Everyone dreams of the perfect holiday in paradise, surrounded by golden sands, crystal-clear waters and palm trees gently blowing in a tropical breeze. Most of the time our holiday destinations can’t live up to this impossible ideal, but on a holiday in Thailand, this image is not only possible, but it’s also actually the norm. Thailand is often called the “Land of Smiles”, not just because the natural beauty brings a smile to the face, but because of the friendly and welcoming nature of its people.
If you want to experience this tropical paradise for yourself, make sure you get the correct travel document through the Thailand visa application online and get informed about what to visit in Thailand.
Basic Facts about Thailand
The population of Thailand: 68 million
Capital city: Bangkok
Thai currency: The Thai Baht (THB) (฿)
Official language: Central Thai
International calling code: +66
Emergency number: 1155 (tourist police) or 1669 (emergency medical services)
Driving side: Left
Main religion: Buddhism
Neighboring countries: Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia
Visa for Thailand: Thai eVisa on arrival, available through the Thailand visa application online, or another Thai visa, depending on the traveler’s nationality. Citizens from France, China, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as other eligible countries that will be announced in 2019, will be able to obtain an Online Visa for Thailand by completing the simple online application form. The approved Thailand eVisa will then be sent directly to the applicant by email.
Visa Required to Travel to Thailand
A large number of countries can currently enter Thailand visa-free for a total of 30 days, including the United Kingdom and the United States. However, the same nationals will need to get a visa for Thailand if staying for a longer period.
Nationals of an additional 21 countries, including China, India, and Saudi Arabia can apply for the Thai eVisa on arrival if traveling by air to one of the international airports in Thailand. This allows a maximum stay of 15 days for tourism in the country and is a single-entry visa, and you can get it by filling in the simple Thailand visa application online.
Eligible passport holders traveling to Thailand before the 13th of January 2019 are in luck: the Government of Thailand has decided to waive the 2,000 Baht eVisa on arrival fee until this date to boost tourism from the eVisa on arrival eligible countries. Getting the online visa for Thailand saves time queuing for visa on arrival at the border, as applicants can use a dedicated fast lane to quickly pass through Thailand airport control.
After you’ve got your Thailand eVisa, you’ll be able to start planning the itinerary for your trip to one of the most stunning natural paradises on the planet. Thailand stretches from the border with Myanmar in the north to the Malaysian border in the south, and there are innumerable golden beaches, natural wonders, and ancient temples to discover. With so many attractions in Thailand to choose from, it’s best to be informed about the highlights.
● Visit Bangkok: Thailand’s capital and the biggest city houses 12% of the country’s total population. Top attractions in Bangkok to visit include the Grand Palace, an extravagant former royal residence, and Wat Arun, the huge riverside Buddhist temple whose distinctive spires dominate the skyline. Another must for tourists is to take a boat tour around Bangkok’s floating markets, vibrant labyrinths of canals and gondolas that gives a good glimpse into authentic everyday Thai life.
● Visit Phuket: Phuket is a comparatively large, heavily rainforested and mountainous island in the Andaman Sea. Although considered Thailand’s largest island, it’s actually connected to Phang Nga Province in the north of the mainland via the Sarasin Bridge. Besides boasting some of the best beaches in Thailand, Phuket offers a ton of luxury seaside resorts popular with international tourists.
● Visit Thailand’s islands: The province of Phuket also includes a multitude of smaller islands off the coast. Phi Phi Leh Island, the stunning filming location for the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach, has unfortunately been closed off indefinitely because of an oversaturation of tourism. However, the other islands in the Phi Phi group can still be visited by boat tour. On the opposite side of the coast in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao is the best place for scuba diving in Thailand, Koh Pha Ngan attracts backpackers and party animals for its monthly Full Moon Party, and Koh Samui is great for a family holiday in Thailand.
● Visit Rayong: This province just three hours drive north of Bangkok is a lesser-known destination for beach tourism in Thailand, mostly popular with locals looking for a weekend break from the city. The beaches are generally peaceful and relaxing compared to resorts geared more towards international tourism, and you can take a short boat crossing to the offshore Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samet National Park nearby.
● Visit an elephant sanctuary in Thailand: Almost everybody who travels to Thailand is going to want to see an Asian elephant in their natural habitat. However, many of the outfits offering to visit elephants in Thailand with tourists for rides and circus tricks involve cruel practices. For a more ethical Thailand elephant experience, head to one of the many protected spaces in the country, such as the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary or the Elephant Nature Park in Kuet Chang.
What to Eat in Thailand
If you like your food spicy and fragrant then you’ll be in heaven when chowing down on Thai cuisine. The Thai people love to spice up all of their dishes with liberal amounts of garlic, chili, galangal, lemongrass, coriander, basil, and fresh lime: basically, everything you need to make your taste buds explode. Some of the best Thai cuisines include:
● Tom Yum Goong – a spicy, aromatic soup packed with succulent shrimp.
● Tom Kha Kai – a mildly spicy chicken soup made with tons of coconut milk.
● Pad Krapow Moo Saap – a fried basil and pork dish served with rice as a main.
● Yam Nua – a minty, spicy salad made with thin strips of beef.
Vegetarians also don’t need to stress out too much while in Thailand. There are plenty of dishes based around veg, including Khai Jiao, a hearty omelet cooked around rice, tofu, and vegetables and the refreshing Som Tum (spicy green papaya salad). This is occasionally served with fish sauce, shrimp or salted crab, so just make sure it’s veggie first!
Many of the quintessential Thai dishes famous worldwide can also be made vegetarian, such as Gaeng Daeng (Thai Red Curry), Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (Green Chicken Curry) or Pad Thai, the beloved noodle dish.
Travel Advice for Thailand
In general, Thailand is a great place for a peaceful and relaxing holiday, but as with any new destination, it’s wise to read up on local conditions and be prepared for any
complications that could arise during your trip. Consider these important travel tips for Thailand before traveling:
- Take out comprehensive medical insurance before your trip.
- If riding a motorcycle, wear a helmet as required by Thai law.
- Avoid any protests, political gatherings, demonstrations or marches.
- Avoid making political statements in public. Some foreign nationals have faced criminal charges after sharing negative articles about Thailand online or criticizing the Thai monarchy, a crime which can lead to jail time.
- Keep a printed copy of your Thailand visa with you while in the country.
- Avoid all but essential travel to certain provinces on the border with Malaysia. The regions of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Southern Songkhla are strongly advised against for travelers due to separatist violence.
- Be aware that terrorist attacks have taken place in Thailand in recent years, including in Bankok. Be vigilant and follow travel advice for Thailand from your government.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Thailand?
The tropical climate in Thailand can be unpredictable and vary wildly in different parts of the country. But in general, the weather in Thailand can be split into three seasons: the cool season, the hot season, and the monsoon or rainy season.
The best time to travel to Thailand is between November and the end of March, during the cool season. From March to May, the hot season produces high temperatures and stifling humidity, while it’s better to completely avoid the monsoon season from June to October.
Saying that though, the climate in Thailand differs dramatically between different parts of the country, especially between the east and west coasts in the south. When it’s monsoon season in one part of the country, the other side experiences dry and mild conditions.
If you have to travel during the monsoon season in Thailand, it’s a good idea to check Thai Meteorological Department weather forecasts, as well as The Mekong River Commission in case of flood warnings.
It’s best to avoid Bangkok in April and September when things can get particularly rainy and humid. The best time to travel to Bangkok is in December and January when temperatures are cooler and the humidity less oppressive.
Once you’ve decided on the best time to visit Thailand and planned your itinerary, don’t forget to organize your travel document through the Thailand visa application online before your trip!
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