Thailand is known as the ‘land of smiles’ and it’s easy to understand why. Incredibly diverse, the country has something for every kind of traveller – from idyllic islands and remote jungle hideaways teeming with rare wildlife, to Buddhist temples and bustling cities, not to mention the incredible food. It is home to the word’s most visited city and host to some of its most unusual festivals. Well-known as a beach destination, those who venture further will find their curiosity amply rewarded.
Ayuthaya & Khao Yai National ParkAyuthaya & Khao Yai National Park
Elephants and bears inhabit Khao Yai National Park; one of the world’s greatest. Two hours away, Ayuthaya, Thailand’s former capital, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, with impressive ruins and beautiful temples.
Thailand’s buzzing metropolis, Bangkok is home to the opulent Grand Palace and an impressive number of temples. Navigate the city by tuk tuk or the network of canals, exploring the bustling streets by day or the bright lights by night.
Chiang MaiChiang Mai
Thailand’s second city, historic Chiang Mai is known for its intricate temples, superb street food, walled ‘old city’ and night bazaar. It also makes a great base for trekking or cycling in the stunning valleys surrounding the town.
Chiang Rai & Golden TriangleChiang Rai & Golden Triangle
Chiang Rai is a small, relaxed town, close to the borders with Myanmar and Laos, known as the Golden Triangle. It makes an excellent starting point for elephant trekking, seeing rural hill tribe villages and scenic paddy fields.
Hua Hin & Northern Gulf IslandsHua Hin & Northern Gulf Islands
Thailand’s answer to the Hamptons, Hua Hin and Cha-Am are the Bangkok crowd’s weekend beach getaway. Handy but rather overdeveloped, those seeking paradise will find it on the gulf islands of Koh Samet, Koh Chang and Koh Kood.
With its World War II memorials and historic Thai-Burma railway, Kanchanaburi is a fascinating stop on any Thai trip. Set beside the famous River Kwai, the countryside here is filled with waterfalls, caves and temples.
Koh Samui & Koh TaoKoh Samui & Koh Tao
Picturesque Koh Samui and Koh Tao have something for every kind of visitor, with stunning beaches, relaxing resorts, party towns and small fishing villages. Koh Tao is notable for its superb diving and laid-back vibe.
Krabi & Andaman Coast IslandsKrabi & Andaman Coast Islands
The jewel in Thailand’s crown, the lush Andaman coast boasts several national parks and over 80 islands including the Phi Phi Islands, Koh Lanta and hidden Railay Beach – offering superb diving and picturesque karst-filled views.
Phuket & Khao LakPhuket & Khao Lak
Phuket showcases some of Thailand’s loveliest beaches and a wide choice of boutique and luxury hotels, with rainforests and mountains as a backdrop. Nearby, relaxed Khao Lak offers excellent snorkelling.
Explore the abandoned ancient city of Sukhothai, the capital of the first independent Thai Kingdom in the 13th Century. A UNESCO protected historic park, the atmospheric monuments and temples tell the story of Siam.
Browse through our suggested itineraries for inspiration. These are just a starting point for your plans – remember that all our itineraries are tailor-made to your specifications.
Ancient Capitals of ThailandThis tour delves into some of the oldest and largest temples in the ancient capitals of Thailand; from the mountainous jungles to the city centres and everywhere in between. Travel by tuk-tuk, boat, foot and bicycle to truly understand the intricacies of these incredible sites over a fascinating 11 day tour.
Essential ThailandFor first time visitors, this tour is the ultimate itinerary for discovering the diverse culture and scenery of the country. Visiting Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, the trip is full of in-depth excursions to the main sites of Thailand as well as unique, often hidden, locations.
Perfect Thai HoneymoonLeave the real world behind in an extravagant city and beachside trip; stay in fabulous hotels and visit incredible temple sites. Dine in candlelit Thai restaurants and beachside shacks, ride elephants through lush jungles and bask on a bamboo raft downriver before heading south to Ko Lanta where a tropical island paradise awaits you.
Hike, Bike & Kayak the Golden TriangleGet active in one of Asia's most colourful and diverse regions. Trek through Myanmar's rugged Shan Hills, then explore the stunning scenery of Northern Thailand by bike and on foot, including challenging asents to remote hill-tribe communities and easy cycles by the mighty Mekong River. Continue into Laos and glide through lush riverine scenery on a private boat; then kayak to the World Heritage city of Luang Prabang, an explorer’s trip of a lifetime.
Planning your trip
Quick country facts
- Recommended airlines
BA or Thai Airways to Bangkok
- Flight time
Around 11-12 hours with a direct flight.
- Time zone
- Visa requirements
No visa required for 30 day stay (UK passport)
Most flights will land into Bangkok, which is an excellent starting point for itineraries and the ideal launch pad for next destinations.
Whilst the distances in Thailand are all technically reachable via road, scheduled flights are frequent and inexpensive and a good safe alternative to road travel, particularly when time is limited.
Accommodation varies hugely from basic backpacker lodges to some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the world. Prices are fairly reasonable so a luxurious holiday is possible for far less than the equivalent in the Maldives.
How Long to Stay
Whilst it’s certainly possible to fly to Thailand for single-centre beach stay we would recommend at least two or three stops in Thailand and a 10-night minimum trip duration to make the travel time and time difference worthwhile. For those with more time, many highlights of the country can be seen within a month. Thailand is also an excellent stop in combination with travels in the rest of South East Asia and can be easily combined with Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Weather and When To Go
Thailand is nearly a year round destination – it can be visited at any time, but those spending the majority of their stay in beach areas will need to be careful to book the right side of the Thai peninsula for their month of travel, as while it’s sunny in Phuket it can be raining in Koh Samui and vice versa.
Generally speaking, between November and February it is cool and dry throughout the country, making this the best time to visit especially if taking in more than one area. In March and April temperatures start to rise across the country – it’s dry but sightseeing in Bangkok, Central Thailand and Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai will be harder in the heat and humidity.
The west coast islands of Phuket and Krabi are usually dry from November to April, with short downpours starting from May, building up to heavier more frequent rainfall throughout July, August and September, easing off throughout October. Koh Chang follows a similar pattern.
Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan on the east of the Thai Peninsula experience rain in November and December so are best visited from January onwards. They remain dry right through to July, making them one of the best options for a beach stay over the British summer.
Prices rise and availability becomes tight in peak season (December – Feb), especially during holidays such as Christmas. ‘Shoulder’ seasons such as November and April are good options to get great deals and avoid the crowds. We recommend booking flights and accommodation at least 6 months in advance to ensure you get the best there is to offer.