Budget prices, easy travelling, friendly people, and diverse attractions make Thailand one of Asia’s most popular backpacking destinations. Chill on gorgeous beaches, explore wildlife-rich jungles, party hard, and hit up gleaming temples - Thailand has it all! A must-visit on any backpacker list, here’s how to have an awesome Thailand adventure.

Thailand Backpacker scene

Thailand is renowned as a backpacking haven, and you’ll meet tons of new people at every turn. Backpacking in Thailand offers myriad memorable experiences. The Land of Smiles has many sides. It attracts a diverse crowd, including laid-back island lovers, vivacious party animals, spiritual seekers, foodies, social butterflies, introverts—you name it, you’ll find it in Thailand. Full of fun and adventure, a trip to Thailand can be a life-changing experience.

Planning your backpacking routes in Thailand

Feast at street stalls and markets: There’s no better way to savor Thailand’s delicious cuisine than at the plethora of street stalls and markets all around the country. Prices are unbelievably low, and you can eat well on a modest budget; there is definitely no need to go hungry in Thailand. In addition to well-known favorites, you will also find regional dishes that can be tricky to find elsewhere.

Relax and enjoy the ride: Delays happen, and plans change. Embrace the Thai concept of mai bpen rai (no worries), and keep your cool; losing your temper helps nobody! Go with the flow, and allow for flexibility in your plans to make the most of your trip. And remember: smiles can go a long way in Thailand.

Dress appropriately for your surroundings: Keep beachwear on the beaches, and be sensitive to your environment. Don’t wear the same togs for partying on the islands and visiting temples. Outside of prime tourist areas, Thais are quite modest; show some cultural awareness when exploring to avoid offending locals and embarrassing yourself.

Suggested backpacking itineraries

Your personal Thailand Backpacking Route will depend on how long you have to travel, your budget and the time of year. You may want to avoid certain places during the monsoon season, for example. Here are some rough Thailand backpacking itineraries to give you some ideas! Please remember, that these routes take in some of the country’s highlights, but there are loads of destinations off the beaten track to explore too! See more places to visit in Thailand below the itineraries…

#1 - Northern Thailand Backpacking Route!

A popular Northern Thailand backpacking route will start in Bangkok, spending 2-3 days in the bustling capital before starting to head up north.

On your way up north, stop off at Thailand’s ancient capital of Sukhothai in order to break up your journey.

Arrive in Chiang Mai and spend a few days visiting the city’s best temples and trying some cultural activities. If you have more time and want to explore the countryside, why not organise yourself a Chiang Mai trek!

Head three hours west to Pai, a bohemian mountain escape.

Head further west to Mae Hong Son, a beautiful lakeside town, gateway to amazing mountain scenery.

Spend a night in the little-visited mountain town of Mae Sariang.

Head to Doi Inthanon to take in Thailand’s highest mountain.

Head back to Chiang Mai.

Go north three hours to Chiang Rai to visit the White Temple.

Continue to Chiang Khong, the border of Laos, where you can start your backpacking adventure in Laos! Or fly back to Bangkok from Chiang Mai (one hour flight).

Exploring Northern Thailand is Great For:

  • Travelers on a budget: The north is cheaper. While a plate of noodles will cost you 50 Thai Baht in the South, the same bowl will cost you just 30 Baht in the north.
  • Mountain and Nature Lovers: This route takes in amazing mountain scenery, offers the opportunity to visit ethnic minority villages, go trekking and caving.
  • Those seeking the ‘real Thailand’: While we hate the word ‘authentic’, many parts of the north are less touristy than the south and offer a real local experience for travelers.

#2 - Southern Thailand Backpacking Route!

Like most backpacking Thailand routes, this one begins in Bangkok. You’ll spend a few days in the capital before catching an overnight train south to Chumphon.

Take a ferry to the island of Koh Tao, the most popular place in Thailand to learn to dive. Spend a few days getting your Open Water Course (PADI or SSI), try snorkelling or just chill on the island’s beautiful beaches.

From here, catch the ferry just one hour to Koh Phangan where you can experience the Full Moon Party (if the timing is right) or explore the completely different yogi scene of the west coast.

Catch a ferry back to the mainland and head for the awesome Khao Sok National Park for jungle adventures and elephant spotting!

Take a minibus to Krabi and head to the drop-dead gorgeous Railay Beach. Learn to rock climb, trek to a lagoon, visit a penis cave… (for more info on that see our Railay guide!)

Catch a boat to Koh Lanta for some serious beach time.

Pick a paradise island of your choice in the Andaman Sea and play castaway for a few days…

From here, you can head to the island of Koh Lipe and onward to Malaysia or fly back to Bangkok from nearby Krabi Airport.

Exploring Southern Thailand is Great For

  • Beach Bums: It’s no secret that Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the itinerary above takes in some of the best!
  • Curry lovers: Penang curry and Massaman curry are some of Thailand’s most delicious dishes and they’re best eaten in the south!

#3 - The COMBO: North & South Thailand Backpacking Route!

If you’re looking to explore parts of the north and the south of Thailand, then this itinerary is for you!

  • Start in Bangkok, explore the capital for a few days, taking a day trip to the ancient kingdom of Ayutthaya.
  • Take the overnight train north to Chiang Mai for temple hopping and cultural activities such as Muay Thai, Thai massage, cooking classes, or visit an elephant sanctuary (make sure you choose an ethical elephant sanctuary like BEES or Never Forget).
  • Take a minibus three hours west to the backpacker hangout of Pai with its beautiful mountain scenery and wicked nightlife.
  • Complete the Mae Hong Son Loop over a few days, or simply head back to Chiang Mai.
  • Catch a cheap flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi to start your South Thailand adventure.
  • Start in Railay, a jaw-dropping bay which has some of the best rock climbing in the world.
  • Take a ferry to Koh Lanta for amazing beaches, snorkeling, caving and waterfall adventures. From here, you can take a day trip to a paradise island of your choice dotted in the Andaman Sea.
  • Head back to the mainland and make a bee-line for the epic Khao Sok National Park for jungle trekking and floating bungalows.
  • From Khao Sok, take a minibus to Surat Thani, jumping off point for Koh Phangan, famous for the Full Moon Party. If that’s not your scene, you can indulge in some yoga, meditation or any number of hippie activities.
  • Take a ferry just one hour to Koh Tao where diving is the order of the day. Take your Open Water Course (PADI or SSI) or just try some snorkeling in the clear warm waters.

Places to visit

Bangkok, Thailand’s Capital

Start in Bangkok, a thriving metropolis of old and new. Where speedy tuk-tuks transport you from ancient temple to glitzy shopping mall. Experience the famous Khao San Road, the bustling backpacker hub of South East Asia and the gateway to your backpacking adventure…

Did you know? Bangkok in the Thai language has the longest name for a city in the world, consisting of 32 separate Thai words. (Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit).

Learn more about Bangkok here

Northern Thailand

Lush mountainous scenery dotted with gushing waterfalls, lakes and rivers amidst bright green rice fields, Northern Thailand is one of the most unspoiled and beautiful areas in Thailand. Home to the highest mountain in the land (Doi Inthanon), Northern Thailand enjoys a cooler climate than the rest of the country, with temperatures reaching freezing in the highest areas.

A variety of outdoor pursuits can be enjoyed here; from mountain biking, trekking, hiking, rock climbing, rafting and kayaking. Many backpackers come here to visit an elephant sanctuary – where former working and street elephants are now being cared for. Northern Thailand is also home to the country’s ethnic minorities; the Karen and Hmong hill tribes and opportunities to arrange a homestay in a traditional village are available.

Chiang Mai – Capital of the North

Most backpackers start their explorations of Northern Thailand in the unofficial “capital of the north”, Chiang Mai. Despite what other travel guides will tell you, Chiang Mai is not a small quaint city with quiet streets full of Thai charm. It’s a large, modern and traffic-ridden city that has more tacky tourist attractions than you’d like to believe.

Its bustling weekend markets, hipster cafes and variety of cultural activities lure tourists from all over the world, most notably, nearby China. The city is also home to a fervent digital nomad scene and has more expats than any other city in Thailand. For a truthful take on the city, see this article.

However, if you travel to Chiang Mai without false expectations, the city is undoubtedly a great place to visit. It’s cheap, has amazing street food, markets and just outside the city, there is spectacular countryside to explore. One of the best things to do is go trekking in the national parks around the city. 

Chiang Mai is also a fantastic place to lap up some Thai culture: learn about Muay Thai Boxing, indulge in Thai massage, try a yoga class or a retreat, take a cooking class or perhaps explore your spiritual side with a Vipassana meditation retreat in a Thai monastery.
Pai – The Backpacker Favourite

Many backpackers fall in love with the bohemian town of Pai, set in a lush green valley surrounded by waterfalls, hot springs and canyons. In recent years the town has become a hotspot for backpacker nightlife and mushroom shakes. If you’re backpacking in Pai and you’re over 30, better read this!

Quieter Towns and Provinces in the North of Thailand

Chiang Rai – Maybe you prefer the quieter town of Chiang Rai with the incredible White Temple and juxtaposing Black House. Plus, the opportunity to get off the beaten track and go trekking to visit ethnic minority groups in the area.

Chiang Dao – Just two hours north of Chiang Mai, why not stop off for a night or two, at beautiful Chiang Dao, famous for its bird watching and nature. All of the places mentioned are great places to arrange a trek into the nearby hills and visit hill tribe villages.

Mae Hong Son – Further West towards the Burmese border, the mountainous landscape of Mae Hong Son will blow your mind! For the more mature traveller, this beautiful lakeside town is blessed with great restaurants, a fun night market and gorgeous biking or hiking opportunities.

Phayao – Head East by bus or on a motorbike adventure to the little-visited lakeside town of Phayao for an authentic slice of northern Thai life! National Parks and waterfalls in this area abound.

Nan Province – A wild mountainous landscape with amazing national parks, hill tribe villages and windy roads just perfect for motorbiking. This is a little-visited area of Thailand where locals will be amazed to see ‘farang’ (foreigners).

On the Burmese Border

Mae Sot – For a taste of Myanmar in Thailand, visit Mae Sot with its Burmese culture and food and a mix of ethnic minorities. Many travellers cross the border here into Myanmar at the border town of Mayawaddy. Hpa An is your first destination in Myanmar!

Mae Salong – Right on the northern border with Burma near the Golden Triangle, this strange little town feels more like China than Thailand with its tea plantations and Chinese Temples. The scenery around here is spectacular and it gets pretty cold up here in the winter!

Northeastern Thailand

Isaan – North-eastern Thailand, also known as ‘Isaan’ is a very special side of Thailand that backpackers rarely get to see. This huge region is a vast empty area of rice fields that go on forever and authentic farming villages were it’s very rare to see a foreign (farang) face. You can explore this region

Nong Khai – Before heading into Laos, many backpackers stay at the lively border town between Laos and Thailand of Nong Khai – famous for the mysterious ‘fireball festival’ every November. This border town is considered part of Isaan too.

Central Thailand

Central Thailand is a highly compact, diverse and fascinating place of high cultural interest, where you’ll find Thailand’s 24-hour hectic capital city Bangkok (Krung Thep in local language), ancient ruins, vast national parks and even tropical islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
Islands Close to Bangkok

From Bangkok, escape to the nearby tropical islands of Koh Chang (Thailand’s second biggest island), Koh Samet and the smaller and less touristy Koh Si Chang – all within a five hour journey from the ‘Big Mango’, you’ll feel a million miles away from the traffic and noise as you laze on the gorgeous white sandy beaches.

Koh Kood

Koh Kood is an island, practically devoid of tourists, just two hours from the larger island of Koh Chang. The scene here is totally different, with deserted beaches, mangrove forests and empty roads great for exploring. Truly off the beaten track.

History and Culture in Central Thailand

If you’re looking for culture, travel just one hour north to visit Thailand’s former Siamese capital – Ayutthaya to take a walk amidst ancient temples and kingdoms. Further north, on the way to Chiang Mai, you’ll also find the even older Thai capital, Sukhothai with its 70km historical park and hundreds of temple ruins. More ruins and cultural interest, this time from the ancient Khmer Empire, can be found east towards Isaan with Phimai Historical Park – Thailand’s answer to Angkor Wat.

Khao Yai National Park

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure and fresh air, head east from Bangkok just three hours to Khao Yai National Park for trekking and nature trails.

Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi

A backpacker favourite three hours West of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi provides dirt cheap accommodation and access to the beautiful countryside; waterfalls, endless rice fields and fruit trees, as well as the infamous River Kwai Bridge.

Head further east still towards the Burmese border and you’ll come across Sangkhlaburi – a little visited tranquil town with amazing scenery and interesting cultural diversity.

Hua Hin

For those looking for a more holiday feel, royal retreat Hua Hin fits the bill with a wide sandy beach, horse riding, kite surfing, seafood restaurants, golf courses and lively bars. Further down, you’ll find the lovely seaside town of Prachuap Khiri Khan with a great beach, lively markets and laid-back expat town.

Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

The little-visited Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park can be easily reached from Hua Hin and is one of the loveliest and least visited national parks in Thailand. Camp overnight on a deserted beach and visit the legendary Phraya Nakhon Cave. From here, you can also pay a visit to the nearby Kui Buri National Park which is the best place to spot wild elephants in Thailand.

South Thailand

This is the Thailand paradise you’ve seen on postcards. White sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and colourful long tail boats bobbing on translucent turquoise waters, Thailand has more than its fair share of gorgeous tropical beaches and islands and yes, it’s true they do look like the photographs.

Both the Gulf of Thailand on the East coast and the Andaman coast on the West offer amazing snorkelling and diving, activities from Muay Thai boxing to jungle trekking and a plethora of great restaurants, bars and crazy nightlife.

South West Coast (The Andaman)

Phuket – Avoid

You’ll be faced with the effects of the original Thai tourism boom in the most overdeveloped and largest island in Thailand, Phuket. However, you can still find quieter areas if you hire a motorbike and take the time to explore and cultural Phuket town is worth a visit. All in all, this is the place in Thailand that we would recommend the least to first-time visitors.

Khao Lak – For Divers

A bit further up north, you’ll find Khao Lak, located in Phang Nga province. Khao Lak is a National Park and a jumping off point for the Similan and Surin Islands, a divers paradise for live-aboard adventures amongst the pristine reefs.


Krabi is a province in Southern Thailand, famous for its limestone karst scenery, it is comprised of Koh Phi Phi, Railay and Ton Sai beach, as well as the island of Koh Lanta and neighbouring islands such as Koh Ngai and Koh Jum.

Once a huge hit with backpackers, Koh Phi Phi has recently become an island that many travellers are choosing to avoid due to the over-development of its undoubtedly beautiful landscapes. Famous for The Beach, Maya Bay is one of the most visited places in Thailand thanks to Leonardo Di Caprio. However, these days it is suffering from over-exploitation and environmental damage and authorities decided to close it in summer 2018 to prevent further damage.

Nearby Railay and Ton Sai beaches located on the mainland yet inaccessible by road are popular amongst the rock climbing crew. The coastal limestone karst scenery offers some of the most spectacular rock climbing in the world.

If you’re looking for a lovely island on the west coast of Thailand, chilled out Koh Lanta is an underrated castaway island which is fantastic to explore by scooter making a stop at beautiful beach after beach.

East Coast (Gulf of Thailand)

Hopping over to the other side of the Peninsula, you’ll find Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. The glitzy, the wild and the sporty.

Chumphon – Jumping Off Point

Chumphon, on the mainland, is a neglected spot as people jump on the morning ferry to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan and fail to explore the deserted beaches and rainforests of the area. Surat Thani is another jumping off point for the Thai islands and where AirAsia fly to and the buses from the north arrive.

Koh Samui – Avoid

Flashpackers and holidaymakers will delight in Koh Samui‘s abundance of restaurants, activities and nightlife (although we don’t recommend it for backpackers). Personally, I think it’s a tacky, overpriced touristy island with very little left in the way of culture. The beaches are mostly ruined and the locals are fed up of serving drunk blokes on a stag do.

Koh Phangan – Full Moon Party & Yogis

The island of Koh Phangan lures thousands of backpackers each month to experience the most famous best beach party in the world – the Full Moon Party. However, this isn’t the only thing the island is famous for. Recently, a rather controversial new age community of yogis and hippies has sprung up on the West coast of the island bringing tantra, reiki, rainbow healing and a whole host of other new age therapies to make money out of spiritual seeking backpackers.

Koh Tao – For Divers

In nearby Koh Tao, diving is the order of the day and many backpackers get their underwater licence by taking an Open Water Course. You can take the course with a PADI certified school or an SSI certified school. (The links go to our recommended providers). Courses cost around $280 USD. For a complete guide to diving in Koh Tao see here.

Make sure you take a day trip to the beautiful Ang Thong Marine Park while you’re in the area.

Khanom – Hidden Gem

Located on the mainland Khanom is a hidden gem that’s overlooked by most travellers in favour of the more popular Gulf Islands. However, those who stop here a while will be rewarded with empty beaches, mangrove forests, waterfalls, beautiful landscapes and the opportunity to spot pink dolphins!

Koh Lipe

Further south you’ll find tropical paradise Koh Lipe which remains (for now) a tranquil haven, far removed from some of the busier islands – make sure you visit now before it’s too late!

Khao Sok National Park

In between the skinny strip of land that separates the two coastlines you’ll find Khao Sok National Park, one of the oldest rain-forests in the world, home to many wild beasts such as the Malayan Tapir, the Asian Elephant, Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Pig Tailed Macaque, White Handed Gibbon and even bears and tigers! See the official Thai National Park website for more info.

Hat Yai

This city lies close to the Malaysian border and is a popular spot with both Thai and Malay tourists. Despite this, most backpackers rarely make it this far south. Hat Yai is often skipped over, although it is home to some stunning religious sites and also boasts the beautiful Ton Nga Chang Waterfall.

Top 15 Things to do & see

1. Visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pho

Thailand’s royal palace was built at the end of the 18th century by King Rama I and is the official residence of the current monarch (though he doesn’t live there anymore; now it’s just used for ceremonies). It’s a striking place filled with numerous temples, including Wat Pra Kaeo, which houses the 15th-century Emerald Buddha. Nearby Wat Pho is famous for two things: a larger-than-life golden reclining Buddha statue and a very relaxing massage school.

2. Hop around the ancient capitals

Between Chiang Mai and Bangkok are Thailand’s three ancient capitals – Sukhothai, Lopburi, and Ayutthaya. Visiting them on your way north is a unique way to head from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. You’ll get to learn about ancient Thailand and see rural life at its best. My favorite is Ayutthaya.

3. Relax on tropical islands

Thailand has a million and one beautiful tropical islands. Some are overdeveloped, while others only have a single bungalow on them. You’ll find everything here. Some of the best islands here are – Ko Samet, Ko Taruato, Ko Lanta, Ko Chang, Ko Tao, Ko Jum, Ko Lipe, Ko Phi Phi, Phuket, the Similan Islands, and Ko Samui.

4. Partake in the Full Moon Party

If you like partying, there’s no better party in the world than the famous Full Moon Party. The Full Moon Party is a giant festival-like party with a lot of drinking, dancing, and drugs. Each bar has its own sound system, so you’ll hear different music loudly blasting onto the beach every few feet. The beach itself is lined with people selling alcohol, fire dancers putting on shows, and little booths selling glow-in-the-dark face paint. Sure, it is super touristy but that doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of fun and it’s as much a part of Thailand as anything else.

Here is everything you need to know about Koh Phangan Full Moon Party

5. Go jungle trekking

There are some great jungle trekking opportunities in northern Thailand. Be sure to go on a multi-day hike. The shorter hikes aren’t as good and the hill tribes you visit are like visiting a rural impoverished Disney World. The biggest departure points are Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Don’t book any tours ahead of time, you can book these sorts of outings through the hostel or hostel you’re staying in closeby. If you book online ahead of time, you will pay more.

6. Go scuba diving in the Similan Islands

Scuba diving here is a popular activity because of the crystal clear waters and majestic sea life. The cheapest place to learn is on the island of Ko Tao, which caters specifically for dive trips. Most people don’t go unless they’re planning on diving. While you can dive all over the country, the Similan Islands offer the best diving. If you dive the Similan Islands, be sure to see Elephant Head Rock, and the reef houses plenty of fish, snappers, rays, and turtles. Day trips start at 3,700 THB (110 USD).

7. Learn to cook

Thai food is delicious and it’s relatively easy to cook. All over the country, you’ll find places to teach you, though the best are in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Even if you don’t plan to cook back home, at least you get to spend a day making and eating scrumptious food. Try the Chiang Mai Kitchen Cooking School, with courses starting at 800 THB (24 USD). There’s also Ko Chang Thai Cooking with courses starting from 1,200 THB (36 USD).

8. Explore the Khmer temples in Isaan

There are many temples built throughout the region, all along the ancient roads connecting Angkor to the other villages. The largest of these is Phimai, located at the end of the ancient highway. In the Buriram province are two other magnificent Khmer temples only a few kilometers apart. Phanom Rung built on top of a hill and Muang Tum which is at the base of the hill.

9. Get off the trail in Isaan

One of the most under visited areas of the country, Isaan is mostly a land of farms and villages. This is a great place to escape the frantic tourist atmosphere of the rest of the country. It is not overrun by tourists, and you get a chance to experience Thai culture in a different, more personal way. I think it’s one of the most interesting places in the country.

10. Take the day train

Taking the day train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is not only cheaper but a much better way to see the countryside than the night train. Sure, you waste a day but you see the countryside, you experience how Thais take the train, and you’re treated to vendors coming off and on every stop selling meals for 15 THB (0.45 USD). The day trip remains one of my favorite experiences in Thailand. Just make sure you have a good book!

11. The Elephant Nature Park

Sure you can come to Thailand and ride an elephant, but so many of them in this country suffer from abuse. An even better way to get up-close-and-personal to the animals is to volunteer at the Elephant Conservation Center near Chiang Mai. It’s a phenomenal place, allows you to give back to the community, and lets you help and play with these magnificent animals all a once. After coming here, you will know why you should NEVER ride an elephant in Thailand. A one-day visit costs 2,500 THB (75 USD) for adults.

12. Admire Wat Doi Suthep

This stunning Buddhist temples lies in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, 10 miles out of Chiang Mai. A tram or a trek up 300 steps will take you to the summit of Doi Suthep, where the glittering gold temple spire awaits you. The temple dates back to the 14th century and holds rare relics of Buddha. It’s really is too beautiful of a view to miss, so don’t leave Chiang Mai without visiting Wat Doi Suthep. Admission is 30 THB (0.90 USD). It’s open from 6am-6pm.

13. Visit the Golden Triangle

The point where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River is known as the Golden Triangle. You can take a boat and head to the Golden Triangle Park, or check out some of the many Buddha statues and markets.

14. Shop at the floating markets

Thailand is full of markets. Perhaps the most whimsical of these are the floating markets, which can be found throughout the country. Some of the best are Damnoen Saduak, in Ratchaburi, and the Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market in Bangkok. You’ll find rickety boats piled high with colorful goods and eats. You’ll get plenty of great photos! (Although it’s become majorly touristy to go to the floating markets, you’ll not want to miss a morning shopping from boat to boat.)

15. Motorbike through Northern Thailand

Around the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai areas, there are lots of great routes. Many people rent bikes and tour the scenery. You can take a day trip, or you can take a couple of days – whatever suits your schedule. The Mai Hong Son Province offers a great loop that you can do starting in Chiang Mai and ending in Pai. Note: Make sure if you’re renting a motorbike, you’re comfortable with driving it and never (ever) drink and drive.

Must-try experiences in Thailand

There is so damned much to see and do in Thailand. However, these are our quintessential must-try Thai experiences.

Meet Local People in Thailand

The people in Thailand are some of the kindest and warmest people I have come across. The friendly aura of the Thai people is immediately noticed stepping off the plane, and despite Thailand being famous for its beaches and jungles, it's the people I come back for.

Thais are friendly, unpretentious, and generous. I feel like as a traveler it's still easy to make connections with Thais, whether it's at the market or at a bar.

Moreover, Thais are pretty accepting of different sexualities. While backpacking Thailand you'll hear about "ladyboys" a lot. Thais widely accept transgender people, as well as same-sex couples.

What to Eat in Thailand

Thai food is honestly amazing. Their noodles and curries are full of flavor without being too heavy.

  • Tom Yung Goong: A soup blended with fragrant lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves, shallots, and lime juice with fresh prawns and straw mushrooms.
  • Red Curry: Red curry paste made with coconut milk and meat, as well as kaffir lime leaves.
  • Pad Thai: A delicious noodle dish with a fish and peanut based sauce, as well as chili powder. This is probably the most internationally recognized dish in Thailand.
  • Khao Soi: This soup-like rice noodle curry dish is the most popular dish in the North of Thailand. It's made with deep fried and boiled egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime, ground chilies, and meat in coconut milk curry.

Festivals in Thailand

Thailand has a lot of great festivals, but the two best are Songkran and the Festival of Light:

  • Songkran: Held in mid-April this is Thailand's traditional New Year. The entire country takes to the streets in the most epic water fights imaginable. I'm talking, water guns and buckets, people driving by in trucks spraying everyone in their path, etc. Everyone is having a good time, people are drinking, but not stupidly so, and it's a great way to have fun with Thais and experience their culture. The biggest celebrations are in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
  • Loy Krathong (The Festival of Light): On the day itself, thousands of people will gather along canals and rivers, to set their Krathongs (made with banana leaves and beautiful flowers) free into the waters to float away.

In Chiang Mai, Khom Loy are also added to the celebration of Yee Peng Festival, which are ‘floating lanterns’ released the night of the festival.

Scuba Diving in Thailand on a Liveaboard Trip

Thailand has some of the world's best scuba diving venues (psst - the Similan Islands are sublime). The problem is, the word is out. Millions of tourists flock to Thailand every year to enjoy the wonderful diving the country has to offer.

Sadly, many of the ultra-popular Thai Islands' coral reef systems have been damaged by high human traffic volume.

If you love Scuba Diving there is still a great way to go diving minus the tourist hordes and further environmental impact.

Considering joining a Liveaboard trip. Most Liveaboard boats go to remote regions the average dive shop will not take you.

Eat, sleep, dive, repeat. That is the name of the game. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Thailand backpacking costs

While not voted the cheapest country to travel in Southeast Asia by our readers, it is possible to backpack Thailand very cheaply. Here’s an idea of how much things cost to help you plan your budget and some money-saving tips

Typical backpacking costs


Thailand is very cheap, though the north is far cheaper than Bangkok and the southern islands. You can find cheap guesthouses for as little 300 THB (9 USD) per night in cities and 200 THB (6 USD) per night in the countryside, though in the big cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, rooms start at about 400 THB (12 USD) per night. On the islands or for a nicer room with air-conditioner, expect to pay 600 THB (18 USD) and up per night. Basic bungalows cost the same.

Hotels start at around 1,350 THB (41 USD) per night and go up from there. Big resorts on the islands start at 1,700 THB (15 USD) per night for a bungalow on the beach. Dorm rooms, which are increasingly widespread throughout the country, range from 100-150 THB per night. Airbnb is also growing in Thailand and a good amount of cities have a nice selection. A shared room starts around 350 THB (11 USD) per night and renting a full apartment starts around 700 THB (21 USD) per night.

In Thailand, it’s actually usually cheaper to book your accommodations online via websites like Booking.com and Agoda than to show up in person. While some places allow you to negotiate rates, most places don’t (unless you are booking long term). The online booking websites offer discounts far better than what you’ll get offered if you just show up, so always book online if you can!


Food is really cheap in Thailand. Street food costs as little as 20 THB (0.60 USD), though on average you’ll spend about 35-50 THB (1.05-1.50 USD) per meal if you want something really filling. If you stick to the local street food, you can eat for around 120-170 THB (4-5 USD) a day.

Most western dishes (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc) cost between 170-340 THB (5-10 USD), though they can be higher in the fancier western establishments. Since food is so cheap, there’s no point in grocery shopping unless you’re looking to get some pre-made salads or fruits. Visit each city guide for specific food recommendations in each place!

Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Thai food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher costs. Most Western food also pales in comparison to its original so it’s best to skip it altogether. I mean, you didn’t come all this way to have a crappy burger or pizza, right?


  • Transport is pretty cheap in Thailand if you don’t get ripped off by a tour operator.
  • Only get in taxis which agree to run on the meter. A taxi ride normally costs under $3.
  • Tuk Tuks are great fun but you have to haggle, they probably work out more expensive at around $5 a journey.
  • Boats between Thai islands cost between $7 and $15 and it sometimes works out better value to buy a boat and bus combo ticket.
  • Buses are pretty cheap and local buses cost just $0.25 in Bangkok.
  • Trains across the country cost between $7 and $18. When booking short-distance buses it often makes sense to simply book them on the ground but if you plan on traveling to Singapore or Malaysia it can be worth booking them in advance.


Day tours cost 500-1,200 THB (15-36 USD) depending on the activity. Jungle trekking costs 1,000-1,685 THB (30-50 USD) per day. Keep in mind, you have more bargaining power if you go with a group. Most parks and national museums cost between 50-100 THB (1.50-3 USD) to get into (as a non-Thai, you’ll always pay a higher rate). A PADI dive certification course (very popular in Thailand) costs around 10,000 THB (300 USD), but often includes accommodation.

Suggested backpacking budget

How much does it cost to visit Thailand?

If you’re backpacking Thailand, plan to budget between 825–1150 THB (25–35 USD) per day. This range will get you your own room (fan only) with a shared bathroom (or a dorm room on the lower end), food from the street stalls, a couple of drinks per day, a few tours here and there, and local transportation.

If you’re spending more time on the islands where things tend to be more expensive, budget towards the higher end or even upwards of 1330 THB (40 USD) a day. On a budget of around 1,650 THB (50 USD) per day, you would be able to fly between some destinations, eat more delicious seafood dinners and international meals, take more tours and activities you wanted, sleep in air-conditioned rooms, and drink more.

If you’re looking to stay in Western hotels or expensive resorts, eat mostly Western food or in tourist areas, drink a lot, do a lot of tours, and fly a lot, you should budget 3,300–5,000 THB (100–150 USD) per day. After that, the sky is the limit.

Type Accommodation Food Transportation Attraction Average Cost
Backpacker $6-13 $4 $5 $15-36 $25-30
Mid-Range $15-20 $10 $8 $36-45 $50
Luxury $100-120 $25 $25 $45-60 $150
Luxury transit and attractions might include car rental, and private tours, while mid-range might include a scooter rental and organized tours

Money saving tips

Thailand is an inexpensive country and it is hard to overspend. However, there are a few things that will blow your budget (such as alcohol, tours, and trips to the islands). If you’re on a really tight budget (or just want to cut costs), here’s how to save even more money during your visit.

  1. Go local – The easiest way to save money in Thailand is to simply live like a local. Take local buses, eat street food, and drink local beer. The average Thai lives on a less than 7,750 THB (233 USD) per month in Bangkok, and on even less in the country side. If you stay at cheap guesthouses and eat street food, you can spend as little as 335 THB (10 USD) per day.
  2. Eat street food – Speaking of street food, don’t be afraid to eat it. It’s safe — sometimes it’s even safer than restaurant food. If it wasn’t, Thai people wouldn’t be packed in the food stalls each day. You’ll find the best of Thailand’s food on the street and it will cost you a fraction of what you pay at a restaurant.
  3. Take advantage of happy hour – Thailand’s many happy hours have half-priced drinks and 2-for-1 specials.
  4. Buy beer at 7-Eleven – Buying beer at Thailand’s ubiquitous 7-Elevens and drinking outside will save you quite a bit on your bar tab. A beer in 7-Eleven is about 35 THB (1.05 USD), while the same beer will cost 100-170 THB (3-5 USD) in a restaurant or bar.
  5. Don’t book any tours before you arrive – Want to take a cooking class? Go zip-lining? Trek in the jungle? Dive? Wait until you get into Thailand to book anything. Travel agencies are located all over the tourist areas, looking to sell their tours. Time to brush up on your negotiation skills. You’re able to purchase these tours online before you arrive, but you’ll be paying a lot more!

  1. Couchsurf – Nothing’s cheaper than sleeping for free. Couchsurfing connects you with locals who will give you not only a free place to stay, but also a local tour guide who can introduce you to all the great places to see.
  2. Stay in hostels – Hostels are both an economic and social choice for Thailand. There are tons to choose from, especially in the really touristy areas of Thailand. Bring some earplugs and prepare to save a lot of money!
  3. Pack a water bottle – A water bottle with a purifier will come particularly in handy in Southeast Asia. 

Here is the guide for Shopping in Thailand

Volunteering in Thailand

Looking to volunteer in Thailand? You aren't the first person to do this! There are many travelers out there who have done what you're dreaming of, and better yet, who are doing it right now!

Long term travel is awesome. Giving back is awesome too. For backpackers looking to travel long term on a budget in Thailand whilst making a real impact on local communities, look no further than Worldpackers.

Backpackers can spend long periods of time volunteering in amazing places without spending any money. Meaningful life and travel experiences are rooted in stepping out of your comfort zone and into the world of a purposeful project.

Worldpackers opens the doors for work exchange opportunities in hostels, homestays, NGOs, and eco-projects around the world — including in Thailand.

Getting in and around Thailand

Arriving in Thailand

The best place to fly into is Bangkok. International airports are also located at Krabi, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai, but it's easier to fly into these from other Southeast Asian countries.

You can enter Thailand by border crossing from Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. You can also take a boat from Indonesia or even a slow boat from Laos to Thailand on the mighty Mekong River.

Here is how to get the cheapest flight to Thailand

Entry requirements for Thailand

Many nationalities can receive a thirty-day free visa waiver on arrival (if arriving by air; it's currently 15 days if you arrive overland). You can generally extend the waiver once, to receive an additional thirty days, for a fee of around $60.

If your nationality requires a pre-arranged visa or you want to sort out a Thai visa in advance, particularly for a longer stay, it is fairly simple to receive one a Thai embassy at home or abroad.

Getting around in Thailand

Like everything in Thailand, transportation is also cheap. Local buses cost as little as 8 THB (0.22 USD) per trip, the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok cost 15-50 THB (0.45-1.50 USD) per trip and metered taxi rides are usually 60-100 THB (1.80-3 USD) each. Tuk-tuks are un-metered and generally more expensive, costing 100-235 THB (3-7.06 USD) per ride. Motorbike taxis (in orange vests) are available all over the country with short trips costing about 35 THB (1.05 USD), but you need to negotiate the price.

Trains in Thailand tend to be a slow but scenic option to get around. Taking the train is a genuine Thai experience, making the journey as much a part of your trip as the destination. While they may not be as quick, the trains are relatively comfortable and cheap, and safer than traveling by road. There is a new Bangkok–Vientiane train that will get you to Laos with ease. Taking the train is also a convenient way to travel between Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.

Train service around the country is cheap – day trains cost as little as 50 THB (1.50 USD). Night trains start at 575 THB (17 USD) for second-class without air-conditioning. Boats to/from the islands cost between 250-475 THB (7.50-14 USD). Coach buses are a great way to get around the country. For example, a bus ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai costs 550-700 THB (16-21 USD) and a bus ride from Bangkok to Phuket costs 500-1,000 THB (15-30 USD).

Always stick to the metered taxis, otherwise you’ll get charged an overpriced ride. When it comes to tuk-tuks, be sure to agree on a price before you take off. Drivers are very friendly, but if you’re going to act like a naïve tourist, they will take advantage of you. I generally try to avoid tuk-tuks, but for very short distances they can be fun. (Taxis that put the meter on will almost always be cheaper in the end.)

Flights around the country generally cost between 1464-6656 THB (44-200 USD) one way when you book at least two months in advance. Flights to the islands tend to be higher in price than flying between large cities like Bangkok and Thailand.

Buses in Thailand are incredibly cheap. The fare for city buses start at around 7 THB (0.22 USD)! For intercity travel, you will pay more for better services like sleeper buses and air-conditioning. The distance you are traveling also makes a difference. For example, a budget bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai would take you 10 hours and cost about 699 THB (21 USD), while Bangkok to Ko Chang would take seven hours and cost about 600 THB (18 USD). A 3-4 hour first-class bus journey from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi is around just 100 THB (3 USD).

Here is how to get around in Thailand

Hitchhiking in Thailand

Thailand is a great country to hitchhike in! As far as hitching goes, Thailand is a great place in Asia for the beginner hitchhiker earning their stripes. But you have to be persistent and make sure the locals understand where you need to go or you will end up getting dropped at a bus station.

Hitchhiking in Thailand is pretty safe and easy; just find a good spot where the traffic is nice and slow and stick out your thumb. If you are backpacking Thailand on your own, there is a good chance you can hitch a ride with motorbike riders.

Useful words & phrases while backpacking Thailand

While many Thais speak English in the touristy areas, once you get off the beaten path, you'll find almost no one speaks English. Even in popular cities, only basic English is spoken. Knowing Thai travel phrases will not only help you get around Thailand, but it'll also help you connect with the culture!

  1. Hello – Sà-wàt-dee
  2. How are you? – Sà-baai dee mi
  3. Pleased to meet you – Yin dee têe dâi róo jàk
  4. Excuse me – Kor tôht
  5. Please – Kor …
  6. Cheers – Chon
  7. Crazy – Ding- dong! (Sounds adorable not offensive.)
  8. Son of a bitch – Ai hee-ah (Now that sounds more effective!)
  9. Ladyboy – Katoey (Very useful to know this in Bangkok!) 
  10. No plastic bag – Mimi tihung phlastik
  11. No straw plastic please – Mimi fang pord
  12. No plastic cutlery please – Mimi mid phlastik pord
  13. Where’s the toilet? – Hông náam yòo n?i (crucial if you’re a lover of spicy South East Asian food)
  14. Yes – Chai
  15. No – Ma Chai
  16. Beer – Bia
  17. How much – Nee Tao Rai

Thailand backpackers’ accommodation

For me, one of the most exciting things about being on the road is meeting new people and staying in new places. And what better place than Thailand to really jump into backpacker culture by staying in some of the most kickass hostels in Southeast Asia. The hostels in Thailand are backpacker meccas and great for meeting fellow travellers, exchanging exciting travel stories, and just chilling out.

There is an insane amount of accommodation options all around Thailand ranging from the squalid to the regal. It is usually possible to arrange accommodation as you go, on the day, by turning up and asking around. The notable exception is Koh Phangan at Full Moon which does fill up with annoying kids so we advise booking ahead.

If you are backpacking Thailand on a budget, you could also try Couchsurfing. This is another great way of meeting locals and exploring the local culture. You can save a few bucks since CouchSurfing is free.

Location Accommodation Why Stay Here?!
Bangkok Smile Society hostel, Bodega, Bed Station Hostel My favourite hostel here was the Smile Society hostel - a cozy little place, conveniently located to explore nearby spots.
Chiang Mai S*Trips - The Poshtel, Thai Thai S*Trips - The Poshtel is a kickass hostel and just a walk away from the Night Bazaar where you can try some amazing local food. They have reliable wifi too.
Pak Chong Hello Hostel Pakchong  Located right next to the pak chong train station and within walking distance to the bus terminals. The staff are friendly & can arrange your day tours.
Khao Sok National Park Khaosok Treehouse Resort, Coco Khao Sok Compared to Khao Yai, there are some pretty great accommodation options here which are pretty easy on the pocket. Check out the Khaosok Treehouse Resort if you want to stay somewhere really special.
Koh Samui Kingston Jamaica hostel, Lotus Hotel, Samui Backpacker My top choice here would be the Kingston Jamaica hostel. It has a pretty chilled backpacker vibe going.
Kanchanaburi Sky Resort Kanchanaburi, Sam's House You'll find some pretty great resort properties for cheap here. Check out Sam's House
Pai Tribal Pai Backpackers, Purple Monkey Tribal Pai is a great up & coming hostel. Its backpacker friendly, has chilled vibes & i can assure you that you'll extend your stay "one more night". Purple monkey is cool too, the pool is a little run down but they make delicious caesars!


When to go to Thailand

The best time of year to visit Thailand is between November to February.

The high season (cool/dry) is from November to March. Bangkok is “coolest” during this time (but still averaging a hot 29ºC/85°F), and it’s also the driest. If you plan on being in the north during this time, temperatures can drop quickly in the evenings. Bring warm clothing!

Shoulder season is from April to June, and it is HOT. Temperatures can be unbearable for those who are not use to them. Monsoon hits the northern area at the end of May. The low season is the rainy season, from July to October. Rainfall can be dramatic – ranging from light showers to major flooding. June and August have the heaviest rains, but things wind down during October. You might still get some afternoon showers, but October is also generally a good time to visit.

Here is the full guide for exactly when and where to visit in Thailand throughout the year

Stay safe while backpacking Thailand

Thailand is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel – even if you’re traveling solo, and even as a solo female traveler. Violent attacks are uncommon. Petty theft (including bag snatching) is the most common type of crime here. There are some common scams around like unmetered taxis but for the most part, this is a safe place to travel. People are nice and helpful and you’re unlikely to get into trouble. The people who do tend to be involved with drinking or drugs or sex tourism.

Remember to always trust your gut instinct. If a taxi driver seems shady, stop the cab and get out. If your hotel is seedier than you thought, get out of there. You have every right to remove yourself from the situation. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

If you don’t do it at home, don’t do it here!

Sex, Drugs and Rock ’n’ Roll in Thailand

Even though drugs are free-flowing in the half moon and full moon parties, Thailand has very very strict laws against the possession of drugs including imprisonment and the death penalty. Yup! They take drugs very seriously. So my advice would be to be extra cautious when it comes to drugs.

If you do fall foul of the Thai authorities, you should seek immediate legal advice and also contact your consul. There are English speaking lawyers and dedicated law firms in Thailand who specialise in helping tourists with legal problems in Thailand.

Pai is a well-known stoner hangout and it's easy to pick up weed on the Thai islands, but finding something in the cities can prove trickier. A lot of the time, the weed is low-quality brick weed. Shrooms are also easily available in both Pai and the islands and it is possible to pick up LSD and MDMA but the quality varies enormously and the price is usually high.

Every now and again, unfortunate backpackers do get roofied so be careful with your drinks and don't accept random shit from strangers.

Tinder is awfully common in Thailand but more as a hookup app than a dating app. If you are a white lad rocking up into Southeast Asia for the first time, you're in for a treat as you will suddenly be about ten times more attractive to the local girls than you are back home.

Don't be surprised if the girl you've been chatting up turns out to be a ladyboy... it happens. Prostitution in Thailand is very common indeed, but always be respectful no matter what your views are!

Here is the full guide for staying safe in Thailand

Travel insurance

Travel Insurance is essential for backpackers to Thailand. If you get sick or you have an accident and you want to be treated in a modern, Western-style hospital, hospital bills can be extremely high. Medical expenses can run into the thousands and when you’re at a time of need, you don’t want to be concerning yourself with money, you just want to concentrate on getting better.

Travel insurance also comes in handy for lost and stolen items, as well as travel scams and travel cancellations that are out of your control. For example, if your flight is cancelled due to bad weather or that yoga retreat that you booked is called off.

Throughout the past 10 years of travel to Thailand and Southeast Asia, we’ve bought our insurance plan with World Nomads as it offers the most cover at the best value for adventurous travelers.

Here is the guide for buying a travel insurance for Thailand

Gear & packing list

If you’re heading to Thailand, knowing what to pack and the kind of backpack to get can be a little daunting. In this section, I’ll give you my suggestion for the best travel backpack and tips on what to pack.    

What to Pack for Thailand


  • 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 6 T-shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
  • 1 pair of flip-flops
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 8 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
  • 7 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
  • 1 toothbrush
  • 1 tube of toothpaste
  • 1 razor
  • 1 package of dental floss
  • 1 small bottle of shampoo
  • 1 small bottle of shower gel
  • 1 towel
  • Deodorant

Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)

  • Band-Aids
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Eyedrops
  • Earplugs
  • Tylenol
  • Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)


  • A key or combination lock (safety first)
  • Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
  • Plastic bags (great for laundry)
  • Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
  • LifeStraw (a water bottle with a purifier)

Female Travel Packing List

Below is the list of what a woman needs as an addition to the basics above:


  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 sarong
  • 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
  • 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
  • 2-3 long-sleeve tops
  • 2-3 T-shirts
  • 3-4 spaghetti tops
  • Toiletries
  • 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease free in between washes)
  • 1 hairbrush
  • Makeup you use
  • Hair bands & hair clips
  • Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)

Here is the guide for What to pack for Thailand

A Brief History of Thailand

Like much of South East Asia, Thailand was once roamed by gatherers and indigenous kingdoms. Unlike most of South East Asia, Thailand evaded European colonisation, and had their own colonies. However, in 1893 Thailand was forced to cede Laos to France. Later they also ceded Cambodia to France and Malaya to Britain.

In May 1946 Thailand formed a new constitution for Thailand was published, but there were still power struggles between kings.

In 1947 Field-Marshal Phibul staged a coup, and Thailand then became a military dictatorship. Over the decades people protested for a civilian government, and in 1992 after many student demonstrations the king stopped eventually returned Thailand  to civilian government, and a new constitution was introduced in 1997.

There was another military coup in Thailand in 2006, but in December 2007 democratic elections were held again.

Suggested reading

The Beach, by Alex Garland

This story about backpackers and their search for off-the-beaten path “authentic” paradise is one many of us can relate to. Following Richard and his quest to “do something different” in Thailand, he heads off the beaten path in hopes of an authentic experience but finds that things aren’t always what they appear. The book is part adventure and part an exploration of why travelers always search for utopias and the consequences of that quest. It was turned into a movie featuring Leonardo DiCaprio back in the 90s. However, the book is a lot different (and much better). Focusing on the ideal of travel, I can’t recommend the book enough.

Sightseeing, by Rattawut Lapcharoensap

This collection of masterful stories from award-winning author Rattawut Lapcharoensap is an absolute must-read if you’re visiting Thailand. Each story has a different theme, whether it’s a tale of family bonds, young romance, generational conflict, or the cultural shifts occurring in modern Thailand. You’ll be hooked right from the first story about a beachside motel owner that falls in love with a young American tourist.

Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon

Anna Leonowens was a young Englishwomen who inevitably changed the course of Thai history. She was hired in the 1860’s by King Mongkut of Siam to help him communicate with foreign governments, and also to be the tutor to his children (and his favorite concubines). This book is about Leonowens’ experiences, including the tutoring of young prince Chulalongkorn, who was so impressed by Western ideals he went on to become one of the country’s most progressive kings. This book is beautifully written and gives some insight into untouched Thailand.

Mad About the Mekong, by John Keay

The author’s story retraces the voyage of Francis Garnier, a historic 19th-century French explorer who sailed up the Mekong River looking for the “back door” into China. Keay describes the modern world of the Mekong River from Vietnam up through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Burma, while recreating Garnier’s failed voyage which included two ships bearing naturalists, soldiers, artists, and geologists. It’s a fascinating read.

The Orchid House, by Lucinda Riley

Julia Forrester, a concert pianist, spent much of her childhood in her grandfather’s hothouse at the Wharton Estate in England where he tended to exotic orchids. After losing her child and husband, Julia heads back to the hothouse where she meets Kit Crawford, heir to the estate. When they discover an old diary, Julia sets out to find her grandmother and to uncover the truth about the love affair that almost destroyed the estate. This book jumps back and forth between the world of Wharton Park and Thailand during WWII, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading!

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett

Bangkok 8 is a thrilling detective novel based on the murder of a suave Marine sergeant under a bridge in Bangkok. There are just two witnesses: two cops, and within minutes one of them is murdered. His partner, Sonchai Jitpleecheep, sets out on a mission to find the killer. Sonchai is paired with a beautiful FBI agent (who inevitably wins his heart), and is soon launched into a sinister world of drugs, prostitution, and corruption. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Private Dancer, by Stephen Leather

Here’s a little insight into Bangkok’s wild go-go scene. Peter wanders into a go-go bar and meets the love of his life: Joy, a stunningly beautiful (and young) pole dancer. But Pete is soon launched into a life of drugs, sex, and deception as he discovers that his private dancer is not who she says she is. This book is a #1 bestseller in Thailand!

Some final thoughts

Being a Responsible Backpacker in Thailand

Reduce your plastic footprint: Perhaps the best thing you can do for our planet is to make sure you do NOT add to the plastic problem all over the world. Don’t buy one-use water bottles, the plastic ends up in landfill or in the ocean. Instead, pack a tough travel water bottle.

Go and watch A Plastic Ocean on Netflix - it will change how you view the plastic problem in the world; you need to understand what we are up against. If you think it does not matter, it is not you to travel.

Don't pick up single use plastic bags, you're a backpacker - take your daypack if you need to go to the shop or run errands.

Bear in mind, that many animal products in countries you travel through will not be ethically farmed and won't be of the highest quality. I'm a carnivore but when I'm on the road, I only eat chicken. Mass-farming of cows etc leads to the rainforest being cut down - which is obviously a huge problem.

Recently, my gear-venture, Active Roots has started to sell water bottles. For every Active Roots water bottle sold, we donate 10% to PlasticOceans.org – an awesome initiative aimed at educating people on the risk of single use plastic and helping to clean up our oceans. Help save the planet, whether you take an Active Roots bottle or not - TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your plastic footprint, don't be a dick.

Be Good to Thailand

Alright, now let's talk about getting wasted abroad. It's fun, I do it - quite a lot. But being wasted doesn't give you the right to be a twat. Writing your name in black marker on temples, chugging Chang beer while shirtless, swearing loudly and visiting unethical animal attractions? You, Sir, are a twat. Luckily, most backpackers don’t fall into this category but, when you’re out and about and have had a few too many drinks, it can be easy to embarrass yourself.

It’s easy to get carried away in South East Asia, everything is so damn cheap and so much fun. I’m in no way the perfect traveler; I’ve been the drunken idiot on the street. I know firsthand just how hard it is to be the one person in a group to say no when somebody comes up with a stupid idea that, for some reason, everybody is down for.

By no means am I telling you not to drink, smoke and party. Do it and love it. Just don’t get so drunk you turn into an imbecile your mum would be ashamed of. If you can’t handle drinking buckets, then stick to beer. If you want to see Elephants, then go and see them but do your research first.

Look up ethical animal sanctuaries who treat and care for animals properly. Don’t ride elephants. If you’re not into seeing the temples, no worries but don’t be disrespectful, inappropriate or deface them – certainly, do not try to wander in shirtless.

Wear a helmet when you hop on a motorbike in Asia. Despite being an experienced driver, I’ve had a total of three crashes in South East Asia over the last ten years. On the one occasion, I wasn’t wearing a helmet, I split my head open and had to go to the hospital. It was an expensive mistake. The local people are sick of scraping foreigners off the road and, trust me, you don’t look cool for not wearing a helmet.

Humans are humans; treat people you meet along the way with the same respect you would show your friends and family back home. You are not superior to anyone including the girls/guys walking the streets. Sex workers in South East Asia are people like you and me; they may enjoy what they do, or they may be on the darker side of it.

Regardless of your beliefs and thoughts on prostitution, remember this is another person with thoughts, feelings and a life outside of the sex industry too. You are not superior to these people, you just happen to be from a more privileged background.

Go to Asia and have the time of your life, do the things you’ve dreamed of but be respectful along the way. Travelling the world makes you an ambassador for your country, which is awesome.

We can make a positive impact on people when we travel and get rid of any ugly stereotypes that may be associated with your country…

Now You're Ready to Go to Thailand

Our Thailand Travel Guide was written so

you can have everything you need to know to go on an incredible backpacking adventure across Thailand.

Thailand is a hell of a country: the people truly are lovely, and the beaches truly are pristine; head on over now whilst you have the chance. Peace and love amigos

24-hour response

Hello, my name’s Jordan and I’m obsessed with travelling overland. Seeing how cultures change while travelling slowly captivates me; and doing so in an eco-friendly way, preserving the cultures and landscapes that so many travellers yearn to explore, has given me my travelling purpose.


How long to spend in Thailand may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out. 

How long can you stay in Thailand? 

Well, as long as you like! From 10 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Thailand and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Thailand is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Thailand with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Thailand.


"Should I visit Thailand or Vietnam?" is some of the most frequently asked questions that we have from our travelers

Well, Vietnam and Thailand are the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. They are similar in climate and food, though obviously different in culture, lifestyle and travel experience.

Below we list 13 major differences between the two countries, to give you a quick overview and help you decide which to visit first. These are based on our own travel experiences, investigations, and partnerships with local operators.


Thailand currently approves 8 COVID-19 vaccines, and everyone 18 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before travelling to the Kingdom, while rules differ for those under 18 years. Here’s an update to our guide to COVID-19 vaccines for international travelers to Thailand.


Searching for tourism information about Thailand during Covid, you always see the terms of SHA and its related certificates of SHA+ or SHA++ (Extra plus) sticked to the suppliers of tourism service such as accommodations, restaurants, or tourist attractions. 

Feeling confused?

Here you come to the right place!

In this article, we will give you the explanation of What is SHA & the meaning of its certificates, and some of the frequently asked questions that you may have relating to the terms.

Check it out!


From 1 February 2022, Thai government has adjusted Thailand reopening measures by allowing travelers from all countries of the world to register in the Thailand Pass system to obtain permission to enter Thailand under the Test & Go program.

Here you will find information how to register for Test & Go and the process of getting Thailand Pass approval for traveling to Thailand on the official website of Thailand Pass system: https://tp.consular.go.th/ 


We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below the detailed information for our different destinations, our plans by travel theme or time frame to learn more before moving forward...

places to visit in Thailand
bee-white Bangkok

Chiang Mai
bee-white Chiang Mai

bee-white Phuket

Hua Hin
bee-white Hua Hin

Chiang Rai
bee-white Chiang Rai

Koh Samui
bee-white Koh Samui

bee-white Must-see

Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
bee-white Luxury Holiday

Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
bee-white Wellness & Leisure

Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Honeymoon Vacation
bee-white Honeymoon Vacation

Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Family Vacation
bee-white Family Vacation

The combination of fun and educational activities

Trek & Hike
bee-white Trek & Hike

Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

bee-white Unseen

Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Cycling & Biking
bee-white Cycling & Biking

Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

bee-white Cruise

The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
yellow-icon About 4 weeks
Already got a plan? REQUEST A FREE QUOTE

Either are you wondering about best time to visit, visa policy, or how to get the cheapest flight, we have your back!
WHAT MORE? Choose the country you plan to visit, then search for your nationality below to see our special travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

Best Time to Visit
bee-white Best Time to Visit
Tourist Visa Policy
bee-white Tourist Visa Policy
Budget & Currency
bee-white Budget & Currency
Getting Flight There
bee-white Getting Flight There
Getting Around
bee-white Getting Around
Internet & Phone
bee-white Internet & Phone
Packing List
bee-white Packing List
Buying & Bargaining
bee-white Buying & Bargaining
Tipping Customs
bee-white Tipping Customs
Useful addresses
bee-white Useful addresses
Safety & Precautions
bee-white Safety & Precautions
Local Etiquette
bee-white Local Etiquette
Travel Insurance
bee-white Travel Insurance
bee-white Vaccinations
bee-white Vietnam
A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
bee-white Cambodia
There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
bee-white Myanmar
It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
bee-white Laos
Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
back top