Backpacking Thailand: The Ultimate Travel Guide

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Backpacking Thailand Orthographic

In this guide to backpacking Thailand, you will learn everything you need to know about travelling this beautiful country on a budget, including things that you’ll never find in your Guide Book. *This post has been updated February, 2018*

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Ahh Thailand…heaven for budget backpackers. A place we return to. A place that somehow feels like home, despite being thousands of miles away. Stunning white sand traces 445 km of palm fringed coastline. Locals that smile, food that satisfies, beaches that shimmer and parties that last until sunrise, this is what easy travel is all about. On top of all of that, there are endless incredible places to visit in Thailand, and things to do in Thailand – you’ll never be bored here.

Thailand tends to cater to western visitors and much of its ancient culture and customs suffer from destructive tourism. You may hear mixed reviews before coming here but one thing is for certain… everyone has fun in Thailand! Check out this backpacking Thailand guide and start planning your trip.

How Much Will Backpacking Thailand Cost?

egypt for budget backpackers
Budget For Thailand

$50/day for 2 people.

This is a pretty comfortable Thailand backpacking budget. You’ll be able to pay for your transportation, snorkel, jungle or river tours, accommodation in cheap double rooms and still have some money left over for beers. Thailand is a cheap country to visit. You may have heard tales of $2 huts and 5 cent buses but you better come here in a time machine if you expect to find prices like that. But, backpacking Thailand is still pretty cheap.

Budget Accommodation: ($10-$30/night)

Accommodation in Thailand has definitely gone up in price since the hippy days, but with the price increase has come a step up in comfort and style. You will never find a hut for less than $8 in Thailand and if you’re staying in Bangkok or an expensive island, expect to pay around $20 for a decent double room. Prices often include breakfast. Check out these places to stay in Thailand for travellers:

Click Here to compare prices for the best hostels, hotels and guesthouses in Thailand on

Eating: ($1-$3/meal)

There are still amazing deals to be had while backpacking through Thailand. You can usually find tasty Pad Thai, Massuman curry, green curry, and soups to fill your stomach for just over a dollar. If you’re in a touristy area outside of Bangkok, you may have to pay the escalated prices in the farang (foreigner) restaurants, where a cheap meal will be at least $3 – $5.

Backpacking Thailand food Delicious Pad Thai
Delicious Pad Thai

Entrance Fees: (Average $5/person)

Entrence fees For Budget Backpackers in Egypt

There are some good sites to be seen in Thailand including many amazing temples, the Grand Palace, and Ayutthaya: The Ancient City of Siam. Some sites are free while others, like the Grand Palace in Bangkok, will cost 400 THB ($12). If you visit Ayutthaya expect to pay around 50 THB ($1.25) for each temple you enter.

Alcohol: ($2 Beer, $4 Cocktails)

Drinking Singha and backpacking thailand
Singha Beer

Alcohol will most likely be part of your budget while backpacking Thailand. There are ways to save some serious baht for those on a shoestring budget.

Pre-drinking can be your wallet’s best friend in Thailand and you can buy big beers at 7-11 for around 55 THB ($1.50). Hit up 7-11 or the local market and avoid drinking beers in bars where drinks are double or triple the price.

Cocktails in bars are usually around $3, but they are often made with cheap local spirits. A bottle of Mekhong whiskey only costs about $2 in a store, so keep that in mind when you’re ordering expensive cocktails at the beach bar. You’re definitely paying for the ambiance, but when the sun sets over the sparkling sea, you’ll wonder if you can put a price on that sundowner experience.


Tourist Pricing In India towards budget backpackers

Don’t Tip! If you’re like us, born and raised in North America, then this is likely a hard concept to grasp. Thais don’t tip and neither should you.

If you’re backpacking Thailand on a budget, then the fact that there’s no tipping probably comes as good news.

By doing so you are influencing the locals to expect gratuity from tourists. Tips are not expected from locals and tipping may annoy locals, expats and long-term travellers alike because it just makes the services more expensive for them. Don’t tip in Thailand!

**Update 2018: It is much more commonplace to tip these days in Thailand. If eating at a street stall, there’s no need to leave a tip. If you’re eating at a restaurant, at least leave the coins, or up to 10%. In a fancier restaurant, definitely leave 10%. For hotel cleaners, it’s nice to leave 20 – 50 baht under the pillow (depending on where you’re staying). Gauge the situation and decide whether leaving without tipping is appropriate, but in Thai culture, it’s expected that you at least leave the coins…in order to “save face”.

Travel Insurance:

It’s important to have travel insurance before embarking on your backpacking adventure! It’s the one thing you should always pack. World Nomads is a popular choice for backpackers and travellers. Enter in your details below to get a free quote:

Must-See Places in Thailand

There are too many must-see places to visit in Thailand to list here. We’ve spent 7 months here on 8 different visits and we still have much to see. Thailand is jam-packed with great backpacking highlights, many of which you can find on your own, with no help of the guidebook. You just have to really dig to find them!

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The Mainland


The hustle and bustle of the most vibrant city in Asia will force you to love it or hate it. Bangkok is the perfect first step (or plunge) into the world of Southeast Asia, and as you wander around on sensory overload, you’ll probably love the shock that comes with your entry stamp to Thailand.

Most likely, you’ll spend a crazy night partying on Khaosan Road (which generally involves bucket drinks and insect eating!), but once you’ve got that out-of-the-way, make sure to venture to other areas of this bustling city.

If you’re looking for more authentic things to do in Bangkok, make sure to check out the Ari Neighbourhood, go on a cycle tour, visit Chinatown, check out the airplane cemetery, explore the Chatuchak Market…and so much more.

The Hustle and Bustle of backpacking Bangkok Thailand
The Hustle and Bustle of Bangkok Thailand (On A Quiet Day)

Top Rated Hostels in Bangkok

Lamurr Sukhumvit 41 Dorms from $16 – Rating: 9.9 / 10
Cubic Bangkok Dorms from $12 – Rating: 9.9 / 10
Good One Hostel & Cafe Dorms from $9 – Rating: 9.9 / 10
Nornyai Hostel Double Rooms from $24 – Rating: 9.7 / 10
Kama Bangkok Double Rooms from $45 – Rating: 9.5 / 10
Smile Society Double Rooms from $36 – Rating: 9.4 / 10

Click Here to compare prices and see the top-rated hostels, hotels and guesthouses in Bangkok on

Chiang Mai:

This ancient walled city has plenty to offer backpackers. Cheap accommodation (especially apartment rentals), delicious restaurants and lots to keep you busy. Make sure to visit the local markets and sign up for a Thai cooking class!

There are tour agencies that can arrange visits to Burmese Long Neck Tribes, jungle zip lining, zorb ball, paintballing, and loads more strange / non-Thai experiences.

For more authentic things to do in Chiang Mai, rent a motorbike and explore the surrounding countryside. Trips to the Mae Sa Waterfall and driving the Mae Hon Song Loop are popular (and gorgeous) excursions in the area. You can also visit nearby cities and towns – don’t miss the awesome things to do in Chiang Rai.

READ MORE: Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Chiang Mai

Thai Cooking Class In Chiang Mai
Thai Cooking Class In Chiang Mai

Top Rated Hostels in Chiang Mai

Plearn Hostel Dorms from $12 – Rating: 9.9 / 10
Green Tiger Vegetarian House Dorms from $12 – Rating: 9.6 / 10
@Box Hostel Dorms from $9 – Rating: 9.6 / 10
Khaosan in Chiang Mai Double Rooms from $18 – Rating: 9.6
Oxotel Hostel Double Rooms from $35 – Rating: 9.5
Tanita House Double Rooms from $42 – Rating: 9.4

Click Here to compare prices and see the top-rated hostels, hotels and guesthouses in Chiang Mai on Booking


Thailand’s hippy hangout. A beautiful little village set on the Pai River in the Mae Hong Song province, Pai is a pretty cool place. You can arrange jungle treks and river trips here as well as visits to the stunning Pai Canyon, Santichon (Chinese village) and tours to the infamous Bridge Over The River Kwai.

After each day of adventure, you can return to the hammock that dangles from your riverside bungalow for a little bit of relaxation. For such a small town, there are numerous things to do in Pai, and its surroundings.

**Update 2018: These days, Pai itself is packed with tourists, and rather than finding Thai food, you’re more likely to see Italian and American favourites on the menu. However, it is possible to find local food, you just have to look al little harder. Make sure to leave the actual town of Pai and explore the beautiful surroundings.

Pai Canyon - Backpacking Thailand
Pai Canyon – Pai, Thailand

Top Recommended Hostels in Pai

Nine House Dorms from $5 – Rating: 8.9 / 10
Spicy Pai Backpackers Dorms from $5 – Rating: 8.1 / 10
Purple Monkey Backpackers Dorms from $6 – Rating: 7.9 / 10
Baan Kati Sod Double Rooms from $9 – Rating: 8.1 / 10
Baan Ing Na Bungalows from $14 – Rating: 7.8 / 10
KK.Hut Double Huts from $5 – Rating: 8.3 / 10

Click Here to compare prices and see the top-rated hostels, hotels and guesthouses in Pai Mai on Booking

The Best Backpacker Islands, Thailand


Okay so Railay is not technically an island, it’s just a set of beaches south of Krabi town, but it’s only accessible by boat so it retains an island-like vibe. Railay is breathtaking. Huge limestone cliffs jut out of shimmering turquoise waters.

Here you can do some rock climbing, jungle treks, hikes or just float in the warm sea and look up at the massive, jagged Goliaths that soar above the white sand coves. These shores include some of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches.

Railay is a must-see for beach bums and adventure backpackers!

Click Here to compare prices for the best hotels and guesthouses on Railay Beach on Booking

backpacking thailand railay beach

Koh Chang (North):

There are two Koh Chang islands in Thailand. One near the northern coasts of the gulf of Thailand, the other is on the Andaman Sea (see below). The north Koh Chang is a stunning place that is deserted outside of peak seasons (when it receives more rain than anywhere else in Thailand).

A long white sand beach fringes its north-western shore, where there is a wide variety of accommodation with everything from cheap huts to stunning resorts. Luckily the two financial extremes are separated so the different vibes can remain intact.

A Stunning Sunset On Koh Chang while backpacking thailand
A Stunning Sunset On Ko Chang

**GOAT NOTE – White Sands Beach is one of the nicest stretches of sand in Thailand, and it’s less crowded than most.

Click Here to compare prices on the best hotels and guesthoues in Koh Chang on Booking

Koh Phangan:

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Koh Phangan is only for drunk party animals trancing out on the beach during full moon parties. If you want to experience one of Thailand’s most dazzling specs in the sea, then you should come to Koh Phangan outside of the optimal lunar cycle.

Aside from those 3-5 days a month, the island is left deserted, wild and untouched. There are good roads connecting all of the best beaches so renting a motorbike and touring the island is easy. Haad Rin (the full moon party beach) is also one of the most stunning beach in all of Thailand. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this island, there are numerous things to do in Koh Phangan!

beaches in asia backpacking thailand
Going in for a dip at beautiful Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand

**GOAT NOTE – We stayed at Lighthouse Bungalows near Leela Beach. With bungalows that cling to the cliffside overlooking the sparkling sea, this is the best rustic guesthouse on the island. Far enough away from the crowds, yet close enough to walk there in 10 minutes, Lighthouse Bungalows is in the perfect spot.

Click here to compare prices on the best hotels and guesthouses on Koh Phangan

Koh Tao:

Koh Tao (meaning “Turtle Island”) is Thailand’s scuba diving mecca and they dish out more PADI certificates than anywhere else on the planet. The diving here is world-class (although there is much better diving elsewhere in Thailand), but it’s the vibe that really makes Koh Tao what it is.

Funky beach bars, tasty restaurants, street stalls, sandy beaches, movie nights and great diving and snorkelling all add up to make Koh Tao one of the funkiest islands in Thailand.

budget backpacking guide to thailand koh tao
Beautiful Koh Tao

**GOAT NOTE: Getting PADI in Koh Tao is highly recommended!

Click here to compare prices for the best hotels and guesthouses on Koh Tao on Booking

Koh Phi Phi:

Backpacking Thailand And Soaking In The Waters Of Ko Phi Phi
Soaking In The Waters Of Koh Phi Phi

There are two Koh Phi Phi’s that float as neighbours in the aquamarine waters of the Andaman sea. Both of these islands are stunning and both of them are overrun with tourists.

If you’re looking for an authentic Thai experience, look elsewhere. But if you want to see a beautiful beach, snorkel some nice reefs and see the place where the movie “The Beach” was filmed, then Koh Phi Phi is worth a visit. Keep in mind that prices here are jacked up in comparison to the rest of Thailand.

**GOAT NOTE – The beaches on both Koh Phi Phi Islands are very shallow and pretty much unswimmable for most of the day.

Click here for the best hotels and guesthouses on Koh Phi Phi on Booking

Koh Samui:

This island is more of a hangout for couples and families. We had avoided it during our younger backpacking years, but found ourselves actually spending 1.5 months there in 2017. Lamai beach is one of the nicest we’ve seen in Thailand with soft sand and clear water – plus, the water gets deep quickly meaning you don’t have to swim too far out. There are some great markets, quieter beaches in the north, pristine waterfalls and some really good restaurants.

Check out our Guide to Living in Koh Samui for more information. We don’t have a Koh Samui backpackers guide, as we feel it’s more of a mid-range island. However, as with everywhere in Thailand, it is possible to travel here on a budget.

We didn’t stay here, but saw some really colourful, funky huts right on beautiful Lamai beach! Travellers recommended it to us, and the place was full of backpackers when we stopped by. It’s called New Hut Bungalows – click here to see the latest price on

backpacking guide to thailand where to stay koh samui

Must-have Experiences in Thailand

There are so many awesome things to do in Thailand, here are some of our favourites:

Cocktails At Sunset:

When the sun begins to dip into the sea and illuminate the sky with pinks, reds and oranges, you’ll be drawn to the beach like a fly to a lamp. Head to one of the many funky beach-side bars and enjoy a delicious sundowner while swinging in a hammock or lounging in a bean bag chair.

These moments are what a vacation in Thailand is all about. And that’s what it is. Even if you’re backpacking Thailand, you can take time to have a vacation from travel and just watch the beauty of this enchanting land unfold at sunset.

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Backpacking Thailand And Enjoying Cocktails At Sunset
Enjoying Cocktails At Sunset, Koh Phangan Thailand.

Learn Some Thai:

Thai people are often thrilled to hear you speak a little bit of their language. Not only will it win you some friends, but it will also save you some money while bargaining in markets. Thai isn’t the easiest language to learn, but it’s definitely possible to pick some up whilst in the country.

Play Football (Soccer) With Locals:

As the day comes to a close in Thailand, young people take to the beaches and parks to have a game of football under the evening sun. We highly recommend joining one of these games, even if you suck at playing! The Thais are always willing to have a farang join their games and it will give you a chance to mingle with the locals.

Backpacking Thailand Playing Football With The Thai Kids
Playing Football With The Thai Kids

See a Muy Thai Kickboxing Match:

This is an essential part of any visit to Thailand. The Thais are crazy about kickboxing and if you get a chance to see a match, you’ll see why. There are often promotional trucks driving around during the days leading up to a match, so just grab a flyer or buy a ticket!

Ride In A Tuk-Tuk:

These cool little 3-wheeled rickshaws are pretty much the mascot for Thailand, so don’t miss the opportunity to hop in one and go for a ride. Just beware that in Bangkok they are usually in cahoots with shops and will take you to family owned jewelery stores and pushy tailors. Make sure your tuk-tuk driver knows you aren’t interested and just want to get to your destination.

Sleepy Tuk-Tuk Driver In Bangkok
Sleepy Tuk-Tuk Driver In Bangkok

Rent A Motorbike:

By far the best way to get around in Thailand is on a motorbike or moped. They can be rented just about everywhere for as little as $3 and they will give you a lot of freedom that buses and tuk-tuks lack.

If you’ve never ridden one before, don’t worry, it’s like riding a bike. Just take a spin around the block a couple of times to get used to it and you’ll be fine. It would be a shame not to rent a motorbike on every island and zip around to different beaches and villages – you’d miss out on so much. Hiring a scooter is definitely something you should do when backpacking Thailand.

backpacking thailand renting a motorbike

Visit A Monastery:

There are a ton of monasteries in Thailand, many of which are frequented by tourists. If you can’t enter without having a “monk” ask you for money, then you know you’re in the wrong place. Stay away from the touristy places where fake monks patrol the gates to beg from tourists. Find one off the beaten path (perhaps on your motorbike) and you’ll be rewarded with a truly authentic Thai experience.

Note: Make sure to dress appropriately when entering into a monastery, temple, or sacred place.

Do A Thai Cooking Class:

Thai food is delicious and relatively easy to make. You can find Thai cooking classes in most cities and on many islands. You shop for your ingredients at the local market first and then spend the day cooking the delicious foods. The best part? You get to eat everything you make.

Thai Cooking Class In Chiang Mai
Thai Cooking Class In Chiang Mai

Off The Beaten Path In Thailand

Off The Beaten Path Budget Backpackers
Off The Beaten Path

Sure Thailand isn’t an off the beaten path destination, but there are still plenty of places you can go to avoid the crowds.

If you’re like us and you like finding places that aren’t in the guide-book, then you’ll appreciate this section.

Although it’s not easy, you can still find a little piece of paradise all to yourself. Regardless of which island you’re on, or city you’re in, you can always get away from the crowds by renting a motorbike and zipping off to explore.

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Ko Kood:

Although this island is becoming more popular with each passing year, it is still deserted every evening, even in the peak season. Consider spending a couple of nights here, exploring the waterfalls and monasteries that dot the jungle-clad interior and witness Thai people who are surprised to see a foreign face. A treat that’s hard to come by in Thailand.

Backpacking Beautiful, Off The Beaten Track Ko Kood, Thailand
Beautiful, Off The Beaten Track Ko Kood, Thailand

Koh Chang (Andaman Sea):

This tiny little island shouldn’t be confused with the increasingly popular Koh Chang on the other side of the peninsula. This Koh Chang is truly off the beaten path and it boasts some stunning beaches, flourishing coral reefs and cool fishing villages. If you want to get away from the crowds, then this is the island for you.

Koh Lanta:

This place seems like a honeymooner’s paradise, but even in the peak season it’s pretty empty. You can get some great value bungalows here set right on the beach and if you rent a motorbike and cruise the island, you can find some beautiful coves with nobody around for miles.

Ko Lanta Beach In Thailand
Ko Lanta Beach In Thailand

Pros Of Backpacking Thailand

Pros of budget backpacking egypt
The Pros

Thailand is Southeast Asia’s backpacking mecca, and for good reason. There is so much to do here and almost everything is affordable.

If you don’t get involved in anything illegal, you’ll be safe when backpacking Thailand. You never have to worry too much about crime and the beaches are among the most stunning in the entire region. There’s a reason so many people return to Thailand year after year and after one trip to this enchanting land, you’ll see why.

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The Vibe:

We don’t know how to explain it, but there is a certain vibration that resonates along these coastlines that is as addictive as it is palpable. From the moment you land in Bangkok you’ll feel Thailand’s incredible energy and when you return home you’ll crave it so much that you’ll be booking your flight back the following year (or month).

The People:

Known as the land of smiles. When backpacking Thailand you’ll be greeted politely by all the locals in the country. They are extremely friendly but it’s not always easy to make friends with Thai people. (see cons below)

Friendly Kids While Backpacking Thailand
Friendly Kids Of Thailand

The Costs:

Despite a constant increase in pricing, Thailand is still a very cheap place to visit. There’s a lot to do and almost everything can fall inside of a backpacker’s budget.

The Ease Of Travel:

This country is a place that is well scripted in the art of tourism. Everything here is set up for backpackers, from Thailand backpacking tours and transport, to hotels and holiday packages. You never have to worry about figuring out how to get somewhere if you don’t want to. Just be weary of travel agency rip-offs.

The Food:

Thailand is home to the most famous food in Southeast Asia. Malay, Indo and Thai spices combine to create some of the world’s most flavourful dishes. Surely you’ve heard of Pad Thai (a delicious fried noodle dish) but there is so much more to Thai food then this one national dish.

There are spicy Massaman curries, green coconut curries, spring rolls and spicy seafood dishes. Your taste buds will thank you after a visit to Thailand.

Delicious Thai Food Backpacking Thailand
Delicious Thai Food

Cons Of Backpacking Thailand

cons to budget backpacking egypt
Cons Of Backpacking Thailand

If you only stay in Thailand for a couple of weeks, then you probably won’t really notice any cons. At first glance Thailand appears to be all smiles and sunshine. And for the most part it is. But underneath all of the happy welcomes and beach parties, there are some cons to be aware of.

Just like anywhere in the world, there are cons to backpacking Thailand. We recommend going to Thailand aware of this, but open to your own experiences. Many people have probably spent years in Thailand and had nothing but good experiences.

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Being A Farang:

Sure the Thai people are very friendly, and will smile and wave as you pass by, but unfortunately (in our experience) it’s very hard to get past the superficial customer-salesman relationship with the Thais.

Tourists have been coming to Thailand for a long time and this has employed thousands of Thai people. Most of them are genuinely friendly and kind, but as you spend more time here you will notice that there tends to be underlying reasons for almost every interaction.

It’s nothing to be upset about, but don’t go to Thailand expecting to make lifetime friends (within a week or two) like you can in places like the Philippines and Indonesia.

Tourist Pricing:

Get ready to be ripped off. It’s really not a big deal, a few baht here and there. But even savvy travellers will be taken advantage of at one point when backpacking Thailand. Con artists are called artists for a reason and in Thailand they have truly mastered their trade, so be cautious and bargain for everything.

Tourist Pricing In India towards budget backpackers
Tourist Pricing Can Be A Hassle

Sex Tourism:

Perverts tend to congregate in countries where the laws are more relaxed and corruption is rife, and Thailand is no exception. Girly bars, ping-pong shows and prostitution rings all exploit the less fortunate women of Southeast Asian countries.

You’ll often see old men with teenage women on their arms and it can be a conflict of morality for many. Standing by and doing nothing doesn’t help, while reporting it to the police will probably end up with the girl being punished more than the pedophile farang.

Either way, if you’re not a part of the problem then you’re more a part of the solution, so avoid bars where women are hired for sex. Many of them are sex slaves that cater to a multi-million dollar industry in Asia.

The Crowds:

If you’re a person that likes to find your way off the beaten track, then backpacking Thailand is not the place for you. There are a few places that remain “less touristy” but for the most part, Thailand is overrun with young party tourists that come here for 2 weeks on a bucket drink and hallucination binge-a-thon.

The Crowds Backpacking Thailand
The Crowds In Thailand (Notice There Aren’t Many Thai People)

Over Westernization:

7-11’s, Subways, Starbucks and Burger Kings, Thailand is fully westernized and unfortunately they cater to Western visitors. This does take away from the authentic feel, but you can help retain what culture they have left by covering up, learning from the locals, eating Thai food, and respecting their religion.

The People In Thailand

The people you encounter while backpacking Thailand can have a profound impact on the way you view a destination. Not only the local people, but the types of other travellers as well.

Types Of Other Travellers:

Budget Backpacker
Types Of Travellers

There is a huge variety of travellers that make their way to Thailand each year. From all-inclusive resort goers, to shoestring travellers and everything in between. You’ll meet some people on long, round the world trips, and some who are just here on a two-week getaway.

No matter what kind of traveller you are, there’s something for everyone in Thailand and there’s a little bit of everyone to share it with. You’ll meet plenty of like-minded people and some that you don’t like being around.

There are so many other travellers that you can take your pick & meet some cool people.

backpacking thailand tourists

The Locals:

Backpacking Thailand And Meeting The People
The Thais

Thais are very friendly and they will definitely make a good first impression on you. They have a good sense of humor and often joke about farangs without them even knowing!

If you learn a little Thai, you’ll be able to joke back when you hear them, as well as gain some respect with the local population.

Thai people love their kickboxing (muy Thai) and are very proud of their country. They speak highly of their king and political system and will always try to make you feel like a welcomed guest.

Communication In Thailand


The massive number of tourists who visit Thailand each year ensure that the Thais get plenty of practice speaking English. Almost everyone you meet here will know at least the basics of English and you will almost never find yourself in a place where you can’t communicate.

Getting Around In Thailand:

Local bus backpacking thailand
Local Bus

Thailand has an excellent network of local and international buses and trains, as well as great bus and boat connections so that can get you to most islands with one ticket. Buying tickets is easy everywhere, but easiest (and usually cheaper) if you buy them in Bangkok.

You can get from Bangkok to Koh Phangan for around 550 THB (only $18!). Other island destinations are of similar value. Once you’re at your destination, getting around is also quite easy. Local taxis and tuk-tuks are the norm in city centers, while songthaews (pick-up trucks) will usually transport passengers in between towns, or from the pier to their hotel.

Be sure to bargain for your rides where ever possible, but be aware that the local songhthaew mafia will often have fixed prices and won’t budge for farangs. The best way to get around islands and towns is to rent your own motorbike (see above).

For those who are backpacking Thailand on larger budgets, flights are also extremely cheap here. Try for some amazing deals, but for the budget conscious, you can’t beat the cheap trains and buses in Thailand. There are endless ways to get around Thailand, some a bit more glamorous than others. For a unique experience, make sure to ride in a tuk-tuk and songthaew …and hire a scooter for the day 😀 Check out these travel tips to Thailand for more information on moving around the country, including the big city of Bangkok.

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Visa Regulations For Backpacking Thailand

Visa Budget Backpackers
Visa Regulations

The visa situation in Thailand changed in late 2011. Free 30 day visas are still granted to nationals of commonwealth countries upon arrival to all Thai airports, but if you’re coming by land then you will only be given a 2 week stamp that can be extended at visa centers in most major cities. The fine for over staying your visa is 500 THB ($17) / day. You can acquire 3 month visas at some Thai embassies before arrival into Thailand but these regulations change frequently. If you plan on extending a visa or purchasing one before arrival, your best bet is to visit the bureau or consulate’s website in which you plan on applying.

**UPDATE: As of November 1, 2013 travellers holding UK, US, Japanese, German, French, Canadian and Italian passports are now eligible for a 30-day visa-free entry when entering Thailand by a land crossing.

**Please Note: Visa regulations change very frequently. It is best to check appropriate government websites before visiting any country. Click here to see more on Wikipedia.

Entry Requirements To Thailand

Budget backpacker entry requirement
Entry Requirements

You will need to have at least one blank page in your passport which must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

Thailand is a very easy place to visit and there aren’t too many regulations to follow before arrival.

We haven’t received any hassle, or been asked to show proof of vaccination when entering Thailand by land or air. However, click here to learn more about the required Yellow Fever vaccination.

Health In Thailand

Budget backpacking health
Health In Thailand

The biggest health risk in Thailand is probably food poisoning and traveller’s diarrhea. There is a risk of Dengue Fever. Sleep under a mosquito net and wear repellent. The risk of malaria is low in most parts of Thailand so anti-malarial pills really aren’t necessary because the side effects of the pills (even the good ones) aren’t worth the risk of malaria (which is easily treatable despite common misconceptions). We would suggest packing a medical kit that includes some antibiotics for travellers diarrhea, Peptol Bismol for upset stomachs and Tylenol for hangover headaches.

*Update, 2018: You can find medicine in all of the major islands and cities in Thailand. Antibiotics, birth control pills and pain medication are all available over the counter. If you’re looking to do some Medical Tourism, Thailand is a great place to do so! Head to Bangkok for dental work and any annual women’s health check-ups.

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Phone & Internet In Thailand

phone and internet budget backpackers
Phone & Internet

Internet is everywhere in Thailand. Pretty much all hotels and guesthouses will have wi-fi in the lobby, in your room, or at the very least, a computer you can use to check your emails and access the web.

Phones are also cheap in Thailand and handy to have. If you have an unlocked cell phone, you can pick up a SIM card for a few bucks and airtime is also very cheap. If you land at the international airport in Bangkok, you can get a SIM and data for just a few dollars.

You can use a cell phone to book rooms if you’re arriving to your destination with a boat/busload of backpackers all hoping to find a beachside bungalow (get first dibs by calling!), or better yet, book your rooms online to avoid disappointment.

Backpacking Thailand, When is The Best Time to Visit?

When To Go budget backpacker
Weather In Thailand

The best time to go backpacking in Thailand is generally during the cooler, dryer months from November to around Mid-February. During the summer months from June to August, the temperatures can be unpleasantly hot making it hard to do anything mid-day. The weather in Thailand varies on either side of the peninsula, as well as in the northern ends of the country, so if you’re planning a trip here you should keep the climate in mind. Thailand is a hot, tropical place so you’ll be sweating a lot. If you think you can handle the heat then you can attempt a visit in the summer months.

The rainy season (April-June & September-October) isn’t all bad as you can escape the peak season crowds and enjoy a lush green Thailand that few people see. If the forecast is bad on the Andaman Sea (the rainiest part) then plan to head over to the Gulf (or vice versa). Thailand is narrow so you can easily find some sunshine with a few boat and bus rides. Peak season runs right from November to March, with December and early January being the busiest.

Jump To: Must-see Places | Off The Beaten Path | Pros | Cons | Transport | Visas | Health | MORE THAILAND BLOGS

Ready For Backpacking Thailand?!

Thailand deserves a visit based on its vibe alone, but there are many other things that contribute to an amazing experience there. Tasty food, stunning beaches, great diving and snorkelling, smiling locals and stunning temples. Thailand is like a home on the road for most backpackers and is one of the most backpacker friendly place on the planet.

Pack your bags and head to Thailand. It’ll probably be a place you return to a dozen times.

Jump To: Must-see Places | Off The Beaten Path | Pros | Cons | Transport | Visas | Health | Weather | MORE THAILAND BLOGS

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Guide To Backpacking Thailand

The Ultimate Guide To Backpacking Thailand

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

Written by

Nick Wharton

Nick is the co-founder, editor and author of Goats On The Road. He contributes to numerous other media sites regularly and shares his expert knowledge of travel, online entrepreneurship and blogging with the world whenever he can. He has been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and has more than 10 years of experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship.

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134 thoughts on “Backpacking Thailand: The Ultimate Travel Guide”

  1. I am in fact pleased to read this weblog posts
    which includes lots of valuable information, thanks for providing such statistics.

  2. What’s up, I log on to your new stuff like every week. Your writing style is witty, keep up the good work!

  3. This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am truly
    pleassant to read all at single place.

  4. I am grateful for your accurate information. Thanks. For those on a shoestring budget or those wanting to get off the tourist trail try WWOOFing. at www,wwoofthailand,com
    Backpackers get free accommodation and food at anyone of over 26 WWOOF Thailand host projects, sites and farms all over Thailand. In return for half a days help at the project. It is a great way to see the real Thailand culture, Thai food and Thai people for free while helping out and leanring alot about self sustainable lifestyles.

  5. SO great! I’ve been uhm-ing and aah-ing about Thailand for a while now but after reading this I have to go! I’ve found many sites about Thailand and the sort of thing to expect but this has really been the most helpful, thanks a lot 🙂

  6. Hi,

    great piece of info, thanks for sharing, i am planning 5 day backpack trip to Thailand, my itinerary mainly includes scuba diving, sky diving, bungee jumping, exploring top 10 places of Thailand, p,lease suggest me the best way to plan all of these.


  7. Loved reading this! I’m off to Thailand this weekend on an internship with Teach&Travel Thailand, teaching English as a foreign language. I’ve never travelled to anywhere in Asia before and all the research I’ve done now seems to focus on tourist death statistics and the crime/ drug/ sex trade. It was a breath of fresh air reading about all the pros of visiting the country alongside the cons. You’ve made a very nervous lass very excited about her travels! 🙂 x

  8. Can you recommend decent budget accommodation on Ko Tao for a couple? All the huts I’ve found online have been a bit pricey! Thanks 🙂

  9. Hello Shravan,

    Although we love your enthusiasm about Thailand and the fact that you want to see and do so much…we are hoping you meant 5 weeks rather than 5 days??

    Let us know and we can go from there.

  10. That sounds great. We’ve never taught in Thailand, only in China but had a great time doing it. Asia is a great place to travel, one of the safest in the world (in our opinion). Have a great time and don’t worry!

    Happy travels

  11. I really enjoyed browsing through your site. Especially, Day When Stories are hilarious. Keep ’em coming. I am going to Thailand for a few days next week. I am Indian, so I have traveled in Asia before, but this is my first trip to Thailand. The information you provide with statistics and weather news etc. is very helpful. I will be referring to your site again when I travel next.
    Enjoy Tajikistan! I have never read any travel stories from Tajikistan, so I am looking forward to yours.

  12. Thanks for the nice comment Priya. Thailand is a great country, have a great time there! There is so much to see and do. Tajikistan has also been a great country to travel through – glad to have you following our story 🙂

  13. Hi Lilo,
    We spent one month on Koh Tao and stayed on Chalok Baan Kao Beach, which was quieter but still had enough going on. We then would take a scooter and explore the rest of the island from there. Most people stay on Sairee Beach, which has better swimming than the one we stayed on.

    You can just show up and look around when you get to the island. Or, you can email or call beforehand.

    We stayed at Taraporn Bungalows. Because Nick was diving with a company they worked with, we got a week free accommodation and a discount after that.

    and check out this map of Koh Tao:

    Cheers and happy travels!

  14. I just make your blog as bookmark on my internet tab 🙂
    It is really interesting to read and I am really motivated to be a backpacker 🙂
    I am planning to pursue my backpacking career once I graduated in college. And I would expected to graduate this coming April 2014 🙂
    Your blog would really be my reference and source of inspiration 🙂
    Thank you very much for this! Stay safe and God Bless 🙂

  15. This is a really really brilliant writing with all the details of Thailand trip and its really helpful. i’m personally going thailand for 12 days with one friend. This is my first time going there. i have to idea of where to go. there are so many islands. One friend suggested me to go from BKK (3 days)-Krabi(1-2days)-Koh Lanta(5days)-Phiphi (2 days) -BKK (rest of the days). However there’s still other places i would love to see such as Chiang Mai, Koh Samui….these two are the recommended by others too. Can you share some advice?

  16. Hi Clare,
    Your plan sounds great!

    The only thing I would say though would be that you will probably want/need more time in Krabi! I would maybe think about 4 days on Koh Lanta and give another one to Krabi….we would suggest Railay Beach near Krabi Town.

    If you want to go to Chiang Mai, that’s in the North. So, you would probably have to do 7 days on the islands and about 5 days between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

    12 days would be a bit difficult to do all of the islands that you’ve listed, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

    I hope this helps!
    Enjoy Thailand, it’s awesome 🙂

  17. Hi, I have read a bit about Thailand after deciding to take the trip and go out on my own backpacking adventure and was originally planning to get there and just wing it on where to go and on what days. Im going to 10 weeks and was planning to check out Columbia within the same trip. After reading your page and thinking a bit more I feel that I should at least make a rough outline of how many days to stay in a place and where that place might be…
    Is there a rough idea that you would suggest for me to write up as a sort of guideline to keep myself somewhat on track of?

  18. Hi, loving your very informative website! I backpacked Thailand and Australia in 1988 and have longed to go off travelling again ever since! The best I can manage now is to take a month with my husband and two kids (14 & 13) and introduce them to the fine art of travelling. I had intended to take us all to Thailand in August of this year but after reading many blogs about ‘beer-packers’ and all night parties I’m starting to doubt whether Thailand is the place for us :(. Will we still be able to find places which don’t involve young party-goers only interested in getting high/drunk as this is definitely not what we’re looking for. We hope to immerse ourselves in the Thai culture and experience the true country. Can you suggest any places to go or even an alternative destination altogether. We are on a very tight budget though (and I’m presuming I will have to fork out for two double rooms each night for the four of us) so that was why Thailand was one of our favoured destinations.

  19. Hey Celia,

    Wow, I can only imagine what Thailand would have been like in 1988! You’re so fortunate to have traveled there when you did.

    Yes, you will find parties all over Thailand. You can avoid them though, it is possible. If you are set on Thailand, we would suggest Koh Lanta perhaps as a good island for you to visit. It’s big, not many tourists were there when we were there, lots to do and great beaches. Also, Koh Chang in the east is great. We liked White Beach there. We spent a month on Koh Phangan and outside of the Full Moon Party, we had the island virtually to ourselves. It’s a great place.

    But to be honest, it can be difficult to find traditional Thai culture nowadays. Having said that, we’ve spent lots of time in Thailand and we really enjoy it there.

    Another alternative would be the Philippines or Indonesia. Both are inexpensive to travel through, both have great culture and beaches and activities as well. Actually, they’re both actually cheaper than Thailand.

    Whichever place you decide to go to, you’ll have an excellent time! Let us know if you have more questions.

    Happy Travels 🙂

  20. Great post! After backpacking, living and experiencing Thailand for nearly three years now this post is pretty on point. I would add a few more must-see spots to your list ….but really, where does it end? 🙂
    I hope all is well for you guys, great blog.

  21. Thanks so much Nina. That means a lot coming from someone who has spent so much time there! Like you said, the list of places to see in Thailand could go on..and on..and on!

    Cheers 🙂

  22. Hey there your blog is great, I have emailed you to see if you could give me some more information. I look forward to your reply, can’t wait to plan my trip to thialand

    Thanks in advance


  23. My fiancé and I are planning our extended honeymoon to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and I am in the midst of gathering information! Your blog is FANTASTIC! I am extremely happy to have come across it as there is a ton of fantastic tips! Thank you!!!

  24. hello love your writing it is very inspiring, im travelling around Ozz this year but was planning 3 weeks in Thailand on the way. im travelling by my self and would love any tips you can give.

    thank you

  25. Glad you reposted this post on Facebook! We head from Langkawi to Ko Lipe tomorrow and then off to Ko Lanta and Krabi as we head up north to Chiang Mai. Thanks for the tips. Looks like there may be a couple other islands we need to add to the list!

  26. I think you forgot to mention that like India, majority(if not all) of the thai food is spicy. Even when I ate at KFC or McDonald’s, everything was spicy. I literally had to tear up everytime I ate local meals there. Despitte that,you’re gonna love their cuisine though.

  27. I think you forgot to mention that like India, majority(if not all) of the thai food is spicy. Even when I ate at KFC or McDonald’s, everything was spicy. I literally had to tear up everytime I ate local meals there. Despite that,you’re gonna love their cuisine though.

  28. Thank you. Your blog has been incredibly useful to me. My husband and I are planning to visit Thailand in early December. I was wondering if you could suggest a reliable travel agent in Thailand who can arrange private tours. We are interested in a good dose of culture with the minority groups in the north with some homestays, and lots of visits into nature. I saw some interesting itineraries on but we are South African so don’t have dollars..
    Can you help with a referral?

  29. Hello,

    You’re right, lots of the Thai food can be spicy…to westerners! Typically when you order a dish, say a curry or a Pad Thai, the chilis are on the side and you can add as many or as little as you like. But you’re right, it is more spicy than other cuisines.

  30. Hi Simisha,

    Nick and I have never taken a tour while in Thailand. We always travel there independently and arrange activities and transportation as we go. I’ve read about Tru Travels though if you want to give them a look.

    I would also suggest getting a guide book and having a look at what tour companies they offer.

    One thing I will say…it’ll be much cheaper if you book your tours directly from Thailand rather than beforehand.

    Good luck and happy travels 🙂

  31. Great job guys! Your guide is so informative and impressive. I hope to make it to Thailand once again and enjoy Thai food and customs. My last experience was so unforgettable and full of adventures. Thailand is so affordable and so much fun!

  32. This is a very detailed post with a lot of very useful information about Thailand which make me want to go back. I miss the tasty and cheap food so much!
    I would add one more con in the cons list though, the use of animals as tourist attraction like elephants used in camps where they are available to be ridden and do very unnatural things for wild animals like painting for instance. I saw you went to Tiger Temple too, unfortunately in my opinion that is another tourist attraction where the animals are used for the human being pleasure. when they shouldn’t. What’s your view about it?

  33. Hey Franca,

    Very valid points. I would agree that the use of elephants and tigers in tourism is wrong. There are sanctuaries and places where tourists can go to see the animals, but they help to clean them, feed them and take care of them. Also, the mahouts (guys who control the elephants) sometimes use brutal force, which we don’t agree with.

    In hindsight, we would have never gone to the tiger kingdom. Although it was incredible to be that close to the animals, we were very young, it was our first time travelling (and our first country) and we thought it was so cool! We should have done more research about it, but didn’t. We now look for eco and animal friendly tours when travelling.

    Thanks for the comment 🙂

  34. I’m glad you guys think in this way. We spent some times in an Elephant Nature Park in the North of Thailand and learnt all about how these majestic and beautiful animals are treated. At ENP the elephants were free, there was no riding and volunteers helped taking care of them as you mentioned. We are glad we went there before doing anything else, it made us change completely opinion on riding elephants and visiting places where animals are kept and used for tourism.

  35. That sounds like such a great experience! I wish we had done something like that before exploring the rest of Thailand..but like I said, we were young, uninformed and naive 🙂 Oh well, you live and you learn!


  36. Thank you for the post. As a native Bangkokian, I can say that your information is accurate. You might also want to visit Karnchanaburi in the west during next trip to Thailand. It’s also a great province for backpackers that has not been talked about much. Mountains, waterfalls, caves, river rafting, and of course temples are waiting for backpackers in Karnchanaburi.

  37. You guys are so inspirational! Thanks for sharing your knowledge! I’ll be moving to China this August with my husband (we are English teachers) and we are hoping to backpack Thailand in December-January. Your guides are comprehensive, helpful, and honest-which is exactly what I’m looking for. Reading of your experiences helps me see that my husband and I can take that step and do it, too! Never stop!


    Lindsay 🙂

  38. I’m going to Philippines on an archaeological dig and am planning to stop by Thailand before coming back, what would you suggest to do plane ticket wise? Should I just buy a one way to Philippines and buy the ticket to Thailand while there? I heard its cheaper when you are buying tickets while outside the US,is there any merit to this?

  39. Wow Lindsay,
    Thank you for the kind words! It sounds like you and your husband have some exciting plans up ahead! We loved Teaching English in China. Which city will you be in?

    Safe travels 🙂

  40. Hi AJ,

    The only reason I would say to buy your ticket in advance is that maybe there is a cheaper seat available ahead of time. The fact that you’re in the States doesn’t make the flights any cheaper or expensive – you just have to book on the right sites!

    Have a look at these airlines:

    Air Asia
    Cebu Pacific Air

    They’re both pretty good at having cheap flights between the Philippines and Thailand. Keep your eye out for seat sales.

    I hope this helps. Safe travels.

  41. Hi me and my sister is going to thailand never been before both female, Is it safe to travel around.
    We want to see most of what you have put on here thankyou.

  42. Hi Katy,

    Yes, travelling in Thailand is safe for women, especially if there are two of you. Just be cautious when you’re out late at night. It’s best to take a taxi rather than walking. Basically just take the same precautions as you would in any country as a woman!

    Enjoy Thailand.

  43. Great article. I think you were a little unfair on Thai’s. I have been here (Bangkok) 2 weeks (of 7 week cooking course) and the staff on the course honestly care about the people on the course. There are people here for anywhere from 1/2 a day to the 7 weeks and the guys seem to treat everyone extremely well. I’d be happy to share the name but you can check out my blog for the stuff we’ve been cooking so far ( I agree about the guys who come up to you and offer help at the ferry on the way to Wat Pho, Grand Palace etc (a new scam where they tell you you can’t get in to the Grand Palace with shorts and try to sell you trousers, probably gems as well) but where you are dealing with people you ‘have a relationship’ with, they are warm and embracing.

  44. Great article, Matt. Really helpful!

    Wondering if you could give me some advice, I’m going Thailand on 27 December – 10 January for 2 weeks. I really want to be at the full moon party on new years eve, but usually when I travel I like to do my activities/monuments/museums/ride elephants etc in the first week then check out the beaches when it’s coming up to the time for me to go home.

    But I can see that Ko Pha Ngan is on an island far from Bangkok, and I’d like to visit Chaing Mai in my first week. and in my second week stay by the beaches in the southern part of Thailand (not sure which ones) What would you suggest? because it feels like I’d be going back on myself.

    my budget isn’t super strict but ideally the cheaper the better. I would consider flying internally, but only once . Would you be able to advise on price ranges of flights?

    Thanks in advance, hope this isn’t confusing lol

  45. Hi Keith,

    Of course all travel experiences are different and we’ve had great times with Thai people, but unfortunately, in the touristy areas, we’re often seen as walking dollar signs. It’s a completely different story if you’re living there, but we’ve backpacked there for almost 5 months and this is our personal opinion.

    I’m glad you’re having a great time in the country and with the people 🙂

  46. Hi Sho,

    You can take a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai spend a few days there exploring, then come back down to Bangkok and there are overnight bus/ferry combination tickets available. You get off the bus at Surat Thani and take a ferry to Koh Phagnan from there – this is a common route.

    There’s not much of a circle route in Thailand, most people do it this way. There’s not much point in flying from Chiang Mai either because of the airport wait time, and they don’t fly to Koh Phagnan (no airport, yet)

    Thailand isn’t massive and with overnight bus journeys, you won’t be wasting a lot of time. Enjoy 🙂

  47. Great work guys.
    Love Thailand and found your blog very interesting. If you ever find yourselves in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Please drop us a line.

    Cheers, J

  48. Goats,

    I am going to Thailand (by air) first for 20 days then laos, vietnam, and cambodia, then down to the thai islands.
    Do I need to get another visa for my second entry into Thailand (this will be by land)

    Thank you for your inspiration!


  49. Thanks so much Jaime 🙂

    To be honest, I had to Google where the Land of The Long White Cloud was! haha. We really want to come to NZ and will at some point for sure!


  50. Hi Sarah,

    Sounds like a great trip 🙂 I’m assuming you are from a Western country? (Europe, North America, OZ?) If so, you will be given a visa on arrival for the first time you arrive by air and for the second time when you arrive by land. They will just stamp you in at the border.

    “As of November 1, 2013 travellers holding UK, US, Japanese, German, French, Canadian and Italian passports are now eligible for a 30-day visa-free entry when entering Thailand by a land crossing, as opposed to the 14 days they were granted previously.”

    You will get 30 days when arriving by air, and apparently, another 30 days when arriving by land if you’re from one of the above listed countries 🙂


  51. You are my inspiration 🙂 I do a website about Thailand travel Guide because you.Now i do only Thailand bcos I’m Thai.Someday i will go around the world like you both 🙂

  52. You want to be safe riding a motorcycle throughout Thailand, you must be alert of other road users 100% of the time. So often I see people riding overloaded on poorly maintained motorcycles. No lights at night time and no helmet. Try to stay safe and you will certainly become a good rider dodging all the bad practices you see in Thailand.

  53. Great, well written article.

    I recently returned from six months spent backpacking through Asia and now I find myself re-reading my own travel site and those of other people because nobody knows what it’s really like unless they’ve done it!

    Ah well, two weeks to go before I kickstart my travels again in the Netherlands.

    Stay safe and all the best,


  54. Hey Dan!

    That’s too funny, we found ourselves doing that too! When we were in Canada saving up for our last trip (before turning our travels into a lifestyle) we would read over our journals and constantly be online reading other people’s posts!! Travel is an amazing thing and I’m so happy to hear that you’ll be getting back on the road soon.

    Happy trails 🙂

  55. Hi! Thanks for taking time to write all this down! I’ve been browsing through the internet for info about backpacking in Thai as we are travelling there by the end of this year. I looked at a lot of blogs but I dind’t find any thing useful and then you website came around!

    Thanks for this in-depth post about backpacking around Thailand. Sure to check out your other posts for my next backpacking adventure! ^_^


  56. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this outstanding blog!

    I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed
    to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and
    will talk about this blog with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

  57. Lovely Thailand!
    I’m no backpacker (except occasionally), but I’m also dreaming of visiting Thailand thoroughly. Island hopping would be great: Ko Phi Phi, Phuket, Ko Phangan, Ko Chang would be great…
    Interesting stats about the origins of travelers to Thailand.

  58. Island hopping around the south of Thailand is great! We’ve never been to Phuket, or Ko Chang in the south, but we’ve been to the Koh Chang in the north, which is great too 🙂

    Happy trails!

  59. I recently began my backpacking journey 2 months ago. Currently im working here in karon beach phuket thailand and its been amazing. I haven’t been to other beaches but so far so good.

  60. Some great tips and advice for the authors, very in depth as well! Here is a tip from me, if you are in Bangkok, then try the food mall at Terminal 21 mall, Asoke BTS/Sukhumvit MRT, cheap tasty food, plenty of local office workers and tourist, I dine there every time that I’m in BKK. You can get green curry fried rice and a drink for 50 baht, aroi mak (very tasty in Thai)

  61. Hey guys, great guide. You say it will cost around $30 a day for a couple in India and $50 in Thailand however several friends I know who have been to both countries say Thailand is slightly cheaper. I am a single traveller so should I be expecting to pay more in Thailand than India? I am travelling to both countries later in the year.

    Thanks, Oscar

  62. In our experience, Thailand is much more expensive than India, especially now with the currently $-R exchange. But we haven’t been there since 2012 so your friends may have a more recent comparison than us. However, it is generally known that India and Indonesia are the two cheapest countries in the South Asia region.

    Let us know what you think when you’ve been to both 🙂

  63. Hello there,

    I’m an Indian n so eager for my first backpack to thailand . before going I just would like to talk to u buddy.

  64. if you go to Thailand, I would recommend Phuket island. I went to Phuket, Thailand last year, and apart from swimming in beautiful Andaman sea, was really looking for was culture immersion. So I booked a trip to Phuket FantaSea Thai Cultural Theme Park. I know I probably wanted to stay on a safe side choosing this to a jungle trip, but ultimately I really enjoyed it. It was like my introduction to Thai culture in a very entertaining and positive way. The show was impressive and the elephants in the show – majestic and just adorable. The place is definitely a must see when you’re in Phuket.

  65. Dear Goats,
    Thank for all your tips. I was wandering if you have any recommendations (or how to choose) of non-touristy tour agencies in Chiang mai.

  66. This is one of the most informative thailand blogs i’ve read so far!

    I have been doing so much research for a trip coming up and you answered sooooo many of my questions!

    I was thinking of doing a guided trip for the start and then exploring on my own?

    What do you think is the best route?

  67. Thanks so much for this post! I am moving to Koh Tao on Thursday to start my next adventure and this post was such a relief to read and reassured me that I am going to love Thailand. I love your blog, keep the great content coming! 🙂

  68. Hi, I’ve decided to go learn Thai yoga massage in Chiang Mai at the end of the year 🙂 . I’m assuming I’ll stay for at least 2 to 3 weeks or possibly a month.. I’m reading about schools and cheap accommodations trying to decide which ones to select and it’s challenging .. Most of the guest houses recommended by the schools have poor reviews on Tripadvisor. Other accommodations on Tripadvisor have also very extreme reviews from “it is the best place to stay in Chaing Mai to it is horrible don’t stay there”. So I’m having a hard time deciding which place to select. Do you have any recommendation ? A very small room is ok for me, I don’t need TV or breakfast. Shared bathroom is fine, wifi in the common room only is ok. . I’m hoping for clean sheet and towels, no bug invasion, a way to secure/ lock my belongings, limited noise at night, a/c or at least strong fan,m and friendly vibe /ambiance. Maybe it’s too much asking ? Thanks for any recommendations you might be able to share 🙂

  69. This is one of the most informative Thailand blogs. Some great tips and advice for the travelers. I haven’t been there yet but I want to visit Thailand atleast once in a life. I really feel an Island hopping in Thailand would be great like Phuket, Koh Samui, Phi Phi are great.

  70. Hello,
    I must say this is an Awesome website. Hats Off! I ’m an Indian and very excited for my first backpack tour to Thailand. We are mostly interested in Scuba Diving & snorkeling. it will be a great help if you can help us with 7 days itinerary and (must visit places) things we can cover in such a short period.

    Thank you,

  71. Wow, that a great guide, thanks a lot! What about the street food Bangkok, is it safe/good? I’ve heard that in this way you can save even more and also enjoy some real authentic cuisine of Thailand, but I had some misfortunes concerning street food in Southeast Asia, which is why I’m asking.

  72. Thank you for the kind words Deepak 🙂 If you want to go scuba diving, you can check out Koh Tao Island, or the Similan Islands around Thailand, or Ao Nang National Park (check the spelling on that one).

    Enjoy your trip!

  73. Yes, the street food is very cheap, and most of the time, its very good. Just make sure to eat from a stall that looks like the food is fresh, and one that is busy. We’ve been sick many times around SE Asia, but would still eat street food regardless 🙂

  74. Thailand is kitted out nicely for all levels of budgets. Thailand is kitted out nicely for all levels of budgets To say backpacking in Thailand is budget friendly is a gross understatement. Thailand is definitely the ideal destination for college backpackers.

    Thailand has given me so many unbelievable experiences and I have to say I have fallen head over heels in love with it. It has so much to explore, including tropical jungles, perfect islands, amazing food, friendly people, cities steeped in history, beautiful mountains and awesome animals.

  75. Great and very informative site! Thanks for the priceless tips. Will be bringing our 3 kids to Chiang Mai this April. Can you suggest budget-friendly itinerary for our teens? will only be staying for 3 days though. We want to make this experience a memorable and fun time for our family.

    Warm and best wishes from the Philippines! 🙂

  76. Great article! Thanks for sharing. Reading it brought back such fond memories or our trip to Thailand back in 2011. We spent a lot of time in Chiang Mai. Thailand is such a good budget option to travel. Love it!! Really love your Blog.

  77. Hi guys great page! Planning on going to Bangkok over Christmas for 14 days and travelling down to Phuket. I aim to buy plane tickets and find accommodation when I arrive. Have you guys travelled to Phuket as I don’t see any reviews from yourself. Also after a trip to turkey I found that my main luggage was roughly the weight of allowed hand luggage, would you recommend using a light backpack and taking it on the flight as hand luggage? Many thanks.

  78. Thanks for the article! It’s really helped. I’m looking to visit Thailand for just over 3 weeks next April/May. What do you think of this itinerary? Bangkok (3 days), Chaing Mai (4 days), Krabi (4 days), Phi Phi (5 days), Koh Phangan (4 days), Koh Tao (4 days). Phi Phi looks amazing but I’m struggling to find accommodation (cheap) there so I might have to juggle my days around a bit???

  79. I was planning to visit Thailand for a few weeks in the South and then cross over into Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and then return back into Northern Thailand. Do I need to apply for a multiple entry visa? or can I just get one visa my first visit and then another once I re-enter?

    Thanks 🙂

  80. Hi Neil,

    We have been to Thailand many times, but have never been to Phuket. I would recommend booking your hotel and transport (if flying) beforehand, as Christmas is peak season in Thailand, especially in Phuket. And if you can bring your luggage on board, go for it! That way you wont’ have to wait for your baggage 😉

  81. Loved your page. I was a backpacker some time ago. I found your info very concise and useful. I’ll be travelling again after 5 years. very excited to go to Bangkok, and will definitely go around . Let I ask you a question: what jungle trip would you advice not too far from Bangkok?

  82. Thailand is truly a heaven for budget backpackers. We have visited just once in 2017 and like you said, are craving to visit it again. We will make sure that 2018 isn’t wasted. A trip to Bangkok is at high preference for all of us. Your article has just fueled the desire in us to place our foot on this wonderful land. Thanks for sharing valuable information about Thailand. It will definitely help us on our next visit.

  83. The best thing to do in Thailand is to join in some activities wherein you can engage with the locals. For example, playing football, enroll to a muay thai or cooking class and whatnot. By doing these activities you get to experience and know more about Thai culture and how friendly the people are.

  84. Thailand has a wonderful backpacker community for beginners testing the waters in solo travel. I’d like to add that was a useful site in finding a work exchange, similar to wwoofing but with more variety on the types of work that can be done. Northern Thailand is full of permaculture projects such as the Panya Project and the Mindfulness Project for example. Getting off the beaten path in Thailand and into a work exchange project is the best way to immerse yourself in Thai culture and escape the westernized hub of tourism that has taken on a lot of the country.

  85. That said, a $1,000 monthly budget should be enough to live in whichever city interests you the most in Thailand. Bangkok rents rank among the highest in the country. … Rental prices are substantially cheaper farther north in Chiang Rai, where you can get a centrally located three-bedroom home for under $340 per month.

  86. It’s a delight to read your blog. Everything I wanted to know about visiting Thailand is elaborated with perfection. I am sure most of the budget travelers like me will find your blog a great read. What’s amazing about the information you’ve provided is the accurate calculation of money one will need on each day for food, accommodation, travel, drinks, sightseeing, and things to do.

  87. Amazing, so excited to visit Thailand! I found this post through the SEO course! Also great to see an earlier post. Thank you for the inspiration, Emily

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