Travel to Thailand should bring you close to the country’s rich traditions, renowned natural features and gracious people. Whether you’re interested in Buddhism or Muay Thai (Thai boxing), are longing to see Thailand’s awe-inspiring mountains and beaches, or want to explore colorful cities like Bangkok, the resources in this guide will help. Find cheap flights to Thailand, learn how to get around the country, find a place to stay and gain a better understanding of Thailand’s attractions and culture.
A Southeast Asian neighbor to Laos and Cambodia, located north of Malaysia and south of Myanmar, Thailand has a vibe all its own, hosting diverse activities like Phuket’s blues festival and Trang’s traditional underwater weddings. Thailand also features bustling cities, relaxing beaches and mountain hiking. This section outlines all of Thailand’s tantalizing travel opportunities.
- In January 2008, Thailand selected Samak Sundaravej as prime minister, completing the country’s transition back to elected government and away from military rule. A turbulent term is expected, as Sundaravej is disliked by many because of his deadly crackdowns on peaceful protestors in the 1970s and 1990s.
- Many of the Web sites listed below are part of a network of English-based Web sites about Thailand called Paknam Web Network. You’ll find individual links to some of the Web sites in this network, along with descriptions for your convenience.
- Thailand means “The Land of the Free.”
For official tourism resources …
The Tourism Authority of Thailand
can answer many of your questions about the country and offers facts about Thailand and upcoming festivals. Look for descriptions of activities you can do while in Thailand, organized by such categories as “Adventure
” and “Spa
.” Keep in mind that this site is seeking to promote the country, so you won’t find much critical information here.
For Thailand’s regions and attractions …
specializes in Southeast Asian travel. The helpful guide to Thailand lists regions and “Hot spots,” gives descriptions of each area and offers accommodation options. The site provides some suggested itineraries, message boards, FAQs and feature articles on various topics, including transportation
Paknam Web Network
, mentioned in an Insight above, is a collection of English language Web sites about Thailand that include Thai food, language, cities and religion. Try starting with the list of their network’s “Top 10 Websites” in the left sidebar, or with the compilation of the “Latest Websites.”
For guidebooks …
is always a great place to begin your online research before you travel to a country. Browse the information for an overview of the country, its customs, geography, weather and all other crucial facts.
is a truly unique guide to Thailand written by a Thai teenager. Lonely Planet said that this site has “More unbiased information on Thailand travel than any site we've seen.” Visit the section on “Visitor Facts
” for practical information on tipping and currency, and see the “Provinces
” section for information on museums and other activities in each of the provinces. The graphic design may leave something to be desired, but the content is truly helpful.
Recent events in Thailand, including a political coup and an insurgency in the south, should encourage travelers to learn more, not to feel alarmed. This section points you to necessary logistical information, as well as to resources on Thai customs, traditions, and social and political history.
- Nearly 95 percent of Thailand’s people are Buddhist, and just under 5 percent are Muslim.
- Although plenty of people speak English in Thailand, this Web site compiled a list of “10 Essential Thai Words and Phrases” that can help you make a good impression with the locals.
- When researching Thailand, you’ll frequently come across the domain name .th, the Internet domain name for the country. When making international phone calls, the country code for Thailand is +66.
For travel documents and safety advice …
The U.S. Department of State
provides much of the logistical information that you need to know before heading to Thailand. Find information on entry requirements, passports and visas. The site also alerts you to any existing safety concerns in Thailand.
For health and vaccinations …
For currency conversion …
provides the conversion rates for various currencies into Thai baht. Use the “Currency Calculator
” on the left to convert other currencies. Thailand’s currency is called baht. One U.S. dollar is equivalent to about 31 Thai baht.
For culture and etiquette …
is meant for backpackers but has information about the customs and traditions of Thailand that are applicable to any visitor. The site uses a flippant approach to hammer home some of the messages and express the fact that foreigners (Westerners) have a proclivity to be oblivious to other customs.
ABL Tours & Travel
has a helpful page with useful tips for homosexual travelers. Scroll down to the “Gay And Lesbian Travellers” heading (about halfway down the page) to learn how Thailand treats gay and lesbian visitors.
arranges budget vacations, but this Web page does a great job explaining Thai etiquette. Speaking, patience, gestures, bathrooms and feet are some of the varied topics mentioned on the site.
outlines Thai etiquette, including issues of body parts. For example, in Thailand, the foot is considered the “lowest limb” both literally and figuratively. Pointing the sole of your foot at another person is offensive, as is using your foot to point to anything. In contrast, the head is a very hallowed body part, so you should not touch someone else on the head.
For religion …
, the Web site of the Buddha Dharma Education Association, explains some Buddhist holidays, customs and traditions. Holidays, funerals and marriage rites are all explained in relation to Buddhism in general. Take a look at “The Thai Buddhist Calendar
” page to learn when the Buddhist holy days are observed in Thailand.
For advice from travelers …
prides itself on being a “community.” This page is a compilation of photos, stories and tips related to all things Thailand. Click on a province or city to find useful resources from those who have been there before. There are a lot of subtopics to explore, ranging from history to martial arts to working abroad. Travelers are free to post any suggestions they may have.
For Thai food …
Enjoy Thai Food
is a collection of blogs for Thai food enthusiasts interested in learning more about the cuisine and how it’s prepared. If you’re traveling to Thailand and don’t know what to expect, browse the blogs to learn about classic Thai dishes. Scroll down the left sidebar to explore Thai food by region under the “Stories about Thai Food” heading.
For politics and current events …
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK
does a particularly thorough job explaining the current political climate in Thailand, pointing out where you need to be careful. Read about the unrest in the southern provinces, the recent government coup and the potential threat of terrorism.
Thailand’s countryside has plenty of secluded locations as well as heavily trodden cities like Bangkok, which you’ll likely pass through at one point during your trip. This section presents Web sites to help you travel to Thailand by air, rail or sea.
- Bangkok's Don Muang International Airport is the most common entry point to the country. There are plenty of connecting flights from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia to this airport. Flights into other Thailand international airports tend to come from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Hong Kong.
- Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Phuket and Ubon Ratchatani also have international airports, but mostly charter and regional flights go to them.
For general information …
tells you what you need to know about crossing the border into Thailand. Find tips and general facts about crossing from the bordering countries of Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia.
For flights …
has a clean look and simple navigation, and it offers solid prices on airfare. A cool feature on Orbitz lets you explore their many package flight and hotel deals by destination or activity.
, the national airline of the Kingdom of Thailand, is one of two major Thai airlines. It serves 12 domestic destinations within Thailand and 64 international destinations. In the United States, it operates in New York and Los Angeles.
For trains …
The Man in Seat Sixty-One
is a unique site created by a man who loves to travel and loves trains. Access valuable information about getting around by train and ship, gleaned from the writer’s travels. Although the site isn’t that well organized or designed, there are good tips and facts.
dedicates a section of its Thailand guide to train travel in Thailand. Although the majority of this site is meant for getting around Thailand by train, there’s information on traveling to other countries. Don’t miss the map listing train routes
in and around Thailand.
For ferries and cruises …
The Thailand Travel Manual
offers information on the various modes of travel for getting to Thailand, including a useful section for traveling by sea. Learn about various ferry crossings and some luxury cruises.
Different Thai cities offer a variety of accommodations. The budget traveler can find solace in the hostels and the backpacking and camping possibilities. The luxury traveler will be equally content with Bangkok’s high-class hotels and the beautiful beach resorts of Thailand’s coastal towns and cities. The following Web sites can make finding a place to stay that much simpler.
- Thailand presents an assortment of accommodations, including unique hotels and hostels with no hot water. There’s something suiting every budget.
- Luxury travelers are in luck in Thailand. Some of the world’s grandest hotels and resorts are here, including the Sofitel Hua Hin and The Oriental in Bangkok. Even if you can’t afford a stay, walk through the lobby or stop in for a drink just for the experience.
For Thailand hotel search engines …
has a superb Web site devoted to hotels throughout Thailand. Browse hotels using the clickable map of Thailand or by city (listed on the right sidebar). Hotel descriptions are quite extensive and include directions, locations and reviews; the reviews are a great feature, as you can see what other travelers had to say (reviewers can also rate a hotel up to five happy faces).
Thailand for Visitors
is a convenient site for finding accommodations because of the way it lists the hotels. Search by location to get a short introduction to the accommodations in that area, followed by a selection of recommended hotels. Hotels are arranged into categories such as the “Center of Town” and the “Edge of Town.” In addition to the price and number of stars for each hotel, the site links to different Web sites to find the best possible rates.
For general search engines …
is a beneficial Web site to explore because it’s such a wide network. There may be distracting advertisements, and the graphic layout isn’t that great, but there are plenty of reviews and recommendations from other travelers. Enter the location you want in Thailand to find posts from people who have been there before, a traveler forum and recommended hotels.
consolidates hotel information from hundreds of individual hotels and online travel agents. Enter your desired location and dates to get a list of possibilities. To learn exactly which hotels and agents
Kayak covers, visit the “Providers” page.
For last-minute bookings …
is a great convenience if you need somewhere to stay last minute. See what the availabilities are in the next three weeks for a number of hotels in the various provinces. Choose a hotel and click on the dates you want to book.
For hostels and camping …
has a large database of hostel listings. Access descriptions, reviews and contact information for hostels in cities around the world. Browse hostels in Thailand by region or city.
Many travelers take advantage of cheap flights between major attractions and cities in Thailand, but to truly see the country and understand the culture and people, consider buses and trains. The sites in this section show you how.
- Book plane reservations early during the Songkran Holiday, or the Thai New Year (April 13 to April 15).
- Tuk-tuks are “taxis” with three wheels. They’re unique forms of transportation within Bangkok, and generally fares are from 30 baht to 150 baht. Be sure to bargain for your fare, as tuk-tuks lack meters.
- The primary airlines operating routes within Thailand are Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways, while Nok Air has many discount fares within Thailand. Their Web sites have helpful planning tools like route maps that can help you determine which cities to visit.
For general information …
The Thailand Travel Manual
can answer most of your initial questions about traveling through Thailand. Learn about air travel, buses, taxis, tuk-tuks, skytrains, river ferries and water taxis, subways and private transportation.
For train travel …
Thailand By Train
provides everything you ever wanted to know about getting around Thailand by train. Find timetables and routes for the different train lines, and information on the modes of transportation for some of the major cities and provinces. Also find information about traveling to bordering countries.
The Man in Seat Sixty-One
, mentioned in the section on traveling to Thailand, also has valuable information about getting around Thailand by train. Expect to get more in-depth coverage of Thailand train travel than on the previous site.
The State Railway of Thailand
is the country’s state-owned railroad. It has routes throughout the country. Look for information on the various rail lines
, including schedules; use the links near the top of the page to find the other lines.
For buses …
provides a thorough guide to riding buses in Thailand, including buses in Bangkok and buses within and between provinces. Learn where bus terminals are located and how to flag down a bus, and see photos of the different types of buses you’ll see in Thailand.
Take heed from travelers who are well acquainted with Thailand, and your trip could be a lot more rewarding. The travel blogs and forums listed in this section put you in touch with others who’ve been there.
- Although blogs often provide great travel information, they should be assessed with discretion because they present opinions.
- To find blogs on a particular topic, like Thai street food, use a blog search engine like Technorati or BlogPulse.
For blogs and forums …
, part of the Paknam Web Network, has a number of blogs all about Thai life and culture. There are plenty of recommendations and caveats in these blogs for visitors to the country, including an entry on bus travel in Thailand
that paints a stunningly realistic picture of crowds, speeding and occasionally intoxicated drivers.
The Paknam Web Thailand Forums
provide a network of people with common interests related to Thailand. Browse the large number of posts to find updated queries and responses. There are many different forums to choose from, like Bangkok, shopping, Thai music, Thai relationships, Thai Buddhism and school life.
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