Breathtaking beaches, stunning scenery and fabulous food are just some of the reasons to consider this Southeast Asian hot spot for your next vacation.
If you’re craving a beach vacation — whether you want to soak up the sun with a frosty cocktail in hand or island hop — one of the best spots to get your fill of sun, sand and surf is Thailand. The sheer abundance of beaches in the southern part of the country makes it a beach-lovers paradise. For a typical resort atmosphere, head to bustling Phuket. For stunning turquoise water and a quieter vibe, we suggest Koh Phi Phi (with a side trip to stunning Maya Bay) and if getting even further off the beaten track is what you’re after, get yourself to Koh Tao or Koh Lipe.
Whether you’re a diver or prefer to just don a mask and fins — Thailand can’t be beat if you want to catch a glimpse of some fascinating ocean creatures. There are ample opportunities for undersea adventure in Thailand with its abundance of marine parks and over 1,200 miles of coastline and hundreds of offshore islands to explore.
Fighting off jet lag in ultra-busy Bangkok didn’t give us the best first impression of this crazy capital city, but after a few days of acclimating we fell in love. The multicultural capital is easy to get around with the help a well-organized public transportation system, including the speedy air-conditioned sky train. The prompt, relaxing river taxi service is an excellent means of seeing the city.
If you love Thai food and order it often prepare to be blown away by the real thing. It’s hot, it’s cheap, it’s delicious and it’s on every street corner no matter the neighborhood. Indulge in soups, curries, grilled meat and fish, fried food and fresh fruit juices from roadside stalls, or if you’re in Bangkok, choose from many world class restaurants offering every type of cuisine imaginable. Love what you’re eating? Take a cooking class so you can cook your favorite Thai dishes at home (well worth it and tons of fun).
It’s still relatively easy to stick to a budget and even save money on a trip to Thailand. We were able to find more than a few clean, airy private rooms for $25 or less. You’ll likely spend more in the south but paying more for a spot right on the beach is worth it! Food, buses and even domestic flights are also all reasonable. We went from Bangkok to Phuket on Nok Air for under $50 one way. The bus or train would have been cheaper, but if you’re short on time, flying is your best bet.
Whether you’re more comfortable in a multi-floor megamall or bargaining like a local in a busy market, there are plenty of opportunities to part with your money in Thailand. You’ll find markets in even the smallest towns so you’ll never be far from something to buy. We had the most fun fighting the crowds at Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market, one of the world’s largest weekend markets and home to everything from housewares to books to souvenirs to food and just about anything else you could think of.
Local buses, tuk-tuks, taxis, ferries, the sky train in Bangkok, trains, long distance buses and the aforementioned affordable airfare make traveling within Thailand a breeze. Even solo or novice travelers will find it fairly simple to get from point A to point B, whether that’s across the country or just to the next town.
If you have more time, or you’re interested in exploring more of the surrounding areas, Thailand is a great jumping-off point for visiting more of Asia. Whether you want to head to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia or Myanmar, you can do so easily (flying or over land) from Thailand.
Once you’ve had your fill of exploring cities, visiting cultural attractions and hitting the beach, Thailand makes it easy to get your fix of green space. National parks, forest parks and wildlife sanctuaries make up about 13 percent of land area, making Thailand an ideal spot for hiking, trekking, bird watching, wildlife spotting and waterfall swimming. Don’t miss: Khao Sok National Park for its stunning beauty and range of outdoor activities. If you go, stay at Our Jungle House, an eco-lodge right in the jungle!
Though some months might be rainier than others, weather in Thailand is pretty reliable in that if hot is what you’re after, you’ll get it here. Temperatures can get cooler in the north but in central and southern Thailand we never wore more than light sundresses and T-shirts. You also can’t ask for friendlier, more helpful people no matter where you go, which always enhances any vacation.
Pack your bags and join us next time when Frequent Flier heads to some great spots in Central America.
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