Thailand Travel Tips
Thailand is a diverse country offering beaches, national parks, mountain scenery, rural provinces, bustling cities and an ever-present Buddhist culture. Unlike its neighbors, Thailand was never colonised by a European power. Despite its modernity in the cities, Thailand offers much in the way of history and culture, with ancient capitals home to temple ruins, and a diverse array of religious monuments including stunning, glittering temples to visit.
The Thai people are warm and friendly, and you will have many opportunities to interact with local people throughout your journey. Tourism is well-developed in Thailand, though facilities may be more basic in less visited areas. If you have already booked your trip to Thailand click here to download our pre-departure guide.
Kingdom of Thailand
Baht (THB) exchange rates
International calling code
UTC +7 hours
Climate & times to visit
Thailand's weather features two markedly different seasons, the dry season and the monsoon. The monsoon season is typically from May to October, and you can expect warm temperatures, high humidity and afternoon rainfall. Travel plans are rarely impacted by the monsoon, except on Southern Thailand's east coast where rain can be heavy from October to December. From May to October, the southwest coast is impacted by rain, so it is possible to find an alternative dry beach spot throughout the year. In Thailand's north there are four distinct seasons. December to May are drier and relatively cool, while July and August have the most rain.
What to expect
Thailand is a welcoming, diverse country with everything from beach resorts to wildlife treks, historical sites and fascinating cities.
The bustling capital, Bangkok, is a feast for the senses and home to fabulous shopping, delicious cuisine and many interesting sites, including the glittering Grand Palace and impressive reclining Buddha at Wat Po. In the countryside, visit waterfalls, hilltribe villages and elephant camps.
Beyond the larger cities and tourist sites, facilities may be less developed than what you are used to. English is less prevalent in the countryside, yet despite this, the Thai people are warm, gracious hosts. The concept of 'saving face' is important in Thailand, so it is essential to remain calm and polite in your interactions with people.
Flights to Thailand from the USA: Flight times range from 19 hours (Los Angeles) to 20 hours (New York)
- 1 January is New Year's Day, a public vacation. While the international rather than Thai new year, it is nevertheless celebrated with food promotions and fireworks displays, such as those along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
- February (full moon, 3rd Thai lunar month) is Makha Bucha Day, a Buddhist vacation commemorating Buddha's teaching of the Ovada Patimokkha.
- 6 April is Chakri Memorial Day, commemorating the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty, the current ruling royal family.
- 13-17 April is Songkran, the traditional Thai new year and the year's major vacation. Many Thais return to their family home during this period, and it is marked by celebrations and throwing water on the streets.
- 1 May is National Labor Day, commemorating the contribution of workers to society.
- 5 May is Coronation Day, marking the coronation of Thailand's current king, known as Rama IX, in 1946.
- May (astrologically determined) is the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, where the country's farmers are blessed.
- May/June (full moon, 6th Thai lunar month) is Visakha Bucha Day, a religious vacation commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha.
- July/August (full moon, 8th Thai lunar month) is Asarlha Buch Day, a religious vacation remembering Buddha's first discourse.
- July/August (first waning moon, 8th Thai lunar month) is Vassa, the start of Buddhist Lent.
- 12 August is National Mothers' Day and a vacation celebrating the birthday of Queen Sirikit in 1932.
- 23 October is Chulalongkorn Memorial Day, commemorating the passing of King Chulalongkorn in 1910.
- 5 December is Fathers' Day and a vacation celebrating the current King's birthday (born in 1927).
- 10 December is Constitution Day, marking the introduction of the first permanent constitution in 1932.
- 31 December is New Year's Eve, which is celebrated in Thailand as it is in much of the world.