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
18 Apr 2015 Thailand Family Holiday 12 $1395
21 Apr 2015 Thailand Discovery 8 $730
22 Apr 2015 Sail Ko Phi Phi to Phuket 4 $623
26 Apr 2015 Explore Northern Thailand 8 $830
26 Apr 2015 Singapore to Bangkok Adventure 13 $1135

All our Thailand trips

Burma to Thailand

14 days from
USD $2,330
CAD $2,395
AUD $2,355
EUR €1,620
GBP £1,360
NZD $2,625
ZAR R23,575
CHF FR1,960

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

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Explore Northern Thailand

8 days from
USD $830
CAD $855
AUD $840
EUR €575
GBP £485
NZD $935
ZAR R8,370
CHF FR695

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 $890
CAD $920
AUD $925
EUR €620
GBP £520
NZD $1,000
ZAR R8,985
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 $890
CAD $920
AUD $925
EUR €620
GBP £525
NZD $1,005
ZAR R8,985
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 Discovery

8 days from
USD $730
CAD $750
AUD $740
EUR €495
GBP £430
NZD $825
ZAR R7,385
CHF FR600

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 $1,395
CAD $1,435
AUD $1,410
EUR €970
GBP £815
NZD $1,575
ZAR R14,075
CHF FR1,175

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 $1,470
CAD $1,520
AUD $1,490
EUR €1,020
GBP £860
NZD $1,660
ZAR R14,915
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 $870
CAD $895
AUD $880
EUR €605
GBP £510
NZD $980
ZAR R8,765
CHF FR735

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 $1,463
CAD $1,508
AUD $1,526
EUR €1,008
GBP £843
NZD $1,652
ZAR R14,826
CHF FR1,221

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 $1,260
CAD $1,300
AUD $1,275
EUR €950
GBP £740
NZD $1,420
ZAR R12,725
CHF FR1,150

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 $1,550
CAD $1,600
AUD $1,615
EUR €1,070
GBP £905
NZD $1,745
ZAR R15,720
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 $765
CAD $790
AUD $775
EUR €535
GBP £450
NZD $865
ZAR R7,750
CHF FR645

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 $1,135
CAD $1,165
AUD $1,145
EUR €930
GBP £655
NZD $1,280
ZAR R11,455
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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Thailand Beaches West Coast (Nov - Apr)

9 days from
USD $1,080
CAD $1,115
AUD $1,095
EUR €735
GBP £630
NZD $1,220
ZAR R10,960
CHF FR905

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

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Active Chiang Mai

4 days from
USD $380
CAD $392
AUD $385
EUR €265
GBP £222
NZD $427
ZAR R3,852
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 $1,820
CAD $1,880
AUD $1,845
EUR €1,240
GBP £1,065
NZD $2,045
ZAR R18,435
CHF FR1,485

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 $880
CAD $905
AUD $890
EUR €610
GBP £515
NZD $990
ZAR R8,865
CHF FR740

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 $1,180
CAD $1,205
AUD $1,195
EUR €815
GBP £690
NZD $1,330
ZAR R11,915
CHF FR985

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

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Cambodia Adventure

12 days from
USD $695
CAD $715
AUD $700
EUR €480
GBP £405
NZD $780
ZAR R7,005
CHF FR585

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

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Beautiful Thailand

15 days from
USD $1,385
CAD $1,430
AUD $1,400
EUR €955
GBP £810
NZD $1,560
ZAR R14,010
CHF FR1,160

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

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Cambodia Discovery

12 days from
USD $695
CAD $715
AUD $700
EUR €480
GBP £405
NZD $780
ZAR R7,005
CHF FR585

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

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Thailand Family Sailing

7 days from
USD $1,690
CAD $1,745
AUD $1,760
EUR €1,165
GBP £990
NZD $1,910
ZAR R17,140
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 Bali

28 days from
USD $3,620
CAD $3,735
AUD $3,665
EUR €2,520
GBP £2,115
NZD $4,075
ZAR R36,655
CHF FR3,055

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 $1,075
CAD $1,115
AUD $1,090
EUR €725
GBP £630
NZD $1,215
ZAR R10,885
CHF FR900

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 $2,020
CAD $2,085
AUD $2,040
EUR €1,410
GBP £1,180
NZD $2,275
ZAR R20,420
CHF FR1,690

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 $623
CAD $644
AUD $647
EUR €434
GBP £364
NZD $700
ZAR R6,289
CHF FR518

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

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River Kwai & Ancient Kingdoms

3 days from
USD $522
CAD $540
AUD $530
EUR €365
GBP £305
NZD $590
ZAR R5,305
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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Hilltribe Experience

5 days from
USD $420
CAD $432
AUD $425
EUR €292
GBP £245
NZD $472
ZAR R4,255
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 $582
CAD $602
AUD $590
EUR €405
GBP £340
NZD $657
ZAR R5,905
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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Sail Ko Phi Phi to Phuket

4 days from
USD $623
CAD $644
AUD $647
EUR €434
GBP £367
NZD $703
ZAR R6,289
CHF FR518

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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Chiang Mai & Elephants

3 days from
USD $425
CAD $437
AUD $430
EUR €295
GBP £247
NZD $477
ZAR R4,305
CHF FR357

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

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Phuket Family Sailing

7 days from
USD $1,710
CAD $1,765
AUD $1,730
EUR €1,165
GBP £1,000
NZD $1,925
ZAR R17,305
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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Bangkok Stopover

3 days from
USD $325
CAD $337
AUD $330
EUR €227
GBP £190
NZD $367
ZAR R3,302
CHF FR275

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

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Cambodian Traveller German

9 days from
USD $850
CAD $875
AUD $860
EUR €590
GBP £495
NZD $1,110
ZAR R8,570
CHF FR715

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

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Classic Indochina Adventure

21 days from
USD $5,355
CAD $5,525
AUD $5,250
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 $985
CAD $995
AUD $995
EUR €685
GBP £575
NZD $1,110
ZAR R9,960
CHF FR830

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 Journey

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 $1,510
CAD $1,560
AUD $1,530
EUR €1,165
GBP £885
NZD $1,700
ZAR R15,270
CHF FR1,410

Thailand has been a traveller's favourite for decades, and there is little wonder why. Beautiful beaches, quaint hill...

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Laos and Mekong Discovery

9 days from
USD $1,675
CAD $1,730
AUD $1,700
EUR €1,100
GBP £985
NZD $1,890
ZAR R16,975
CHF FR1,330

Travel to South-East Asia and discover the region's natural beauty, delicious food and lively spirit on a trip that...

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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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Phuket Sailing Adventure

7 days from
USD $1,085
CAD $1,120
AUD $1,130
EUR €749
GBP £633
NZD $1,221
ZAR R11,004
CHF FR906

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

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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

Nine reasons Laos should be on your bucket list

Posted on Mon, 23 Feb 2015

Small on fuss, big on awesome. Laos could be your favourite destination in Southeast Asia.

Read more

Time for a digital detox: why you should go analogue for your next trip

Posted on Fri, 16 Jan 2015

What if you had to travel without the collected knowledge of humanity in your pocket? Relying only on analogue technology. What a challenge that would be.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

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 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