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 deals in Thailand

Departing Days Price USD
30 Nov 2014 Sail Phuket to Ko Phi Phi 4 $528
3 Jan 2015 Thailand Family Holiday 12 $1335
4 Jan 2015 Thailand Discovery 8 $750
4 Jan 2015 Bangkok to Singapore 15 $1855
9 Jan 2015 Thailand Beaches West Coast (Nov - Apr) 9 $990

All our Thailand trips

Explore Northern Thailand

8 days from
USD $930
CAD $960
AUD $940
EUR €650
GBP £545
NZD $1,045
ZAR R9,400
CHF FR785

Travel from Bangkok to Sukhothai, Lampang and Chiang Mai on this scenic tour through Northern Thailand. Discover...

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Sail Ko Samui to Ko Tao 2015

4 days from
USD $880
CAD $910
AUD $890
EUR €620
GBP £515
NZD $990
ZAR R8,895
CHF FR740

Take a Thailand sailing tour between Ko Samui and KoTao. Snorkel over a vibrant underwater world, relax on idyllic...

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Sail Ko Tao to Ko Samui

4 days from
USD $880
CAD $920
AUD $890
EUR €620
GBP £520
NZD $995
ZAR R8,895
CHF FR740

Embark on a Thailand sailing journey from Ko Tao to Ko Samui. Snorkel over vibrant underwater reefs, and bask on...

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Thailand Beaches West Coast (Nov - Apr)

9 days from
USD $990
CAD $1,045
AUD $1,025
EUR €735
GBP £610
NZD $1,190
ZAR R9,200
CHF FR890

Visit Thailand, a country with all the ingredients for a holiday in paradise. Pristine beaches, remote islands,...

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Thailand Discovery

8 days from
USD $750
CAD $775
AUD $760
EUR €520
GBP £440
NZD $850
ZAR R7,605
CHF FR635

Travel to Thailand and visit Bangkok before heading to the remote countryside. Tour through Sangkhlaburi and...

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Thailand Family Holiday

12 days from
USD $1,335
CAD $1,375
AUD $1,350
EUR €930
GBP £780
NZD $1,510
ZAR R13,475
CHF FR1,125

Discover incredible sights, culture and history on a fantastic family holiday to Thailand. Visit Bangkok,...

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Thailand - Hike, Bike & Kayak

12 days from
USD $1,460
CAD $1,510
AUD $1,480
EUR €1,020
GBP £855
NZD $1,650
ZAR R14,815
CHF FR1,230

Jump aboard an active tour of Northern Thailand. Visit Bangkok, explore Chiang Mai, take a hilltribe trek and kayak...

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Angkor Trails

9 days from
USD $925
CAD $950
AUD $935
EUR €640
GBP £540
NZD $1,040
ZAR R9,325
CHF FR780

Follow the Angkor trails on a trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Explore the temples of Angkor Wat, the...

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Burma Sailing Adventure ex Phuket

9 days from
USD $2,070
CAD $2,135
AUD $2,095
EUR €1,450
GBP £1,195
NZD $2,335
ZAR R20,970
CHF FR1,745

Beginning in Phuket, sail around Burma's Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago in the Andaman Sea and discover an untouched...

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Laos Discovery

15 days from
USD $1,310
CAD $1,350
AUD $1,325
EUR €915
GBP £770
NZD $1,480
ZAR R13,255
CHF FR1,105

Discover the beauty of Laos on an incredible journey from Hanoi in Vietnam's north, via Vientiane and Luang Prabang...

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Ko Samui Sailing Adventure

7 days from
USD $1,535
CAD $1,585
AUD $1,555
EUR €1,070
GBP £895
NZD $1,730
ZAR R15,565
CHF FR1,295

Tour the Thailand islands on a sailing trip that mixes the popular beaches with discreet hideouts and mysterious...

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Explore Vietnam

11 days from
USD $850
CAD $875
AUD $860
EUR €590
GBP £495
NZD $960
ZAR R8,610
CHF FR715

Delve into Vietnamese culture on this 11-day journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Discover exotic Hoi An, visit...

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Singapore to Bangkok Adventure

13 days from
USD $1,380
CAD $1,420
AUD $1,395
EUR €960
GBP £795
NZD $1,555
ZAR R13,965
CHF FR1,160

From Singapore to Malaysia and Thailand, this tour of South-East Asia captures some of the region's best places;...

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Active Chiang Mai

4 days from
USD $360
CAD $385
AUD $385
EUR €265
GBP £222
NZD $427
ZAR R3,640
CHF FR320

Trekking in Chiang Mai, explore Thailand's lush jungle areas, go rafting on the Mae Taeng river - visit Thailand on...

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Bangkok to Singapore

15 days from
USD $1,790
CAD $1,850
AUD $1,810
EUR €1,250
GBP £1,050
NZD $2,020
ZAR R18,135
CHF FR1,510

Take an adventure from Thailand to Singapore, via Malaysia. This tour of South East Asia captures some of the region...

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Cambodian Traveller

9 days from
USD $925
CAD $950
AUD $935
EUR €640
GBP £540
NZD $1,040
ZAR R9,325
CHF FR780

Travel through Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Bangkok in Thailand on an Indochina adventure that...

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Thailand & Laos Adventure

13 days from
USD $1,215
CAD $1,255
AUD $1,230
EUR €875
GBP £715
NZD $1,370
ZAR R12,295
CHF FR1,055

Travel from Bangkok to Hanoi on a tour through Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Visit Thailand's charismatic Chiang Mai,...

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Bangkok to Hanoi

13 days from
USD $1,845
CAD $1,965
AUD $2,040
EUR €1,420
GBP £1,220
NZD $2,415
ZAR R18,570
CHF FR1,750

Travel from Bangkok to Hanoi on a tour through Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Visit Thailand's charismatic Chiang Mai,...

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Cambodia Adventure

12 days from
USD $735
CAD $760
AUD $745
EUR €510
GBP £435
NZD $830
ZAR R7,450
CHF FR620

Travel from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City on a journey of discovery. Uncover the Cambodian spirit, visit Phnom Penh,...

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China, Burma & Thailand

28 days from
USD $3,810
CAD $3,938
AUD $4,020
EUR €2,875
GBP £2,403
NZD $4,664
ZAR R36,981
CHF FR3,397

Experience contrasts, chaotic metropolises, serene landscapes and enchanting locals on this Asian adventure. Explore...

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Cambodia Discovery

12 days from
USD $785
CAD $810
AUD $795
EUR €545
GBP £460
NZD $885
ZAR R7,955
CHF FR660

Travel to Cambodia on an Intrepid adventure from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok. Explore Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh,...

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Beautiful Thailand

15 days from
USD $1,425
CAD $1,470
AUD $1,440
EUR €990
GBP £835
NZD $1,610
ZAR R14,430
CHF FR1,200

Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Thailand that captures the true spirit of this enigmatic nation. Travel from Bangkok to...

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Thailand Family Sailing

7 days from
USD $1,675
CAD $1,730
AUD $1,695
EUR €1,165
GBP £980
NZD $1,890
ZAR R16,970
CHF FR1,420

Take the family on a Thai sailing adventure with Intrepid Travel. Snorkel over vibrant underwater worlds, relax on...

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Bangkok to Luang Prabang

18 days from
USD $2,000
CAD $2,062
AUD $2,104
EUR €1,511
GBP £1,258
NZD $2,455
ZAR R19,329
CHF FR1,797

Travel through South East Asian favourites Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, visiting Angkor Wat temples, laidback Luang...

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Bangkok to Bali

28 days from
USD $3,830
CAD $3,950
AUD $3,875
EUR €2,665
GBP £2,240
NZD $4,315
ZAR R38,785
CHF FR3,230

Take an adventure from Thailand to Bali, via Malaysia. This tour of South-East Asia captures some of the region's...

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Thailand Beaches East Coast (May - Oct)

9 days from
USD $1,165
CAD $1,195
AUD $1,180
EUR €795
GBP £680
NZD $1,315
ZAR R11,810
CHF FR980

Visit Thailand, a country with all the ingredients for a holiday in paradise. Pristine beaches, remote islands,...

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Best of Cambodia & Vietnam

18 days from
USD $2,135
CAD $2,200
AUD $2,160
EUR €1,495
GBP £1,250
NZD $2,405
ZAR R21,595
CHF FR1,795

Jump on this adventurous three-week journey to see the very best of Cambodia and Vietnam, enjoying a homestay, junk...

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Sail Phuket to Ko Phi Phi

4 days from
USD $528
CAD $552
AUD $534
EUR €372
GBP £312
NZD $597
ZAR R5,337
CHF FR444

Take a Thai sailing tour between Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. Snorkel over a vibrant underwater world, relax on idyllic...

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Best of Indochina

40 days from
USD $3,135
CAD $3,230
AUD $3,170
EUR €2,180
GBP £1,830
NZD $3,530
ZAR R31,730
CHF FR2,640

Travel out from Bangkok, via Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City and Luang Prabang, and explore the best of Indochina. Visit...

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Hilltribe Experience

5 days from
USD $395
CAD $395
AUD $415
EUR €290
GBP £245
NZD $472
ZAR R3,778
CHF FR355

Travel to Chiang Mai and trek through northern Thailand to discover hilltribe culture, village life and local...

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Chiang Mai & Golden Triangle

3 days from
USD $550
CAD $560
AUD $580
EUR €395
GBP £340
NZD $657
ZAR R5,595
CHF FR490

Travel to Thailand’s north on this tour to the famous Golden Triangle. Explore northern Thailand's Chiang Mai and the...

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Explore Indochina

22 days from
USD $1,550
CAD $1,595
AUD $1,570
EUR €1,080
GBP £895
NZD $1,750
ZAR R15,715
CHF FR1,295

Explore Indochina on a trip through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam,...

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River Kwai & Ancient Kingdoms

3 days from
USD $465
CAD $495
AUD $515
EUR €360
GBP £305
NZD $590
ZAR R4,685
CHF FR440

Travel to Thailand and experience the bustling streets of Bangkok and the ancient ruins of Ayuthaya before heading to...

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Chiang Mai & Elephants

3 days from
USD $345
CAD $365
AUD $380
EUR €265
GBP £225
NZD $450
ZAR R3,460
CHF FR325

Help feed and bathe Chiang Mai elephants at a rescue centre dedicated to helping Thailand's working elephants. See...

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Sail Ko Phi Phi to Phuket

4 days from
USD $549
CAD $573
AUD $555
EUR €387
GBP £324
NZD $621
ZAR R5,550
CHF FR462

Set sail on Thai waters between Ko Phi Phi and Phuket. Swim in clear blue waters, kick back on warm sands and get a...

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Phuket Family Sailing

7 days from
USD $1,675
CAD $1,730
AUD $1,695
EUR €1,165
GBP £980
NZD $1,890
ZAR R16,965
CHF FR1,420

Tour the Thai islands on a sailing trip that mixes the popular beaches with discreet hideouts and mysterious natural...

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Thailand Experience West Coast (Nov - Apr)

15 days from

Visit Thailand's exotic beaches and islands on a tour from the charismatic capital Bangkok, to idyllic islands in the...

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Bangkok Stopover

3 days from
USD $265
CAD $285
AUD $295
EUR €205
GBP £175
NZD $350
ZAR R2,685
CHF FR250

From markets to monuments and pad thai to promenades, this short but sweet Bangkok city tour is jam-packed with...

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Bangkok Stopover

3 days from
USD $305
CAD $315
AUD $310
EUR €212
GBP £180
NZD $345
ZAR R3,102
CHF FR257

From markets to monuments and pad thai to promenades, this short but sweet Bangkok city tour is jam-packed with...

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Classic Malaysia & Thailand

19 days from
USD $3,355
CAD $3,395
AUD $3,530
EUR €2,455
GBP £2,110
NZD $4,185
ZAR R32,130
CHF FR3,025

Travel to South-East Asia and visit Malaysia and Thailand on an Intrepid Comfort trip. Tour from Kuala Lumpur to...

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Thailand Experience East Coast (May - Oct)

15 days from

Visit Thailand's exotic beaches and islands on a tour from the charismatic capital Bangkok, to idyllic islands in the...

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Cambodian Traveller German

9 days from
USD $985
CAD $1,015
AUD $995
EUR €685
GBP £575
NZD $1,110
ZAR R9,960
CHF FR830

Travel through Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Bangkok in Thailand on an Indochina adventure that...

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Phuket Sailing Adventure

7 days from
USD $1,535
CAD $1,585
AUD $1,555
EUR €1,070
GBP £895
NZD $1,730
ZAR R15,565
CHF FR1,295

Tour the Thai islands on a sailing trip that mixes the popular beaches with discreet hideouts and mysterious natural...

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Classic Indochina Adventure

21 days from
USD $5,355
CAD $5,525
AUD $5,420
EUR €3,730
GBP £3,130
NZD $6,035
ZAR R54,255
CHF FR4,515

Can’t decide on just one part of Indochina? Why not tackle a large chunk in style with this three-week journey...

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Real Food Adventure - Thailand

8 days from
USD $828
CAD $837
AUD $837
EUR €616
GBP £481
NZD $931
ZAR R8,338
CHF FR747

This trip to Thailand is full of adventure, fun and flavour. Eat in popular Bangkok restaurants, explore bustling...

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Highlights of Thailand - Independent

10 days from
USD $2,367
CAD $2,442
AUD $2,395
EUR €1,647
GBP £1,385
NZD $2,667
ZAR R23,972
CHF FR1,995

Uncover the cultural gems and historical riches of Northern Thailand on this circuit journey that takes in Chiang Mai...

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Highlights of Thailand

10 days from
USD $1,570
CAD $1,620
AUD $1,585
EUR €1,165
GBP £920
NZD $1,765
ZAR R15,885
CHF FR1,410

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Laos and Mekong Discovery

9 days from
USD $1,775
CAD $1,835
AUD $1,800
EUR €1,285
GBP £1,040
NZD $2,000
ZAR R17,975
CHF FR1,555

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Burma to Thailand

14 days from
USD $2,097
CAD $2,155
AUD $2,119
EUR €1,458
GBP £1,224
NZD $2,362
ZAR R21,217
CHF FR1,764

Travel from Yangon to Bangkok. Visit Golden Rock, stroll through Mawlamyine market, take a boat to Shampoo island and...

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Highlights of Laos & Cambodia

14 days from
USD $3,335
CAD $3,440
AUD $3,375
EUR €2,320
GBP £1,950
NZD $3,760
ZAR R33,785
CHF FR2,810

Travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap. See the famous Buddhist temple Wat Po, cruise down the mighty Mekong and visit the...

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Thailand trip reviews

Our Thailand trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 320 reviews in the last year.

Thailand Beaches West Coast (Nov - Apr), April 2014

Thailand Beaches West Coast (Nov - Apr), April 2014

Video

Articles on Thailand

Crossing the border: our journey along the Burma Railway

Posted on Wed, 29 Oct 2014

The path from Burma to Thailand is a dark one, but it makes an amazing story. We decided to follow it, tracing the Burma Railway all the way from Yangon to Bangkok.

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A 5 step guide to sailing the high seas

Posted on Mon, 27 Oct 2014

There are a lot of myths about sailing the high seas, but with Intrepid's handy 5-step guide you'll be ship shape in no time.

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Does Thailand live up to family expectations?

Posted on Sat, 26 Jul 2014

Could a family adventure in Thailand match up to your average resort holiday? Ben Roseveare compares the two.

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Thailand travels: 5 unforgettable memories and a video

Posted on Wed, 19 Feb 2014

Intrepid’s Kat Cayley explains why her eight-day ‘Explore Northern Thailand‘ adventure inspired lasting memories… “I chose this trip for its diversity. From the colourful hustle and bustle of Bangkok to [...]

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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

Trips Available: 16
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 that 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 visit to avoid the crowds.

Bangkok weather chart

Culture and customs

Thai woman of akha in traditional 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

Array of Thai noodles for sale on the streets of Bangkok 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

Longtail boat tied up on the shores of 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 stretching across temple 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

Fresh local cuisine available on floating markets of Bangkok Landscape view of Ancient Ayutthaya Hilltribe women in 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 market handmade market local product umbrella

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: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
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