Whoever said you can’t please all the people all the time obviously hadn’t been on a Thailand holiday. It’s a tropical paradise offering fascinating culture and exciting cities. Explore intoxicating Bangkok, or Chiang Mai and its craft markets. Visit Ayutthaya for ancient Buddhist temples and statues. Thailand’s beaches are also the perfect location for weddings and honeymoons abroad. Head to Krabi for iconic limestone karsts rising from the sea, while those who like to stay active should know Koh Tao has some of the best dive spots in Asia. Meanwhile Koh Samui has upmarket spa resorts to match its world class restaurants — but then Thailand offers superb cuisine on almost every street corner. For our latest Thailand deals see here or for inspiration read our Thailand Island Hopping blog.
November to May is the driest time of year in Koh Chang. November to February sees more comfortable temperatures, which rise along with humidity levels from March to May, when even the locals start to feel the heat.
We particularly love visiting Koh Chang from November to February, when the weather is almost always as perfect as you hoped it would be. Temperatures are balmy without getting too hot, and the sea is as warm as your bathtub.
Koh Chang experiences almost 90 percent of its annual rainfall in the months from June to October, with September historically the wettest month. However, sunny days are still common and there are often spells with little or no rainfall.
November to February is peak tourist season, with a more comfortable climate and less chance of rain. March to May sees higher temperatures and humidity, but this is the best time to spot the local wildlife.
We love visiting Khao Sok from November to February, when the weather is cooler and drier, jungle trekking, caving, and elephant riding are readily available, and the endangered giant Rafflesia flower is in bloom.
The rainy Season in Khao Sok lasts from June to October. Although you will have to put up with showers, the rainforest is at its most lush, the waterfalls are glorious, and canoeing and elephant trekking are also available.
Chang Mai’s dry season is split into the cool season from November to February and the hot season from March to May. The cool months are beautifully warm and the ideal time to visit. The hot season sees soaring temperatures and humidity.
We particularly love Chang Mai from November to February, when the sun shines every day, temperatures are warm but comfortable, humidity is lower, and rain is scarce. Perfect weather for enjoying everything Chang Mai has to offer.
The monsoon rains break through from June to October, when the weather is a mix of downpours and bright sunshine. The rainy season is generally lighter in Chang Mai than in central or southern Thailand. The wettest month is September.
Khao Lak’s dry season (November to February) overlaps with its hot season (March to May). The dry months see pleasant temperatures and little rain, while the hot months experience soaring heat and humidity with occasional showers.
We love jetting off to Khao Lak from November to February, escaping the cold weather at home for sunny skies and calm blue seas. The water is clearer at this time of year too, perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling.
The months of May to October see a mix of sunny days and rain showers. June and July tend to be milder, with heavier downpours in August and September. Khao Lak often experiences afternoon showers with sunny intervals in between.
November to April is considered the dry season, with blue skies, cooler nights and less humidity from November to February, and hotter, stickier weather from March to April. Early November and late April can see occasional showers.
Our favourite time to visit Cha-Am is from November to February, when the skies are blue and clear, the sun always shines, and temperatures are hot but comfortable. If we really have to choose, the best months are December and January.
The rainy season lasts from May to October, with May to August usually drier than the later months. Although hard to predict, you may well see overcast mornings followed by clear skies and showers in the late afternoon.
Hua Hin’s dry season falls between November and May. November to March sees sunny days, sea breezes, and cooler evenings, while April and May can be more uncomfortably hot and humid, especially after dark.
With a drier climate than much of Thailand, Hua Hin is a year round beach destination, but we particularly love November to March, when dry, sunny days are almost guaranteed and temperatures are at their most pleasant.
The rainy season lasts from July to October, but Hua Hin sees less rainfall than much of Thailand. Mornings can be overcast, but most days brighten up and the sea is generally calm. October tends to be the wettest month.
Koh Phangan is blessed with beautiful weather and calm seas for much of the year. January to April tend to be the driest months, with just a little more rain expected from May to September.
We love visiting Koh Phangan anytime from January to September. January to April sees the driest weather, but this lucky Thai island is almost as good in the summer. The island is busiest for its monthly full moon parties.
October, November, and December are significantly wetter and windier due to the northeast monsoon. Koh Phangan is at its quietest now, but if the prospect of rain really dampens your spirits then this time of year is best avoided.
Pattaya’s cool season, November to February, sees the best weather, with very little rain and comfortably hot temperatures. March to May is the hot season, with a scorching, sticky climate and occasional rain to clear the air.
We love jetting off to Pattaya during the cool season from November to February, when the weather is hot enough to handle, there’s less chance of rain, and the whole place buzzes with a feel-good holiday atmosphere.
The rainy season lasts from June and October, with heavy, usually brief downpours making this low season for tourists. But it rarely rains all day and there is still plenty of sunshine to enjoy on the less crowded beaches.
Chiang Rai’s dry season includes the cool months from November to February and the hotter climate of March to May. December and January see the lowest temperatures, while April is the warmest month of the year.
Fresher and less humid than most of Thailand, Chiang Rai sees its coolest temperatures from November to February, while many visitors find March to May just about perfect, when the cool season blends into the hot season.
The rainy season lasts from May to October. Even at this time of year most days enjoy some sunshine, along with an hour or two of rain. Mid July to mid August tends to see the wettest weather.
In Koh Lanta the dry season runs from October to May, with most people choosing to visit in the clear, warm months from November to March. April and May get very hot, with little or no rain.
Koh Lanta basks in a warm, tropical climate all year round, but we really love going in the months from November to March, when temperatures are just about perfect and there’s only the very occasional rain shower.
June to October sees an hour or so of rain most days, and temperatures are cooler. Koh Lanta's mountains block some of the rainfall, and the jungle and mangrove forests are at their most green and lush.
Bangkok’s dry season stretches from November to April. Temperatures are slightly more comfortable at the start of the season, and rise from mid February. April is usually the hottest month of the year, just before the start of the rainy season.
Our favourite time to visit Bangkok is between November and March, when temperatures are a little lower and there is less rain and humidity. For a true taste of Thai culture, April’s Songkran festival (Thai New Year) is also popular.
The rainy season starts in May and peaks in September and October. Humidity is high during the peak of the rainy season, and showers are usually short but heavy.
The months of December to April are relatively rain-free, with January historically the driest time of year. March tends to be the hottest; although Koh Yao Noi’s tropical temperatures vary little all year round.
We love visiting Koh Yao Noi from January to April, when the island is hot, dry, and just made for sunbathing, with warm, calm waters perfect for swimming, diving, and boat trips to explore the surrounding archipelago.
From May to November, downpours tend to fall in short bursts. The weather can be disruptive at times, but the wind and rain are eased by Phuket and the Malay Peninsula, which protect Koh Yao Noi on both sides.
December to March is the driest time of year, with February in particular seeing very little rainfall. April to August is still hot and sunny, with pleasant temperatures and the occasional short shower to freshen things up.
Temperatures in Koh Samui are pretty stable year round, but we particularly love the months from December through to June when the air feels fresher, the heat is less oppressive, and the beaches are just a little less busy.
In Koh Samui the months of September, October, and November see their fair share of monsoon showers, but they tend to be short, even refreshing, and the days are still warm and often sunny.
Late October to early March is the coolest time of year, when temperatures are still hot with fresher evening temperatures. March to May is the hottest, driest period, reaching temperatures that may be uncomfortable for those not used to the heat.
We love visiting Trat between late October and early March. These are the cooler, drier months, but temperatures are still totally tropical and the region is illuminated by gorgeous sunshine and blue skies; perfect weather for exploring and sunbathing alike.
June to October sees soaring temperatures, high humidity, and regular rainfall. This time of year is great value if you can handle the sticky heat and put up with the short, sharp showers. Boat services can be disrupted at this time.
The Phi Phi Islands enjoy hot, tropical weather year-round, with the dry season lasting from December to April. Expect clear, sunny days, calm seas, and less chance of rain. Temperatures rise in April, with showers to cool things off.
Our favourite time to visit Phi Phi is December to March, when the sun shines almost every day, the waters are warm and calm, and there is little to no rain. Enjoy tropical paradise, with fabulous diving, kayaking, and sunbathing.
May to November bring wind and rain, but rarely all day long. It is a gamble, but if it pays off you can enjoy deserted beaches, lower prices, and a relaxed atmosphere. Travelling by boat can be unreliable due to rougher seas.
November to April is Krabi’s busiest time of year for a reason; less rainfall, lower humidity, comfortable temperatures, sunny skies, calm seas, and clear waters made for diving. November can see showers, and temperatures soar in March and April.
We love visiting Krabi anytime from November to April, when the area is blessed with heavenly weather conditions. Christmas and New Year is the busiest period, so go before or after if you want a more peaceful escape.
Krabi’s rainy season lasts from May until October, with periods of sunshine interrupted by heavy downpours and high levels of humidity. Rainfall tends to be highest in May and October, while July and August are often the clearest months.
Phuket’s dry season stretches from November to April. The climate is at its best at this time, with hot but comfortable temperatures, gentle breezes, calm seas, and clear blue skies. Weather can be harder to predict in November and April.
Our favourite time to visit Phuket is from December to March, when there’s less chance of rain, the air isn't too humid, and cool breezes keep temperatures comfortable. This is high season in Phuket, so there’s plenty to see and do.
From May to October, Phuket sees a rise in rainfall, temperatures, and humidity, as well as rougher seas. But there are still plenty of dry spells, and rain rarely lasts all day. Holidays are great value at this time too.
There are a number of carriers offering flights to Thailand from the UK.
Direct Carriers: Thai Airways, Eva Air and British Airways offer a direct service from the UK.
Indirect Carriers: Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas and Etihad all offer indirect services from the UK.
Departure Taxes: Since 2007 international departure taxes have been included in the price of flight tickets, helping to take the hassle out of organising holidays to Thailand.
British Passport holders are not required a visa to enter Thailand for tourist stays up to 30 days only, more than sufficient for most holidays to Thailand. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Thailand. Please contact the Thai Embassy for up to date country and visa information on 0207 589 2944.
You can exchange your UK Pounds for the Thai Baht (pronounced Baaht) prior to leaving the UK, but you will generally save a few Baht if you wait and do it upon arrival. There are several currency exchanges at Bangkok's international airport. FOREX booths are sprinkled throughout the larger cities and post their daily exchange rates on electronic notice boards.
Cash exchanges incur no commissions or fees, so cash is the easiest, and in most cases the cheapest way to go. However, this has obvious risks associated with it, so do be careful carrying excessive amounts. Traveller’s cheques are generally only accepted at banks or foreign exchange shops and you will incur a commission fee. Cash machines are plentiful throughout Thailand. Major credit cards are accepted by most hotels and restaurants. Smaller merchants may not accept cards or will add a fee.
THB - Thai Baht
While some people may leave the small change from a large note, tipping isn’t generally expected and is in no way mandatory in Thailand. Many hotels and restaurants include a 10 percent service charge, but if you receive exceptional service then an additional gratuity would be appreciated. In taxis it is customary to just ‘round up’.
April-June and September-October
Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid immunisations and malaria tablets are recommended. All travellers should be up to date on routine immunisations. Yellow fever immunisation is required if arriving from an infected country or area. For full details, please contact your GP.
Packing for your holiday to Thailand is mostly a matter of common sense. It also depends on which season you are travelling in. Although the weather in Thailand is marked by three seasons - rainy (July-October), hot (March-June), and cool (November-February - it is generally hot and humid throughout much of the year. As such, you should pack clothing for hot, tropical weather, including:
With explosive flavours drawn from fresh ingredients, Thai food has increased in popularity throughout Western civilisation. Thai cuisine blends several Southeast Asian and Indian elements into a rich amalgamation of distinctive flavours. A typical Thai meal emphasises lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and includes four main seasonings: salty, sweet, sour, and spicy.
Thai Red, Green, and Yellow Curries
Thai curries are heavily influenced by Indian spices, yet still manage to maintain a unique flavour thanks to the addition of local spices and ingredients like Thai holy basil, lemongrass, and galangal (Thai ginger). These full-bodied dishes are usually shared and served over rice.
Chim chum is served in an earthenware pot with meats, vegetables, mushrooms, and noodles cooked in a clear herb broth of galangal (Thai ginger), kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass. Spices such as Thai holy basil and chillies can be added. It is served with nam chim (dipping sauces).
Phad Thai is a noodle dish that has become extremely popular throughout the rest of the world. It combines stir fried rice noodles with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, ground peanuts, egg, spring onion, and bean sprouts, topped with tofu or meat such as pork, chicken, or prawns.
Street stalls are dotted throughout Thailand’s streets, in every city and town. You won’t be able to go a block without seeing at least one portable eatery. Eating from street stalls is cheaper, and often tastier, than going to restaurants. Be careful to only order street food from vendors whose food is clean, fresh, and cooked right in front of you.
The most famous of all Thai street stall dishes, som tom, is made from unripe papaya mixed with shrimp paste, peanuts, tomatoes, and green beans. A few chillies are thrown in to spice it up, but you can ask for it to be mai pet (not spicy).
Salapao are tasty dumplings, similar to Chinese steamed dumplings, filled with pork, red beans, and custard. They are extremely popular in Thailand and are eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Prices in Thailand are fairly inexpensive, particularly compared to what you are used to at home. A plate of Thai food, some noodles, and a soft drink might cost between 40 to 70 Thai Baht, grilled chicken with sticky rice from a street vendor might cost about 20 Thai Baht, one litre of bottled water from a store might cost seven to 12 Thai Baht, a bottle of wine from a supermarket might cost about 450 Thai Baht, and a small Singha beer from a bar might cost 60 to150 Thai Baht.
Most Thai's wear clothes similar to Westerners: suits to work, uniforms to school, jeans and T-shirts at the weekend. This is especially true in cities and tourist areas such as Bangkok. In some rural areas and for special occasions you might find people wearing traditional Thai dress. Chut Thai phra ratcha niyom (Thai dress of royal endorsement) includes several sets of clothing, typically made of silk, used on formal occasions and holidays.
Thai people are shy, polite, and sensitive by nature. Their culture is conservative and ruled by the family structure and the Buddhist religion. Young people respect their elders, teachers, and Buddhist monks, and behaviour is tightly controlled. This is a country where where the rules of saving face apply and explosive displays of emotion are frowned upon.
While parts of Thailand have been westernised in some ways, it is still a traditional Buddhist country, where certain cultures and traditions are revered, including:
Due to Thailand's unique and diverse geography the country is home to a rich and varied array of animal species. There are more than 100 national parks in Thailand, with over 20 marine parks. Larger mammals include tigers, Sambar deer, otters, leopards, and Civet Cats. Monkeys, sheep, and wild hogs are prevalent, as are crocodiles, lizards, and turtles. There are more than 900 bird species either indigenous to Thailand or that migrate to Thailand.
The most iconic, and certainly the most famous animal in Thailand is the elephant, of which approximately 1,000 remain in the wild or in Thailand’s national parks. There are many conservation centres, farms, and nature parks that allow you to interact with these majestic creatures for a truly unforgettable holiday experience.
Whether you want to take an organised tour or just wander on your own with a pair of binoculars, Thailand is home to nearly 1,000 species of exotic birds. Thailand retains a large number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to protect diverse habitats, including rainforest and wetlands, where you can view colourful, unusual birds.