 C  15/30 C
 June   15/30 C  15/30 C
 July  15/30 C  15/30 C
 August  15/30 C  15/30 C
 September   15/30 C  15/30 C
 October  15/30 C  15/30 C
 November  15/30 C  15/30 C
 December  15/30 C  15/30 C

Food in Thailand

Can you drink the tap water in Thailand?

No - tap water is generally not safe to drink throughout Thailand. For sightseeing and excursions, bottled water may be included; otherwise we recommend you bring bottled water with you from your hotel. Bottled water is also common in restaurants.

Food specialities of Thailand

Thai cuisine is well known for is spiciness and use of fresh ingredients. The food is a blend of several traditions in Southeast Asia. Popular dishes include: Tom Yum Goong – soup with shrimp, lemongrass, lime leaves, and several other vegetables. It can be ordered with coconut milk as well; Panang Gai – Chicken in a red curry paste with coconut cream; Nam Tok Moo – Grilled pork with green onions, chili, and mint in a fish sauce.

Average prices of food 

The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person.

Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.

  • The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is 60-70 Baht.
  • An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately
  • 150-200 Baht.
  • Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately 750-800 Baht.

Things to consider when visiting Thailand

How to call Thailand: Country code

The country code for Thailand is 66. When calling to Thailand from overseas, dial your international access code (+00 from UK), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Thailand are 8-9 digits in length.

Thailand’s currency

In Thailand the local currency is the Thai Baht. 1 Thai Baht = 100 satang

  • Banknote denominations: 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000
  • Coin denominations: 25, 50, 1, 2, 5, 10

As a general guideline, bring a variety of payment means, particularly in the event that you have difficulties with your preferred method of payment.

ATMs are the most convenient way to obtain money in Thailand as they are readily available throughout the country. Money exchange services are also available at the airport on arrival and at some hotels.

Credit cards are accepted in Thailand and you should have no problem using them in larger shops and restaurants in metropolitan cites. Visa and MasterCard are most accepted. Smaller shops most likely will ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card. If you use a credit card for your purchase, you will be debited in the local currency, and your bank will establish the rate of exchange on the debit.

Although a secure means of carrying money, traveller’s checks unfortunately are becoming very hard to use. Due to this we recommend you plan on using cash and credit cards only.

Customs and culture

  • Try not to point with your feet.
  • In the company of monks or elders, never cross your legs.
  • Do not touch people on the head or upper body.
  • When beckoning someone to come over do not flap your hand in the standard Western 'come here' motion; instead turn the hand round so that your palm flaps down towards yourself.
  • Do not shake hands with monks or nuns as people in general rarely shake hands; rather smile and nod away.
  • Ladies should never sit down next to a monk.
  • Shorts and skirts should be longish (below the knee) for both sexes and it is okay to expose arms when visiting temples. Shoes generally need to be removed.
  • Smoking is common in Asia so locals tend to be less sensitive to issues regarding smoking around others and often ignore “non-smoking” signs. 

Shopping in Thailand

Prices are as marked in department stores, though in markets it is customary to barter. Start negotiating with an offer at one-third or half the vendor's initial price.

Please be warned that if you buy items on tour to be shipped to your home, customs import charges are hardly ever included in the price. Sales tax or GST (Goods & Services Tax) is normally already included on price tags; GST refunds, if applicable, are processed at the departing airport from the relevant country.

When and how much to tip in Thailand

Tipping is not common among the locals in Thailand. Some restaurants will add a service charge to the bill and this is considered the tip. If you wish to tip in Thailand, we recommend rounding up the bill to make it an easy amount to pay. This applies to restaurants as well as taxi service. Tipping hotel staff is not necessary or common.

Plugs, sockets and electricity in Thailand

Voltage for outlets is 220V. Some, but not all, hotels feature multi-region outlets that accept different types of plugs. Due to this, for dual voltage electronics, we still recommend you bring an adapter. If you have single voltage electronics (110V) a converter is also required.

Browse our tours in Thailand

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Select when you wish to depart and we will be able to show you all tours and cruises that depart on the day you have selected.

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