Thailand

Thailand has the full package - in buzzing Bangkok, indulge in mouth-watering food, visit nightclubs and explore street markets; in the north, meet hilltribes, see elephants and explore ancient temples; and in the south, relax on beaches, discover underwater worlds and hangout in jungles.

Thailand Tours & Travel

Top holiday deals in Thailand

Departing Days Price USD
20 Jul 2016 Thailand Family Holiday 12 $1236
12 Aug 2016 Highlights of Thailand 10 $1448
22 Jul 2016 Highlights of Thailand 10 $1392
5 Aug 2016 Highlights of Thailand 10 $1448

All our Thailand trips

DAYS
9
FROM
USD $765
CAD $855
AUD $913
EUR €625
GBP £468
NZD $985
ZAR R8,424
CHF FR648
Travel through Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Bangkok in Thailand on an Indochina adventure that...
DAYS
15
FROM
USD $1,600
CAD $1,765
AUD $1,890
EUR €1,310
GBP £970
NZD $2,035
ZAR R17,440
CHF FR1,340
Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Thailand that captures the true spirit of this enigmatic nation. Travel from Bangkok to...
DAYS
8
FROM
USD $995
CAD $1,095
AUD $1,165
EUR €795
GBP £600
NZD $1,255
ZAR R10,770
CHF FR830
Travel from Bangkok to Sukhothai, Lampang and Chiang Mai on this scenic tour through Northern Thailand. Discover...
DAYS
9
FROM
USD $1,215
CAD $1,330
AUD $1,420
EUR €995
GBP £730
NZD $1,530
ZAR R13,120
CHF FR995
Visit Thailand, a country with all the ingredients for a holiday in paradise. Pristine beaches, remote islands,...
DAYS
14
FROM
USD $1,130
CAD $1,235
AUD $1,320
EUR €915
GBP £675
NZD $1,420
ZAR R12,180
CHF FR935
Discover Thailand and Laos, Bangkok and Vientiane. From the frenetic Thai capital to charismatic Chiang Mai, cruise...
DAYS
12
FROM
USD $1,236
CAD $1,352
AUD $1,448
EUR €1,004
GBP £744
NZD $1,528
ZAR R13,352
CHF FR1,028
Discover incredible sights, culture and history on a fantastic family holiday to Thailand. Visit Bangkok,...
DAYS
12
FROM
USD $1,555
CAD $1,760
AUD $1,860
EUR €1,265
GBP £965
NZD $2,045
ZAR R17,505
CHF FR1,295
Jump aboard an active tour of Northern Thailand. Visit Bangkok, explore Chiang Mai, take a hilltribe trek and kayak...
DAYS
27
FROM
USD $4,780
CAD $5,235
AUD $5,605
EUR €3,880
GBP £2,880
NZD $6,025
ZAR R51,665
CHF FR3,975
Gear up for an energising and rewarding cycling tour that takes in the best of Southeast Asia. Bike your way around...
DAYS
8
FROM
USD $1,110
CAD $1,255
AUD $1,305
EUR €895
GBP £670
NZD $1,435
ZAR R12,400
CHF FR950
This trip to Thailand is full of adventure, fun and flavour. Eat in popular Bangkok restaurants, explore bustling...
DAYS
14
FROM
USD $2,275
CAD $2,490
AUD $2,665
EUR €2,075
GBP £1,370
NZD $2,870
ZAR R24,585
CHF FR2,125
Travel from Yangon to Bangkok. Visit Golden Rock, stroll through Mawlamyine market, take a boat to Shampoo island and...
DAYS
9
FROM
USD $1,215
CAD $1,330
AUD $1,420
EUR €995
GBP £730
NZD $1,530
ZAR R13,120
CHF FR995
Visit Thailand, a country with all the ingredients for a holiday in paradise. Pristine beaches, remote islands,...
DAYS
9
FROM
USD $850
CAD $950
AUD $1,015
EUR €695
GBP £520
NZD $1,095
ZAR R9,360
CHF FR720
Follow the Angkor trails on a trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Explore the temples of Angkor Wat, the...
DAYS
13
FROM
USD $1,385
CAD $1,495
AUD $1,610
EUR €1,115
GBP £830
NZD $1,735
ZAR R14,860
CHF FR1,145
Travel from Bangkok to Vientiane on a tour through Thailand and Laos. Visit Thailand's charismatic Chiang Mai, cruise...
DAYS
15
FROM
USD $2,085
CAD $2,370
AUD $2,490
EUR €1,695
GBP £1,290
NZD $2,730
ZAR R23,420
CHF FR1,730
Take an adventure from Thailand to Singapore, via Malaysia. This tour of South East Asia captures some of the region...
DAYS
10
FROM
USD $1,392
CAD $1,516
AUD $1,628
EUR €1,116
GBP £836
NZD $1,756
ZAR R15,008
CHF FR1,156
Thailand has been a traveller's favourite for decades, and there is little wonder why. Beautiful beaches, quaint hill...
DAYS
12
FROM
USD $850
CAD $940
AUD $1,005
EUR €695
GBP £515
NZD $1,080
ZAR R9,260
CHF FR710
Travel to Cambodia on an Intrepid adventure from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok. Explore Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh,...
DAYS
12
FROM
USD $850
CAD $940
AUD $1,005
EUR €695
GBP £515
NZD $1,080
ZAR R9,260
CHF FR710
Travel from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City on a journey of discovery. Uncover the Cambodian spirit, visit Phnom Penh,...
DAYS
9
FROM
USD $2,200
CAD $2,575
AUD $2,705
EUR €1,910
GBP £1,400
NZD $2,965
ZAR R25,430
CHF FR1,955
Cruise the pristine Myeik Archipelago in complete comfort on this sailing adventure in Myanmar. Enjoy sunset strolls...
DAYS
13
FROM
USD $1,280
CAD $1,415
AUD $1,515
EUR €1,050
GBP £775
NZD $1,630
ZAR R13,960
CHF FR1,075
From Singapore to Malaysia and Thailand, this tour of South-East Asia captures some of the region's best places;...
DAYS
4
FROM
USD $370
CAD $435
AUD $455
EUR €320
GBP £235
NZD $495
ZAR R4,280
CHF FR330
Trekking in Chiang Mai, explore Thailand's lush jungle areas, go rafting on the Mae Taeng river - visit Thailand on...
DAYS
26
FROM
USD $1,840
CAD $2,015
AUD $2,155
EUR €1,495
GBP £1,105
NZD $2,320
ZAR R19,880
CHF FR1,530
Experience Indochina on a trip through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Journey through electrifying Bangkok, the...
DAYS
18
FROM
USD $2,070
CAD $2,265
AUD $2,420
EUR €1,680
GBP £1,240
NZD $2,595
ZAR R22,330
CHF FR1,720
Travel into the heart and soul of Indochina on this comprehensive tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. Explore Hanoi, cruise...
DAYS
30
FROM
USD $3,915
CAD $4,280
AUD $4,585
EUR €3,175
GBP £2,355
NZD $4,930
ZAR R42,260
CHF FR3,250
Travel into the heart and soul of Indochina on this comprehensive tour of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia....
DAYS
16
FROM
USD $2,135
CAD $2,350
AUD $2,515
EUR €1,740
GBP £1,290
NZD $2,695
ZAR R23,180
CHF FR1,785
The delights of the north combine with the spoils of the south on this unforgettable trip. Sample the best of...
DAYS
23
FROM
USD $2,770
CAD $3,115
AUD $3,345
EUR €2,230
GBP £1,710
NZD $3,595
ZAR R30,845
CHF FR2,370
From the bustle of Bangkok to serene mountain scenery and a spell on some truly idyllic isles, this journey will have...
DAYS
16
FROM
USD $2,135
CAD $2,350
AUD $2,515
EUR €1,740
GBP £1,290
NZD $2,695
ZAR R23,180
CHF FR1,785
Rice paddies, coral reefs, elephants, temples and tuk-tuks, Thailand doesn’t get much more spectacular than on this...
DAYS
15
FROM
USD $3,315
CAD $3,880
AUD $4,075
EUR €2,880
GBP £2,110
NZD $4,470
ZAR R38,315
CHF FR2,945
Beginning in Phuket, sail around Burma's Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago in the Andaman Sea and discover an untouched...
DAYS
13
FROM
USD $2,605
CAD $2,855
AUD $3,055
EUR €2,115
GBP £1,570
NZD $3,295
ZAR R28,160
CHF FR2,165
See Southeast Asia from two wheels on this 13-day adventure from Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok. Cruise along dusty lanes...
DAYS
9
FROM
USD $2,165
CAD $2,535
AUD $2,660
EUR €1,880
GBP £1,380
NZD $2,915
ZAR R25,010
CHF FR1,925
Beginning in Phuket, sail around Burma's Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago in the Andaman Sea and discover an untouched...
DAYS
2
FROM
USD $240
CAD $280
AUD $295
EUR €195
GBP £155
NZD $325
ZAR R2,770
CHF FR215
Take a bite out of Bangkok on this short but sweet amble through this culinary city. From famous street stalls to...
DAYS
22
FROM
USD $2,520
CAD $2,760
AUD $2,950
EUR €2,045
GBP £1,510
NZD $3,175
ZAR R27,220
CHF FR2,095
Explore vibrant Vietnam, charismatic Cambodia and beguiling Bangkok on this awesome Indochina Discovery tour. Travel...
DAYS
18
FROM
USD $2,070
CAD $2,355
AUD $2,495
EUR €1,675
GBP £1,290
NZD $2,695
ZAR R23,225
CHF FR1,720
Jump on this adventurous three-week journey to see the very best of Cambodia and Vietnam, enjoying a homestay, junk...
DAYS
22
FROM
USD $1,645
CAD $1,795
AUD $1,930
EUR €1,340
GBP £995
NZD $2,080
ZAR R17,820
CHF FR1,370
Explore Indochina on a trip through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam,...
DAYS
7
FROM
USD $1,580
CAD $1,760
AUD $1,885
EUR €1,305
GBP £970
NZD $2,030
ZAR R17,395
CHF FR1,335
Tour the Thai islands on a sailing trip that mixes the popular beaches with discreet hideouts and mysterious natural...
DAYS
22
FROM
USD $3,095
CAD $3,395
AUD $3,635
EUR €2,520
GBP £1,870
NZD $3,895
ZAR R33,520
CHF FR2,580
Indochina Uncovered snakes its way through the delights of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, drinking up the culture,...
DAYS
22
FROM
USD $2,990
CAD $3,275
AUD $3,505
EUR €2,425
GBP £1,795
NZD $3,770
ZAR R32,290
CHF FR2,485
Travel from Bangkok to Sukhothai and Chiang Mai before visiting Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Discover Thai beaches and...
DAYS
28
FROM
USD $3,900
CAD $4,270
AUD $4,570
EUR €3,165
GBP £2,350
NZD $4,915
ZAR R42,120
CHF FR3,240
Take an adventure from Thailand to Bali, via Malaysia. This tour of South-East Asia captures some of the region's...
DAYS
35
FROM
USD $2,995
CAD $3,510
AUD $3,685
EUR €2,595
GBP £1,910
NZD $4,040
ZAR R34,650
CHF FR2,665
Embark on an epic journey to explore the best of Indochina. Venture out from Bangkok - via Lunag Prabang, Hanoi, Ho...
DAYS
28
FROM
USD $4,745
CAD $5,190
AUD $5,560
EUR €4,200
GBP £2,855
NZD $5,980
ZAR R51,240
CHF FR4,300
Discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From...
DAYS
23
FROM
USD $2,630
CAD $3,075
AUD $3,230
EUR €2,280
GBP £1,675
NZD $3,540
ZAR R30,370
CHF FR2,335
Discover the best of Thailand’s west on a trip that takes you from the jungles of the north to the golden sands of...
DAYS
3
FROM
USD $555
CAD $655
AUD $685
EUR €485
GBP £355
NZD $750
ZAR R6,440
CHF FR495
Travel to Thailand and experience the bustling streets of Bangkok and the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya before heading...
DAYS
5
FROM
USD $395
CAD $455
AUD $475
EUR €335
GBP £245
NZD $520
ZAR R4,470
CHF FR345
Travel to Chiang Mai and trek through northern Thailand to discover hilltribe culture, village life and local...
DAYS
3
FROM
USD $545
CAD $640
AUD $670
EUR €475
GBP £345
NZD $735
ZAR R6,290
CHF FR495
Travel to Thailand’s north on this tour to the famous Golden Triangle. Explore northern Thailand's Chiang Mai and the...
DAYS
3
FROM
USD $395
CAD $460
AUD $485
EUR €345
GBP £250
NZD $530
ZAR R4,560
CHF FR350
Help feed and bathe Chiang Mai elephants at a rescue centre dedicated to helping Thailand's working elephants. See...
DAYS
28
FROM
USD $4,495
CAD $5,979
AUD $5,790
EUR €4,042
GBP £2,991
NZD $6,224
ZAR R54,155
CHF FR4,449
Experience contrasts, chaotic metropolises, serene landscapes and enchanting locals on this Asian adventure. Explore...
DAYS
10
FROM
USD $1,625
CAD $1,895
AUD $2,035
EUR €1,395
GBP £1,035
NZD $2,190
ZAR R18,760
CHF FR1,445
Explore northern Thailand on this tech-free adventure from Bangkok. Chat with friendly monks in Chiang Mai,...
DAYS
4
FROM
USD $775
CAD $910
AUD $955
EUR €675
GBP £495
NZD $1,045
ZAR R8,980
CHF FR690
Take a Thai sailing tour between Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. Snorkel over a vibrant underwater world, relax on idyllic...

Thailand trip reviews

Our Thailand trips score an average of 4.77 out of 5 based on 759 reviews in the last year.

Thailand - Hike, Bike & Kayak , June 2016

Alex Hewet

Explore Northern Thailand , June 2016

April Beissenherz

Video

Articles on Thailand

Meet the artisans who make Thailand’s alms bowls by hand

Posted on Tue, 21 Jun 2016

There are still a few centres for crafts made by street-side vendors, using traditional methods and materials. This is one of the last.

Read more

Traveller stories: 5 times technology ruined my trip

Posted on Thu, 2 Jun 2016

Technology has changed the way we live our day-to-day lives and (for worse or for better) it’s also changing the way we travel...

Read more

Singled out: the best island escapes for solo travellers

Posted on Tue, 24 May 2016

Listen up, solo travellers. This is what paradise looks like...

Read more

When’s the best time to visit Asia?

Posted on Thu, 31 Mar 2016

Spoiler alert: when it comes to Asia, there’s really never a bad time to visit.

Read more

Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on, you may find yourself travelling by:

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Thailand you may find yourself staying in a:

About Thailand

At a glance

Capital city: Bangkok (population 5.8 million)
Population: 67 million
Language: Thai
Currency: THB
Time zone: (GMT+07:00) Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin)
Dialing code: +66

Best time to visit Thailand

Thailand's climate is generally hot, humid and at times (like other South-East Asian countries) monsoonal. The seasons differ from coast to coast, so depending on which areas you're visiting, the weather can vary.

Thailand's north, east and west are great to visit from November to February, when the weather is cooler and dryer. If heading south, it's best to travel from January to April as these months provide conditions optimal for diving and snorkelling. This is peak time however, so be aware that popular places like Chiang Mai, Ko Samui and Phuket can get particularly busy. It can also get quite busy from July to August as it's northern hemisphere school holidays.

The monsoon season is from July to November, so it can get quite wet and the weather may be uncomfortably hot and humid for those who aren't accustomed to it. Yet travelling during this time can provide a different picture of Thailand, and is generally a less crowded time of year. March to June is less wet but is the hottest time in terms of temperatures. If you don't mind the heat then this can be a good time to go on holiday to Thailand to avoid the crowds.

Bangkok weather chart

Culture and customs

Thai woman wearing headress
Most Thai people are Buddhist and live a conservative way of life. Monks are treated with great respect. Respect for the king is also paramount in Thailand, and as the world's longest serving monarch, this respect seems to grow with each year of his epic reign. Known for his efforts to improve the living standards of disadvantaged communities and preserving the Thai way of life, pictures of the King adorn many homes, restaurants and businesses in Thailand.

'Saving face' is also an important part of being Thai, and this involves remaining calm, not losing your temper and avoiding confrontation in general. As the younger generation of Thais become more westernised with the infiltration of western ideas via the internet and other forms of media, some of the traditional ways of life appear to be dying out, particularly in larger cities.

Eating and drinking

Thai noodles for sale Barbecued street food in Bangkok, Thailand

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Thailand has some of the best cuisine in the world, with everything from spicy dishes packed with chilli to milder coconut-based curries. With street stalls and night markets all over the country, it's really easy to pick up a snack wherever you are in Thailand. On many Intrepid trips you'll be given the opportunity to dine with a local family - this offers a great chance to see how meals are prepared and learn more about the ingredients.

Things to try in Thailand

1. Pad Thai (Phat Thai)

A well-known dish but for good reason. This delicious plate of stir-fried rice noodles garnished with peanuts is full of flavour and can be served with fresh prawns, chicken, tofu or vegetables.

2. Tom Yum (Tom Yam)

Usually prepared with stock, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and chilli, this soup is widely available in Thailand and has been popularised around the world

3. Massaman Curry (Kaeng Matsaman)

A dish with Muslim origins, this filling curry traditionally features coconut milk, potatoes, beef, bay leaves and peanuts

4. Seafood

If staying on the coast or on one of the islands, be sure to make the most of the abundance of fresh seafood on offer. Seafood-based stir fries and fragrant curries, crab cakes, grilled fish and prawns are all great choices.

5. Spirits & Beer

Local spirits Mekhong (whisky) and Sang Som (rum) are popular, and an icy bottle of the local Singha beer is refreshing on a hot, humid day. Please note the legal drinking age in Thailand is 20.

6. Coconut Milk

For a super fresh thirst-quencher, try coconut milk straight from the husk

7. Tropical Fruit

Fruit shakes and fresh fruit juices are widely available from markets and restaurants - make the most of all the tropical fruits of Thailand.

Geography and environment

Longboat in Thailand
Sharing borders with South-East Asian neighbours Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar (Burma), Thailand's natural environment varies greatly from region to region. From the steamy jungles and misty highlands in the north to the white sand beaches and picturesque islands of the south, Thailand's everchanging landscape has been fascinating and entertaining travellers for centuries.

The capital, Bangkok is a heaving, urban jungle with skyscrapers, street vendors, markets, cars, tuk tuks, bicycles and masses of people all competing for space. Despite this there are pockets of quiet beauty to be found with parks, temples and traditional shop fronts scattered throughout the city.

Rural areas in the north are typically quieter, with locals living a more traditional way of life; the frenetic pace of the city giving way to a more slow-paced, agricultural-based lifestyle. Houses are simple, there's more space and less of the modern conveniences. Jungles, rivers, bamboo huts and teak houses are more commonly seen here, and birds and other animal life are more abundant.

History and government

Robed Buddha statues of Ayutthaya in Thailand Rice fields of Thailand

Early History

Communities based on agriculture (such as rice growing) inhabited Siam (Thailand) as early as the 6th century. In the following centuries, Siam came under the influence of the Khmer, Dvaravati and Malay cultures, with some temples and monuments in modern-day Thailand showing evidence of this influence. In the 13th century, the city of Sukhothai in northern Thailand became an important capital. The ruins of the Sukhothai Historical Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site) feature remnants of the royal palace, temples and other buildings, and highlight the artistic and architectural features of the era.

Ayutthaya rose to prominence as the new capital in the 14th century, and was considered a powerhouse of South-East Asia as one of the most important centres of trade in the world. Enduring many battles, invasions, overthrows and coups, Ayutthaya's far-reaching trade with other regions ensured a flourishing influence of art, weaponry, religion and cuisine. Much wealth was generated by this enormous empire, with grand palaces, ornate buildings and huge temples featured throughout the city. All this came to an end when the Burmese invaded in the 18th century, bringing the kingdom to ruin and resulting in the loss of many artistic and cultural treasures. Despite this, the ruins of the city are still standing, have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and are a great day trip from Bangkok.

Recent History

Thonburi was established as the capital of Siam by General Taksin in the late 18th century, yet this didn't last long with Taksim being deposed and executed not long after. Bangkok was then named capital by General Chakri, who became Rama I - the first king of the Rama Dynasty.

Over the years, Siam (Thailand) remained the only South-East Asian country to remain free from European colonisation. In 1932, the Siamese Revolution resulted in a constitutional monarchy being formed, and in 1941, Thailand invaded French Indochina, overpowered the French and claimed Laos.

In the last thirty years, Thailand has seen political power change hands many times, often due to coups, revolutions and protests. Despite this, Thailand’s economy continues to grow due to its strong tourist industry. Enduring all this, the much-loved King Rama IX has reigned as the Head of State since 1946 - claiming the title of the longest reigning monarch in the world and providing Thai people with a stable figure to rely upon.

Top Picks

Floating markets, Bangkok Landscape of Ancient Ayutthaya Women wear traditional clothing, Thailand

Top 10 Iconic Thai Landscapes

1. Bangkok

Whether you're travelling by tuk-tuk through the crazy streets, cycling along backroads or taking a longtail through the khlongs, the journey in Bangkok is definitely half the fun. Drop in to the stunning Grand Palace, see the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho and wind your way through floating markets.

2. Chiang Mai

This northern capital is overflowing with experiences. Temple-hop through some - or all - of its 300 temples, take a cooking class to learn the secrets of Thai cuisine and explore the Night Bazaar for delicious food, designer goods and a foot massage to die for.

3. Ko Tao

If you ever wondered what was below Thailand's turquoise waters, this is the place to look. Learn to dive or pull on snorkelling gear to discover the fish and reefs that call this coastline home. Shark Island is close by for adrenaline seekers.

4. Hilltribe Country

Thailand's north is home to many of the country's minority groups. A hike along buffalo tracks will take you through colourful H'mong, Karen and Lisu villages. Spend a night as their guest for a unique insight into their life.

5. Ayuthaya

Modern meets ancient in Ayuthaya. The current city intertwines itself with the remnants of what was once one of Asia's great capitals. Walk the streets in search of clues to its imperial past and hire a bike to ride through the countryside, exploring the area's ruins.

6. Sukhothai

This former capital is a history buff's heaven. Nicknamed the 'Dawn of Happiness', Sukhothai still recalls Siam's golden age with its superb statues, marvellous monuments and lotus flowers in full bloom. A trip to the night market is a real eye-opener. Try everything from fried rice to fried bugs.

7. Krabi

The waters surrounding Krabi are dotted with hundreds of limestone karst islands. Kayakers and rock-climbers will love exploring them, while others can travel to the nearby floating villages or just relax on one of the region's perfect beaches.

8. Golden Triangle

The area where the Thai, Laotian and Burmese borders meet has long been associated with colourful cultures and an illicit opium trade. The opium may have gone but the colour hasn't and the markets offer all sorts of amazing local handicrafts.

9. Khao Sok National Park

For a real jungle experience, spend a couple of days in Khao Sok National Park. Thick rainforest, limestone cliffs, waterfalls and mountains make a wild playground. Hike, swim, explore caves and sleep to the sounds of exotic birds and animals.

10. Kanchanaburi

This tranquil town is the jumping off point for visits to the infamous Hell Fire Pass and River Kwai. Be sure to take a ride along the tracks of the Death Railway and reflect on the atrocities of war at the Jeath War Museum.

Shopping

Thailand Parasols

Thailand offers great shopping - from lively street markets to huge shopping malls. Cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai have interesting night markets that are worth a visit. Bangkok's massive Chatuchak Market is an unforgettable metropolis filled with bizarre sights and smells. Selling everything from curious antiques and modern clothing to unique jewellery and colourful homewares, you'll need to dedicate a lot of time to navigate through this sometimes confusing market.

Most importantly, have fun and don’t forget to haggle for a good price. It's also a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in Thailand

1. Vibrant fabric cushions, table cloths and hammocks
2. Silver jewellery
3. Handcrafted umbrellas or parasols
4. Thai silk scarves, ties, wraps and other clothing
5. Colourful Celadon ceramics
6. Tailor-made clothes are inexpensive and can be made quickly, usually within a couple of days

Festivals and Events in Thailand

Songkran

Thai New Year is celebrated nationwide and is traditionally viewed as a time for cleansing and renewal. Locals make visits to Wats with offerings for Buddha and food for monks. More recently, emphasis has been placed on having fun and people being drenched with water are a common sight - from buckets, hoses and water pistols. Water is symbolically meant to purify and cleanse but with April being one of Thailand's hottest months, it also brings sweet relief from the heat.

Loi Krathong

Celebrated annually throughout Thailand, this 'Festival of Lights' sees thousands of biodegradable, homemade lanterns travel down the waterways of Thailand. Lakes, rivers and seas light up as the beautiful lanterns carry bad luck away and bring happiness and prosperity to the lantern bearer.

FAQs on Thailand

THAILAND:
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required

If entering by air you will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival.

If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (exceptions are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan who are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders). A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.
If planning to enter Thailand via a land border multiple times during your travels, we recommend you pre-obtain a 60 day multiple entry visa from you embassy or consulate before you travel rather than attempting to obtain a visa at the border on multiple occasions which may result in being denied re-entry into the country.
Tipping isn't mandatory or customary in Thailand, but a tip of spare change or another small amount would be appreciated by restaurants, drivers and other service workers, especially if the service has been particularly good.
Internet access is widely available in tourist areas like Bangkok and Phuket, which have many internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot-spots. Internet access is less frequent in rural and remote areas.
You'll be able to use your mobile phone in most urban areas of Thailand, although some of the islands or more remote areas may not have network coverage. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your mobile carrier before you leave home if you wish to use your mobile while in Thailand.
You'll have to adjust to different standards of hygiene and sanitation while in Thailand. The standard toilet is of the squat variety and this may take some getting used to, although western-style toilets can be found in large hotels and some tourist areas.
Thailand is one of the world's favourite budget travel destinations. Here's what you can roughly expect to pay for a:

Bottle of beer = 80-100 TBH
Street food snack = 25 TBH
Short tuk tuk ride = 50 TBH
Metered taxi to city from Bangkok Airport = 300-400 TBH
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Thailand. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found; some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by large shops, hotels and restaurants in Thailand. However, they may not be accepted by smaller vendors such as small family restaurants, market stalls or in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Thailand.
ATMs are found widely throughout Thailand, so withdrawing cash shouldn't be problematic in most areas. Some smaller villages and rural areas may not have ATM access, so prepare for this before venturing too far from a city or major town.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Feb 25 Magha Bucha Day
Apr 6 Chakri Day
Apr 13 Songkran (Thai New Year)
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 Coronation Day
May 25 Visakha Bucha
Jul 1 Mid Year Bank Holiday
Jul 22 Asarna Bucha Day
Aug 12 HM the Queen's Birthday
Oct 23 Chulalongkorn Day
Dec 5 HM the King's Birthday
Dec 10 Constitution Day
Dec 31 New Year's Eve

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays in Thailand go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/thailand/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Thailand Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Thailand

1. Be considerate of Thailand's customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.

3. Ask permission, remove your shoes and cover your shoulders with a jacket or wrap before entering a place of worship.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

5. Choose to not support businesses that promote cruelty towards or exploitation of endangered species.

6. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

7. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

8. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

9. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

10. Be respectful of Buddhist monks, this includes refraining from taking photos of them. Women should also avoid touching or handing items directly to monks.

11. Thai people have a flexible approach to time and may not always be punctual. Accept this graciously and enjoy the ride.

12. Thai people adore their King and highly respect the Royal Family. Knowing this, try to avoid disrespecting or criticising the monarch.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In Thailand, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

Baan Unrak Children's Village

Baan Unrak (House of Happiness) is a grassroots organisation located in the Kanchanaburi province that provides shelter, food, clothing, education, employment, love and support for women and children in need.

Image supplied by Janine de Krester.

Friends of the Asian Elephant

This non-government organisation aims to protect and conserve the welfare of elephants - both domesticated and wild. Providing treatment and rehabilitation to injured and mistreated elephants as well as education programs to vets, mahouts and carers, this organisation is dedicated to the elephants cause in many ways.

Image supplied by Friends of the Asian Elephant.

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
One Fourteenth of an Elephant: A Memoir of Life and Death on the Thai-Burma Railway Ian Denys Peek
FieldworkMischa Berlinski
SightseeingRattawut Lapcharoensap
Siam Becomes Thailand: A Story of IntrigueJudith A Stowe
The BeachAlex Garland

Was this page helpful?