Thailand, ”the land of smiles” attract every year millions of tourists. There are many good reasons. The warm and friendly Thai people is one of them. There is a smile on every face you see. The land itself is one of the easiest countries to travel around and has many diverse highlights. It’s a blend of gold- spired temples and Buddha’s, white palm-fringed beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, impressive historical sites, high mountain peaks and tropical rain forests. There is something for everyone and you can visit Thailand almost year round due to its favorable climate.

Highlights Thailand

Bangkok: Almost every backpacking trip through Asia starts here. You can call Bangkok the capital of Southeast Asia. On every corner you can book a ticket to wherever in the world and meet fellow travelers to share the first part of your itinerary with. But the city has more. Mesmerizing temples like Wat Arun and Wat Po and the Grand Palace. Bangkok is home to world’s best street food vendors, a brilliant restaurants scene and glamorous rooftops. What’s better then start your trip with a cocktail on one of the cities best rooftops and dine at Bangkok’s top tables? We sorted out the best for you and made two handpicked lists of our favorites:Hotspots Bangkok and Top Tables in Bangkok. For insider tips, check Bangkok Local Tips Parin.

Chiang Mai: Thailand’s second biggest city is perfect to relax and unwind after chaotic Bangkok. The city has everything you need: healthy food, yoga schools, beautiful (old) temples, hip coffee spots, cool bars and cafe’s and it is surrounded by beautiful forested mountains to go for a hike. These are 10 Must do’s in Chiang Mai.

Pai: A small hippie village located in the Mae Hong Son province in Northern Thailand surrounded by a lush green mountain valley. From Chiang Mai it’s a 3,5 hour curvy uphill road (around 150 bath by minivan). Read more about it in our article:Where to stay and what to do in Pai.

Sukhothai: It was the first capital city of the country and today it is one of the most visited ancient sites (UNESCO World Heritage) in Thailand next to Ayuthaya. If you are interested in ancient temples, you’ll love it and it is more serene then Ayuthaya. Read more about our visit at Sukhothai.

Visit the Islands: Thailand is surrounded by hundreds pristine bounty islands. Many of them are already well known by backpackers, but there are still a few paradise islands left that are less visited. Kho Yao Noi is one of them and it is heavenly beautiful. It is situated in the middle of Phang Nga Bay and has the most beautiful view you’ve ever seen. If you are into diving, the Similan Islands are listed as the best dive sites in Thailand. It’s a tropical paradise with long coral reefs, clear blue waters and fine white sanded beaches. If you are a beginner, head to Koh Tao. It is filled with dive schools, perfect for your first dive and to meet fellow backpackers. For a relaxed hippie vibe head to island Koh Lanta. It is less touristy, and has the longest beaches in Thailand. Interested to experience a crowded full moon party? Go to Koh Phangnan. Head North on the island for a more relaxed vibe, beautiful white sanded beaches, clear blue waters and a tropical rainforest.

National Parks: There is a large variety of national parks in Thailand. The oldest and most visited one -just 120 kilometers from Bangkok- is Khao Yai National Park. The park is home to many waterfalls and wildlife like tigers, elephants, bears, gibbons and more than 400 bird species. National park Khao Sok is a beautiful photogenic nature reserve covered by green rainforest with huge limestone mountains, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes and wild animals. For both parks, avoid the crowded weekends and holidays and stay over at least one night on a floating house or in a tent for a sweet sunrise.

Best time to travel Thailand
Thailand has three seasons. The raining season from May-October, the cool season from November-February and the hot season from March-May. The rain season is the least predictable of the three and worth considering when thinking about the best time to visit. The coolest season is the best time with temperatures still reaching 30 degrees

Getting around
Traveling around is easy, you can choose from a wide range of transport. Buses that are fast, cheap and frequent, trains are slower but if you choose a sleeper it saves you a day and night at a hotel. In town you can get a songthaew (a shared open-ended van with two facing benches) or tuk-tuk and in bigger city’s a taxi. You can also choose for an air-conditioned minivan and ferries provide easy access to all islands. For a longer distance you can take a plane.

The official languages spoken in Thailand is Thai, also known as Siamese.

Travel documents
For the Dutch; you need a passport, which is still valid for at least six months upon arrival. If you enter Thailand by flight a thirty day visa is given for free at the airport. If you arrive by land a 15 day visa is given at the border for free. If you received a 30-day stay permit on arrival you have a tourist visa, which you can extend by 30 days. If you received a 15 days stay permit on arrival, you can extend it only by 7 days. You can extend your visa at the immigration office in Bangkok and need to show your ticket out of Thailand.

Thailand has many sweet places to stay from design (backpackers-) hostels to peaceful villas, boutique hotels and dreamy beautiful (honeymoon-) resorts.

Yellow fever is obliged if you come from a country or have been to a transit with a high risk on yellow fever. DTP and hepatitis A and typhoid are recommended when traveling in Thailand

In Thailand you pay in Thai bath. Check the up to date rate of the Thai bath here.

Time difference
Compared to Holland, in wintertime there is a 6-hour time difference and during summer it’s 5 hours later.

In Thailand power outlets most commonly feature two-prong round or flat sockets. Read more here.

Fresh Water
You can’t drink water from the tap. Always check if the bottled water you buy is sealed. Save the environment and buy only five-liter packages to refill your small bottle.

Before booking a ticket always check the up to date travel advice (Dutch).