Thailand Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know

thailand travel guide

Welcome to the land of smiles! Thailand is a captivating destination with stunning landscapes, rich cultural traditions, and bustling cities. Whether you're a nature lover, food enthusiast, history buff, or adventure seeker, there's something for everyone in this Southeast Asian gem. In this Thailand travel guide, we'll cover all you need to plan an unforgettable trip, from the must-see spots to add to your itinerary to the travel tips essential for your stay.

In this article:

Doi Inthanon, Ban Luang, Thailand at sunsetUnsplash

Best Time to Visit

Thailand enjoys a tropical climate, making it a year-round tourist destination. However, the best time to visit depends on the region you plan to explore.

  • November to February: This is the peak tourist season, as the weather is cooler and drier. It's the perfect time to explore popular cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Ayutthaya, as well as the stunning islands in the Andaman Sea, such as Phuket and Krabi.
  • March to May: The weather heats up during these months, particularly in northern and central Thailand. If you don't mind the heat, you can still visit popular tourist spots like Bangkok and Pattaya.
  • June to October: This period is considered the rainy season in most parts of Thailand. However, don't let the rain deter you. Showers are usually short and sporadic, and you'll benefit from fewer crowds and lower prices. 

Top Attractions

Known for its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, Thailand has something for every traveler to enjoy. Get ready to explore the top five must-see attractions in this captivating country.

Wat Arun, BangkokFreepik


The capital city is a vibrant hub of cultural landmarks, bustling markets, and delicious street food. Don't miss the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, and the iconic Wat Arun.

The best things to do in Bangkok:

  • Explore the Grand Palace: The Grand Palace is an iconic landmark in Bangkok and was once the official residence of the Kings of Siam. It features stunning architecture with intricate details and houses the highly revered Emerald Buddha statue.
  • Visit Wat Pho to see the Reclining Buddha: Wat Pho is a must-visit attraction in Bangkok and is home to the famous Reclining Buddha statue, which is 15 meters tall and 46 meters long. The temple complex is also known for its beautiful architecture and traditional Thai massage school.
  • Explore the street food scene: Bangkok is famous for its street food, offering a wide variety of delicious dishes. You can explore food markets like Chinatown or try popular dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, and Mango Sticky Rice from local street vendors.
  • Take a boat tour along the Chao Phraya River: The Chao Phraya River cuts through the heart of Bangkok, and taking a boat tour allows you to see the city from a different perspective. Along the river, you can visit famous landmarks such as the Royal Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Wat Phra Kaew.
  • Explore the floating markets: Bangkok is known for its vibrant floating markets, where vendors sell their goods from boats. You can visit markets like Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa, where you can shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, and local handicrafts and try delicious street food.
  • Visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market: If you enjoy shopping, the Chatuchak Weekend Market is a must-visit. It is one of the largest markets in the world, offering a wide range of products, including clothing, accessories, antiques, and souvenirs. The market is divided into sections, making it easier for you to navigate and explore.

Temples at sunset, Chiang Mai, ThailandFreepik

Chiang Mai

Nestled amidst mist-covered mountains, Chiang Mai is famous for its ancient temples, night markets, and the enchanting Yi Peng Lantern Festival.

The best things to do in Chiang Mai:

  • Visit Doi Suthep: Doi Suthep is a sacred mountain located about 12km northwest of Chiang Mai and home to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most important temples in Thailand. Visitors can climb the stairs to reach the temple and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.
  • Explore Chiang Mai's Old City: Chiang Mai's Old City is a cultural and historical district that features numerous temples, art galleries, and cultural landmarks. Visitors can explore the area on foot or by bicycle and discover the rich history and culture of the city.
  • Take a cooking class: Chiang Mai is famous for its delicious cuisine, and taking a cooking class is a great way to experience the local food culture. There are numerous cooking classes available that teach you how to prepare traditional dishes using fresh local ingredients.
  • Visit an elephant sanctuary: Chiang Mai is known for its elephant sanctuaries, which provide a humane environment for elephants to roam freely. Visitors can spend time with the elephants, learn about their habitats, and even help feed them.
  • Shop at the Night Bazaar: The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is one of the largest and most popular markets in Thailand, offering a wide range of products, including souvenirs, clothing, handicrafts, and street food. It's open every night and is a great place to experience the local culture.

James Bond Island, Phuket, ThailandFreepik


Thailand's largest island is renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. Explore Patong Beach, Phi Phi Islands, and experience the vibrant street life of Phuket Town.

The best things to do in Phuket:

  • Visit Patong Beach: Patong Beach is one of the most famous and popular beaches in Phuket. With its golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant atmosphere, it offers a range of water sports activities, beach bars, and buzzing nightlife.
  • Explore Phang Nga Bay: Take a boat tour to Phang Nga Bay and marvel at its stunning limestone karsts rising out of the emerald-green waters. You can explore hidden caves, kayak through mangroves, and visit the iconic James Bond Island.
  • Discover Old Phuket Town: Immerse yourself in Phuket's rich history by exploring Old Phuket Town. The area is known for its colorful Sino-Portuguese architecture, charming cafés, street art, and vibrant markets. It's a great place to soak in the local culture and indulge in some shopping.
  • Visit Big Buddha: Pay a visit to the iconic Big Buddha, a 45-meter-tall white marble statue located on Nakkerd Hill. Aside from enjoying panoramic views of Phuket, you can also explore the temple complex and discover various smaller Buddha statues and shrines.

Ancient statue in Ayutthaya, ThailandFreepik


This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a treasure trove of ancient ruins and temples that provide a glimpse into the country's rich history and heritage.

The best things to do in Ayutthaya:

  • Visit Wat Chaiwatthanaram: Explore the stunning Wat Chaiwatthanaram, a Buddhist temple known for its beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere. The temple dates back to the 17th century and offers a glimpse into the rich history of Ayutthaya.
  • Explore the Ayutthaya Historical Park: Discover the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya by visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This vast park is home to numerous temples, palaces, and statues that showcase the grandeur of the former capital.
  • Explore Wat Phra Si Sanphet: Visit Wat Phra Si Sanphet, a former royal temple and one of the most important religious sites in Ayutthaya. Admire the impressive three pagodas and explore the surrounding area filled with ancient stupas and ruins.
  • Visit Wat Mahathat: Marvel at the famous Buddha head entwined in tree roots at Wat Mahathat. This iconic image has become a symbol of Ayutthaya and attracts visitors from all over the world. Take a stroll through the temple complex and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
  • Take a boat tour along the Chao Phraya River: Explore Ayutthaya from a different perspective by taking a boat tour along the Chao Phraya River. Enjoy the scenic views of the city and its ancient ruins while learning about the history and culture of Ayutthaya.

Pileh Lagoon, Phi Phi islands, ThailandUnsplash

Koh Phi Phi

Embark on a boat trip to the breathtaking Phi Phi Islands, known for their stunning turquoise waters and towering limestone cliffs.

The best things to do in Koh Phi Phi:

  • Hike to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint: Enjoy a scenic hike to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint, where you can take in breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding islands and turquoise waters.
  • Take a boat tour to Koh Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay: Explore the stunning Koh Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay, made famous by the movie "The Beach." Marvel at the crystal clear waters, limestone cliffs, and vibrant marine life.
  • Check out Tonsai Village Market: Visit Tonsai Village Market, the main hub of Koh Phi Phi, where you can find a variety of local shops, restaurants, and street food stalls. Explore the bustling market and indulge in the delicious Thai cuisine.
  • Go diving: Koh Phi Phi is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts. Take a dive trip to discover the vibrant coral reefs, colorful marine life, and underwater caves. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced diver, there are dive sites suited for all levels.

Statue in Sukhothai, ThailandFreepik

Hidden Gems

For those seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, Thailand has plenty of hidden gems worth exploring. Here are five to add to your itinerary.


Tucked away in the mountains of northern Thailand, Pai is a haven for backpackers and nature lovers. Explore waterfalls and hot springs, and embark on thrilling motorcycle rides.


Step back in time at UNESCO-listed Sukhothai, an ancient city dating back to the 13th century. Rent a bicycle to explore the historical park, which houses impressive ruins of temples and statues.

Railay Beach

Accessible only by boat, Railay Beach offers breathtaking limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, and world-class rock climbing opportunities.

Koh Lipe

Escape the crowds and venture to the tranquil island of Koh Lipe. With crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a peaceful atmosphere, it's the perfect place to snorkel, dive, and unwind on secluded beaches.

Mae Hong Son

Located in a valley surrounded by mountains, Mae Hong Son offers stunning natural beauty and a glimpse into traditional Thai culture and hill tribe communities. Explore the charming town, hike to hidden waterfalls, and embark on a scenic road trip along the famous Mae Hong Son Loop.

Boats at Phra Nang Beach, Krabi, ThailandUnsplash

Bucket List Experiences

Thailand offers plenty of unique experiences that should be on every traveler's bucket list. Here are some unforgettable experiences to consider.

  • Visit an Elephant Sanctuary: Interact with rescued elephants in an ethical sanctuary where they are treated with respect and allowed to roam freely. Feed, bathe, and learn about these magnificent creatures while supporting their conservation.
  • Join a Full Moon Party: Join the famous Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, where thousands of party-goers come together to dance, drink, and have a good time on the beach under the light of the full moon.
  • Attend a Muay Thai boxing match: Experience the excitement of a Muay Thai boxing match, Thailand's national sport. Whether you choose to watch a match in Bangkok or attend a local event in a smaller city, this cultural experience is bound to leave an impression.
  • Visit the floating markets: Wake up early and visit one of Thailand's iconic floating markets, such as Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa. Explore the vibrant stalls selling fresh produce and sample delicious local delicacies, all while on a traditional longtail boat.
  • Attend Songkran Festival: Plan your visit during Songkran, the Thai New Year, and join the nation in celebrating with water fights and street parties. Be prepared to get splashed as locals and tourists alike take to the streets armed with water guns and buckets.
  • Go island-hopping in the Andaman Sea: Embark on an island-hopping adventure in the Andaman Sea, exploring the stunning islands of Phang Nga Bay, Koh Lanta, Koh Racha, and more. Discover hidden beaches, go snorkeling, and take in the breathtaking views.
  • Get a traditional Thai massage: Indulge in a traditional Thai massage to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind. From luxury spas to humble massage shops, you'll find countless options to experience the healing touch of Thai massage techniques.
  • Go trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park: Embark on a trekking adventure in Doi Inthanon National Park, home to Thailand's highest peak. Immerse yourself in stunning nature, visit hill tribe villages, and witness the beauty of cascading waterfalls.

Grand Palace, Bangkok, ThailandUnsplash

Travel Tips

To make your trip to Thailand seamless, here are some essential travel tips to keep in mind.

  • Entry and exit requirements: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date. Most nationalities can enter Thailand without a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. For longer stays, you may need to obtain a visa in advance.
  • Language: While the official language is Thai, English is widely spoken, especially in touristic areas. However, learning a few basic Thai phrases can enhance your experience and make interactions with locals more enjoyable.
  • Currency: The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in most establishments. Carry some cash for smaller vendors and markets.
  • Getting around: Thailand has an extensive transportation network, including trains, buses, tuk-tuks, and taxis. Public transportation is usually reliable, affordable, and a great way to explore. For short distances within cities, consider using ride-hailing apps like Grab.
  • Plugs and adapters: The standard voltage in Thailand is 220V, and the plug types are mainly Type A (two flat pins) and Type C (two round pins). It's a good idea to carry a universal adapter to charge your devices.

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Thailand eSIM: Stay Connected With Airalo

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