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A first-timer's guide to Thailand

| Words by Ashley Diterlizzi |

Thailand is a beautiful tropical country of pristine beaches, ancient history and bustling cities. It’s time to experience Thailand.

Map of Thailand

1. Sleep with the elephants

Wake up to the sounds of the rainforest and spend the day interacting with elephants at Thailand’s first luxury tented camp, Elephant Hills. Located in Khao Sok National Park in the country’s south, the camp is glamping at its finest. Read more about the Elephant Hills experience here.

2. Explore grand Bangkok

There’s more to Bangkok than shopping! Discover the city’s historical side and marvel at 200 year-old villages, gold-spired temples and grand palaces. Visit Wat Arun, the riverside temples with a landmark spire, or stop by Wat Phra Kaew, regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in the country.

3. Relax at Koh Phi Phi Islands

Known as Thailand’s superstar, the Koh Phi Phi Islands are picturesque have sheer towering cliffs which give way to a beach-fronted jungle. Considered the darling of the Andaman coast, long wooden boats float above the turquoise waters as tourists laze in the sun.

4. Visit the historic town of Sukhothai

Sukhothai was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 13th century, today there are a number of monuments still standing. The 7,000 hectare city shared architectural styles with neighboring ancient cities which created what is known as the beginning of the Thai art and architectural styles known as the “Sukhothai style”.

5. Khao Yai National Park

The Khao Yai forest spans 230 kilometers and is home to 112 mammal species, 392 bird spices and 200 reptile species. The tropical forest was declared a world heritage site in 2005 as an important conservation point for globally threatened and endangered animal and plant life.

Khao Yai National Park

6. Discover the coast of Krabi

Home to some of Thailand’s most famous beach destinations, Krabi is characterised by limestone cliffs and dense forests. Railay Beach is considered the best in the country with picturesque white sand and clear blue water.

7. Visit the historic city of Ayutthaya

Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was the country’s second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. The city of Ayutthaya was destroyed in the 18th century by the Burmese however, the towers and Buddhist monasteries are still standing. The city was never rebuilt in the same location so what remains today is an extensive archaeological site.

8. Feast on the local cuisine

From street food to restaurant dining, Thailand is filled with delicious food. You haven’t eaten real Thai food until you’ve eaten in Thailand. Made fresh and fast, Thai food is a blend of rice, noodles, meats and vegetables.

9. Discover the beauty of Phuket

The island that’s so large it doesn’t feel like an island, Phuket has been branded the ‘pearl of the Andaman’ for its sun-loving attitude. Beachgoers soak up the sun by the crystal waters of the sea while luxury travelers bask in the glory of resorts and high-end shopping.

10. Shop at the floating markets

Shop for fresh produce at one of Thailand’s infamous floating markets. Locals venture out in their long wooden boats first thing in the morning with their fresh fruits and vegetables, spices and dishes. Floating markets are a great place to try local delicacies.

Phuket

Tips and tricks

Where to stay

For the best hotels in Thailand, check out our latest Thailand brochure.

Getting there

Flights operate directly between Australia and Thailand.

Climate

The weather in Thailand is made up of three major seasons, the hot season (April to June), the rainy or green season (July to October) and the cool season (November to March). Many believe the cool season is the best time to visit, when temperatures are at their lowest and the skies are clear blue. But some travelers prefer the cheaper prices and fewer crowds of the green or rainy season.

When to go

In general, the cool season (October – March) is considered the best time to visit Thailand. For more information, read our guide on when to visit Thailand.

Money

The currency used is the Thai baht.

Did you know?

Thailand is the only Southeast Asia country that wasn’t colonised by a European country.

Top Tip

Road safety in Thailand is not as good as it should be. The country has the second highest number of traffic fatalities in the world. Use extreme caution when hiring a vehicle and crossing roads.

Experience Thailand now on one of our small group journeys or check out our range of private tours.