There’s a reason Thailand is the most-visited country in Southeast Asia. City, jungle and beach: with just one trip to this vibrant destination you can immerse yourself in the freneticism of Bangkok, bathe an elephant in Khao Sok, laze on the sun-drenched beaches of Khao Lak, Phuket and Hua Hin, meet Chiang Mai hilltribes and head off the tourist trail in Kanchanaburi. There’s so many hidden gems just waiting to be discovered! Then there’s the islands – Koh Samui, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi – all of which look as though they’ve been plucked straight off a postcard. Whatever your destination, there’s plenty to keep you occupied too – from cooking classes to snorkelling, wandering around temples or seeking out the local wildlife. Feeling inspired? Let our lovely Travel Consultants tailor make your Thailand adventure.
Top Thailand Holidays
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Thailand Holiday Destinations
Most Thailand holidays begin in Bangkok, the country’s fast-paced capital city. From here, you can head north to lush mountain spots like Chiang Mai, laze on the beaches of Phuket, or get up close to Krabi's sheer limestone cliffs.
Thailand Holiday Types
Thailand may be famous for its blissful beaches, but this is just the start. Whether you’re looking for a jungle adventure, cultural immersion, or to embark on a luxury tour, our lovely Travel Consultants can tailor make a trip to suit you.
Thailand Holiday Ideas & Advice
- Top things to do
- When to go
- Extra info
Top Things to Do in Thailand
- Explore Bangkok
- Tour the stunning waterfalls of Khao Lak
- Laze on the beach at Koh Samui
- Visit the stunning Khao Sok National Park
- Laze on the beaches of Phuket
- Interact with elephants at Elephant Hills
- Meet the locals at a village in Mae Kampong
- Island Hop to your heart's content
- Soak up the culture of the North
- Sample a traditional Thai Massage
Thailand has it all – it is Asia in miniature. Well, maybe not exactly miniature: its 198,120 square miles are full of history, temples, beaches, jungles, delicious cuisine and, most importantly, a fun and friendly vibe. It makes for the most diverse holiday you’re ever likely to take. Experience the best of it with our tried and tested things to do in Thailand.
Bangkok is renowned for its heady freneticism, but that’s a big part of its exotic charm. After all, there aren’t many places where you can find vibrant night life amid ornate shrines, decadent temples and the winding canal network of the Chao Phraya River. The food is an eclectic mix of humble street food and gourmet cuisine too, while luxury malls vie for sales against independent boutiques and traditional floating markets.
How to do it: The best way to experience Bangkok is to get immersed in the bedlam: take a tuk-tuk tour through the crowds, sample exotic local dishes at the markets and take in as many temples and monuments as you can – the giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is not to be missed. For the best of Bangkok, and to experience Thailand beyond the bright lights of the capital, try our Bangkok, Jungle & Beach itinerary.
Where to go when you want to switch off from the fast pace of the bustling cities, Khao Lak lies on Thailand’s south-west coast. Around a two-hour drive from Phuket, it is also the gateway to the Surin and Similan Islands; renowned as some of the best diving locations in the world.
Khao Lak translates as Lak Mountain, which towers over Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park, around a 10-minute drive from the centre of the region. Wander through the forested hills, spotting reptiles, birds and butterflies as you go.
Stop for lunch at the park’s restaurant and breathe in the fresh scents of eucalyptus, while listening to the gentle trickle of the waterfalls running through the jungle. The limestone cliffs and evergreen forests are home to hornbills and monkeys, and you can discover even more wildlife on a longtail boat ride over Cheow Larn Lake.
To the south of Khao Lak lie the cascading Lampi and Chong Fah Waterfalls, which are just calling to be dived into on a hot day. If you are heading north, then Khao Sok National Park is the ideal base for river rafting and jungle trekking.
The best way to ensure you don’t miss a thing is to include our Khao Lak Highlights tour in your itinerary. Then get ready for a jungle adventure that sees you bathing elephants, exploring temples and bamboo rafting.
After a more relaxed pace? Khao Lak Beach is a peaceful refuge, while nearby Bang Niang Beach promises superb restaurants and a market bursting with authentic wares and tasty cuisine. We recommend stopping for a drink at the Hill Tribe Restaurant, for a chance to try its exquisite Doi Salong coffee.
From gathering an eclectic mix of snacks from street-side food carts to sampling seven courses on a nighttime cruise down the Chao Phraya river this nation can't help but show off it's world class food. No trip to Thailand is complete without sampling some Green Curry and some fresh-out-of-the-wok Phad Thai.
If you’ve ever tried to conjure up images of white silica, fringed by swaying palms, chances are what you’re picturing is something from the east-coast isle of Koh Samui. Its sands – which meander along its Gulf of Thailand coastline for nine miles – are some of the most famous in the world, celebrated for their peace, relaxation and, in some places, wild beach parties.
How to do it: Koh Samui has plenty of beaches to choose from: surfers will delight at Chaweng, the sunsets are perfect at Lipa Noi, and peace and tranquillity exudes from Maenam. For real beach relaxation, try one of our Escape beach holidays to Kamalaya – a decadent spa resort set on postcard-perfect sands.
Framed by ancient rainforest and lofty limestone mountains, it’s no surprise that Khao Sok National Park is said to contain more than 5% of the world’s species, from the tiger to the sambar deer to white-handed gibbons. The endangered Asian elephant is perhaps its most famous resident though, and there are plenty of extraordinary opportunities to get up-close.
How to do it: On our Bangkok, Beach & Elephants itinerary you’ll enjoy a two night stay in the ethically-conscious Elephant Hills, where you’ll get to interact with elephants in their natural jungle setting.
Phuket is incredible all on its own. There are the vast swathes of bleached sand, the dramatic limestone karsts and the colourful longtail boats that feature on all the postcards. But it’s not the only incredible landmass in south-west Thailand. Phuket is a great jumping off point for several other islands, from Phi Phi to Krabi to Koh Lanta.
How to do it: Our Island Explorer itinerary gives you four nights in Phuket, four nights on Phi Phi Island, three nights in Krabi and four nights in Koh Lanta – plenty of time to explore each isle’s snorkelling, kayaking and beach-lazing offering.
Local villages and hill tribes showcase Thailand at its most authentic – taking you back to a time before the tourists descended and to a place where the country’s rich culture is at its brightest. The tiny mountain village of Mae Kampong is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai and offers delicious local coffee and an abundance of mêeang (pickled tea leaves).
How to do it: Our Temples, Palaces & Villages itinerary visits Mae Kampong, where you’ll learn about village life, trek to a waterfall and finish off the day with a delicious feast and homestay with a local family.
Thailand tourism may be booming right now, but there are still some hidden gems to be discovered, especially when it comes to the country’s islands and beaches. Look beyond Phuket and you’ll find off-beat locations like eastern Koh Samet, south-eastern Koh Phangan and western Koh Yao Yai, ripe for discovering 2,000-year-old artwork, snorkelling in warm, teeming waters, trekking to secret waterfalls and getting your PADI.
How to do it: If all of the above sounds like you, our Undiscovered Islands itinerary fits the bill. Starting in Bangkok, it goes on to explore all of these regions, with four blissful nights in each secluded spot.
From the Northern Centre of Chiang Mai discover what the North of this diverse nation has to offer. From waterfalls to rolling rainforested hills there is no doubting the natural beauty of this corner of the land of smiles. However, it's the cultural highlights which will blow you away, from the lofty Doi Suthep to the glistening white palace in Chiang Rai - which would rival the beauty of the Grand Palace itself.
There’s a reason Thai massages are so well-known around the world: they’re pretty amazing. In fact, for those seeking sublime relaxation, there’s nothing better. Tapping into Ayurvedic principles and acupressure, this traditional massage technique compresses, stretches and rocks the body to relieve aching muscles and leave you feeling completely stress-free.
How to do it: Many of our Thailand beach holidays take place in resorts that offer incredible Thai massages – the Six Senses Yao Noi is particularly impressive. For the ultimate luxury spa experience, opt for the Spa Pool Villa at the Banyan Tree Phuket, where your suite has a dedicated spa room surrounded by dramatic glass walls.
When to Go to Thailand
With weather that ranges from warm to hot, to hotter, Thailand is a destination that you can visit at any time of year (so long as you can stand the heat). Thailand’s supposed cool season takes place from November to February – which is when temperatures range between 18-32°C – while Phuket experiences clear blue skies and calm seas. March to May is when Thailand experiences its hot and dry season which is best spent on the islands in the Gulf of Thailand like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The wet season hits in June to October, when short bursts of rain can occur and the countryside is at its greenest.
Don’t let the name fool you, the cool season in Thailand isn’t really that cool. It’s just the time of year when the heat and humidity are at their lowest in Thailand and thus the best time to go. During this season temperatures in Bangkok fluctuate greatly – 18-32°C – while Phuket experiences clear blue skies and calm seas. As this time of year offers the best weather for much of the country, it’s also the most popular time to visit with Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year (January) holidays.
Best places to visit in the cool season:
In March things heat up in Thailand, with temperatures soaring up to 40°C in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. April in particular is the hottest month in Thailand. It’s also when Thailand’s traditional New Year’s celebrations take place, Songkran Festival (where locals take to the streets for a series of high-octane water fights) is one of the most popular. To experience Songkran in more manageable temperatures, the islands in the Gulf of Thailand like Koh Samui or Koh Phangan experience temperatures around 24-33°C, not to mention clear blue skies and plenty of lagoons to cool off in. This time of year is also a great time for seeing whale sharks at Angthong Marine Park.
Best places to visit in the hot and dry season:
- Koh Samui
- Ko Phangan
- Angthong Marine Park
June in Thailand marks the wet season and when monsoons usually hit the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand. The months of September and October usually experience the heaviest rain. While the wet season is considered Thailand’s low travel season with some islands shutting down, rain often only falls in short bursts, so it is possible to enjoy a holiday here at this time, and for a fantastic price. The wet season is also a great time to visit the north of Thailand when the countryside is thick and lush from the rain and the weather is neither too hot nor too cold.
Best places to visit in winter:
- Chiang Mai
- Mae Kampong
More about Thailand
Capital city: Bangkok
Currency: Thai baht
Language: Thai and English
Vaccinations: Vaccinations for tetanus and typhoid are recommended
Flight time: The flight time for London to Bangkok is 11.5 hours.
Visas: British Citizens do not require a visa if staying for under 30 days.