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.
Health & fitness
Travelers should take the same health and safety precautions in Thailand as they would elsewhere in the region. Should you require medical assistance, Thailand features some excellent international standard hospitals in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Elsewhere in the country, options are more basic.
Diseases that can be found in Thailand include dengue fever, tetanus, malaria, hepatitis A and B, diphtheria and HIV/AIDS. It is important to minimize the possibility of exposure to these and other illnesses by taking sufficient preventative measures. We strongly advise consulting your doctor for current health advice at least one month before departure.
Citizens of the US, UK, Australia, EU Countries, New Zealand and Canada do not need to acquire a visa prior to arrival in Thailand for visits of up to 30 days. All other nationalities should consult with the Thai embassy or consulate in their home country.
To enter Thailand your passport must be valid for at least six months past your departure date from Thailand. You will receive a tourist visa for stays of thirty days or less upon arrival by air. It is essential that you carry proof of your onward travel arrangements, confirming that you will leave Thailand within 30 days, should you need to produce this at immigration.
If you are entering Thailand at an overland border crossing, only a 15 day tourist visa will be granted. If you require a longer stay you must apply for a tourist visa prior to arriving in Thailand, or there is the option to leave and re-enter Thailand before the 15 day visa expires.
Please note Thailand visa regulations and arrangements are subject to change and that your visa arrangements are your responsibility. We strongly suggest that you check with the relevant embassies in your home country for current visa guidelines.
Safety & security
Thailand is a relatively safe destination by international standards, though the usual safety precautions apply. Petty theft can occur in popular areas, so it is advisable to wear minimal jewelery and secure cash close to your body when out and about.
For transport in Thailand, we suggest taking a taxi at night rather than other modes such as tuk-tuk. Taxis are metered and very affordable. It is a good idea to keep a hotel address card handy to show drivers. Always keep a copy of your passport, flight tickets and credit card details. It is best to keep these copies in a safe place apart from the originals. Whenever possible, secure your valuables in a hotel safety deposit box.
Be cautious of strangers offering you things such as sweets or drinks, and be mindful that Thailand has extremely strict drug laws. Read our safety guidelines for further information.
- ‘Gentlemen of the Parlour’ by Somerset Maugham is an interesting account of the author's travels on foot and elephant-back through parts of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. It provides an idea of how much the Thailand and Indochina area has changed over the past century.
- ‘Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind’ by Carol Hollinger is a delightful read by an American woman who made Thailand her home and worked as a frustrated English teacher at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.
- ‘Travels in Siam, Cambodia, Laos and Annam’, by Henri Mouhot. Written in 1860, this is an intriguing account of travels through Indochina and Thailand by the Frenchman who rediscovered Angkor in Cambodia. It reveals lots of interesting information on the Thailand of yesteryear.
- ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ by Pierre Boulle is a fictional account based on historical fact, focusing on the construction of the Burma Railway in Kanchanaburi by prisoners of war during World War Two.
- ‘Letters from Thailand’, translated by Susan Fulop Kepner is an English translation of a Thai book telling the story of a Chinese migrant to urban Thailand, post World War Two. It reveals how he found adapating to his new surrounds and culture.
- ‘Thailand: A Short History’ by Joseph Wright Jr is a readable guide to the history of the ‘land of smiles’.
Useful words & phrases
What to take
- Flat walking shoes & sandals
- Hat & sunglasses
- Swimming attire
- Lightweight travel towel
- Money belt
- Lightweight waterproof coat or umbrella
- Basic first aid kit
- Alarm clock
- Small torch (flashlight)
- Travel plug/ international adapter
- Women’s sanitary products
- Ear plugs/eye mask
- Day pack and/or small backpack
- Clothes for temples