Thailand – What to Visit ? Where to Stay ? How to Arrive ?

This site is about the main places to Visit in Thailand. On this page I will show you how to move in Thailand and what to Visit. I will also give you a general feeling of the distances and the zones to visit. You will also find information about issues like cost, visa, Internet and more. There is a special emphasis about the city of Bangkok (a great city).

Look at the following map, click to enlarge :

Map 1 – Thailand

Map 2 – Thailand – Interactive Map

On this Page :

Feel the Distances and the Zones to Visit

Look at the following Map.

Bangkok is located quite in the middle of the attractions. From Bangkok there are 3 zones with places to visit :

  1. The cities in the north : Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai. This zone is characterized by a beautiful landscape, mountains, temples and villages. The distance between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is about 680 Km (road distance).
  2. The islands in the south : Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao on the right side of the continent. Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta on the left side of the continent. The distance between Bangkok and Phuket is about 830 Km (road distance). Note that there is a popular island which is located closer to Bangkok, near the border with Cambodia. The island of Koh-Chang.
  3. The cities of Pattaya and Hua-Hin. Cities which are relatively close to Bangkok. 4 hours of bus for Hua Hin (200 Km) and less than 3 hours hours of Bus for Pattaya (150 Km). Pattaya is a city with a very developed nightlife and a lot of Go-Go bars.

See later on the page how to travel in Thailand (about flights, trains, buses…)
See the individual pages of each location to know how to arrive. Individual pages of : Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai, the islands, Koh Chang, Koh Larn, Pattaya and Hua-Hin

Bangkok is a category by itself. A wonderful city. You will find on this site information about the best zones to Stay in Bangkok (Hotels), the places to Visit in Bangkok, the Shopping in Bangkok (a special page about the famous week-end market, Chatuchak), the Transport in Bangkok (including the airports and the main train station), the Nightlife in Bangkok, the Parks, the famous Khaosan road (the backpacker’s area), a Tour of Bangkok (what to expect during the visit). Being a Vegetarian in Bangkok. There is even a page about the Go-Go bars of Bangkok.

Also useful info : The Visa issue, How to buy Tickets, What to Pack for the trip,  the Cost in Thailand, The Internet in Thailand (about a local SIM)Health Insurance  , The Safety in Thailand.

How many days should I dedicate to Thailand ?

More days than you previously thought.
First of all, you should take into account that it takes time to move between places in Thailand. The Transport is moderately efficient. It takes time to arrive to the airports and it takes time to travel with trains and buses between cities.

Secondly, you should take into account that there is a lot to see in Thailand. I know a person who said before arriving to Thailand : “I am landing in Bangkok but I don’t want to spend time in Bangkok, it is a big city, I want islands and nature”. Then, he arrived to Bangkok and he got lost in the huge malls, later he visited the week-end market of Chatuchak and later he did one day trips outside the city to a floating market and to Ayutthaya and then he was sad because he had to leave Bangkok.
Here is a possible planning for 1 month :

You can fly the long distances and take buses for the short distances.

Where to land in Thailand ?

Let’s look again at the following map :

Most people land in Bangkok. There are simply a lot of flights from all over the world to Bangkok. The location of Bangkok is also convenient, it is located in mid-distance between the islands in the south and the cities of the north.

Alternatively, you can land in the north or the south of Thailand. It makes sense if you want to explore only a part of Thailand or if you  don’t want to start with Bangkok.

There are international flights to Chiang Mai in the north and to Phuket and Koh Samui in the south. (There may be international flights to other locations).

It is also possible to enter Thailand via the land. Thailand has borders with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia.

 You can book Flights, Trains and Buses inside Thailand with 12GoAsia.  Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.
See how to reach each touristic city on the individual pages (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, The islands…).

How to Move in Thailand ?

Flights in Thailand

There are a lot of flights in Thailand. The price of the ticket fluctuates a lot, according to demand and supply. If you are patient and flexible in the time and date of the flight, you can fly for a cheap price. The add-on of a luggage is also a big factor for the price.

It makes sense to use flights in Thailand for the long distances. The alternative is a lot of hours in a bus or a train.

Note that there are 2 airports in Bangkok : The airport of Suvarnabhumi (the bigger one) and the airport of Don Muang. Some airlines operate from both of them, some only from one of them. The position of your hotel in Bangkok, could give you a preference for one of the airports (for example, there are a lot of flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai during the day, and you can choose an airline that flies from your preferred airport.)

 You can book Flights, Trains and Buses inside Thailand with 12GoAsia.  Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.
See how to reach each touristic city on the individual pages (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, The islands…).

Trains in Thailand

The trains in Thailand are slow. There are plans for high speed trains, but it will take time.
The main train lines are :

  1. Between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north.
  2. Between Bangkok and the islands in the south.

In both cases the trip takes more than 8 hours. In the case of the islands, there is a need to add to the journey, a bus and a boat (usually included in the ticket).

Night trains are common in Thailand and from my experience they are quite comfortable. It is a great feeling when the train worker is arriving to your wagon and converts the seat into a bed with super clean sheets.

There are several categories of class for the trains : First class, second class and sometimes even third class. Some wagons are air conditioned and some have only a fan. You will be able to choose the class when you reserve the ticket.

 You can book Flights, Trains and Buses inside Thailand with 12GoAsia.  Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.
See how to reach each touristic city on the individual pages (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, The islands…).

See the location of the train station in Bangkok.

Where is it possible to use the train and where not

  • It is possible to arrive by train to Chiang Mai but not to Chiang Rai and not to Pai (see the pages of these places, to know how to arrive).
  • It is possible to arrive by train to Hua-Hin but not to Pattaya (not an efficient line)
  • It is possible to get close to the islands in the south, by train, but then you need to complete the journey with a bus and boat.
  • It is possible to arrive by train to the capital of Laos, Vientiane.

Buses in Thailand

There are a lot of long distances buses in Thailand. There are 3 big bus central stations in Bangkok. You can see the location of the central stations on the Bus Page. Buses are departing not only from the central stations but also from private stations (by private companies). For example in Bangkok there are also buses starting from the Khaosan road, the backpackers area. There are also buses from the airports of Bangkok, from Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang.

Unlike Trains and Airplanes, the buses will bring you to every corner in Thailand.

 You can book Flights, Trains and Buses inside Thailand with 12GoAsia.  Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.
See how to reach each touristic city on the individual pages (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, The islands…).

Renting a Motorbike in Thailand

It is very common for tourists to rent a motorbike in Thailand, especially on the islands. It is also common in the cities of Thailand but not in Bangkok. It seems that the authorities have decided that it is not a good idea to let inexperienced tourists to drive in the heavy traffic of Bangkok. You don’t really need a motorbike in Bangkok, there are enough options for moving. See the Transport page of Bangkok.

The price

The common price for a 125 cc motorbike is 250 Baht a day. If the moto is bigger the price is bigger. If you rent for many days, the shop will make you a discount.

The Deposit

You will be asked to leave a guarantee for the period of the rental. Some shops demand the passport, others will accept to receive money instead (for example 3000 Baht).
At the start date, the shop will write in the contract any defect that the moto has. If you return the moto with additional defects, you may be asked to pay for the repairs. It is a good idea to take in foto the defects in the moto at the start day.

The Gasoline

You are supposed to return the motorbike, with the same amount of fuel as you received it. Gasoline is cheap in Thailand. The shop will tell you which type of fuel to load.

The Driving License

A gray situation in Thailand. According to the Thai law, you must have an international driving license in order to drive a motorbike. Practically, the rental shop will not ask you to show one. If you are caught by a police routine check, you will be asked to pay a fine, but you will still be allowed to drive. The fine is 500 Baht, at the time of writing.
From my experience, police checks are common in the cities of Pattaya and Chiang Mai but not on the islands.
A case where the license becomes important is if you are involved in an accident. Your travel insurance will not be happy if you are driving without a license. See the page about the travel insurance.

Where do you get an international license  ?

You need to arrange it before arriving to Thailand. First, you must have a regular motorbike license from your country. Based on that license, you can get an international license in specific offices in your country. Usually, the international license is valid for 1 year, but it can be more.


Tourists are involved in accidents more often than the locals. It is a question of experience. Try to drive with good conditions of the road (avoid the rain and the night) + put an helmet. See the page about the travel insurance.

Renting a Car in Thailand

Yes, it is possible to rent a car in Thailand. It is not as cheap as renting a motorbike. You need an international driving license. You get the international driving license in your country, based on your regular license.

The roads are in good conditions in Thailand and the drivers are usually driving ok (in Vietnam, no). The drive is on the left side of the road, like in England (the driver sits on the right side in the car).

Taxi and Grab (like Uber) in Thailand


Grab is like Uber. It is the main company operating in Asia. With Grab, you can reserve a private ride via a smartphone application. You know the price from the start (via the app), the driver cannot change it. The service is very reliable. You can reserve a car or a motorbike. In case of a motorbike, it is a ride for only one person, of course.

There is just a little problem with Grab in Thailand (at least at the time of writing). The share rides (like Grab) are only half legal in Thailand. The reason is the lobby of the regular Taxi drivers. They don’t want competition.


There are plenty of Taxis in Thailand and the prices are cheap. Unfortunately, in many cases the drivers try some little tricks on the passengers, in order to get more money. Sometimes, the driver simply refuse to take you, if he doesn’t want. You can read the page about the Taxi scams in Bangkok.

Note that there are also motorbike-taxi in Thailand. The drivers wear an orange vest.

Hotels in Thailand

There are plenty of Hotels in Thailand, for all the budgets. It is always a question of demand and supply : During the high season, it may be more difficult to find a room (still, it is nothing compared to the situation in Barcelona, Spain).

You can see the pages for each city, for an overview of the best zones to stay :
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai, the islands, Koh Chang,  Koh Larn, Pattaya and Hua-Hin.
You can reserve an Hotel for Thailand with

When is the Best time to Visit Thailand ?

Rain : There is a rainy season in Thailand that goes from May to October. August is the most rainy month.
Temperatures : It is hot in Thailand. At day time around 30 degree celsius. At night 20 to 25  celsius. The rainy season is a little bit cooler. April is the hottest month.

Yes, there are some variations between the places. In the north of Thailand there are areas with mountains which are cooler. There are also variations in the rain between the islands.

The high season for tourism is the dry season : November to May. In this period, it is cold in Europe, so Thailand becomes a very popular destination and the prices of the hotels get higher.

There are tourists in Thailand also in the rainy season. You should consider it. The rain is unpredictable but usually it is around 2 hours per day. On some days there are no rain at all. There are less tourists in the attractions and the prices are lower.

The months on the limit of the rainy season may be excellent if you are lucky and you don’t get a special rain.

Note also that there are places that are more aloof to rain than others. Big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai have big malls that are a universe apart and can keep you busy during the rain. The islands are another story, when it rains, it can get boring. Also, riding a motorbike in the rain is not pleasant.

See the climate in Bangkok. For the other cities, see the individual pages.

star More on Bangkok and Thailand :

star Other Stuff :

star  If you find incorrect data on this page, like a restaurant that has closed or a big river that has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me to contact.