26 Best Travel Tips For Thailand (2024)

Thailand is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia.

It attracts travellers from every corner of the world, and it’s easy to see why.

26 Best Travel Tips For Thailand (2024)

Thailand is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia.

It attracts travellers from every corner of the world, and it’s easy to see why.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

We may earn affiliate commissions from websites we link to, at no cost to you. Click here for details.

travel tips for thailand

Packed with white sand beaches, gorgeous islands, charming villages, cosmopolitan cities, temples, smiling locals, and some of the best food you’ll ever taste – it really has it all!

Here are our travel tips for Thailand that will ensure you have the best experience possible.

Travel Guide for Thailand – 26 handy travel tips for Thailand

1. Get an eSIM to Stay Connected with unlimited data

We recommend you get an eSIM for Thailand to stay connected. The eSIM offers UNLIMITED data, it’s fantastic!

And if you plan to travel to multiple countries in Asia, then a Global eSIM data plan is the way forward.

If you’re unsure about which is better, physical SIM vs eSIM, this post may help you understand why it’s a good option to stay connected for all international travel.

The convenience to reserve hotels on Booking.com on the go, using Google Maps to navigate your way around, and booking a Grab/Uber is fantastic – and the local phone carrier for eSIM is excellent, I can tell you this from experience.

Alternatively, you can also buy a local SIM card in Thailand. There are 3 major suppliers in Thailand: DTAC, True, and AIS.

You can pick up a SIM card from many of the larger airports in Thailand. The phone companies have small stalls in the arrivals hall and staff will set them up for you in minutes. And, the convenience store that you see everywhere in Thailand, 7-eleven sells them too.

We use the 15 days of unlimited data eSIM in Thailand when we visit – good coverage and a great price. We highly recommend you get yourself an eSIM, one of our best travel tips for Thailand.

2. Use filtered water dispensers

This is not only going to save you cash, but it is much better for the planet by reducing plastic waste. And that’s a good reason to add this to our travel tips for Thailand.

travel tips for thailand

If you’re spending more than a few days in one place, look out for filtered water dispensers. Find these along the sides of the road and in front of shops and busy streets.

If you buy a 1.5L (14 baht) or even 5L (42 baht) bottle upon arrival from the convenience store, save them and refill them with filtered water.

NOTE: Living in Thailand long-term? It’s best to get your 20L drinking water delivered from a local water company.

3. Use Grab taxi to get around town

Grab is Asia’s alternative to Uber, and it’s a good way to get around in Thailand. Uber exists in Thailand, but Grab is much more common which means there are many more drivers operating on Grab.

The thing we like the most about Grab is the fixed distance-based fees. Essentially, it means that drivers can’t overcharge you for journeys. 

Some busier cities such as Bangkok also have GrabBike. Hail a ride on the back of a scooter/motorbike to get to your destination cheaper and faster in congested traffic.

4. Avoid ATMs – Go inside the bank to withdraw cash

ATM fees in Thailand are ridiculous. Expect to pay no less than 220 THB (6.60 USD) per transaction. That’s some of the highest fees we’ve ever seen! Not to forget that this fee doesn’t include your home bank’s fee either.

We’ve checked ALL of the banks and ATMs in Thailand – it’s hard to avoid this fee unless you have a debit card that refunds these charges to you.

So, we recommend taking your passport and going inside a Thai bank to withdraw cash. Banks don’t charge a fee if you do it this way. If you need cash and the banks are closed for the day, then we recommend withdrawing the maximum amount from an ATM to minimise fees for the next time you need more Thai Baht.

This is one of the best recommendations when it comes to our travel guide for Thailand and these travel tips for Thailand.

5. Debit & credit cards

Try and plan ahead and sign up for a debit card that refunds all ATM fees and foreign transaction fees.  

This is why we recommend Wise, an online account that lets you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. This service has saved us loads of money in International fees. And, they charge a very small fee for foreign ATM withdrawals.

With a Wise account, you can get paid in other currencies and send money overseas. Sign up for a WISE card

6. Use a self-service washing machine/dryer

Thailand is one of the best (and most affordable) countries to always have clean laundry.

If you have a little time, look for the self-service washing machines and dryers around every town – they’re super cheap and convenient.

travel tips for thailand

The price starts at 30 THB ($0.90c) to do a load of washing, the same for the dryer (or just hang your clothes in the sun on your balcony or in your room).

If you need washing powder, you can generally purchase this for 10 THB in the vending machine at the self-service laundromat.

That’s a good deal – a load of washing cleaned and dried for around USD $2.00.

Alternatively, if you don’t have the time to do your own laundry, you can drop it at many little shops around town and they will do it for you. Prices start from 30 THB per/kg if you go to one of the smaller streets.

Expect to pay around 50 THB per/kg if you drop it at one of the places on any main busy street.

If you drop it off in the morning, you might receive it back at the end of the day, but generally, it’s a 24-hour service. They’ll dry it, fold it and place it in a neat plastic bag for pick up.

Don’t be surprised if you’re missing a few socks or pieces of underwear – it happens.

7. Travel during low season

Thailand’s low season starts from around the beginning of May to the end of October. It may be rainy, hot, or even both, but this time of year is when we like to travel here.

The reason for this? Small hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnb rentals are much lower, with fewer people and crowds and in our experience, the weather still feels perfect for the beach.

We find excellent-priced hotels and apartments on Booking.com.

8. Use landmarks to navigate your way around

It’s better to use landmarks, rather than addresses to get around in Thailand. There are so many small streets and areas that sometimes don’t show up on google maps.

travel tips for thailand

If you need to catch a taxi or tuk-tuk to your hotel, try to remember the name of the nearest temple or major landmark to tell your driver.

We recommend that you pin your accommodation provider’s address on your Google map so you can also help your driver get there if need be.

TIP: Another great navigation App to download to your phone is called Maps. Me. It works offline and is a great tool to use all over the world.

9. Travel with carry-on bags and pack light 

Our best advice for travel in Thailand is to pack light! The climate here is warm and tropical, so you’ll likely be living in shorts, singlets, and swimwear most of the time. Sure, in the cooler season, you will need a light jacket – but that’s about it.

Our packing list for Southeast Asia has got you covered for Thailand and this region.

If you need any additional clothing whilst you’re here, you can find it in markets or major shopping malls for a good price – so no stress.

As for luggage, which should you choose – Suitcase or Backpack? In our opinion, a backpack will allow you to travel light and give you more flexibility.

If you intend to explore the country, a carry-on backpack such as Osprey 40L Farpoint (what we use to travel the entire world) is perfect. Alternatively, you can still be a carry-on traveller with a suitcase.

We recently purchased this Samsonite Stack’d Carry-On Spinner Suitcase, and we’re loving it!

10. Eat from the street food vendor with the longest line

Our best travel tip in Thailand is this one, so here it is. Enjoying the food is one of the best things about a trip to Thailand. Thai people love to eat- and better yet, they love to cook.

The bonus for us is that they’re very good at it, and it’s super affordable! You’ll be told by travellers who have been to Thailand before – that street food is often the best choice.

When you’re trying to find the best street food in Thailand, choose the vendor with the longest queue of locals. This often indicates that the food will be cooked fresh and a safe bet that it tastes delicious too.

Look out for these 12 top Thai dishes you need to try.

And if you make it up to Northern Thailand, our Food Guide of Chiang Mai has got you covered!

Here are our 7 Tips: How to find the best food when travelling

Get Connected with eSIM

Get connected easily on your travels—buy an eSIM! It works like an app: buy it, download it, and get connected in minutes! It’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Keep your original phone number, too!

Use our code: RACHEL5045 to get $3 off your first purchase!

11. Fresh coconut water and fruit smoothies

The abundance of fresh tropical fruit in Thailand is amazing! You can find fresh fruit smoothies everywhere here. They’re fresh, affordable, and healthy (they often add sugar syrup to make it taste better, but you can ask them to leave it out).

Our favourite is the mango smoothie, the perfect way to cool down on a hot day.

travel tips for thailand
Marty with a mango smoothie

Another one of our favourite drinks in Thailand – is natural coconut water! For less than a dollar, they’ll cut a hole in the top of a large chilled coconut for you – so good!

12. Carry small packets of tissues and hand sanitiser

Restrooms and public bathrooms don’t always provide toilet paper – so it’s best to be prepared and have a small pocket-sized pack of tissues on hand.

As with travelling in many parts of the world, hand sanitiser is always a good choice to have with you. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use sanitiser before eating to kill any bacteria on your hands to avoid getting ill.

13. Use your bargaining skills!

Never take the first price you’re offered in Thailand when shopping at outdoor markets! Like many countries in Asia, shopping often involves a lot of haggling. Many travellers don’t enjoy bargaining for the best price but remember that the vendor won’t sell to you unless they’re making a profit.

A good place to start is to offer around 40-50% less than the asking price.

I recommend checking prices from a few different stalls first. Try not to seem too interested in the item before you start bargaining. Decide what you are willing to pay for something before you make an offer.

Be polite, yet firm – it should be an enjoyable experience. If they don’t want to accept your offer, use the ‘walk-away method. If they don’t call you back to accept your offer, you’ve bargained too hard.

Practice makes perfect, and you can just go to another stall to try again.

14. Book in advance for festivals or popular holidays

travel tips for thailand

If you’re planning on going to a music festival, a famous holiday celebration like Songkran, or even a full-moon party, you should reserve your accommodation in advance.

During these busy times, rooms book out quickly.

To avoid missing out, I’d recommend checking Booking.com, or Agoda.

15. Use budget airlines

If given the choice, overland travel is how I choose to travel in many countries around the worldThis option is often considerably cheaper than taking short flights.

Thailand is a little different – domestic air travel is usually cheap, easy, and convenient.

It can be time-consuming and uncomfortable travelling on overnight freezing buses or trains. Consider that many buses have to stop in Bangkok for longer trips and take into account meals and snacks for the journey.

It really depends on your destination, but checking the cost difference between taking a bus/train or getting a budget flight can save you time and energy.

The cheapest flights can be found on budget airlines – Nok AirAir AsiaThai Lion Air, and Thai Viet Jet. We find that the best aggregator site to search all these airlines is Skyscanner.

Most of these budget airlines fly from Don Muang (DMK) airport and Viet Jet flies from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok. Be mindful of this when making reservations.

16. Go to smaller side streets for a traditional Thai massage

In my experience, the best and most traditional Thai massages are always better (and cheaper) if you explore the small side streets (soi). I always choose a quiet place or one that doesn’t have the ladies beckoning me to come inside from the steps outside.

A Thai massage is supposed to be a quiet, calming environment with privacy. It’s important to me that the place I’ve chosen offers clothes (loose Thai pants/top) for me to change into before the massage begins.

At the completion of the massage, it’s always a nice touch when you’re offered some warm tea.

I hope you’re enjoying these travel tips in Thailand, let’s keep going!

17. Take a sleeper train

If you’re travelling between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and you can’t find any cheap budget flights on Skyscanner– this overnight sleeper train is a great option.

Budget travellers will love that you save on a night of accommodation, and it’s a comfortable journey too.

18. Ladies – bring a light scarf & sarong

If you’re hoping to discover Thai culture during your visit (you should be, it’s beautiful), then you’ll likely be visiting a few temples.

For ladies, it’s important to know that almost all temples require that your legs and shoulders must be covered upon entry.

travel tips for thailand

Thailand has a tropical climate, so it’s not likely that you want to be walking around in long pants/tops all day. No problem, just pack a light scarf to cover your shoulders (over your sleeveless shirt is ok) and a sarong to wrap around your waist (over your shorts is fine) when entering any temple.

Once you exit the temple, you can remove them and put them back into your day bag.

19. Family Mart and 7/11 have everything!

These convenience stores are everywhere, and you’ll quickly learn to love them! You can pick up almost anything here, from small toiletries, cheap beers or whiskey, hot food, instant pot noodles, and snacks to take on travel days.

My favourite snacks are the triangle rice handrolls filled with teriyaki salmon and wrapped in fresh nori (27 baht). The cheese and ham toasted sandwich (20 baht), which they grill for you on the spot once purchased is good too!

20. Get off the tourist trail

Thailand is definitely a popular tourist destination, but there are still charming villages, small islands, and hidden spots that are still off-the-tourist trails.

You should try and visit some of these places during your visit to get a different perspective of Thailand away from the crowds.

travel tips for thailand

My recommendations are to visit Ko Muk, Ko Ngai and Ko Libong.

21. Buy fresh fruit from the markets

As I mentioned before, tropical fruit is widely available here. It’s so good and very affordable. Keep an eye out for the busiest fruit vendors in town, you know the ones where all the locals shop. They know where to buy the freshest fruit at the best prices.

Many fruit shops cut up fresh fruit packs for take-away, all day long. This is so convenient, and perfect if you want to pick up a freshly cut batch of mangoes to go and eat on the beach for around $2.

22. Pack an umbrella and a poncho

During the rainy season in Thailand – when it rains, it pours! Bring a small collapsable umbrella to pop into your day bag (which will double as a sun cover when it’s super strong outside).

You’re likely to hire a scooter during your time here, it’s a great way to get around. You should get a poncho for when that rain will simply not stop and you need to get home. A poncho is very cheap to buy in Thailand and I guarantee it will serve you well.

Sunblock is ridiculously expensive in Thailand, so try and bring some with you. If you must make a purchase, just try and stick to brands that you know (Nivea, Banana Boat, etc) as many other brands often contain whitening agents.

23. Bring a GoPro

Thailand has some amazing marine life and underwater adventures to be had. If you have a GoPro, bring it along to capture it all.

If you don’t own one yet – what are you waiting for? CLICK HERE for the best deal on the latest GoPro.

24. Choose accommodation best suited to you 

  • Booking.com – So many options! A fantastic resource for reserving a place to sleep. What is nice is you can often pay in full, or just reserve your spot without any credit card needed.  This can be great for price comparisons.  You never know where you’ll find the cheapest deal.
  • Agoda – When you’re after accommodation that is a little extra special, this is the place you need to check out! Agoda have the best selection and very competitive rates all over the world, particularly in Asia. Another bonus is that their website is very user-friendly.

25. Lonely Planet guidebook  

There are certain destinations that Lonely Planet cover well in terms of updated information. These Thailand guidebooks are fantastic. This Travel Guide (with a 10% discount) covers detailed information about the entire country and focuses more on Thailand’s beaches.

Lonely Planet books are full of practical information on how to get around, where to stay, suggested itineraries, the latest prices and foodie tips for travel in Thailand and its beaches.

You can also purchase the online version if you prefer.

Thailand rice paddies bicycles

26. Comprehensive travel insurance is important

As the saying goes – If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel. I think this is especially true when traveling in any country in South East Asia.

Things don’t always go to plan and it feels good to have a reputable travel insurance provider have your back.

Don’t leave home without getting covered with the best travel insurance policy available. We use and recommend Heymondo Travel Insurance. CLICK HERE to get an extra 5% off your policy if you purchase Heymondo Insurance for your next trip.

We hope you have enjoyed reading these travel tips for Thailand. There are so many incredible places to visit in this gorgeous country. If you have any other helpful tips we could add to our travel tips for Thailand, please let us know in the comments below.

Travel Tips for Thailand

We have many travel guides and tips for Thailand—what a delicious country!

Our 26 helpful tips for travel in Thailand are good to know before you arrive.

Start by tasting these top 12 Thai dishes and then explore more of this incredible cuisine. We love to eat here, and Thailand is featured in our top 10 best countries for food lovers. 

There are many reasons why it’s the perfect destination, and here are 15 amazing things to do in Thailand to help plan your next trip.

Our ultimate Southeast Asia packing list covers what to take (and what to leave at home). Learn a few basic Thai expressions to impress the locals!

If you plan on travelling to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand (which I highly recommend), our post about where to stay in Chiang Mai—our accommodation guide will be helpful to you.

Chiang Mai is a food lover’s paradise, our food guide on its best restaurants and places to eat is essential reading!

For those looking to stay a little longer in Thailand, this country is a digital nomad & remote workers’ heaven! Read our detailed digital nomads guide to both Chiang Mai vs Chiang Rai and Ko Samui vs Ko Phangan for remote workers.

Some of our favourite places include Kata Beach, on the island of Phuket – here are ten awesome things to do in Kata Beach, and of course we put together this ultimate food guide for Phuket Town.

We recommend visiting Lampang, a lesser-known (but fantastic) city – here are 11 reasons to visit Lampang! 

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Thailand. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View options for eSIM in Thailand or the regional Asialink eSIM (which covers 13 countries).

If your travels in Thailand are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

Want to travel in Thailand with like-minded travellers? View the best deals on group adventures in Thailand.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

Did you enjoy this article? Share it with friends and family!

Travel Planning Resources

✈️ Flights: We use Skyscanner to book cheap flights worldwide.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.com is our preferred platform for booking hotels and accommodation. We use Vrbo to book apartments and long-term stays.

🏥 Travel Insurance: We recommend Heymondo (Get 5% off Heymondo) & SafetyWing

🚌 Transportation: Trainline is the best website to reserve trains. We use Omio to book transport worldwide. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. 

🚘 Car Rental: We use DiscoverCars to book rental cars worldwide.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar.

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only two platforms you need.

📚 Lonely Planet: The Best Range of Travel Guides & Ebooks, and FREE Shipping! (use code RACHELDAVEY10 for a 10% discount)

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range.

🛄 What to Pack: Don’t forget your Universal charger and a good power bank.  To help you pack the essentials, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

🐶 Become a House Sitter: Join Trusted Housesitters and enjoy FREE accommodation worldwide. Use our invite to receive 25% off your new membership.

💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE & Revolut are the best online accounts that let you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. Both are so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination, and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product! Use promo code NOMAD15 for 15% off ALL eSIMs (new Airalo users only) OR use NOMAD10 for 10% off ALL eSIMs (for existing Airalo users)

✅ Check out our Travel Gear and Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

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