The largest city in Thailand is Bangkok, the capital, there is an order among the chaos of the hot dirty streets some high class shopping and a futuristic SkyTrain. Stay in some of the best hotels in the world at affordable rates. 2023 is pushing the prices but Thailand remains one of the cheaper destinations still today. Flights into Suvabumi can be pricy as c19 took it's toll on the airline industry. Still you can compare the market for flights with websites such as booking.com- click here for thailand flights.
Check our own review of Le Meridien in Patpong
What to do in Thailand: Trekking, Scuba Diving, this is one of the cheapest countries to learn to do your PADI course in Ko Tao. The Beach - love the film? Of course you did you are never far from a fantastic beach in Thailand nor a bungalow on the beach, Fantastic Temples, Amazing food. Highlights are Scuba Diving in the Andaman Sea, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, Climbing in Krabi , Railay Beach, James bond Island. Do read the Bangkok Hilton and stay clear of drugs, there is no tolerance of them in Thailand. Visit River Kwai Bridge at Kanchanaburi , the nearby museum jeath museum. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai offer elephant rides trekking and rafting. Drink snakes blood and dance till dawn at the famous full moon party in hat (haad) Rin.Rin is two beaches separated by a narrow quaint street:The sunrise on the east and sunsets on the west. Sunrise beach is a wide stretch of white sand in a stunning curved bay while sunset beach is not really as nice.
Thailand has a good infrastructure compared to some countries all you to get about in reasonable comfort and never have much more than a 12 hour trip. Use the budget airlines like air asia however and you may never spend more than a half day of travel. See this 2 week Thailand Tour.
Another way to see Thailand Backpacking
Wherever I travel I look for sport fishing opportunities. While touring Southeast Asia my home base was Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s beach resort on the placid Gulf of Thailand. Thousands of small commercial boats fish the gulf for mixed catches of bottom fish and squid, staples of the city’s beachfront restaurants. I wondered what other fish were out there.
I saw a charter fishing boat moored near the commercial port, but there was no skipper to be found. I heard these charter boats come and go. They target barracuda and marlin and the fishing grounds are a costly four hour, full throttle run. Fisherman’s Den Charters and Pub promised catches of Barracuda and Dorado at a reasonable price. I booked my trip over a couple of pints.
One of the biggest concerns that backpackers have when they are planning to visit a certain country is whether or not they will be able to explore that country on a backpacker’s budget. Well, as long as you have decided to go backpacking in Thailand, money is one thing that you need not be worried about!
Now when I say you need not be worried about money the point I am trying to make is that Thailand is an extremely cheap (solely in terms of money) country to visit. People from Asian countries such as Malaysia, India, China, and Cambodia find Thailand cheap so if you’re from USA or one of the European countries then Thailand is literally going to be a backpacker’s haven for you.
Backpacking in Thailand is a wonderful way of seeing the ancient country of Siam, where you can experience everything from old temples to the most modern of nightclubs.
I have to admit my first experience with Thailand wasn't the country itself. Nope, it was the story of Anna Leonowens. You might not have heard of her, but it was her diary that inspired the movie Anna And The King.
Welcome to the new and very impressive Suvabhumi International Airport Bangkok you will probably arrive here on your visit to Thailand.
Tip: Watch out for older looking cabs (Try to avoid them!) that are set up from the airport public taxi desk. Though its official and recommended to use in all the guide books you will pay an extra 50 Baht. Simply go to departures upstairs and wait for people to arrive via cab at the airport, you can asses the cars and look for new Pink cabs these meters tend to be accurate and not overly sped up ! Your trip should cost from 250 to 350 Baht plus 70 Baht in tolls which you will have to pay yourself.
This is a guide for how you can plan a 2 week trip around Thailand as a flashpackers!
Koh Tao is the small island in the Gulf of Thailand that was discovered to have clear warm waters with great coral reef.
The second island in the chain of three where I took my PADI open water certificate in scuba diving way back. You could not see your hand when your arm was outstretched the visibility was so bad due to monsoon storms.
Anyway > Ko Phan Gan has a different feeling to it and its development has slowed compared to its smaller neighbour Koh Tao. It is still very busy around full moon party times which take place on Had Rin, ‘Had’ means beach in Thai. There are many resorts that are worthy to stay in if like me you are nowadays a flashpacker ! We stayed in Had Rin not around full moon time at Tommys Resort. It was really nice and as high a standard that you can find in Had Rin I’m not sure there is extreme luxury on Ko Phangan its more a backpacker location. It’s popular with Israeli backpackers especially for some reason. Some of the better beaches are quite remote.
Tip: Rent a scooter ! Why ? Getting around using the songathew (a converted pick up with 2 banks of seats carrying up to about 8 people) can become expensive here for example going from one spot to another for example from Had Rin to the Phaeng waterfall will be 150 Baht about 3 uk pounds or 5 US. Consider that bike rental costs from 200 Baht per day. Just take a lot of care especially around the hills near Had Rin.
Places of Interest in Ko Phangan
Had Rin Nok and Had Rin Nai Sunset and Sunrise – The place for the full moon party ! Come full moon staying at Had Rin requires a love of all night noise in and around the resorts too. You can find Special Shakes at the mellow mountain bar also known as the M and M bar. Purportedly the mushrooms used give you Hallucinations. Drink with care there is no government regulation here. During full moon 20,000 revellers can turn up dancing to the grooves spun on festival class speaker systems. See warnings below.
Ban Tai – This part of the island has developed and is a good budget location on a very long if uninspiring beach by ko Phangan standards. Advantages are the location close to Ton Sala (The Capital and Ferry port) and Had Rin.
Chaloklum – A small fishing village with boats to get to the remote beach Had Khuat.
Had Khuat aka Bottle Beach – This beach can only be reached via a watertaxi and is therefore considered a paradise beach. Its in the North of the island.
Had Yao – A long sweeping gorgeous beach with a low key atmosphere to write that book.
Mae Haad – For the best snorkelling on Ko Phangan
Sail Rock – An underwater destination which is also day tripped from the Scuba shops in Ko Tao (that’s how good it is) your only reason to dive from here perhaps as there are no notable diving sites otherwise. Or learn to dive here as the groups will be smaller just make sure the visibility is ok and you are happy with the shops facilites. If not go to Ko Tao.
Warning on Drugs: You should not be involved with any kind of drugs in Thailand either position or use will lead to very stiff penalties unlike the western world. Undercover cops can also test your blood or try and sell you drugs. You should also be careful of anyone giving you drinks. Don’t assume that special shakes are not containing illegal drugs either.
The first in a chain of islands popular with backpackers and flashpackers for its size and variety and is perhaps the first stop after some interior travel in Thailand. Chaweng beach. Massive seated Buddha blessing the local fisherman and waterfalls are some of the interior delights but there is now a fishing lake for fresh water asian carp and catfish that you can catch !
While Chaweng suffers from perhaps over development it is a great beach and the food at the restaurants there is great. A variety of on the beach accommodations from 500 to 1000+ Baht make it an easy place to find what you want.
Tip : It is no longer as cheap as it used to be to fly to and from Koh Samui and is not served by the budget airline air asia. A reason why many travel to Surat Thani on the mainland close by to save 3000 Baht to fly back to Bangkok.
One of the best looking islands in the world perhaps certainly in Thailand pre tsunami this was a destination not to be missed and makes it into landed destinations.
The night-life and a lot of accomodation is on the eastern coast in a single area called ao loh dalum , the islanders live mainly in the north east. Ton Sai is where you will find the most upper class development with better hotels and restaurants but the beach is crowded with boats so its hard to enjoy a swim unless you up by the hospital in fact this has to be the best view ever for a hospital in te world.
Ko Phi Phi is an overpriced island to stay if your backpacking for a length of time thats not to say you won't find a cheap option so look further round the island when you get your bearings.
Hotels on Ko Phi Phi
There are some higher priced places to stay but this doesn't unfortunately guarantee quality. Swimming-pools regularly close at 6 pm and just lack of care and attention mean you may be disappointed with your environment. Recommended place to stay : Banyan Villas in Ton Sai - Good rooms and the Gym next door is excellent (your room currently allows free use) While running on the treadmill I had the guilty thought that such a natural disaster like the tsunami could have a silver lining then it is perhaps new development like this.
Around and about :
Outside the narrow path that is overbusy with ALL traffic will drive you nuts with bells ringing on cycles or thais saying 'beep beep' may initially be charming and funny. So come just for a few days to help preserve it and because its too popular anyway ! You can't blame the islanders for the development back to the busy old days they just want to get back and you would not know today that it was the same place that got hit in the massive pincer move of water. Arrive to enjoy the party some top scuba diving and move on perhaps choose ko lanta or find the better less developed islands suited for you. Tourism is hurting the island again from overcrowding please visit responsibly. The film the beach was filmed on nearby ko phi phi leh and this today still pulls in its snorkellers and tourists by the boat load of course! Western touts also make a nuissance of themselves almost blockading the path for various destinations if you like to protest then do it by not drinking in their establishments. Visit D's books in loh dalum it does great wine and cocktails and has a great selection of books for the westerner. Better fun can be had at night outside of the enclosed bars on the beach where fire twirlers and buckets will get you in the mood to play the beach games. Either Apache or Slinky bar work.
For sure try the fish manicure shops where you sit on the side of a fish tank and have a hundred fish nibble your dead skin away ! It is such fun very ticklish and worth the 120 Baht for the 20 minutes experience. You might also like to try a massage that is both pain and pleasure for 300 Baht. It's a great place to go diving you could try island divers as it is not a massive paddy factory and is young at heart with good gear and standards.