Samui Plus, Thailand: A Traveller’s Guide

Are you interested in Thailand’s Samui Plus scheme? This allows fully vaccinated, international travellers to visit the three most popular islands without needing to complete a lengthy state quarantine!

Koh Samui

All 12 Samui Extra Plus Hotels: Thailand Sandbox

Are you heading to Thailand on the Samui Plus Scheme? If so, you’ll be required to stay in a Samui Extra Plus hotel for the first week. In this article we delve into the 12 designated hotels to help you choose!

Karsts and A Long Tail Boat at Railay Beach

Thailand Reopening “Within 120 Days”: Everything You Need to Know

Starting with Phuket on 1st July, Thailand is reopening the country in stages. In less than two weeks vaccinated travellers will be able to land on Thailand’s shores without having to quarantine. In this article, we’ll look at the Thailand reopening timeline as it stands, and what we know so far about the entry requirements for travellers.

Thai lady in Bangkok, Thailand

99 Useful Thai Phrases For Travellers

99 of the most useful Thai words and phrases that I picked up whilst living in Thailand that can be used in daily life to make interactions easier.

Floating market in Thailand

Floating Markets in Thailand: The Lowdown

You’ve probably heard that Thailand’s floating markets are a tourist trap… but is that true? We deep dive into the history of floating markets, discuss which ones are the most authentic and top tips for visiting!

Thonglor, Bangkok: The Trendiest Part of the City! 

Thonglor – Bangkok’s Trendiest Hood!

The Thonglor area in Bangkok is quickly becoming the city’s trendiest place to be. This swanky modern hood has everything from hipster coffee shops to speakeasy bars, you’re sure to find somewhere to while away an evening (or two)!

BEES Elephant Sanctuary: A New Kind of Elephant Tourism

BEES Elephant Sanctuary: A New Kind of Elephant Tourism

Looking for a truly ethical elephant experience? Head to BEES elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai and lead by example to change the animal tourism industry in Thailand! Read about what an average day spent at BEES is like and also more about the great work they are doing to care for retired elephants.

Bangkok Itinerary - How to Spend 1 - 4 Days in Thailand's Capital!

Bangkok Itinerary: How to Spend 1 to 5 Days in Thailand’s Capital

Bangkok is one of Southeast Asia’s craziest cities. With so much to do in the Thai capital and many backpackers debating how long to spend there, planning your visit can be confusing. Never fear, we are here to help you with out with our ultimate Bangkok itinerary for backpackers! Plan your trip today!

The 20 Best Hostels in Koh Tao, Thailand

The 20 Best Hostels in Koh Tao, Thailand

Looking for a place to stay in Koh Tao but not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up the best hostels on the island to help you choose your ideal place to stay!

Khao Sok Floating Bungalows

Khao Sok Floating Bungalow Bliss! Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand

If the prospect of exploring mysterious caves, observing monkeys (and possibly bears) in their natural habitat, splashing in the warm water of an absurdly blue lake, and resting your head beneath a rustic bungalow sounds like a weekend well spent, consider booking a three day tour package at Khao Sok National Park!

Pai, Thailand

A 30-Something’s Guide to Surviving Pai, Thailand

‘Pai, Pai, Pai, you should go to Pai.’ Pai is the much hyped corner of Northern Thailand, famed for it’s epic landscapes, fun bars and hippy lifestyle. But how does it hold up under the cynical gaze of this thirty-something…

Teaching English in Thailand

Guide to Teaching English in Thailand

Want to be an English Teacher in Thailand? What’s the Salary? Do you need a degree? ALL Questions Answered in The Ultimate Guide to Teaching in Thailand!

Erawan Waterfalls, Kanchanaburi

Should You Skip Erawan Waterfall, Kanchanaburi?

If you’re currently researching a visit to Erawan National Park, nearby Kanchanaburi, then read this honest article before making your decision – you just might save yourself few dollars by doing so!

Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi set to close April 2018

CLOSED TO TOURISTS! Koh Phi Phi & Boracay. Where Next?

For 4 months this summer starting June 1st, Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi will close to tourists. Authorities in the Philippines are discussing a 6-month closure for Boracay Island. Is a closure necessary to protect these natural beauty spots and where should be next?

Turtle being released for Buddhist Karma

Turtle Release: The Buddhist Practice of Building Good Karma

One traveller visits Wat Rakhang (Temple of Bells) in Bangkok and receives a cultural lesson in the Buddhist ritual of animal release. Every day hundreds of creatures; turtles, eels, snails, birds and other animals are captured in cages, purchased by locals and then released back into the wild in order to gain merit.

Lunch on the Nan River, Northern Thailand

Nan, Thailand: Remote Mountains & Indigenous Communities

Nan, located in the most eastern part of Northern Thailand in the valley of its namesake river, is a charming little town with a historical center. Surrounded by the spectacular misty mountains of Doi Phu Kha National Park bordering Laos, Nan is a place where you will find many old temples and teak wooden houses, where foreigner tourists are rare and people still enjoy the traditional slow lifestyle of the Northern Thai people.

Koh Samui Beach

10 Surprises From My First Week in Koh Samui, Thailand

The popular island of Koh Samui is often disregarded by backpackers as a ‘tourist trap’. Artist Kai A. explains why there’s much more to the island than meet the eye, from terracotta temples to Chinese shrines, crystal beaches and the Muslim call to prayer. This island is a hotbed for creative types…

View across the valley near Pai, Mae Hong Son

The Bus From Chiang Mai to Pai: Crazy Thoughts Along The Way!

It’s no secret that the drive from Chiang Mai to Pai is a daunting one. It’s a steep and winding road that will make you feel every single one of its 762 turns along the notorious Route 1095. I just didn’t think I would lose my sanity over it!

Wat Sri Suphan, Chiang Mai, the Silver Temple

Top 5 Temples, Chiang Mai – What Wats to Visit if You’re Tight on Time?

With over 300 Buddhist temples dotted all around Chiang Mai, you’re sure to be ‘wat-ed’ out quite quickly! So what if you only have a few days to explore this beautiful Northern city? Here’s our pick of ‘what’ wats you definitely shouldn’t miss out on, even if you’re tight on time…

Two women fight in the ring, Muay Thai

Learning Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand

Sophie and I had arrived at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA training camp for a month of Thai boxing. Based in Chalong, a 15-minute bus ride out of Phuket Town, the camp boasts an impressive area of boxing rings, training areas and equipment — impressive, and scary as hell!

10 Days in a Vipassana Meditation Retreat at Wat Ram Poeng, Northern Thailand

The Northern Insight Meditation Centre of Wat Ram Poeng is nestled on the secluded edges of Chiang Mai, surrounded by woods, just on the outskirts of the Old City. These days, its reputation as a Vipassana retreat has spread worldwide, resulting in thousands of meditators enrolling in search of enlightenment.

Useful Thai Phrases: When Ordering Food in Thailand

Watch our video filmed at a night market in Mae Sot to learn a few Thai phrases to use when ordering food. Earn smiles from the locals and maybe a bit of discount on your purchases too! From how to ask for your meal not spicy, without MSG, or tell the waiter you’re vegetarian, to how to order a beer, with or without ice, or your fruit shake without sugar – these useful Thai phrases will help you kin dee (eat well) in Thailand!

Window with floor map writtten on at Chiang Mai's derelict women's prison

Doing Time – Inside an Abandoned Prison, Chiang Mai, Thailand

In the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old Quarter, I stumbled upon an intriguing hole in a wall which led me to the derelict shell of an Abandoned Women’s Prison… Cell blocks with paint peeling off the walls, an old dining hall where a solitary bowl sits reminding us of the hundreds of prisoners that used to eat here and a dusty visitors room are all that’s left of this penitentiary of the past.

Spectacular Views Across The Landscape on The Mae Hong Song Loop

Driven Round the Bend on the Mae Hong Son Loop, Northern Thailand!

The Mae Hong Son Loop is lauded as one of the best motorbiking routes in the world and boasts a whopping 1864 bends in a route of 650km! Two gung-ho backpackers (with pink helmets, little biking experience and no map) undertake the three-day journey from Chiang Mai to Mae Chaem, Mae Hong Son, Soppong, Pai and back to Chiang Mai… with lots of adventures along the way!

Suan Sati, Chiang Mai: A Review of the Cheapest Yoga Retreat in Thailand

Last week, we were invited to stay at Suan Sati Yoga Retreat in San Sai, near Chiang Mai, Thailand. Suan Sati (which means ‘mindfulness garden’) has only been open six months, yet the place is attracting many backpackers to come and enjoy meditation, yoga and a vegan diet in beautiful surroundings. Is it the cheap price that’s the draw for thrifty backpackers – or is it something else?

Pad Thai, Thailand.

Pad Thai: The Forgotten History of Thailand’s National Dish

Today, Pad Thai is a popular street food dish in many parts of the country and it’s on every menu in Thai restaurants that cater to farangs (foreigners). Popular as it is, how many of you actually know the fascinating history behind the dish?

Avoiding Khao San Road. Our Guide to the Best Bangkok Neighbourhoods!

Most backpackers flying into the city of Bangkok make a bee-line for one place: the infamous Khao San Road. But if you’re looking to discover a different side to Thailand than buckets of red bull and loud music, have a read about the following areas. From hipster chic hoods, to parts of the city that are more reminiscent of Thai village life than a cosmopolitan metropolis, here are a few of our favourite Bangkok neighbourhoods…

Songkran in Thailand

Songkran Survival Guide – Thailand’s Water Festival

As people gear up for the world’s biggest water fight, if you’re secretly dreading it and are wondering if it’s okay to book yourself a posh hotel, buy lots of beer and avoid the next three – five days, then read this guide on how to survive Songkran, and make up your mind…

Buddha statue across a pond in Sukhothai

Sukhothai Vs Ayutthaya – How Do You Choose Which UNESCO Site To Visit?

Central Thailand has two popular UNESCO World Heritages sites, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, both the homes of former ruling dynasties in the history of Thailand. Both sites, on the face of it are pretty similar and both are close to the well-trodden train route between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. So, if you have to pick only one, which should you check out?

Multi-tiered stages of rocks at Erawan waterfalls, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

5 Must See Waterfalls in Thailand!

Exploring waterfalls is one of the best ways to get in touch with nature in Thailand. Trekking up through the dense jungle along a small winding dirt track, in 90 percent humidity and the 35 degree tropical heat. Top it all off by jumping into a deep pool of cloudy blue water coloured by dissolved limestone, swim amongst the nibbling fish and lay back listening to the jungle sounds all around. Heaven!

The Silhouette of a Couple Sitting on a Sofa in a Forest, Representing Luxury Camping

4 Awesome Countryside Camping Options Near Chiang Mai, Thailand

Are you headed to Chiang Mai in search of adventure? If you want to swim in a river, hike in a forest and spot Thai wildlife, check out these off-the-beaten-track National Parks that few tourists visit. You’ll have to drive yourself or hire a private driver to get to these destinations, as they’re so rarely on visitors’ itineraries, but the journey to get there is worth it we promise!

Can you Surf in Thailand? Yes You Can!

This might come as a surprise even for experienced surfers, but surfing in Thailand does exist! Just a little more 5 years ago people would barely know that waves that hit the west coast of Thailand are actually surfable. But today the surfing culture is developing rapidly. So where is the best place to surf?

Full-Moon-Party Koh Phangan, Thailand

An Insider Expat’s View on Koh Phangan, The Full Moon Party Island

Is it still worth visiting Koh Phangan if you’re not interested in the Full Moon Party? We caught up with Israeli expat, Sharon, who runs the popular website,, to find out more about what the island has to offer, from yoga to Muay Thai, and learn about how the reputation of Koh Phangan has changed in recent years…

A Healthy Habit: Fruit Winter in Chiang Mai

Every year, the beautiful northern capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai, plays host to a unique event called The Fruit Winter. A festival that’s the brainchild of US life coach and therapist, Conor McMillen, that inspires people to eat raw fruit and vegetables and practise healthy living. Traveller, Martin Higgins explains his own experience and why his body and mind thank him for keeping up his annual habit of wintering in Chiang Mai…

Guide to Making Friends and Going Out with Thai People!

Thais are social people – very social. And you should not miss a chance to spend a night out with a group of newfound Thai friends. It will be fun, educating, and probably a lot more memorable than heading to another Irish pub with fellow international backpackers. But what to wear, what to order to drink and who pays the bill? Here’s our advice…

Make Your Own Silver Jewellery at a Workshop in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Forget about tacky souvenirs – beautifully jewellery crafted by your very own hands is a magnificent keepsake of your travels. Nobody else in the world will have a piece the same as yours, and when people ask about that unique pendant they’ve never seen before, you can proudly say that you made it yourself in tropical Chiang Mai!

Move, Play, Breathe and Smile… Life at the Xhale Yoga School in Pai, Thailand

There’s the old cliché that backpackers travel to ‘find themselves’. In South East Asia, particularly Thailand, many travelers like to experiment with yoga and meditation in an attempt to still their mind and discover what it is that they really want out of life. We meet local Thai native, Bhud, owner of the Xhale Yoga School, located in the beautiful Pai Valley to find out more about daily life on a meditation retreat…

What’s going on in Thailand? Advice for Backpackers on the Thai Military Coup

On May 22nd the Thai Army announced that they had taken over control of the country through a military coup. The two biggest questions that everyone has been asking since then are, “What does this really mean for my upcoming trip to Thailand? And is it true that 7-11s are actually closing?” Our Bangkok Ambassador, Chase Berenson gives us the lowdown on how life in Thailand has been affected by the political situation…

Forget Muay Thai Boxing, Thailand is Crazy for… Football!

Thailand is known throughout the world for its home-grown sports, most famously Muay Thai, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find sports that are more familiar to backpackers. We’re talking about football, a sport that is hard not to love. Bangkok expat (and our ambassador) Chase Brenson tells us all about why taking in a game while in Thailand is a well worth it cultural experience!

10 Things I’ve Learned While Living Abroad in Isaan, Thailand

Living and traveling abroad can be an experience of a lifetime, and the experiences to be had can teach you much more about reality than you’d ever learn in a classroom. From traveling solo to learning to live alone, one of our Ambassadors, Eliza, shares 10 things she’s learned from spending the past two years living and teaching in Thailand.

Bangkok at night seen from above

Bangkok Safety Tips For Travellers

Flying into Bangkok as your first destination on your backpacking adventure? Are you worried about the political protests affecting your trip? S.E.A Backpacker Ambassadors, Charla Hughes and Chase Berenson are two travellers turned expats who are now living in Bangkok and have given us a lowdown on the current situation from their point of view, major rally sites to avoid and tips for travellers on how to stay safe in the city!

Will the Real Koh Phangan Please Stand Up! Beyond The Full Moon Party

Home to the notorious monthly Full Moon Party, it’s no shock that Koh Phangan has somewhat of a dodgy reputation. The truth however, is that this island is special and offers far more than it is given credit for. It’s creative, eclectic, underground, spiritual, artistic; it’s got a great, free-flowing vibe; a tight community that integrates both expats, locals, and travellers who keep coming back. We introduce you to the often overlooked dynamism of Koh Phangan.

Out and About, Beyond Khao San Road in Bangkok!

Bangkok! It’s the gateway to Asia – often the first place we touch down when we arrive, and most likely, the last before we go back home again. But how well do we know it, really? It’s an absolutely sprawling metropolis, after all, with the kind of 24-hour nightlife where everything’s on offer, from your standard friendly Irish Bar to…well, you know. Everything else. Many of us only touch the surface, dipping our toes in as far as Khao San Road and then calling it quits, which is a shame, because when the sun goes down and it’s time to hit the town Bangkok has a lot to offer!

Deep Reflection & Spiritual Learning at the DHARMA INC Centre, Thailand.

How can travel inspire us and guide us without a heavy dose of time for ourselves in the mix? How can we welcome in new insight, or perspectives, or desires if we do not give them time to marinate and become fully flavoured? Recently we discovered the Kailash Akhara Centre by Dharma Inc the perfect location in which to add some essential ‘YOU time’ into your travel plans.

Phuket's Atmospheric Old Quarter is worth exploring.

Exploring Phuket’s Little-Seen Old Quarter

Sip milky iced tea while listening to melodic jazz from a street café. Haggle over homemade batik at a Malay fabric shop. Just a few reasons, says travel journalist Leigh-Anne Hunter, to ditch the beach for a day and wander through Phuket’s fascinating, but little-seen Old Quarter…

The Walls of a Temple in Chiang Mai Seen Through a Fish Eye Lens

10 Alternative and Free Things To Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

You always hear about the trekking, the night markets, the cooking courses and the street stalls of Chiang Mai, but take a second look and you’ll see so much more in this northern Thai town. Want to get away from the crowd at the Sunday Walking Street or blaring reggae and hip hop beats of Babylon Bar? Guest writer, Alana Morgan, takes a very different look at one of Thailand’s most popular cities…

Interview: Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, Founder of Agama Yoga

The island of Koh Phangan in southern Thailand is notorious for the Full Moon Party and a hedonistic destination for young backpackers! However, there’s so much more to the island than meets the eye. In recent years, it has become a hub for yoga and spirituality and draws thousands of ‘soul-searching’ travellers who are looking for more than just buckets and beaches. After the New Year’s Eve celebrations died down this year, we made our way to Agama Yoga on the beautiful West coast of the island to meet the founder of Agama Yoga School, Swami Vivekananda Saraswati. We discuss yin and yang, the laws of karma, tantric sex, God and reincarnation!

Sunset at Wat Phra Sorn Kaew

10 Places in Thailand That Backpackers Rarely Visit

A glo-paint smeared body, bucket in each hand and a night of dancing and debauchery? A perfect palm-fringed, white sandy beach, waves lapping into shore as you sip a fresh coconut juice? Or perhaps, it’s the chaos of Bangkok; the colourful markets, bustling streets and glitzy shopping malls? What does Thailand mean to you? Here we present to you a different side of Thailand, a quirky side and 10 unexpected and unusual places that are often overlooked by backpackers…

SE Asia Faces & Places: Interview with an Ayurvedic Practitioner

As conversations between backpackers begin to include Ayurvedic buzzwords such as “dosha”, “five elements” and – heaven forbid – “fasting”, we catch up with an Ayurvedic practitioner, to unscramble the mystery of this ancient Eastern tradition of medicine…

A Day in the Life of a Dive Instructor Vs A Day in the Life of an Office Worker

Waking up to bright blue skies, turquoise waters and a day of teaching wide-eyed backpackers to discover a whole new world… is this the job of dreams? So what is it really like getting paid to live in paradise? Here, we compare a regular day in the life of a Western office worker alongside a regular day in the life of Ludo, a dive instructor at Big Blue Diving, Koh Tao, Thailand…

Flying Through the Jungle on the Longest Zipwire in the World!

Here at South East Asia Backpacker magazine, the team love to squeeze an adventure into our schedules and what could be better than flying through the rainforest on a Sunday afternoon? Seven of us took on the challenge, and were transformed from a group of quivering wrecks into a bunch of screaming daredevils.

Play with Fire and You’re Gonna Get Burned!

Writer, blogger and lover of all things ‘travel’, Neil Barnes retells a fiery tale of adventure, nightlife and drunken decisions… Whilst enjoying the splendours of the beautiful island of Koh Phangan in South Thailand and sampling the delights of cheap Sam Song rum served in a sandcastle bucket, Neil made potentially the stupidest decision he’s ever made. Whether it was the Red Bull or just the buzz of travelling he’ll never know… Would you make the same mistake?

Backpacking? It’s a dog’s life! Volunteering with Lanta Animal Welfare in Koh Lanta, Thailand

Would you like to give something back whilst you travel? Sometimes it is not all about seeing the Top 10 sights in a country, but about staying put for a while and finding out more about how your visit can help the local community. Jessica Simmonds from Scotland decided to take time out of her gap year to volunteer for three months in Thailand. She chose Lanta Animal Welfare, (LAW) a non-profit organisation based on Koh Lanta, Thailand, which takes care of the large population of stray dogs and cats on the island. Her experience was fun, rewarding and most of all valuable to the local area…

A Motorbike Next to the Beach

10 Tips for Hiring a Motorbike in Thailand

Regarded by many travellers as the most dangerous vehicle on the road, motorbikes, if treated with respect, can also be the most fun! (Don’t tell your mum we said that) There is nothing better than riding in the beautiful countryside, with the wind on your face and the sun shining, free to go wherever the road takes you… It is without doubt one of the best ways to get off the beaten track and away from other tourists as fast as possible! Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your experience and most of all stay safe and in one piece…

The Black House, Chiang Rai, Thailand

The White Temple & The Black House: Chiang Rai, Thailand

Just five hours north from Chiang Mai, is the smaller, less touristy city of Chiang Rai. Many travellers arrive here on a northward journey from Chiang Mai to Laos and are already feeling ‘templed out’ by the 300+ temples that make up the ancient walled city of Thailand’s cultural capital. However, there is just one more experience that awaits the culture vultures amongst you! And we promise this one is worth a look! Dubbed the ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ of architecture, the White Temple and the Black House will conjure a clashing of emotions. One dark, mysterious and almost sadistic, the other white, ethereal and other-worldly, these two opposing buildings couldn’t be more different…

Mud, Sweat and Rice! Learning How Rice is Grown in Chiang Mai, Thailand…

As the World’s largest exporter of rice, Thailand’s country and culture revolves around this tiny pearly grain. Paddy fields dominate over half of all the arable land area and consume over 50% of the country’s labour force. Rice can also be found throughout the Thai menu, in all it’s forms and varieties. The most common type of rice grown in Thailand is Jasmine rice, known locally as ‘Hom Mali’ and it is in a paddy field full of the crop that my story begins! 20-year old student Laura Davies, on a three-month internship with S.E.A Backpacker Magazine, spends the day in a rice field learning about Asia’s most important grain…

Our 2-Year Anniversary and a Thai Buddhist Blessing

This month, we celebrate the 2nd Birthday of S.E.A Backpacker Magazine. Boy oh boy, do they grow up fast! It only seems like yesterday that the very small and very nervous S.E.A Backpacker team set off on a preliminary trip to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan to tell people about our vision and look for sponsors to help us get off the ground. Pressed T-shirts and sweaty hands, we knocked on doors of bars, restaurants, dive schools and hostels with a basic mock-up that two years later has grown into the magazine you are reading now!

Man dances with fire in Thailand

Dancing with Fire in Thailand!

As darkness falls on the popular beaches of South Thailand nocturnal creatures to come out and play. The fire dancers take centre stage silencing audiences with their danger defiant moves. Much later, backpackers can be seen trying their luck at this dangerous sport with most deadliest of all fire dancing apparatus… the flaming skipping rope! Would you try your luck?

Oodles and Oooooodles of Noodles…

Big ones, fat ones, curly ones, straight ones. Noodles are a national treasure in Thailand and there are enough different types of noodle, ways of preparing them and dressing them, that you could probably eat a different kind every day for the entire year. So how do you eat yours?

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