If you’re considering making your first trip to the Land of Smiles, you probably have a few questions. We asked the team at Expedia.com.au to provide practical advice, plus some of the best things to do and the best places to visit in Thailand.
When it comes to what to see in Bangkok, your options are endless. Here are a few things that stand out above the rest.
- Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha): Covered in gold and intricate details, the royal grounds are a sight to behold, and home to the most sacred temple in Thailand.
- Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha): Just a short walk from the Grand Palace, the 46-metre-long, golden reclining Buddha is a must-see.
- Khao San Road: Come here to eat, drink, and be merry. The people watching is great, and the street food – even better.
- Soi Rambuttri: A laid-back version of Khao San Road, this nearby street has a more sophisticated vibe in its bars and restaurants.
One of Thailand’s most popular islands, Koh Samui is known for adventurous activities and pristine beaches.
- Wat Phra Yai: This is the iconic Big Buddha temple on island’s northeast tip. Go in early morning to see locals making offerings.
- Wat Plai Laem: Located near Big Buddha, this 18-armed statue of Guanyin provides a unique photo op.
- Secret Buddha Garden: Hike to this sculpture park atop a mountain for gorgeous views and a bit of culture.
- Chaweng Beach: Koh Samui’s most popular beach is known for its nightlife and lively atmosphere.
- Bophut Beach: With old-world charm, tasty restaurants and bars, and a more secluded feel, Bophut is a great alternative to Chaweng.
Where to begin on the largest Thai island? Here are the best beaches and cultural attractions on Phuket.
- Old Phuket Town: With cafes and bakeries, local markets, and historic mansions to explore, Phuket’s cultural centre is a perfect day trip.
- Big Buddha: The sparkling white Buddha statue and panoramic views of the island make this a popular hike or drive.
- Phang Nga Bay: Explore the towering rock formations and limestone cliffs by cruise or canoe for a one-of-a-kind experience.
- Patong Beach: Sunbathe and sip cocktails by day, then stroll Soi Bangla for street food and nightlife.
- Nai Harn Beach: Hidden away on the island’s southern tip, this laid-back beach is where those in the know go to get away from it all.
Weather in Thailand
The different regions of Thailand experience slightly different weather patterns, particularly monsoon seasons. If you’re planning on visiting multiple regions, November to early April will generally have the best weather. May and June can be good times to catch “shoulder season” deals, and September is typically the “low season” with cheap prices and no crowds.
Getting Around Thailand
Transportation in Thailand doesn’t have to be intimidating, especially if you know what to expect.
- Tuk-tuk: Taking a ride in these tiny, motor-powered rickshaws is a must-do, if only for the experience (negotiate the fare before getting on).
- Taxi: More comfortable than a tuk-tuk and just as cheap (or cheaper). Negotiate a price first or ensure the driver uses the meter.
- Metro: Bangkok is the only city with a metro system. The SkyTrain (BTS) runs to the major tourist areas, while the MRT Underground is mainly used by commuters.
- Boat: Thailand’s islands are some of its most popular destinations; ferry schedules are usually easily accessible online, so check for your destination.
- Bus: Government buses are typically more comfortable, but can be a challenge to book. Tourist buses can be easily booked through an agent, but may be more crowded.
- Train: Trains run from Bangkok north to Chiang Mai and south to Surat Thani ond onto Malaysia. From Surat Thani you can hop a ferry to Koh Samui. Trains are more comfortable than buses, but are slower.
We saved the most important thing for last: Have fun—and try new things! There’s no place quite like Thailand, and there’s no visit like your first. Follow our tips and you’ll be travelling like a pro in no time.