Welcome to Thailand, the most touristic country in Southeast Asia. Traveling in Thailand is easy and cheap traveling. Famous for its very high purchasing power (for tourists), Thailand has seduced the world for over 30 years. Nicknamed the country of the smile for a good reason, people are simple, carefree and are satisfied with the necessary. (It takes little to be happy… no… ok, I stop). Thailand is a beautiful country full of riches, a destination not to miss for a trip to Asia. Especially since traveling to Thailand from France is still very easy and cheaper.
My Itinerary in Thailand:
I arrived in Thailand at the end of my road trip to Australia. I took a plane ticket with a Stop and Go so I was entitled to a stop in several cities in Asia when I returned to France. I chose Bangkok. After 6 months in Australia, Thailand was a little culture shock for me and that’s what I was looking for. I love the diversity of the world, and I enjoy seeing the differences between each society. Thai culture immediately seduced me by its simplicity and almost nonchalance. Southeast Asia is also sumptuous landscapes through the countless islands of the Indian Ocean. I stayed 4 weeks traveling in Thailand and here is my itinerary:
Arrived late in Bangkok from Sydney, I had to join my co-pilot of Australian van left earlier for Phuket. Having booked no plane beforehand, I found myself sleeping at the airport waiting for the first flight early in the morning. It was not my first, I also spent 24 hours waiting for my plane in New Zealand. Sleeping in an airport is quite common for a backpacker but I admit that this is not my favorite place to stay overnight.
So I leave for Phuket aboard a Boeing 747, the luxury. I flew 6 hours from Sydney in a hurry and I flew 1 hour to Phuket and I have the biggest plane in the world. I finally stayed only one day in Phuket to follow my friends who were leaving for Phi Phi.
Kho Phi Phi:
I spent 4 days in Kho Phi Phi in a bungalow close to the beach and away from tourists. A small paradise on earth that hides an island devastated by tourism. Despite that, I have a very good memory. I was able to kayak on Monkey Beach, a wild beach filled with evil monkeys, or on secluded beaches where nature was still a bit unspoiled.
The trip between Kho Phi Phi and Kho Samui is perilous (yes I’m exaggerating, but I’m from the south, it’s normal). Indeed, it takes a whole day to cross from the Adaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand. We had to take a ferry, a bus and another ferry across Krabi province to Surat Thani province. Knowing that our bus broke down midway (in the middle of nowhere), we took a lot of delay. A very long journey. Kho Samui is an island also very touristy but with a lot of riches. To party, it’s a place to go, it’s here that I drove a scooter for the first time in my life. Yes yes, I started in Thailand and I know it’s not the best country for that. Besides, I was not really clever on my scooter, in flip flops, shorts and tank top.
Kho Samui’s little cable fury: too many tourists for me. I decide to leave my friends and go to the least tourist island in the area with a friend met on the spot. My stay in Thailand really began at that moment. No more parties and tourists, I went to meet the Thai on this beautiful island. My best memory in the land of smiles.
After 4 days to discover Kho Tao, still in scooter, shorts and flip-flops, but this time not even a helmet, we decided to change scenery and have a look in the North. We found a small guesthouse super nice and cheap close to the city center. Chiang Mai is more than 300 magnificent temples and a hinterland full of natural resources. Leaving a bit of the city, it was the first time I found myself the only white in the middle of full of Thai. I think that made a lot of fun of me. I saw them laughing at me.
I could finish in beauty with the capital of Thailand: Bangkok. After the beautiful scenery of the islands and the mountains of Chiang Mai, I did not like Bangkok at all on the first day. Mistake on my part since I absolutely loved this city on the second day. It is a mixture of modernity and old while retaining its small Thai charm (understand the brothel everywhere). I stayed in the city center at first but I preferred to go to Khao San Road where I went around the area.
Traveling in Thailand: When to go?
Going to Thailand between November and March is the best option. The rainy season is over, it is hot and the water is good. Disadvantage: everyone has understood that this was the best time, prices are flying and tourists are flocking in numbers.
The climate in Thailand is quite mild in these times. It is milder and there are fewer tourists. In contrast, the rainy season is near and may spoil some days of your trip.
Better to avoid July and August for a stay in Thailand. It rains for days, many places are closed and there is much less transport.
Traveling in Thailand:
Going on Road Trip in Thailand is very easy. On site, life does not cost much. Beyond that, I was really surprised by the organization of transport. Everyone will tell you, to go to Thailand is not to book anything in advance and see everything on the spot. First, it’s easier because you can negotiate prices. All you have to do is go to a tour ticket (the thing I never do in other countries) and ask.
When I was in Kho Tao and wanted to go to Chiang Mai, I went to the ticket tower in front of my bungalow. In ten minutes it was settled. I had a taxi to get to the ferry, the ferry, a bus to the airport and my plane, all for an unbeatable negotiated price and nothing more to do. I was really surprised.
Travel by plane :
The plane is probably the most expensive way to travel but also the fastest. There are two companies serving mainly Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Kho Samui (this airport is scary). There are also some blacklisted companies like Lion Air, an Indonesian company I stole from. I was given this information once on board. Like “Hey dude, you know it’s a blacklisted company? It does not scare you? “
Traveling by bus:
See my bus trip between Krabi and Surat Thani. The bus broke down, it was a bus dating at least from prehistoric times. Despite this, it is not expensive but like everywhere, it is very long.
To travel by train :
I did not travel by train but I heard very good echoes. It is a good alternative to the bus but even longer. Trains are more spacious but often late. There are 4 main lines: north, south, southeast and east. I think it’s a great experience and you can see the country.
Travel by boat :
The obligatory passage to go to the islands. In general, the ferries are overcrowded and there is very little space. For shorter trips, it is essential to test the long tail boats typical of Thailand.
To move in Taxi:
This is the first transport I took when I arrived. 45 minutes to reach the south of Phuket and I was ripped off. I paid twice the normal price because the taxi in question came from the airport. In Thailand, locals pay a ridiculous price compared to the tourist. There are 4 kinds of taxis in Thailand:
- Scooter taxi: the most economical and he does not hesitate to take more than 2 people on it. For me traveling alone in Bangkok, it was perfect to avoid traffic jams and save money.
- The Tuk Tuk: emblematic in Asia, the Tuk Tuk are the best solution to move several. They are cheap, but they are only a short distance away. Do not ask them to take you outside the city.
- The Songthaew: The Songthaew are collective taxis that go from point A to point B and drop you on the way. These are often big pickups laid out. Still a very local experience that I loved.
- Taxis: to be taken rarely and only for long distances. I took a taxi just to get to the airports.
To stay in Thailand:
There is everything in the country. Resorts with luxury rooms, swimming pool and lots of nice services like small bungalows lost on a deserted beach.
In Kho Tao, I even came across a crazy complex on a lost beach. I had rolled 1 hour through the forest with my old scooter. I do not believe it.
In general, I avoid going to big hotels, I prefer to rent an Airbnb. But in Thailand, it’s even simpler. When you arrive somewhere, there will always be a small kiosk where you can book your accommodation on site. I have never booked a room in advance, I always looked for arriving, which allowed me to negotiate prices and choose the best places. This method played me tricks in Kho Samui where I arrived in the evening and everything was already booked. I had to look for hours a free room.
In each case: always prefer a room with a fan or air conditioning. This is the minimum that I advise you. In the islands, prefer the bungalow. In cities, prefer the guesthouse much more fun.
Top unusual activities in Thailand:
- Swimming with whale sharks
- Go to the markets
- Rent a scooter
- Test the high-tech toilets
- Eating insects
- Diving in the most beautiful spots
- Climb in the most beautiful spots
- Rent a bungalow on the beach
- Eat local
- Take a court of Muy Thaï
- Take a Thai cooking class
- See animals: snakes, elephants, tiger…
- Make CableSki
- Attend a full moon party
Budget road trip in Thailand:
No need to say more. Thailand is cheap and that’s why many travel to Asia. You should know however that you will pay much more in tourist places. I realized this when I arrived in Kho Tao and Chiang Mai. Prices were half the price.
1 € = About 40 Bath
- Budget accommodation: between 6 € and 20 € / night. Everything depends on the desired comfort. I happened to sleep in a room with a small bed and only a fan. The shower was common and cold. In Bangkok, I had a big room with three beds while I was alone.
- Transport budget: About 8 € / day but it depends on the days if you travel far or not.
- Budget Eating: Tourist Places: 5 € / day. Non touristic places: 2.50 € / day.
- Activity budget: An activity in Thailand costs between 5 and 15 €. Again, it depends if you prefer to swim with whale sharks in Kho Tao or visit a temple in Bangkok.
My budget in Thailand: 25 € / day.
A tip to save money: live local. Do not go to tourist restaurants and luxury hotels. Rent a bungalow in a secluded corner, eat a Thai pad in a shack at the corner and go directly negotiating with a sinner for a boat trip.
What to see in Thailand:
In addition to the destinations where I went higher, you can see:
- Ko Pha-Ngan: famous for its full-moon party.
- Surin and Similan Islands: world famous places for scuba diving.
- Ko Lanta: an island a little less touristy than its neighbor Phi Phi. Wild decorations assured.
- Ayuthaya: ancient capital of Thailand
- Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle: a wild and friendly area for hiking.
- Sukhothai: famous historical park.
- Pattaya: Flagship destination to party.
- Khao Yai: UNESCO- protected nature reserve near Bangkok