Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand covers a total area of approximately 513,000 square kilometers (198,000 square miles) and is the 50th largest country in the world and the 12th largest in Asia! The north of the country borders Myanmar and Laos. The northernmost point is Amphoe Mae Sai, Chiang Rai Province, with tourist attractions like Mae Sai Market, Golden Triangle, Wat Phra That Doi Wao, and Wat Thampla (locally known as Money Temple).
Thailand comprises several distinct geographic regions, partly corresponding to the provincial groups. The north of the country is the mountainous area of the Thai highlands. The northeast, Isan, consists of the Khorat Plateau, bordered to the east by the Mekong River. The centre of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand.
One of the most visited countries in southeast Asia by international tourists, Thailand attracts travelers from across the planet with its frenetic, temple-filled cities and remote beaches. Best of all, you probably don't need a visa to check them out. Add these points of interest in Thailand to the top of your must-do list.
Citizens of most countries can enter Thailand without a visa and are allowed a 30-day stay. If you are arriving overland, however, you may only be issued a 14-day visa, depending on your citizenship.
Thailand can best be described as tropical and humid for the majority of the country during most of the year. The area of Thailand north of Bangkok has a climate determined by three seasons while the southern peninsular region of Thailand has only two. In northern Thailand the seasons are clearly defined. Between November and May the weather is mostly dry, however this is broken up into the periods November to February and March to May. The later of these two periods has the higher relative temperatures as although the northeast monsoon does not directly affect the northern area of Thailand, it does cause cooling breezes from November to February. The other northern season is from May to November and is dominated by the southwest monsoon, during which time rainfall in the north is at its heaviest. The southern region of Thailand really has only two seasons -- the wet and the dry. These seasons do not run at the same time on both the east and west side of the peninsula. On the west coast the southwest monsoon brings rain and often heavy storms from April through to October, while on the east coast the most rain falls between September and December. Overall the southern parts of Thailand get by far the most rain, with around 2,400 millimetres every year, compared with the central and northern regions of Thailand, both of which get around 1,400 millimetres.
Generally speaking,the best time to visit Thailand is from November to February when the northeast monsoon is blowing cool, dry air that serves as a respite from the heat. During this cool season, the temperature ranges from 18 to 32 degrees Celsius in Bangkok, while in northern and northeast Thailand, temperatures can get quite cool with morning temperatures as low as eight to 12 degrees Celsius with the occasional 20 degree day. Nights can be particularly chilly and at high altitudes the temperatures can and do drop below freezing.
If you’d like to see Thailand off the beaten path, you’ve come to the right place. Our locally based Travel Specialists have expert knowledge on experiencing Thailand like a local. Aside from guided tours of the rugged, remote, and pristine regions of Thailand, such as the lovely mountain town of Mae Hong Song, you can go off the beaten path—literally—with off-road tours in Thailand’s northern hills. Or how about driving yourself through the Golden Triangle or paddling through the Thai Peninsula alongside pink dolphins? We at Far East Travel also offer private hill tribe tours in Thailand, boat tours, and culinary tours to take you off the usual tourist trail and bringing you face to face with all the experiences and tastes of Thailand. Contact one of our Thailand-based Travel Specialists who can customize a Thailand tour that meets all of your specifications.
There are so many reasons why Thailand is one of the top travel destinations in the world, but one of them must certainly be its family-friendliness. Aside from Thailand’s dazzling temples, pristine beaches, and friendly people (this is the “Land of Smiles” after all), Thailand is also safe with great infrastructure. Not only will you never run out of things to see and do, but you will also feel safe while you travel. For ideas and inspirations on a family vacation in Thailand, check out our Thailand Family Tours, above.!
You can purchase a local Thai SIM card with 3G and 4G pretty much everywhere. They are available at major airports, phone shops, mobile service providers, and even 7-Eleven. Top-up credit for some providers can be bought at many big-box stores and convenience stores, including 7-Eleven, Family Mart, BigC, and Tesco.
We recommend tipping your Thai tour guide and driver as you would in most other Asian countries. A good amount to tip your guide is 150 baht (US$5) per person per day, and for your driver, 100 (US$3) baht per person per day. If you’d like to tip your taxi driver or wait staff, you can round your bill up to the nearest 50 baht, or leave roughly 10 to 15% of the total bill. This won’t be expected but appreciated.
Internet access is widely available in tourist areas like Bangkok and Phuket, which have many internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot-spots. Internet access is less frequent in rural and remote areas.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by large shops, hotels and restaurants in Thailand. However, they may not be accepted by smaller vendors such as small family restaurants, market stalls or in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Thailand.
ATMs are found widely throughout Thailand, so withdrawing cash shouldn't be problematic in most areas. Some smaller villages and rural areas may not have ATM access, so prepare for this before venturing too far from a city or major town.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Far East Travel are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
Thailand is undoubtedly among the best beach destinations in the world, particularly thanks to the gorgeous tropical islands in the south of the country, in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Phuket, Krabi, and Ko Samui are some of the well-known names, but this sunny country also offers quieter beaches that eschew the party crowds and are all about relaxation. Charming and laid-back Koh Kood, Koh Phangan, Koh Yai Noi and Khao Lak all allow you to escape the crowds while offering a choice of great hotels. If you’d like to do some beach camping, head to Koh Surin, one of the most remote of the Thai islands, where you may rub shoulders with the Moken people, Thailand’s enigmatic ‘sea nomads.’
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