This is a step-by-step guide to your perfect Thailand vacation! When you travel to Thailand for the first time, you will probably have a lot of questions. What do I have to pack? What should I put attention on? Which vaccinations do I need? In this article we give you our tips on travel preparation, arrival and planning on site. So no more questions remain open.
Thailand is almost our second home. We spend a long time here every winter. When we first traveled to Thailand, we also had a lot of questions, so do you now. That is why we have written down everything in this article that is important for your Thailand travel planning. We want to make sure that you get on the plane with a good feeling and look forward to your Thailand vacation.
Pack properly for Thailand
We love to plan. We like to be in control that nothing goes wrong.
We planned for a long vacation in Thailand, so we had to pack for six months, including photo equipment, and set ourselves the goal of only traveling with hand luggage.
First rule: If there is any other way, do not pack your things in a trolley case. Rolling suitcases are only practical if you are only traveling in 5-star hotels and are only driven from A to B by car. Otherwise you won’t have any fun with a wheeled suitcase in Thailand, because the paths are uneven and sometimes not paved, and the curbs are high. So, better take a backpack with you.
Second rule: don’t be afraid to forget anything. You can really get everything your heart desires in Thailand. Only your passport and credit card are irreplaceable.
Third rule: pack as little as possible. When you have finished packing, it is best to unpack half of it again. And when it comes to clothes, pack as little as possible.
You can have your clothes washed anywhere in Thailand and it’s very cheap too. Mostly you pay around 40 bahts, i.e. 1 euro, for 1 kg and usually get it back on the same day, washed, dried and often even ironed.
You won’t need half of the things you have with you anyway, and you will always wear the same clothes. You’ll buy new things there anyway, which are much better suited to the temperatures.
Entry and Visa for Thailand
The visa requirements for Thailand change frequently, so we advise you to check the website of your Foreign Office before you leave.
Current status (November 2020): If you don’t want to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days at a time, you don’t need to apply for a visa to enter Thailand. Just bring your passport, then you will simply get a stamp in your passport at the airport in Bangkok and you can stay in the country for 30 days.
You need a passport that is valid for at least six months upon arrival. You do not need any other documents for entry.
If you should travel to other countries afterwards, we recommend that you have a few passport photos in your luggage. But you can also do that on site without any problems.
Some careful people may scan all their important documents, such as passport, vaccination card (of course we also have it in our luggage), and other necessary documents, and keep the scanned copies on their Google Drive.
There are different types of visas for longer stays, including a tourist visa for 60 days, which you have to apply for in advance.
Withdraw money in Thailand
In Thailand you pay with Baht (THB). 40 Thai Bahts is equal to 1 Euro.
There are ATMs on every corner in tourist areas. There you can withdraw money with your credit card.
However, you pay quite a bit of fees there. Your bank in your own country charges fees, and the local machine operators charge another 220 THB per withdrawal.
That’s at least 5.50 euros, which can add up quite a bit over the course of a trip.
Our tip: We always have our DKB Bank credit card with us, with which you can withdraw cash free of charge, as well as the free MasterCard for emergencies. Both cards are free.
You should get all vaccinations well in advance of your departure. You can also find out which vaccinations you need for your trip at your Foreign Office, or simply ask at the Tropical Institute or your trusted doctor.
We have had the following vaccinations, we were also on the road for six months and occasionally travel to rural areas:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Japanese encephalitis
- Cholera (oral vaccination)
If you are only on the road for two to three weeks, the hepatitis vaccination is probably enough.
You can actually get almost all the medication you need on site. Above all, the pharmacies in Bangkok are very well equipped and usually give very competent advice in very good English. It is of course also much cheaper than in Europe.
Nevertheless, you should have a small first-aid kit with you with the most important medicines.
- Riemser Pharma Bite Away, stitch healer (Works really brilliantly. You hold the stitch healer on the stitch and it stops itching. We never thought it would work so well!)
- Perenterol Forte & Imodium Acute & Electrolyte (especially Perenterol is very important. If you do not tolerate the food so well on site, it builds up the intestinal flora again and not only stops. Like Immodium, Perenterol is known in Thailand under the name “Bio- Flora” to buy)
- Bepanthen: wound and healing ointment mini
- Fucidine (miracle ointment for all kinds of inflammation. Unfortunately, a prescription only, but if you ask your doctor…)
- Chewing gum against travel sickness
Cheap flights to Thailand
From Europe, Thai Airways and Eurowings, among others, offer direct flights to Bangkok.
Most of the connections are offered by the Arab airlines, where you will make a stopover in Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi.
We love flying with the Arab airlines because they offer the best value for money.
For a 12-hour flight, we are also happy to spend 100 euros more on a flight if the flight times, the flight experience, the food and the service, the legroom and simply the experience are right.
How much does a flight to Thailand cost?
If you are a bit flexible in terms of time, you can usually always find tickets for 600 to 700 euros. There are always offers for 400 or 500 euros, but that’s not the rule.
At popular travel times, for example, over Christmas, the flights are sometimes significantly more expensive. Then it is difficult to get flights for less than 1,000 euros.
We always search for our flights using the Skyscanner comparison portal and thus quickly find the cheapest or best connection for us.
How long do you fly to Thailand?
A direct flight to Thailand takes between 10 and 12 hours. The outward flight is usually shorter than the return flight.
On a flight with a short stopover in one of the Arab countries, you fly about 6 hours twice and have a stay of 2-4 hours on site.
So you can stretch your legs a little and the flight time doesn’t seem so long. Perfect for moving around, but not too long to get bored.
What helps against jet lag in Thailand?
Our best tip against jet lag: Pay attention to the flight times. It’s best to take a flight that arrives in Bangkok in the afternoon or early evening. So when you arrive in Thailand, you can have something to eat and then fall straight to bed and you are immediately rested the next day.
Flights that arrive very early in the morning are unfavorable. Then you already have a whole night on the plane behind you and a whole day ahead of you. The risk is then very high that you will fall asleep during the day and then no longer be able to sleep at night. Then you are fully in the jet lag spiral.
Book an accommodation
We always book our accommodations in advance, even if it is sometimes just a few days in advance.
The typical search for accommodation on site, as many backpackers have done for decades, is now less and less worthwhile. More and more people are booking online, so that many accommodations are simply full.
In our experience, the prices are usually not better if you go to a hotel directly instead of booking online
Bangkok Hotel Tips: Where to Stay in Bangkok?
Our hotel tips for Bangkok
We can highly recommend these two hotels in Bangkok. It is a great starting point for the first few days:
Sribumpen Plus: Great value for money, newly opened in 2015 & good location – approx. 20 – 30 euros a night without breakfast (café directly opposite)
U Sukhumvit: a design hotel, great location, great value for money including a pool on the roof – around 70-80 euros a night including breakfast
Long term accommodations in Thailand
If you want to stay longer in one place (1 month+), it is worth renting a furnished apartment.
Local sites like Thai Apartment or 9Apartment look like they came straight from the 90s, but they offer a good first overview of the housing market.
In the cities, however, you can find the best deals if you just walk through the area in your favorite neighborhood and keep your eyes open for apartment buildings.
There is always an office on the ground floor where you can get information about rent and ancillary costs, have a room shown to you and, if you like, rent it immediately!
The best time to travel to Thailand
The question is not easy to answer. In our opinion, there is no really bad time to travel to Thailand.
The main season, when the weather is most stable, begins on the west coast in October and on the east coast in November and ends in March/April. During this time there is practically no rain.
The only months that you should avoid are the months when it is nice and warm in Europe, namely in midsummer. Because then the rainy season reaches its peak in Thailand.
In the remaining months (e.g. September) the weather is more unpredictable than in the high season. You can be lucky and it only rains occasionally, but you can also have bad luck and it is cloudy for a week at a time and rains relatively often.
But in the off-season you often have the beaches to yourself, you pay up to 50 percent less in the accommodations and can enjoy absolute peace.
Travel guide for Thailand
There is actually a lot of information online. Nevertheless, we are still fans of classic travel guides.
First of all, it is a lot of fun to browse through it and see all the great things you can do before the trip and, secondly, you will learn so much more about the history and culture of the country.
Without a certain background knowledge, we think Thailand is only half as fun. In our opinion, the best travel guides for Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia are Stefan Loose’s travel guides. Lonely Planet always works, of course, but we often just like the Loose travel guides better.