Thailand in a Nut Shell:
- EAT! – Pad Thai: Thailand’s most famous dish. For 30 baht (about 1 dollar) grab yourself a plate of steaming noodles, vegetables, prawns, chicken and egg.
- DRINK! – The Bucket: Vodka, Whiskey or gin mixed with M150 (same same but different Red Bull) and a dash of fruit juice. These are deadly concoctions!
- WEAR! – Same Same T-Shirt: Like the timeless white shirt or classic little black dress, the archetypal SAME SAME T-Shirt is suitable for all backpacker functions.
- BEWARE! – Girls named Lola: That girl is gorgeous and she’s well into you. Seems a bit too good to be true? It probably is.
Introduction to Thailand ‘The Land of Smiles’…
Whether you’re a party animal, outdoorsy type, culture vulture or beach bum, Thailand has something for everyone! Stunning white sands, tropical rainforests, delicious food, friendly locals and crazy night life; it’s no wonder ‘The Land of Smiles’ continues to lure thousands of backpackers to its beautiful shores year after year.
The Capital – Bangkok
Start in Bangkok, a thriving metropolis of old and new. Where speedy tuk tuks transport you from ancient temple to glitzy shopping mall; passing by the odd monk and the even odder ladyboy! Experience the famous Khao San Road, the bustling backpacker hub of South East Asia and the gateway to your backpacking adventure…
The famous Khao San Road, Bangkok
Head to the Northern cities; the enchanting city of Chiang Mai and it’s little brother Chiang Rai, for jungle trekking, bathing with elephants, rafting, visits to hill tribe villages and chilled out nights around a camp fire with a guitar. Chiang Mai is also a fantastic place to lap up some Thai culture; wander the markets, indulge in Thai Massage, try a spot of yoga, take a cooking course or perhaps explore your spiritual side with a Buddhist Meditation Retreat in a Thai monastery.
Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Market
Nearby mountain retreats of Pai (bohemian mountain town) Chiang Dao (nature and birdwatcher’s paradise) and Mae Hong Son (nicknamed Little Burma) are also very interesting destinations in their own right.
Mae Hong Son, Spectacular scenery
The Islands and Beaches
If you’re looking for a major dose of beach life on your backpacking trip, look no further. Thailand is your paradise. Step into the perfect picture postcard of white sandy beach and translucent turquoise waters. All of Thailand’s islands offer something different for the traveller.
The Andaman Coast – East
On the Eastern Andaman Coast, in backpackers go dewy eyed at the gorgeous island gem, Koh Phi Phi, where you can take a long tail boat to explore ‘The Beach’ made famous by Leonardo Di Caprio in the film of the same name.
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Nearby Railay and Ton Sai are beautiful bays located on the main land yet inaccessible by road, surrounded by awesome limestone cliffs and karsts, making them popular amongst the rock climbing crew. Nearby, chilled out Koh Lanta is an underrated castaway island which is fantastic to explore by scooter making a stop at lovely beach after beach.
Rock climbing in Railay, Thailand
The Gulf of Thailand – West
Hopping over to the other side of the Peninsula, you’ll find Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. The glitzy, the wild and the sporty. While flashpackers delight in Koh Samui’s abundance of restaurants, activities and nightlife, it’s Koh Phangan that lures thousands of backpackers each month to experience what is probably the best beach party in the world – the Full Moon Party. In Koh Tao, diving is the order of the day and many backpackers get their underwater licence by taking an Open Water Learn to Dive Course. Take the plunge for the first time and experience another world!
In a nut shell, Thailand is a fantastic place to start your backpacking trip!
And, it’s popularity as a renowned backpacker destination means that you’ll have no problem meeting other travel companions going your way! It’s an incredibly safe country to travel in with a huge diversity of activities on offer – above all Thailand is good fun!
Travelling to Thailand for the First Time?
Taking that first plunge and booking a world trip can be scary. Sometimes it’s good to have a safety net to help you ease into the action and find your feet in a brand new backpacking destination. Why not team up with recommended backpacker tour company, TruTravels Thailand where you’ll make instant travel buddies and open up the doors to the hidden gems of this backpacking paradise! Check out the start dates of their 7-day TruTravels Thailand trips here or read more about conquering that gap year fear!
Make instant travel buddies on the TruTravels Thailand Tour!
- Currency: Thai Baht
- Capital city: Bangkok
- Main religion: 95% Theravada Buddhism
- Main language: Thai
- Telephone code: +66
- Time: GMT +7 hours
- Emergency numbers: Ambulance: 1669, Fire: 199, Police: 191
Thai Language Essentials
For polite conversation males should finish sentences with ‘Krap’ and females should finish sentences with ‘Ka.’ This is regardless of whether you are speaking to a male or female.
- Hello: Sawasdee krap / ka
- Thank-you: Kop khun krap / ka
- Sabaidee myee?: How are you?
- Can I have the bill please?: Check bin krap / ka
- How much?: Tow-ry krap / ka?
- I don’t want it thank-you: Mai ow krap / ka
- Learn Thai on your iPod!
Thailand Visa Information
- Tourist Visa: Most nationalities, including Americans, Australians and most Europeans receive a free 30 day tourist visa upon arrival into Thailand by air. However, if arriving by land you will only receive 15 days. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entering. Another option is to purchase a 60 day tourist visa prior to entry, which can be extended for an additional 30 days (60 tourists visas cost around 40$).
- Visa extension: Visas can be renewed for a fee at immigration points. The cost is 1900 baht for 7 days extra and it can be extended only once. If you leave the country and return, your visa will be renewed for free. You can exit and re-enter the country as many times as you like this way and most travel agents can arrange border runs to neighbouring countries.
- Penalty for late departure: 500 baht/day. The maximum fine for overstay that you can pay is 20,000 baht after this you may face deportation at your own cost or imprisonment.
- Most of Thailand experiences three seasons; The cool season occurs during November to February, followed by the hot season, March to May, then the rainy season, between June and October. As with many countries in this part of the world, the wet season tends to consist of short, hard downpours. The time of the rainy season however, differs from the East coast to the West. The Andaman Coast (West) experiences monsoon from June to September (Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi, Railay) whilst in the Gulf of Thailand (East) rains mostly fall during September to November.
5 Random Facts about Thailand
1. The year is actually 2553 in Thailand. As well as the Gregorian calendar, Thailand runs by the Thai Solar Calendar, which is 543 years ahead of the West. Dates are often written B.E. in English. (Buddhist Era)
2. The Karen Hill Tribe in Northern Thailand are also known as the ‘Long Neck People.’ Girls from a young age wear heavy brass necklaces to elongate their necks. There are many theories as to why women wear the rings, ranging from them being a symbol of beauty, status or perhaps to give the women resemblance to a dragon, an important creature in Kayan folklore.
3. The elephant is one of the national symbols of Thailand. Particularly the white elephant is highly revered and associated with royalty. Closely connected with Thai people throughout history as an essential means if transport, the elephant is seen as instrumental in the building of the kingdom of Thailand itself.
4. South Thailand’s awesome Khao Sok National Park claims to be the amongst the oldest forest eco-system in the world. It is a protected wildlife reserve and home to many exotic creatures, such as tigers, clouded leopards, bears, tapirs, gibbons, langurs and pangolin.
5. Bangkok in Thai language has the longest name for a city in the world, consisting of 32 separate Thai words. (Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit).