Thailand ranks in the top 10 country for travellers to visit in the world with about 35.4 million visitors in 2017. Thailand is a tourism paradise with friendly local people, exciting tropical climate and deeply rich history. Coming Thailand, tourists will be overwhelmed by colorful stunning temples, pristine white sandy beaches as well as breathtaking unique landscapes. There is everything in Thailand, from ancient temples to bustling towns, from beautiful coastline cities to wonderful cuisine, from plentiful shopping malls to UNESCO heritage sites.
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THAILAND, officially the Kingdom of Thailand
Tourism plays an important role in the Thai economy with 18.4% of GDP of Thailand in February 2019.
Thailand’s attraction includes pristine beaches, complex of tropical islands, flora and fauna, Buddhist temples, cultural and historical sites such as Isaan’s Khmer complexes as well as several World Heritage Sites such as the ancient town of Si Thep or Siam’s Ancient Capital, especially nightlife with plentiful entertainment activities.
Thailand is also paradise of shopping with a variety of international and local brands and a diversity of street food.
Prostitution and sex tourism are illegal in Thailand but each year, it still earned billions of USD for Thailand government.
Size: 513,120 km2
Population: over 68 million people
Religion: Buddhism is the most religion in Thailand with about 95% of population following this Theravada religion. The second largest religion is Muslim with about 4.6%, Catholic Christians is about 0.7% and the remaining 1% includes Hindu, Sikh and Jewish.
Capital: Bangkok as well as being the largest city in Thailand.
Ethnic Minorities: Thailand is a multi-ethnic group with more than 30 different ethnic minority groups, including Chinese, Malays, Khmer, hill tribes such as Akha, Hmong, Karen, Kui, Mon, Moken and Semang, etc.
Language: Besides the official language is Central Thai in Thailand, there are numerous quantity of language in this country such as Thai Isan (Thai Lao), Northern Thai, Pak Dai, Sino-Tibetan, Mon-Khmer and Hmong – Mien, etc.
Climate: Thailand has a tropical climate with three distinct seasons. They are the hot season from March to Mid-May, Rainy season from Mid-May to October because of effect of southwest monsoon, and a dry and cool season from November to February.
Culture: The culture in Thailand is a blend of Indian influences, Chinese Traditions and its own culture. Due to its diverse geography and four distinct regions division, each region of Thailand has its own unique cultural and geographic features.
Economy: Thanks to strong fundamental and diverse industries, Thailand has become the second largest economy in Southeast Asia and the world’s 19th largest manufacturer, as of 2018.
Although you can visit Thailand at any time of the year, the best time to travel is during the cool and dry season from November to early April. The best time to visit Northern and Southern Thailand is between October and January during summers. There are different climates from the eastern to western coasts in the south. For Gulf of Thailand, it is ideal for tourists to discover it from December until March because of pleasant and windy weather, which is extremely suitable for water sports and beach activities. While it is perfect time to discover the west coast from November to March because April and May are the hottest months of the year while May to Mid-October faces with the monsoon effect on the west coast.
By Air: The main international airports in Thailand are in Bangkok and Phuket, which connects with all the countries. Other international ones are situated in Krabi, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai and Hat Yai, which mainly connected to South-East Asian Countries.
By Bus: there are daily buses from Singapore to Hat Yai.
By Rail: There is a single international train between Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, extending to Singapore. It takes around 48 hours for this train journey and change trains twice.
By road: There are six international borders from Cambodia. Besides, it is possible to drive up to Thailand from Malaysia and Singapore, as well as from Laos with Friendship Bridge across the Mekong.
By water: you can come Phuket by cruise ship from Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Europe or ferries from Indonesia.
Bangkok: is the capital city of Thailand with a lot of historical site, religious monuments and natural landscape, especially shopping malls and local markets, which made it become one of shopping paradise in the world. The best time to visit is from late November to Mid January.
Pattaya: is one of famous and beautiful beach in the eastern coast of Gulf of Thailand with pristine beaches, water parks, religious temples and untouched natural beauty. The best time to come here is from November to June in the year.
Phuket: is a famous tourist attraction in southern Thailand with gorgeous beaches, clean air, breathtaking natural beauty as well as a system of islets, bringing great water activity experiences. From November to the end of February is perfect time for tourist to enjoy this vivid island.
Phi Phi Island: is a complex of six islands, which is 40km far from Phuket. Among six island, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the two most famous islands with turquoise water and vibrant parties. More specially, visitors can enjoy this wonderful island for the whole year thanks to perfect weather here.
Chiang Mai: located in the south of Thailand, Chiang Mai is famous for numerous temples and monasteries, natural and historical sites, crowded local markets and lush greenery countryside. Some must-see destinations can be named such as Wat Phra Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh, both of which is famous Buddhist temples in this region, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Umong – two old world temples as well as Doi Inthanon National Park and Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, etc. the best time to visit Chiang Mai is from December to February.
Koh Samui: is the second-largest island of Thailand in the Champhon Archipelago, which lies in the Gulf of Thailand (South Thailand). Coconut and rubber exports as well as tourist trade are the main revenue source of this island. The island is famous for untouched nature with clear blue waters, white sandy beaches and lush green forests surrounding island. The best time to escape from bustling city into this amazing island is from December to May.
Thai Food is one of the famous cuisines in the world and attracting lots of tourists each year. Thailand cuisine has been affected by neighboring states as well as climate and geography. The cuisine of Northern Thailand resembles with Shan State’s one in Myanmar, northern Laos and Yunnan Province in China, whereas the food of northeastern Thailand is similar to that of southern Laos. It also experiences the influence of Khmer cuisine (Cambodia) to its south and of Vietnamese cuisine to its east. Besides, there is a similarity between Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine with southern Thai food in use of coconut milk and fresh turmeric for culinary skills.
Thai food is the unique harmony of fresh herbs and spices. Especially, pepper is the main spice in almost Thai food, so it can be said that the Thai food is very famous for spicy flavor, even extremely spicy.
Like most other Asian cuisines, rice is the staple ingredient of Thai cuisine, is the first and most important part of any meals. Besides, Thailand is the largest exporting country in the world with Khao Hom Mali – Jasmine rice, a type of Thai rice, which is deeply famous for its fragrance.
Thailand is also well-know for tropical fruits such as papaya, jackfruit, mango, durian, rose apples, pineapple, longan and so on.
Like Cambodia, Thai sweet dessert is a favorite and common drink in this kingdom. It is extremely delicious and plentiful. Thai sweet dessert has mildly sweet flavor and most of them contains coconut milk to stimulate sense. Other ingredients are fresh fruit and jam. Some famous Thai desserts are Ruam mit, Worm-like Jelly cendol, durian coconut milk soup with sticky rice, etc.
Recommended Read: Top 10 Most Popular Dishes in Thailand
It is no coincidence that Thailand become a tourism paradise. There is a wide range of exhilarating activities, for example, trekking in the hills, snorkeling or diving off the beaches of the south or rock climbing or kayaking in impressive national parks.
Scuba Diving in Thailand
Thailand has amazing complexes of islands and stunning beaches. Located in the heart of Southeast Asia with typical tropical climate, Thailand owns beautiful miles of tropical beaches, fantastic marine and impressive reef life for tourists, who love underwater discovery.
Best Diving in Thailand:
- Koh Dok Mai, Phuket
- Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai, and Koh Bon, near Similan Islands
- Similan Islands
- Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, Koh Lanta
- HTMS Sattakut Wreck
- Chumphon Pinnacle, Koh Tao
- Sail Rock, Koh Tao (Also near Koh Samui and Koh Phangan)
Snorkeling in Thailand
Thailand is always considered a top snorkeling destination in the world. Its lush tropical coasts, reefs and islands offer a wide range of snorkeling spots, in both Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Snorkeling in Thailand is the chance for tourists to discover an abundant underwater world of unique animal seas such as manta rays, reef sharks, clownfish, sea turtles and colorful coral gardens. The most pristine islands of the country will give tourists the best snorkeling experience.
Trekking in Thailand
Only comprising an area of 514,000 km2 in Southeast Asia, this kingdom has some of the most impressive landscaping in the world. From lush, spectacular rainforests to amazing, giant waterfalls, Thailand owns many unique trekking trails, especially in the mountains of north Thailand.
Thailand – the “Land of Smiles” is a climbing paradise with limestone walls, towers and caves with tufas and flow-stone formations. Southern Thailand is a must-visit destination for any sport climber, in terms of adventure discovery and culture experience. Most climbing is centered round East Railway and Ton Sai beaches on Laem Phra Nang in Krabi province, where there are dozens of routes within easy walking distance of tourist bungalows, restaurants and beaches.
Recommended Read: Top 5 Best Places for Rock Climbing in Thailand
Kayaking/ Canoeing in Thailand
Kayaking in Thailand is very common in Thailand as the region has plenty of rivers and other bodies of water for exploration routes. Some destinations for kayaking in Thailand consist of Phang Nga Bay (Phuket), Khao Phra Taeo National Park and Mae Tang River (Chiang Mai).
Entertainment and sport in Thailand
Besides natural discovering activities, Thailand is famous for unique entertainment and sport. Bangkok is the best place to catch authentic performances of classic Thai dance and some other amazing tourist-oriented shows in big tourist centers and Bangkok. Thailand also makes impression on visitors with boxing sports. The country’s two main Thai boxing stadia are also in the capital, but you’ll come across local matches in the provinces too.
Spas and traditional massage in Thailand
Thai massage or Thai yoga massage is a traditional healing system combining acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures. Thailand is home to some of the best massage parlors in the world. Traditional Thai massages are cheap, incredibly relaxing and one of the best things, which you cannot miss out when traveling through the Land of Smiles.
Almost Thai festivals express religious aspects. It is Brahmin in the honor of elemental spirits and deities with ancient rites and ceremonial costumed parades. Or Buddhist celebrations usually take place in local temple grounds.
Besides, there are some other secular festivals in Thailand, for example, the elephant roundups and the Bridge over the River Kwai spectacle, which normally are outdoor local culture shows for Thai and farang tourists.
Recommended Read: Top 10 Fantastic Festivals in Thailand
If foreigners come Thailand for purpose of leisure, sight-seeing and personal enlightenment, they are required to get a tourist visa to enter Thailand for a period of 15 or 30 days. Normally, visitors can apply Thai visa at any Thai embassy or consulate, but Thai government also provide visa exemption or visa on arrival for some nationalities.
- Passport or travel document with a validity at least 6 months
- Visa application form (filled out)
- One(1) recent 4x6cm. photograph of the applicant
- Round-trip air ticket or e-ticket (paid in full)
- Proof of financial means (20,000 baht per person/40,000 baht per family)
- Visa Fee: US $ 30.00 per entry or equivalent.
More information for Thailand Tourist Visa Requirement: click here.