Travel to Thailand: The Land of Smiles
After the premiere of the film “The Beach”, Thailand rose to prominence as the dream destination for backpackers and a must-do for travelers the world over. It's no wonder that today Thailand is the most visited travel destination in South East Asia. Thailand captivates with its tropical beaches, gorgeous temples, and vibrant cities like Bangkok, which is typically the starting point in most travelers' journey.
Islands such as Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao offer pleasant, clear blue water and paradise beaches, making them the perfect place for a relaxing vacation on the beach. Phuket is a popular destination for package holidays, but places such as Khao Lak or Pattaya on the mainland also attract plenty of tourists.
If you are traveling to Thailand for the first time, you should gather some information about the country and its history to plan a journey that fits your schedule and covers all the bases. We've gathered all the helpful information, as well as the best travel deals for a Thailand vacation here. It doesn't matter if you're searching for last minute trips, package holidays, all-inclusive resorts or island hopping offers with flights and hotels. Just go through this page and find the best deal for a trip to the Land of Smiles (without a hefty price tag).
Check out our best travel deals to Thailand:
The most important information for your vacation in Thailand
With a surface of around 513.000 square kilometers and a population of approximately 69 million, Thailands is the fiftieth largest country in the world and comes in twentieth in population density. Just under 95% of Thais are Buddhists, although in south there is a noteworthy Muslim minority. Thailand is a hereditary monarchy and the royal family is highly respected. Many a tourist has gotten into trouble for disrespectful comments or gestures about the royal families—the lèse majesté laws, which criminalize the defamation of the royal family, are taken very seriously.
Our Pirate Tip: Visit the Department of State's website for up-to-date information on potential unrest in Thailand before your journey. Since the military coup in 2014, the political situation has been tense, and it is important to be aware of ongoing conflicts. Exercise caution when attending or in the presence of political demonstrations or gatherings.
How to get to Thailand from the USA?
Currently, there are no direct commercial flights from the US to Thailand. Usually you can expect at least one layover in China, Japan, or Korea. From there it takes around five to six hours to reach Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Some flights will route through other airports like Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Add stopover time and you are looking at a minimum of 20 hours for the total journey. If you are planning a trip to the east coast of Thailand, you may have to add in extra time. While it's certainly a long journey, it will definitely be worth the effort! Once you are in Thailand you can get around using the train or taking a ferry to get to the islands.
Do I need a visa for my stay in Thailand?
As a U.S. citizen carrying a tourist passport and an onward or return flight ticket you do not need a visa to enter Thailand. Upon entering the country you will get an immigration stamp in your passport and are then allowed to stay there for 30 days. If you want to stay longer, you might be able to extend your stay for an additional 30 days by paying a fee. However, you will definitely need a passport that is at least valid for six months past your entrance date.
Discovering Thailand's sights and attractions
A vacation in Thailand allows you to explore Bangkok, the capital and one of the world's most dynamic cities with ornate palaces, picturesque canals, bustling markets, and upscale bars and restaurants.
- Pay a visit to the stunning Grand Palace, the residence of the King of Thailand situated along the Chao Phraya River. It is also home to Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), which is considered Thailand's most sacred Buddhist temple. Other popular cultural attractions worth checking out include the Erawan Museum, Wat Arun, the Jim Thompson House, and Wat Pho.
- Escape the bustle of the city and head to Lumphini Park. The park is one of Bangkok's famous attractions and boasts beautiful gardens, various species of birds, and an idyllic lake where you can enjoy boating.
- If you are visiting with kids, a trip to the Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark will surely delight your little ones. This water park offers tons of exciting activities for the whole family including water slides, rafting, and flowriding. Kids will also love spending their time at Safari World or the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, which are exciting family attractions in Thailand.
Beach vacations in Thailand
Thailand boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, offering stunning vistas, wonderful marine life, and crystal-clear water for swimming, snorkeling, or diving.
- Patong Beach in Phuket is one the largest beaches in Thailand and offers soft white sand, a scenic coastline, shops, restaurants, and bars within walking distance. Kata Beach, just a few miles away from Patong Beach, is an ideal spot for surfing, snorkeling, or boogie boarding.
- If you are looking for lovely views, warm turquoise water, and good swimming, head to Lamai Beach in Koh Samui.
- Located in Krabi, Ao Nang Beach provides a comfortable and laid-back ambiance for the visitors. While on the beach, you can go swimming or enjoy the splendid sunset.
- Railay Beach is worth a visit, but only accessible by boat. The beach features majestic limestone cliffs and breathtaking scenery. Here, you can participate in diving, snorkeling, and rock climbing.
Best times to visit Thailand
Thailand is a year-round destination, thanks to its tropical climate. The best time to travel is between November to early April, when you'll find favorable weather and very little rain. If you visit during the shoulder season in March or October, you’re likely to get great deals on flights and accommodations.
How and where to stay in Thailand?
No matter what you are looking for, from a simple beach bungalow to a 5-star hotel, Thailand offers accommodations for any budget. Smart spenders will onlu pay a few dollars for a night in the dorm room of a hostel. A truly exceptionally experience for your stay in Thailand is to do a homestay in a local family’s house. We highly recommend seeking out host families living in rural areas like Issan in the Northeast, where you can experience Thailand the way the locals do.