Something for everyone, Thailand offers a myriad of experiences that can be both pleasant and challenging. Its ancient past leads to rich historical sites in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Sukhothai while the northern provinces make excellent cultural attractions in the settlements of the unique hill-tribe people. Known for its abundance of amazing beaches and strikingly emerald waters, Krabi Province and Chumphon Archipelago will not disappoint beach lovers.
As the gateway to Southeast Asia, Thailand's 11 international airports are well served by both intercontinental and continental flights. The country is also properly connected with roads to all its neighbours at the borders such as Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, while traveling by train is only available from Malaysia. However, ferry services are only limited to Indonesia and Malaysia.
The official currency is the Baht and it is also generally the only accepted currency in Thailand. Thanks to its highly developed tourism industry, ATMs are widely available in all cities and large towns while credit cards are usually accepted in major tourist areas. However, small villages and islands might not have these financial facilities so you should carry some cash with you when traveling outside of the cities. Money changers can be found in city areas and some hotels provide this service too, though usually at a less favourable rate.
The official language is Thai and you will find that locals mainly converse in it. In touristy areas within major cities like Bangkok and Chiangmai, many people can speak in basic English. You can sometimes see local businessmen converse in English in business areas as they like to show that they are educated and have high social status. Bear in mind that once you head outside of the cities, it will be very unlikely to find someone who can speak English.
With a typical tropical weather, the best time to visit Thailand, is from November to February, which is also the peak tourist season. In northern Thailand, June to October is the wet season and experiences the lowest temperatures from October to January. In the south, the wettest months are from April to October on the west coast while September to December is characterised by heavy rainfalls on the east coast.
A global culinary phenomenon, Thai food can be refreshingly appetising with its tangy salads and satisfyingly filling with its hearty curries. Defined as the perfect marriage between sweet, sour, and spicy, Thai cuisines often make use of a myriad of fresh local produce and herbs to create its unique taste. You can sample these amazing eats at an astoundingly affordable price on the streets or at an extravagant 5-star restaurant.
On the other hand, Thailand’s nightlife is as varied as they come, from sleazy a go-go bars to classy upscale establishments and quirky-themed cocktail lounges to massive al-fresco parties by the beach. Quench your thirst with the standard beer and cocktails, or try one of Thailand’s crazy concoction, usually at relatively affordable prices. One thing is for sure, the pulsating nightlife here is something to behold.
Traveling in Thailand
Thailand is well connected by road and trains with regular services running between major cities, making traveling long distance an ease. However, since it is a big country, you might save yourself a lot of precious time by flying between the nation’s large network of more than 20 airports.
You will also have many options for getting from one place to another within the cities. Buses, tuk-tuks, minibuses, and motorcycle taxis are cheap modes of transport. Metered taxis are everywhere in Bangkok and Chiangmai but rare in other parts of the country.
The bustling and dynamic cities of Thailand could sometimes seem overwhelming but relaxing escapes are just doorsteps away in the form of tranquil beaches and charming countryside. However, the assurance of friendly people and mouthwatering food certainly make the country a prime tourist destination in Asia.