Some people say that travelling feeds the soul and rejuvenates the mind. This is definitely true when you visit Thailand – it is a melting pot of old and modern culture. Its capital city, Bangkok, is highly developed and yet is still able to retain a certain antique charm.
My love affair with Thailand began back when I was in university and every time I visit, I always feel blessed that in this day and age, travelling has become so much easier.
Whether you are looking for a short weekend escapade, a beach retreat or a shopping bonanza, Thailand has all that and more.
The best thing about Thailand is that there are so many options available to you – flights and accommodation are fairly easy to arrange and once you’ve sorted that out, the sky’s the limit where your holiday is concerned!
Thailand Travel Visa
First, though, let’s take a look at some of the visa requirements you need as a tourist before you visit Thailand. The length of your Thailand travel visa will depend on whether your country has a visa exemption agreement with Thailand.
Generally, tourists are allowed to stay in the country between 3 to 6 months. However, extensions for visas can be made onshore and are normally approved in a minimal amount of time. This list has all the details on which country has a visa exemption agreement with Thailand and the validity of each travel visa.
However, certain countries passport holders are allowed to visit Thailand under the VISA ON ARRIVAL or VISA EXEMPTION RULE.
- 9 Countries eligible to enter Thailand under the VISA ON ARRIVAL rule:
Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mauritius, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan, Ukraine
- 48 Countries allowed to enter Thailand under the VISA EXEMPTION RULE:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam
If you are not a citizen of the aforementioned countries, you would need to ensure you apply and receive approval for a Thailand travel visa. The following are the documents required for your visa application :
- Passport / travel document valid for at least 6 months from date of travel
- Completed visa application form
- One recent 4 x 6 photograph of the applicant
- Proof of round trip air ticket / e-ticket
- Proof of financial means (minimum 20,000 baht per person and 40,000 baht per family)
The fee for a visa to enter Thailand is usually USD30.00. However, this – and other visa requirements – is subject to change so it is always a good idea to contact the nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate for updated details before your holiday.
Thailand Travel Tips and Tricks
- Much like neighbouring countries, Thailand’s tropical climate means that there is never really a best time to visit Thailand. However, Thailand’s weather is normally either rainy (especially between May to October) or cool (normally between November to February) which are then punctuated by bursts of heat particularly in March and April. As there are always events and things happening in Thailand, the best time to visit Thailand would depend on what you want out of your holiday. Due to the end of the year holidays and Christmas break coinciding with cooler temperatures, expect the country to welcome a deluge of visitors particularly in December.
- Bargaining is almost expected anywhere in Thailand especially in markets and roadside stalls. However, tourists can expect to pay different rates than locals: most places of interests and even some commercial centers practice a two-tier rate. Still, even though tourists are charged slightly higher than locals, prices are relatively affordable and cheap. One of the best Thailand travel tips I can give you would be to enjoy the bargaining process but don’t go overboard because that extra few bath can potentially mean a lot to the vendor/seller.
- One of my favourite Thailand travel tips is to be adventurous whenever it comes to sampling food in each region. Central Thailand is popular for Tom Yum and green curry while the Som Tam (green papaya salad) in the northeast region is simply to die for. Even if you are not travelling to a particular district, fret not because you are sure to be able to find different types of authentic Thai cuisine almost anywhere now. Do keep a lookout for roadside stalls selling meatballs, sticky mango rice and fried chicken. Some of them might not be much to look at – and it’s definitely up to your discretion to gauge the hygiene level of these makeshift food carts – but the flavours sure pack a yummy punch.
- Unfortunately, each country would have their fair share of scams and touts out to make a quick buck from hapless tourists. Although you should certainly try to get a ride on a tuk-tuk at least once when you visit Thailand, be mindful that unsavoury drivers might lead you to taking unscheduled pit stops at gem stores or gambling dens.
- The Thai people revere the royal family and King Bhumibol – who happens to be the longest reigning monarch in their history – is adored and loved by all. Anything that is perceived to be an insult to the royal family can certainly lead to stiff penalties. A word of advice: if you are keen on catching a movie in Thailand, the national anthem will be played before the screening of the movie. Even as a tourist, you are fully expected to stand up as a mark of respect.
Thailand Places To Visit
There are of course so many interesting Thailand places to visit that I would not be able to mark them down. However, I must say that the must-see attractions / venues include the following:
- Those who love a bit of sun, sea and sand must definitely visit beach resorts such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Phi Phi Island, Ko Tao, Rayeng and Ko Samet. There is nothing like a relaxing holiday where all you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the sea breeze.
- You might want to forgo a visit to Bangkok the next time you’re in the country. Instead, why not head to Isaan which is at the northeast of Thailand. This is recommended as one of the best Thailand places to visit as you will definitely be able to immerse yourself into local culture and customs by enjoying a stay at guesthouses peppered throughout the area.
- Chiang Mai
It is always an adventure to visit Thailand because you never know what to expect. There are simply too many things to see and do. Perhaps one of the best things about travelling around this country is that there are so many facets still to discover. Thailand is definitely one of my all-time favourite holiday destinations.
- Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya
- St Joseph Cathedral – Stood tall and Proud Amongst Temples
- Wat Sri Sanphet
- Wat Yai Chaya Mongkul
- Coffee Break in Ayutthaya
- Bangkok Street Food – To Eat Or Not To Eat?
- Sukhumvit’s Cool VW Mobile Bar
- Cabbages & Condoms, Anyone?