Thailand is a tropical paradise you must visit 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. It can be enjoyable if you know where you want to go, what type of accommodation you want and plan your activities.
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. Still, it is essential to note right now that if you don’t have the necessary information or knowledge about planning a Thailand vacation, you might end up frustrated and leave 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, exciting temples, and delicious cuisine.
While Thailand is often seen as the home of friendly people, it’s a familiar 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.
This validates 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.
You can taste fresh food from the local ingredients and enjoy it in Thailand. There are many beach destinations, warm weather, and people of different religions.
It is essential to know that in Thailand, people are Buddhist. They have different beliefs than other countries. People give alms, wear modest clothes, and respect monks and holy temples.
Exploring Thailand is worth the visit, and you’ll be amazed at how wonderful this country is. There are many things to do there, including visiting parks, seeing elephants, scuba diving, eating excellent Thai food, visiting the Andaman Sea, and so much more.
What We Cover
- Tips for Planning a Trip to Thailand
- How to Plan a Trip to Thailand
- Budgeting Your Thailand Tour
- Planning a Trip to Thailand and Building an Itinerary
- How to Book a Flight to Thailand
- Book Lodging for Your Thailand Itinerary
- Best Places to Go to Thailand
- Southern Thailand vs. Northern Thailand vs. Central Thailand
- How to Pack for a Trip to Thailand
- Flip Flop (or Slip-on Shoes)
- Modest Dresses
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Bug Spray
- Soap and Shampoo
- Travel Insurance for Thailand
- Affordable Underwater Camera
- Thai Sim Card or Phone Plan
- Things to do during your trip to Thailand
- Ride a Tuk Tuk
- Watch a Muay Thai Fight
- Visit The Many Islands and Temples
- Get a Sak Yant Tattoo
- Visit a Floating Market
- Eat a Scorpion
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 the whole experience.
- The best time to go is from March until November when it’s not too hot or rainy.
- Get a visa beforehand so you don’t have to do it in Thailand.
- Consider planning your trip around festivals like Songkran, Loy Krathong, or Loi Kratong, which are huge events with celebrations and fireworks nationwide.
- When air travel, 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 Bangkok Airport if you plan 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 planning a vacation from the ground up so that you will know where and how to invest your time best when preparing for Thailand.
Budgeting Your Thailand Tour
Planning a trip isn’t just about balancing what you want with what you need for success. If it were that simple, anyone could do it! Even when planning vacations. First, consider how much money you have (and are willing to spend) and how long you should stay there: This will factor into planning how much to budget for food, transportation, and other costs.
As with planning any trip or vacation, you’ve never been on, getting as many opinions as possible from those who have traveled there is a good idea. From personal experience, I can say that the closer your destination is to home (family or friends), the more you’ll want to take precautions and plan for things readily available at home, so planning your vacation there will be much easier.
The best thing about planning a trip is just getting started! The first step in planning should be determining what you need (information, funds) before planning a trip.
Longer trips allow travelers to explore more, but shorter trips provide the same respite. It’s a balance between what you can and want to do. The good news is that Thailand is a very affordable country to visit. It costs next to nothing if you plan 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 food, transportation, and other expenses in Thailand can vary greatly depending on your location. In Bangkok, for example, the average person can spend $1 a day, whereas in Chiang Mai, the average person could spend $7. Budgeting for your visit entails planning a budget before coming up with an itinerary so that you don’t spend more than you have planned.
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 will happen and when.
If you’re planning on traveling backpacking style, it might be best to plan stops by city; if not, think about choosing locations based on their site (e.g., northeast, south). Some of Thailand’s best places to visit 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 plan to go backpacking there, it’s best to plan 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 visit the capital city, Thailand has a wide range of options to satisfy multiple desires.
The bus system is one of the most popular ways to get around because it’s cheap and easy to use. If you plan on staying at more than one place during your stay, this might be the best way to plan your trip since they can take you anywhere in the country where stops are 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, 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. Still, it’s always better to have your cash on hand when planning your trip to avoid any issues exchanging money.
ATMs are all over Bangkok, but it’s important to remember that some will charge a fee for use, so planning is the best way to save money on your trip. Consider making a spreadsheet of all your trip stops to plan for your Thailand cost. Then, factor in the various lodging, transportation, dining, and tour expenses to get there.
See Related: Do Hotels Take Cash?
How to Book a Flight to Thailand
Before purchasing airline tickets for a trip to Thailand, finding out which airport serves the area you want to go to is essential. 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 much more accessible!
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, depending on how far your home country is from 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. Buying tickets at least three months before your departure date is best 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 business and international travel hub. Many tourists come to Thailand just for Bangkok’s bright lights and vibrant 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.
If you plan to go to Chiang Mai, two airports operate: Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and Mae Hong Son Airport (HGN). 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 to. The flights are also priced differently, with the average flight costing between $200 and $400.
To purchase your inter-Thailand travel tickets before you get there, it’s best to plan your itinerary so that you can 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 can spend, and 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 only to 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 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 levels of class: 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
Best Places to Go to Thailand
It is a known fact that there are a lot of exciting 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. Here is a guide to the perfect Chiang Mai itinerary.
Southern Thailand vs. Northern Thailand vs. Central Thailand
Southern Thailand is the more populous and urban area in terms of infrastructure. It also has the most significant 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 various 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, and 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 an excellent 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 complete 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 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)
Thai remove their shoes before entering temples and some restaurants. You will probably take your shoes on and off multiple times a day. Thus, we have a simple solution: 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 visiting one of Thailand’s many beautiful beaches.
See Related: Best Travel Sandals
For many, the main reason for visiting Thailand is its world-famous temples. To respect Thai culture, it’s best to wear modest clothing and cover your knees while you’re there.
Reusable Water Bottle
Unsurprisingly, one might become fatigued during a tour or visit. Hence, staying hydrated by refilling your reusable bottle with filtered water at an affordable rate and visiting well-hydrated in a tropical climate is essential.
Grab one of these best travel water purifiers to drink fresh water on the go.
Visitors to Thailand should know that the climate is hot and humid and buy bug repellent, 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 solo, 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 challenging to plan a trip to the Southeast Asian country. Additionally, things may not go as planned, and travelers often find themselves in difficult 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 SafetyWing.
Affordable Underwater Camera
Not all cell phones can take pictures underwater. Hence, I recommend a little camera that won’t get damaged easily to photograph on land and underwater.
Thai Sim Card or Phone Plan
Getting a Thai SIM card while traveling is imperative for communication to stay connected with loved ones and friends. Here is an essential list of packing items for Southeast Asia.
See Related: Travel Hacking 101
Things to do during your trip to Thailand
These are some fantastic 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 known as “the art of eight limbs” because fighters can 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 common Thai culture tattoos. It is a tattoo artist that was modified from ancient traditional Khmer practices. Sak means “to insert,” and Yant means “sacred.”
Each tattoo has a meaning or effect from Buddhist teachings and ancient beliefs. The tattoo’s supernatural power can then be transferred to the person who wears it.
When planning to get a tattoo, ensure 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 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 stalls on the barge. It is worth noting that most of these products are handmade, so prices may vary depending on whether you’re bargaining.
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 to wait close to the water, cool down when needed, and be closer to where all the activities occur. You will see floating markets full of fresh fruits, cooked foods, and local souvenirs.
See Related: Things to do on Koh Yao Yai Island
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 the following:
- 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.
Thai visas are relatively easy to obtain as most of them are available upon arrival; fortunately, if you come 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 critical 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.