Thailand is a tropical paradise that you have to visit if you live in the northern hemisphere. The country offers countless beaches, mountains, and islands for exploring. Here is how to plan a trip to Thailand and build an itinerary.
Planning a vacation doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive.
If you know where you want to go, what type of accommodation and planning your activities in advance, it can actually be enjoyable.
In this article we’ll show you how planning a trip to Thailand and building an itinerary can make the most of your vacation.
I know I risk boring you with my write-up, but it is important to note right now that if you don’t have the necessary information or knowledge about how to plan a Thailand vacation, you might end up frustrated and leaving this great country with a bad taste in your mouth.
I want to provide you with all the knowledge and preparation necessary for your upcoming tour of Thailand so you can take full advantage of your time there.
Thailand is a vast country in Southeast Asia that has diverse ethnic cultures, interesting temples, and delicious cuisine.
While Thailand is often seen as the home of friendly people, it’s actually a common feeling for first-time vacationers to feel homesick. One might be pleasantly surprised by regions such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai. They aren’t as hectic or crazy as you might think.
Also, it might be surprising to you, but it is easy to plan a trip to Thailand. Millions of people go on vacation there in the world (including you).
Thailand saw a record-breaking number of visitors with 32.59 million people in 2016 and 35.38 million people in 2017, and the numbers have been growing ever since.
This validates the fact that Thailand welcomes global travelers from all parts of the world without discrimination and segregation by offering a Visa-free stay for two weeks or even three months to citizens from 58 recognized countries.
Thailand is a place where you can taste fresh food from the local ingredients and enjoy it. There are many beach destinations, warm weather, and people of different religions.
It is important to know that in Thailand, people are Buddhist. They have different beliefs than other countries. People give alms and wear modest clothes and they are respectful of monks and holy temples.
Exploring Thailand is totally worth the visit and you’ll be amazed at how wonderful this country truly is.
There are many things to do there including visiting parks, seeing elephants, scuba diving, eating amazing Thai food, visiting the Andaman Sea and so much more.
Tips for Planning a Trip to Thailand
Here are some guidelines on how to plan a trip to Thailand to make the most of your vacation:
- Make sure to visit Bangkok, Krabi, and Chiang Mai. Spend at least a week in each city for maximum experience.
- The best time to go is from March until November when it’s not too hot or rainy.
- Get a visa ahead of time so you don’t have to do it while in Thailand.
- Consider planning your trip around festivals like Songkran, Loy Krathong or Loi Kratong which are very large events with celebrations and fireworks all over the country.
- When traveling by air, consider flying budget airlines such as Air Asia instead of a national carrier because they will be cheaper, more efficient and have better seats.
- Have your hotel book a driver to pick you up from the airport in Bangkok if you are planning on flying into the city instead of taking public transportation.
See Related: Top Tips for Luggage Free Travel
How to Plan a Trip to Thailand
Planning a trip to Thailand can be difficult because there is so much to do. There are many options and you don’t want to miss out on anything!
That’s why we have compiled this quick guide on how to plan a vacation from the ground up so that you will know where and how to best invest your time when preparing for Thailand.
Budgeting Your Thailand Tour
Planning a trip isn’t just about balancing what you want in life with what you need for success. If it were that simple, anyone could do it! Even when planning vacations.
First of all, consider how much money you have (and are willing to spend) and how long should plan to stay there: This will factor into planning how much to budget for food, transportation, and other costs.
As with planning any type of trip or vacation that you’ve never been on before, it’s a good idea to get as many opinions as possible from those who have traveled there themselves.
From personal experience I can say that the closer your destination is in proximity to home (family or friends), the more you’ll want to take precautions and plan for things that are readily available at home, so planning your vacation there will be much easier.
The best thing about planning a trip is really just getting started! The first step in any type of planning should always be determining what you’re going to need (information, funds) before planning a trip.
Longer trips allow travelers to explore more, but shorter trips provide the same respite. It’s really a balance between what you can do and what you want to do. The good news is that Thailand is a very affordable country to visit.
It costs next to nothing if you’re planning on staying in hotels, hostels, or guesthouses. Costs for food and travel differ from city to city, but the average Thai can spend as low as $1 a day.
The cost of food, transportation and other costs in Thailand can vary greatly depending on where you are. In Bangkok for example, the average person can spend $1 a day whereas in Chiang Mai the average person could spend $7 USD per day.
Budgeting for your visit entails planning out a budget before coming up with an itinerary so that you don’t end up spending more than you have planned for.
Planning a Trip to Thailand and Building an Itinerary
Once you’ve figured out how much money you’re willing to spend, it’s time to think about the route of your Thailand itinerary. Determining which areas you want to explore and what activities you’ll be there will help define the travel days and flight requirements needed.
The best time to travel to Thailand is from March until November when it’s not too hot or rainy. Try to avoid the rainy season to the extent you can.
Building your itinerary is a lot like planning out the sections of an outline for writing in that you need to figure out what’s going to happen and when.
If you’re planning on traveling backpacking style then it might be best to plan stops by city; if not, think about choosing locations based on where they are geographically (e.g. northeast, south).
Some of the best places to visit in Thailand are Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Saigon, Phi Phi Islands, and Krabi.
Any of these destinations could easily be the focus of a long-term Thailand itinerary.
If you’re planning on backpacking there, then it’s best to plan out your travel days and flight requirements before jumping in because prices can change depending on when you purchase them (e.g., buy flights as soon as possible).
Thailand is a country that has many modes of transportation. There are buses, trains, and even boats for tourists to enjoy. Whether you want to go on an adventure or just visit the capital city, there is something for everyone in Thailand.
The bus system is one of the most popular ways to get around because it’s cheap and easy to use.
If you’re planning on staying at more than one place during your stay, then this might be the best way for you to go about planning your trip as well since they can take you anywhere in the country where there are stops available.
One thing that people should remember when planning their trip through Thailand is that not all of them will have English-speaking drivers so if you don’t know the language then it’s best to make sure you have Google translate on your phone.
The Thai currency is a baht and you can also buy US dollars or euros before arriving in Thailand at an airport, but it’s always better to have your cash on hand when planning out your trip so that you don’t end up running into any issues with exchanging money.
There are ATMs all over Bangkok, but it’s important to remember that some of them will charge a fee for use so planning ahead is the best way to save money on your trip.
In order to plan for your Thailand cost, consider making a spreadsheet of all of your stops on your trip. Then, factor in the various lodging and transportation costs to get there as well as dining and tour expenses.
See Related: Do Hotels Take Cash?
How to Book a Flight to Thailand
Before purchasing airline tickets for a trip to Thailand, it’s important to find out which airport serves the area you want to go to. That will help determine what type of flight is needed and how much time you’ll need before and after your stay in Thailand so planning an itinerary becomes that much easier!
Depending on where you are coming from, but in most cases, there are no direct flights to Thailand. Depending on where you are coming from, but in most cases, there are no direct flights to Thailand.
Hence, there will always be a stopover in another country as this, however, depends on how far your home country is to Thailand.
One of the first things people should do when planning a trip is book their flight because prices change depending on what time they purchase them. In this case, it’s best to buy tickets at least three months before your departure date to get the best price.
One thing you should do before booking any flights or accommodations is research what type of visa Thailand requires as well because there are different types depending on where in Thailand you plan on visiting.
Bangkok is Thailand’s sprawling capital city and the hub for business and international travel.
Many tourists come to Thailand just for Bangkok’s bright lights and passionate culture, but this is only one of the country’s many regions. Use this 3-day guide to Bangkok to ensure you see all the necessary attractions in the area.
If you are planning to go to Chiang Mai, there are two airports that operate in the area: Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and Mae Hong Son Airport.
It’s important to note that flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai can take anywhere from one hour to three depending on which airport you choose to fly into.
The flights themselves are also priced differently, with the average flight costing between $200 and $400 USD.
To purchase your inter-Thailand travel tickets before you get there, it’s best if you have your itinerary planned out in advance so that you’re able to order them before time runs out for availability.
Planning a trip can be daunting, but understanding where to start planning, calculating how much you want and are able to spend, deciding on what areas of Thailand you will visit as well as which activities will most enjoyably meet your needs can make the process of planning a vacation go smoothly.
See Related: Best Credit Cards for Travel
Book Lodging for Your Thailand Itinerary
Many people find traveling to Thailand exotic. That’s strange because it is easier than you think.
It’s a fallacy to say faraway places are accessible to only the wealthy. Thailand is a massive exception as once you get there it’s insanely affordable. It’s not expensive like visiting remote destinations like Hawaii, The Caribbean, or even California.
For a 4 star hotel night and a private day trip including a guide and car, the starting rate is about $130 to $200. There is a bit of a difference between hotels and inns in Thailand.
But for all-inclusive resorts, the starting rate is about $200.
If you’re planning on staying in hotels, there are many different levels of class: from budget to luxury. From what I understand, it depends on how much you want to spend because even a budget hotel will meet all your needs if it’s what you’re looking for!
See Related: Best Travel Accessories
Top Places to go to Thailand
It is a known fact that there are a lot of highly engaging and captivating places to visit in Thailand among which are:
- Temple of Reclining Buddha,
- Wat Chedi Luang Varavhara, an ancient architectural building,
- Bang Tao Beach,
- The Sanctuary of Truth,
- Classic Thai Yachts,
- The White Temple in Chiang Rai,
- Grand Palace, Sukhothai, Khao,
- Sok Lake National Park,
- Bridges over the River,
- Thailand Crazy Market known as the Train Market
Thailand is a place for fun, relaxation, and breathtaking tours. It’s really up to you in how you want to experience Thailand since it really has something for everyone. Here is a guide to the perfect Chiang Mai itinerary.
Southern Thailand vs Northern Thailand vs Cental Thailand
Southern Thailand is the more populous and urban area in terms of infrastructure. It also has the largest number of international chain restaurants. Connectivity in these regions is also relatively high.
Furthermore, there are many established resorts and hotels in the area.
In contrast, Northern Thailand is less populated and more rugged. It contains a diverse range of natural features, including mountains, forests, prairies, valleys, plains, and rivers. Infrastructure to connect these areas is limited to small villages or towns with limited access to electricity or running water.
However, Northern Thailand does contain a lot of wildlife such as elephants, tigers, bears among others.
On the other hand, it is also considerably cheaper to visit Northern Thailand than Southern Thailand. The quality of accommodations in some areas may be lower and electricity less reliable.
Central Thailand is a region that has become more popular in recent years. For those who like the tranquillity of nature, Central Thailand can be a great place for vacations.
The top attractions in this region are:
- Khao Sok National Park,
- Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary,
- River Kwai and Bridge on River Kwai.
Check out our full list of places to visit in Thailand to spur your ideas.
How to Pack for a Trip to Thailand
Planning a trip to Thailand with the mindset of enjoying the most of your experience, there is some requisite knowledge needed in packing your necessary luggage.
Planning a trip to Thailand is easy because the weather stays pretty much the same year-round, with some exceptions for rainy periods.
The below list contains all of the necessary items you’ll need:
Flip Flop (or Slip-on Shoes)
Thais remove their shoes before entering temples and some restaurants. You will probably find yourself taking your shoes on and off multiple times a day.
Thus, we have a simple solution to this concern: comfortable sandals such as Birkenstocks or Rainbows. Something waterproof is also advisable if you want to walk around in case of rainstorms that may pop up for no reason.
You’ll also be happy you have these sandals when you’re visiting one of the many beautiful beaches in Thailand.
See Related: Best Travel Sandals
For many people, the main reason for taking a trip to Thailand is to visit its world-famous temples. In order to be respectful of Thai culture, it’s best to wear modest clothing and cover your knees while you’re there.
Reusable Water Bottle
It is no surprise that one might become fatigued during the course of a tour or visiting, so it’s important to stay hydrated by refilling your reusable bottle with filtered water at an affordable rate and staying well-hydrated in a tropical climate.
Grab one of these best travel water purifiers so you can drink fresh water on the go.
Visitors to Thailand should be aware that the climate is hot and humid and buy bug repellent before they go as it’s expensive locally.
Not all hotels and guest houses in Thailand provide sheets so you should always bring your own.
Soap and Shampoo
It is advisable to bring shampoo, soap, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Especially if you are heading to Phi Phi Island or doing Thailand as a solo traveler. Check out these top travel toiletry kits to make your life easier.
Travel Insurance for Thailand
Although safety is less of an issue in Thailand, it can still be difficult to plan a trip to the Southeast Asian country.
Additionally, things may not go as planned and travelers often find themselves in perilous situations: like injury and illness. Insurance will cover these delicate matters and give you peace of mind while traveling abroad.
A top-rated insurance company is the World’s Nomads insurance.
Affordable Underwater Camera
Not all cellphones can take pictures underwater. Hence, I recommend a little camera that won’t get damaged easily to take photographs both on land and underwater.
Thai Sim Card or Phone Plan
Getting a Thai sim card while traveling is imperative for communication purposes in order to stay connected with loved ones and friends.
See Related: Travel Hacking 101
Best things to do during your trip to Thailand
These are some amazing things to do during your trip to Thailand.
Ride a Tuk Tuk
The popular mode of transport in Thailand is by tuk-tuk. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a taxi or bus, but you’ll see plenty of brightly colored tuk-tuks zipping around every corner.
Watch a Muay Thai Fight
Watch an infamous muay Thai fight. You can find the sport at all levels and in every region of Thailand, a boxing context that is known as “the art of eight limbs” because fighters are allowed to use their elbows, knees, shins, and fists.
Visit The Many Islands and Temples
Your trip to Thailand will be memorable for more than just historical sites. There are over 300 islands and a few famous temples.
A few of the top islands to visit in Thailand for the best beaches, diving, and other tourist attractions include Koh Samui and Phuket.
The best temples in Thailand are the ones that provide an atmosphere of peace and serenity. The top 5 temples are Wat Phra Kaeo Buddhist Temple, Wat Ratchabophit, San Chao Phoo Daeng, Lopburi’s Big Buddha, and Wat Thai.
See Related: Best Travel Insurance for Families
Get a Sak Yant Tattoo
Sak Yant tattoos are the most Thai culture of tattoos. It is a tattoo art that was modified from ancient traditional Khmer practices. The word Sak means “to insert” and Yant means “sacred”.
Each tattoo has a meaning or effect which is contributed by Buddhist teachings and ancient beliefs. The transcendental power of the tattoo can be then transferred to the person who wears it.
When planning to get a tattoo, make sure you know what you want as Sak Ying’s are time-consuming and expensive, costing up to $500 per session.
Visit a Floating Market
Floating markets are popular tourist attractions in Thailand. They’re built on barges and moored to the shore so that they can be navigated by boat.
The floating markets range in size and specialty but most people come here to barter for clothing, souvenirs, handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and dried goods.
There’s also the opportunity to buy items from the local craftsman who often has their own stalls on the barge. It is worth noting that most of these products are handmade so prices may vary depending on if you’re bargaining or not.
The better places to stay at a floating market are the ones that offer a beautiful view of sunrise and sunset. It is also advantageous for you to stay close to the water so you can just jump in and cool down when needed, as well as being closer to where all the activities take place.
You will see floating markets full of fresh fruits and cooked foods as well as local souvenirs.
Eat a Scorpion
Thailand is a country where it’s not uncommon to eat insects-but while they may be strange to you, locals enthusiastically partake.
For visitors looking for an exciting Thai experience you can try:
- Scuba dive underwater in the Thai Islands,
- Visit a gorgeous beach,
- Visit an overwater bungalow,
- Drink a Thai iced coffee,
- Explore the night market,
- Visit the Khao Sok Lake national park, and
- Visit the train market.
See Related: Things to do on Koh Yao Yai Island
Final Thoughts on Planning a Trip to Thailand
Thai visas are relatively easy to obtain as most of them are available upon arrival, fortunately, if you are coming from an Asian country, you get a free 30-day visa on your travel document number.
For those who want to stay there for a month, consider applying for a 6-month visa in the Thai embassy before leaving your home country. Getting travel insurance is recommended, although not required as a criterion.
After reviewing all of the key points in this article, you will undoubtedly find that your trip to Thailand is a one-of-a-kind experience that will last for years after it concludes. I recommend, therefore, to enjoy yourself!
I am delighted that you are visiting Thailand, where friendly people await to give you a warm welcome. Thailand will captivate you, intrigue you, and make your heart pound. The people of Thailand are incredibly welcoming so you’ll feel right at home.
I hope to make your vacation as enjoyable as possible. I take delight in taking my utmost consideration for your trip and assuring you that everything will go smoothly.
Do you know how to plan a trip to Thailand? Let us know what we missed.