How to Plan a Trip to Thailand

by  Melissa Klurman | Jan 10, 2020
Thailand / Thaisign/iStock

It’s hard not to have a good time in Thailand. There are a myriad experiences and attractions all at relatively bargain prices, including natural wonders such as soaring mountain and golden beaches The destination is also chock-a-block with cultural highlights like the National Museum and the dazzling Grand Palace. Thailand is also known for its amazing food and and friendly hospitality that extends from the jungles of Chang Rai in the north to the beaches of Phuket to the south.

Bangkok / ake1150sb/iStock

Getting a Visa to Thailand

According to the US Department of State, American citizens staying in Thailand for less than 30 days do not need a visa to enter the country. However, American travelers should have a passport that is valid for at least six months past your arrival date in Thailand.

What Language Is Spoken in Thailand

The official language of Thailand is Thai, however English is the second most spoken language in the country, according to the Thai Consulate. 

Thailand Trip Cost

Temples in Bangkok / structuresxx/iStock

To come up with a total trip cost to visit Thailand, start first with your biggest expense: Airfare. We’ve seen roundtrip fares as low as $600, but prices can spike to well over $1,000. However, $800 is a reasonable budget to set. The second largest expense on any trip is accommodations, and that’s where Thailand will surprise you. Here, you can stay in clean, budget hotels for less than $50 per night and mid-range properties for around $75 a night. Meanwhile, luxury properties typically start around $125 per night. For $500, you can stay in a clean, comfortable place with breakfast.. Food is your next consideration, and it’s another aspect where Thailand shines. You can eat well for as little as $10 in small spots for lunch. Dinners are slightly more expensive (especially if you include alcohol). You should be able to enjoy the local cuisine, with snacks and drinks, for $40 per day, or $280 for the week. Entertainment is inexpensive in Thailand; $25 a day will get you admission into most temples, and you'll have money leftover to get to the beach or book a boat tour. Based on this model, expect to spend around $1,750 total for a seven-night vacation (includes moderate hotels, airfare, food, and entertainment). 

Things to Do in Thailand

Ayutthaya: After you take in the highlights of cosmopolitan Bangkok, head to this ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site. The kingdom of Ayutthaya ruled the area from the 14th to the 17th century, and the ruins here — which include massive temples, collapsed towers, Buddhas of different sizes, and sculptures — are a fascinating look back into Thai history and culture. 

Krabi, Thailand / Preto_perola/iStock

Beaches of Phuket and Krabi: The golden beaches along the southern coast of Thailand flow into the azure Andaman Sea and are some of the most beautiful anywhere in the world. Sugar white sand beaches are backed by lush green jungle in some places, towering cliffs in others. Some are packed with vacationers and offer a festive atmosphere, like Paradise Beach in Phuket, others offer remote solitude, like Railay Beach in Krabi, only reachable by boat. Whatever your preference, you’ll be able to find a piece of paradise here. 

Chang Rai and the Golden Triangle: Northern Thailand offers mist-covered mountains and romantic jungle safaris. Chang Rai is the main point of entry to the area known as the Golden Triangle, where northern Thailand converges with Laos and Myanmar — which allows travelers to visit three countries in a single afternoon.   Highlights of the area include a visit to the Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), and elephant encounters with the gentle giants of the jungle.

Things to Do in Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand / Sean Pavone/iStock

Bangkok is a frenetic city full of dazzling palaces and awe-inspiring art. Get an overview of the gilded skyline by taking a cruise down the Chao Phraya River and its winding tributaries. City highlights to visit during your stay include The Grand Palace, home of the royal family and Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand’s holiest shrine; Wat Pho, the location of a massive golden Reclining Buddha; and the Jim Thompson House, a tribute to all things Thai silk and the American businessman who helped the industry gain international prominence before he mysteriously disappeared.

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