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Destinations

Thailand Travel Planning Roundup

6 December 2015

Researching your trip to Thailand? We’ve done the homework for you with our essential list of top sites for Thailand travel info and inspiration.

Everyone who visits Thailand loves it, proving that word of mouth is the best type of recommendation possible. Then again, why wouldn’t they love it? Sun, sand, culture, food, adventures – what a place!

Visiting Thailand is a feast of fun, in which the only problem is choosing what to do and see. Phuket is the answer for many who can’t resist the lure of the bright lights, hustle and bustle, top quality resort accommodation, and the ease of getting there.

Bangkok is like nothing you’ll experience anywhere else, with its own brand of busyness with which many travellers fall in love. For your cultural fix take a tour out to the tiger temples, Hellfire Pass, or floating markets. For a cultural fix of a different kind, head for the hills of Northern Thailand to experience the charms of Chang Mai. Then again, you might be looking for a more relaxing trip, in which case one of Thailand’s patches of paradise is calling. Think island hopping, luxury resorts and beach bungalows in Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Krabi to name a few.

To help you plan your trip we’ve scoured the internet for the best Thailand travel tips.

ORIENTATION

The country of Thailand sits in the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Mainland Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.

Thailand’s capital of Bangkok lies in the Chao Phraya River delta in the country’s central plain. Aussies flying into Thailand will either enter here, at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, or through Phuket island, at Phuket Airport.

Thailand’s main tourism attractions include diving sites, sandy beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, nightlife, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, flora and bird life, palaces, Buddhist temples and several World Heritage sites.

GETTING THERE

Thailand is tantalisingly close to Australia and super easy to get to. For instance, a flight to Phuket is but a tempting  6h26m hop from Perth and a 9h30m punt from Sydney.
Catching a flight to Thailand couldn’t be easier, with Jetstar, running direct services to Phuket from Sydney and Melbourne and Virgin Australia from Perth. To get to Bangkok, jump on a direct flight with Qantas, Emirates, Thai Airways from Sydney, Thai Airways and Jetstar from Melbourne, Thai Airways from Perth, and Thai Airways from Brisbane.

Connecting flights from Adelaide, Darwin, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Hobart to Bangkok and Phuket are also on offer throughout the week. Stop by Skyscanner to find the cheapest times to go to Thailand and book that flight!

For airport info and tips on getting to your hotel or villa from the airport, check out these essentials guides for Bangkok and Phuket international airports.

VISAS

The Aussie government’s Smartraveller site is our go-to for the really important stuff on all foreign travel, including Thailand. On tourist visa rules for Australian’s visiting Thailand on holiday, Smartraveller says:
Australian tourists travelling to Thailand through one of the international airports on an Australian passport may currently enter Thailand for up to 30 days without obtaining a visa in advance. This is referred to as a “visa exemption”. Australian tourists travelling overland into Thailand through a border crossing may enter Thailand for up to 15 days without obtaining a visa in advance. A visa is required for longer stays or for travellers intending to work or to travel for purposes other than tourism in Thailand.
Because entry and exit requirements can change, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Thailand for the most up-to-date information.

LANGUAGE

Thai is the official language of Thailand – easy! You’ll hear melodic Thai being spoken throughout Thailand, but rest assured your English, especially when simplified and slow, will be understood in all tourist areas. For a list of common phrases to master before touchdown, turn to the BBC’s Thai language guide for all your sa-wùt dee kàs and kòrp-kOOns.

THAI CULTURAL ETIQUETTE

The thailand-guide.com offers a handy snapshot of navigating Thai customs.
The Thai Royal Family are deeply revered, and you will see portraits of them throughout the country. At the cinema you must stand for the royal anthem before the film is screened. Anger is regarded as crude and lacking in self discipline. Remain calm and smile and you will find all sorts of doors opened. It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object.

Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body and do not appreciate anyone touching them there, even as a friendly gesture. You should dress appropriately when visiting temples. Don’t go shirtless, in shorts, hot pants, short skirts or spaghetti straps. Remove your shoes when entering a Thai home or Buddhist temple. Buddha images large or small, ruined or not, are regarded as sacred. Don’t take photographs or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. While on the rise in Bangkok, extreme public displays of affection are often frowned upon. By all means, hold hands if the urge takes you.

Wikipedia offers a more in depth look at Thailand’s customs and religions, while we’ve rounded up smart tips on cultural dress codes and safety tips here.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Smartraveller lists drink spiking and opportunistic crimes as risks to watch out for. Civil unrest, border disputes and terrorism activity is unfortunately also something to keep an eye out for. On the natural front, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis are common throughout the region. Register your Thailand travel details with Smartraveller to stay in the loop via their email service.

Smaller natural threats include a handful of insect born diseases. While no vaccinations are officially required, a few are recommended, especially if you’re trekking or have entered Thailand from a yellow fever infected area. The Tropical Medical Bureau offers an excellent
For on the ground emergency assistance such as police, coast guard and ambulance services, bookmark Bali.com‘s important emergency phone numbers guide.

THAILAND PLUGS AND ADAPTORS

You’re probably travelling with an armload of devices, so keeping those gadgets charged will be a priority. Thailand uses three plug point systems, so use this guide to figure out the adaptors you’ll need.

THE BEST OF THAILAND

Sometimes you just want to cut to the chase and experience the big hitters, right? For an awesome range of top Thailand lists, we love Thailand-Guide.com for their concise regional recommendations and stunning photo galleries.

Here you’ll find the 10 Best Things to Do in Thailand, a guide to Bangkok’s hotel areas, Phuket’s Top Beaches, and the 20 Best Restaurants in Bangkok 2015.

WEATHER

South East Asia experts Travelfish.org covers the climate and seasons basics including regional temperatures and rainfall, along with monthly averages.

According to Travelfish, “the best time to visit Thailand is from November to February when the northeast monsoon is blowing cool, dry air that serves as a respite from the heat. During this cool season, the temperature ranges from 18 to 32 degrees Celsius in Bangkok, while in northern and northeast Thailand, temperatures can get quite cool with morning temperatures as low as eight to 12 degrees Celsius with the occasional 20 degree day. Nights can be particularly chilly and at high altitudes the temperatures can and do drop below freezing.”

For daily updates and extended forecasts, bookmark Accuweather‘s Thailand’s regional and capital city forecasts.

You’ll need travel insurance before heading to Thailand to ensure your dream getaway stays as perfect as possible. Head here to check out our easy and budget-friendly Travel with Jane options.

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