Whether you are a first time traveler or an experienced globetrotter, Thailand is a great destination to consider. In the last few decades, tourism has exploded in this nation as more and more people have discovered the beautiful scenery, luxurious offerings, and unique cultural opportunities found in this Southeast Asian paradise. Undoubtedly, the Kingdom of Thailand (as it is officially known) has a lot to offer, whether you are looking for an untamed jungle hiking excursion, a relaxing beach vacation, or something in between.
One of the best parts of Thailand is the moderate climate. The temperature rarely falls below 19 degrees Celsius (about 66 degrees Fahrenheit) or rises above 38 degrees Celsius (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit) so you can visit anytime of the year and enjoy balmy temperatures. There are two major seasons-the wet season and dry season. The wet season generally begins with monsoon activity between May and July and lasts until October. Travel during this season is generally cheaper, but you will have to be more flexible with your plans, as intense downpours may disrupt your planned activities.
If you enjoy spending time outside and being one with nature, there will be plenty for you to do in Thailand. Chiang Mai is an old city that has plenty of old temples to explore. It is surrounded by jungles, and is near a sanctuary where you can observe Asian elephants, which are the national symbol of Thailand. There is also a night market, known as one of the best places in the country to get handcrafted goods. Another option is Khao Yai National Park. Only three hours north of Bangkok, it is like a whole different world. You can hike. swim, and even spot wild elephants in their natural habitat. Khao Sok, located in the south, is considered one of the best parks in the world. Although it is a bit out of the way for typical tourists, it is an awesome place for those who love natural beauty and want to explore a jungle, cave, or a unique limestone karst.
If you are more interested in luxury holidays where you can unwind, Thailand has a lot to offer in that regard as well. For those seeking private relaxation, there are thousands of islands; although some are quite developed, there are some that are essentially uninhabited, giving you the luxury of enjoying your own private sanctuary for a few days or weeks. There are many resorts located on beautiful beaches where you can truly unwind. If you are seeking luxury in a more fast-paced environment, there are plenty of options in and around Bangkok as well. The city boasts many luxury spas and accommodations. You can also enjoy such special experiences as a private boat tour in the beautiful and mysterious canals of the city. The best part is, Thailand is relatively cheap, so you can enjoy a luxurious stay for a fraction of the cost that you would incur in other tropical locations.
If you don’t have the budget for or interest in luxury vacations, and instead are seeking to experience the culture of a new place, Thailand is still a perfect place to go. By living like a local during your stay, you will be surprised at how inexpensive a trip to this exotic destination can be. Consider planning your trip during the rainy season, which as mentioned previously, tends to be the cheapest time for flights. Travelers report that staying in hostels often costs less than $10 USD per night in the Bangkok area, and even island bungalows may be as cheap as $15-$20 USD per night. Food is also incredibly cheap, especially if you are adventurous and willing to try local specialties.
Logistically, it is relatively easy to get to Thailand. At this time, citizens from the United States and most of Europe do not even need a visa to enter, as long as they have a valid passport, a return ticket to get home, and will visit for 30 days or less (of course, to avoid disappointment and hassle at the airport, you should always double check visa requirements before your trip to ensure nothing has changed). In addition, it is relatively easy to get to Thailand. You can fly there from most major airports, and in some cases, may even be able to get a direct flight. Your best bet is likely to fly into Bangkok, the capital and most populous city in the country, although there are also international airports in other parts of the country, including in Phuket and Chiang Mai.