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Phi Phi islands

Travel guide for Thailand

An exotic destination, full of tropical beaches, magnificent temples and unique tastes. An ideal choice for travellers who want a first hand experience of Asia or generally want to go somewhere exotic. The reasons to go are reasonably priced tickets, a great tourist hotspot, and a welcoming and interesting culture. In the full traveller’s guide below you will find all the information you need for a first trip to Thailand.

General Information

  • You do not need a visa in order to stay in Thailand for less than 30 days. You simply fill in a form with your information on the flight or upon arrival at the airport. More information for the necessary travel documents, depending on your nationality and destination can be found here.
  • The electricity current is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. Types of plug Α/Β/C/O
  • The currency in Thailand is Thai Βaht (ΤΗΒ) with an equivalency of 1€=34 (ΤΗΒ). In order to be informed of the latest currency changes please visit: XE Currency Converter.
  • 95% of the population follow Buddhism.
  • Sim cards for the internet can be bought upon arrival at the airport.  If you travel often we recommend you purchase a surf roam sim card for global internet with very low charges and with use in over 200 countries including Thailand. For more information look here.

Budget

As we have often said in every article accommodation is a totally subjective matter based on the needs of each traveller. The choices in Thailand are the following:

Low Budget: The most economical solution for those who do not mind so much where they will rest their heads, either in some hostel or some dorm with shared kitchen and bathroom and where prices start as low as 90-200 baht. Make sure you do not choose your accommodation too far from where your daily activities will be. 

Mid Budget: For a normal room with free breakfast, all taxes included, prices start at 300 baht in not so convenient locations and can go up to 500 and 800 baht for a room in Phuket or Bangkok.  

High Budget: Thailand has a plethora of tourist resorts at very affordable prices. For a room with half board, a gym and pool bar the prices start at 2500 baht (around 73 €) per night and can go up as high as 15.000 baht (around 440 €) for a beach bungalow.

Traditional Thai Food

The basic ingredients of Thai food are rice, noodles, vegetables, fruit, seafood and meat, as well as a lot of herbs and spices.

Pad Thai: This is one of the most famous Thai dishes. A dish made of noodles and fish, topped with a peanut and curry sauce.

Tom Yung Goong: Soup with lemongrass aroma, chilli, spearmint leaves and lime juice covering fresh shrimps and mushrooms.

Red Curry: A hot sauce made from dried red hot chilli peppers, lemongrass, garlic, fresh onions, Kaffir fruit peel, galanga and various spices.

Khao Soi: This soup with noodles and curry is one of the most popular dishes in northern Thailand. Fried egg noodles with meat or chicken, lime and curry.

You will find many street markets in Thailand where you may taste Thai cuisine and the different local dishes from town to town. Do not fail to try the refreshing local fruit or various juices from the roaming vendors or shops.

Transportation

Airplane: Domestic flights range from 1460 to 6650 baht without return. Flights to the islands cost a lot more than those between towns, as for example from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Ferry: The cheapest and most reliable way to travel to Phuket in order to get to Krabi or the Phi Phi islands and vice versa. The trip lasts 2 hours. There are trips to other islands in Thailand as well. The fare, depending on whether it’s a normal ferry or speedboat, can start at 350 baht and reach 850 baht with return, as for example from the Phi Phi islands to Phuket.

Metro/Skytrain: It’s a very easy means of transport between the cities of this country. In Bangkok the tickets for the Skytrain cost 16-59 baht depending on the amount of stops on your route, whereas with 120 baht you can get the limitless whole day pass. Sky Trains function from 6:30am until midnight and pass by many interesting parts of the city.

Taxis: They are found in the largest cities and run on taxi meters. In Bangkok the prices start at 35 baht and 2 baht are added for each kilometer.

Grap: This is an app similar to Uber. They run on taximeters and are discernible from the app logo.

Long boats: They are used topically on islands for personal tours to remote beaches and islets. The cost starts at 500 baht and they will offer you beautiful, picturesque images during your trip.

Motorbike: The most common way for tourists to get around as their rental is very cheap and the gas also.

Buses: They run in almost every part of Thailand and are mainly local. Their price starts from 7 baht for closer distances up to 19 baht for buses with air conditioning which cover longer distances.

Tuk Tuk: This is the most popular means of transport for short distances and you will also have an unforgettable experience. There is no taximeter so you must bargain the fare before starting the ride.

Top things to do in Thailand

Full moon party

We had just reached the Phi Phi islands and because the full moon was approaching we heard quite a lot of people talking about it. In the following days the island had emptied a lot as most people were going to Ko Pha-ngan. The reason was the full moon party which is very popular there and lasts until the early morning hours. The music can satisfy every ear from R&B and hip hop to psychedelic trance and house or reggae, in combination with a show of dancers and fires on the beach. The ticket only costs 100 baht. Try the body paints which are really impressive.

Bamboo Tattoo

Scattered  amongst the cities, as well as on the islands, there are countless little shops offering tattoos, in their own unique way. Bamboo twigs with needles on the edge are used to create tattoos. Watch out for cleanliness and read reviews of the shop because some of them do not use proper sanitation.

Scuba Diving

You cannot go to Thailand without trying scuba diving or at least snorkeling. There is a unique sea depth for professionals and beginners. Tropical fish, colourful corals, shipwrecks and huge turtles are some of the things you can see. The most exciting moment for us was seeing an enormous sea turtle and a huge jellyfish.

Diving experience to Thailand

Thai Massage

Thai massage is also something very popular. It is impossible not to try it as you will see dozens of little shops in the cities and on the islands which offer it. If pain isn’t your cup of tea don’t try the Thai Massage as you will feel quite a lot of discomfort. Simply choose a relaxing massage with a pleasant essential oil.

Traditional Thai massage To Phi Phi islands.
Thai Food lessons

In many tourist spots and hotels there are signs which encourage you to go and learn about the local cuisine and how to make local delicacies.

Thai Food lessons. Everything you need to know about traditional food in thailand.
Visit an Elephant Shelter

And we mean elephant shelters, because in other locations elephants are abused and mistreated terribly in order to procure a living for their owners by taking tourists for rides on their backs. The scars are visible on their bodies. We chose a shelter instead where you can simply learn about the Asian elephant and feed them or bathe them, depending on which program you will choose. Further information on a safe experience with these magnificent animals can be found here.

Taking care of an elephant.

Bangkok

The capital of Thailand. Most of the sights are in the Old Town or else Rattanakosin. Τhe most well known is the Grand Palace, a sacred place full of impressive architecture and art (since it was the home of the king). Very close by is the Wat Pho Temple, with the well known «Lying Buddha», the largest statue depicting a lying Buddha. Cross the river Chao Phraya by boat (4 baht per person) and reach the Wat Arun Temple. Οne of the most imposing temples, made of marble and colourful tiles. Also, do not fail to visit two floating markets (Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Amphawa), where you can taste fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables from the boat-stalls.

Traditional float market to the capital of Thailand.

In order to book your stay in the city look at the available offers here.

Phuket

One of the most famous sights is the Big Buddha, the 45 meter, white marble statue of Buddha is situated on top of one of the city’s hills and offers an impressive view. Walk in the Old Town with the colourful buildings and the central road Rassada Road. Visit Wat Chalong Temple, with its impressive architecture and engrossing history. You may also relax on Karon beach with its crystal clear waters. The most touristic beach is Patong, which is always overcrowded and not a good choice for those seeking serenity and a quiet connection with nature. For more informations from our traveling experience to Phuket check here.

Big Buddha to Phuket.

Activities for Phuket here.

Phi Phi Islands

These islands are a very popular exotic destination. Ideal for those who desire serenity and peace. Idyllic landscapes, tropical vegetation and clear blue waters combined with low prices on food and drink.

Phi Phi islands of Thailand

For more information on the Phi Phi islands read our article here.

Chiang Mai

This is an alternative tourist landscape, situated in the northern part of Thailand, surrounded by its highest mountains. A favourite destination for lovers of exploration and hiking. Quite a few Buddhist temples are found within and around this area. You can also find the well known Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, where distressed and mistreated elephants are cared for.

Chiang mai of thailand
Krabi

This is a less organised tourist destination compared to Phuket and Koh Samui, but it is ideal for those seeking a few days of relaxation. Most travellers combine it with another destination. It is mostly known for its beautiful, clean beaches and its rich sea life. Along the long stretch of Krabi’s coastline there are many beautiful beaches, bays, massive rocks jutting out of the sea and countless tropical islands in the wider vicinity, many of which are considered national parks.

Relaxation moments to Krabi

Packing Tips & When to Go

A bathing suit and flip flops are the common dress code for the islands, whether you’re on a beach, or having dinner in a restaurant, as everything is informal. Locals and tourists become one and enjoy their environment without anxiety. On the other hand, if you are in a town or city it would be better to dress a little more formally.

Flip flops: These are mostly worn on the islands as we mentioned above, as well as in certain areas in the city. Everybody wears them as they have come mainly to enjoy the tropical beaches.

Sunscreen: It is unthinkable not to bring sunscreen on a trip to Thailand. Wear it everywhere, all day, because the sun is scorching and can easily burn your skin. Especially if you are on some tour or simply relaxing on the beach you don’t want to be burnt and ruin the rest of your holiday.

Insect repellent: An absolutely necessary item, as the lush tropical vegetation of Thailand is densely populated with various insects. Better be prepared or you will find your skin being devoured. It would be best to also pack a gel for rashes and an allergy pill, just in case.

Light clothing: Do not bundle your entire wardrobe into suitcases, like we did, only to end up wearing less than half the clothes we brought. Light, comfortable clothing is appropriate for the islands. Bathing suits, short sleeved shirts and airy dresses are all you will need for your stay.

Bathing suit: Bring quite a few as one of the main activities is swimming in the turquoise waters. You might want to bring a variety as they are not only worn on the beach but everywhere else as well.

A waterproof carrying bag: For the tours and the sea transportations from island to island, as well as in the event there is a sudden rain shower.

Power bank: As most of the time you will be outside, either on some tour in the city or exploring the beaches on the islands, one thing for sure is that you will want to take a lot of photos so you really don’t want to run out of electricity. Hence, the power bank battery.

Thailand is a tropical country with quite a lot of heat and humidity, especially in the summer. From May until September is the monsoon period and we don’t recommend you go then, even though the flight tickets are cheaper. The best time to travel is from November until the beginning of March which is basically their winter, when the temperatures have fallen and rainfalls are sparse. Of course, this is considered the high season and the prices are relatively higher.

Useful Words

Men use “kup” at the end of some words, whereas women use “ka”.

YesChaiHow much?Rakata Orai (kup/ka)
NoMai-ChaiGood morningSa was dee (kup/ka)
HiSa was deeGood nightFun dee (kup/ka)
Thank youKop koon (kup/ka)My name isChan chue (name)
PleaseYin dee (kup/ka)GoodbyeLa gon

Useful Sites & Apps

Nowadays, before or during travelling we always have some useful websites and apps which guide us towards the destinations we want according to our budgets. We have chosen certain websites and apps which have helped us a lot, or have been recommended a lot and have high grades. Apart from the really well known ones there are also a lot of lesser known ones which can assist you just as well. We offer you our proposals below:

Booking.com

With a plethora of choices, traveller grades, and a lot of offers for those who have booked many destinations, promo codes for you and your friends, discounts and many other advantages. Start booking to discover all the available options and offers. For available rooms and prices check here.

Air Bnb

With over one million properties all around the world, and always increasing, ideal for a low budget stay even in expensive areas. Furthermore, because you stay in people’s villas, houses or flats you are made to feel more at home by the host of each destination and the homely surroundings. Check for available rooms here.

Hotels.com

Registering here is free and easy. Every hotel on this platform will grant a free tenth night, so if you stay for ten nights the tenth night is free. 

Trip Advisor

This is a very well known website for travellers with a lot of information. It is the largest travelling platform in the world where you can view thousands of reviews, opinions and recommendations as to where and how to travel, even for the most demanding traveller. Look, compare and then visit.

Omio.com

Whatever you need is a click away. Find the best offers from the best companies for trains, buses, planes and ships. Travel to Canada, the USA and Europe. We use it often when we are already abroad and want to visit a neighbouring country. Find available routes here.

Kiwi.com

The first website which every traveller always checks with. Direct, fast pricing and comparing of air tickets throughout the world. We love the filter “Towards any destination” which presents to us, in order of pricing, all the flights available to our chosen destination. The best solution for a last minute trip. Book your flight here.

GetYourGuide

A site which all adventurous travellers love as well as those who wish to visit museums and concerts. All the available activities and tours around the world gathered in a concise list. Read the reviews from each traveller well before booking your activities in order to avoid any misunderstandings with the organisers of each activity as to the days and times. We have tried it many times in America, Asia and Africa without any problems.

Discover Cars

For car rentals at the lowest prices. Car service in over 150 countries, with many offers and support in over 12 languages and with any special requirements.

Hotel Tonight

Here you will find last minute discounts on vacancies from hotels. This is an amazingly simple app and it doesn’t take long to book a room.You may search in each town for sights and maps. Furthermore, you can check the reviews and photos of other travellers in order to be sure about the reliability of each hotel. It also has a 24/7 customer service. If you’re stuck somewhere and you need a room desperately, this is the perfect app for you.

City Maps 2Go

Maps for travelling, hiking, mountain cycling and many other activities. A necessary app for every adventure, activity or touring abroad. You may only download one map per country, whereas it was possible to download two in the past. For an additional map you need to pay. Alternatively, as soon as you have looked at the information on a map you can delete it and then download a new one. 

You can mark all the places of interest on the map you have downloaded. Whether they are sights, shops, or restaurants you can use the directions guide to get there. The great advantage to this app is that you don’t need to have internet connection although it might get stuck a few times. Nevertheless, it is quite a reliable and useful app.

EXTRA TIP

Once you have marked all the places you want to visit prior to your trip, you can also book your accommodation accordingly. This way you can be sure you’ll be staying somewhere close to all places of interest.

iVisa.com

More information for the necessary travel documents, depending on your nationality and destination can be found here.

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