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THAILAND

DESTINATION INSPIRATION

Thailand doesn’t stop at bustling Bangkok markets and a hammock on the beach. Behind the beachside bungalows and luxury spa retreats, you’ll find snapshots of Thai life with aromatic street vendors, tuk tuks, junglestrewn temples and giant Buddhas.

Thailand Fast Facts

Languages Spoken

The official language spoken in Thailand is Thai, otherwise known as Siamese, but you'll hear plenty of locals speaking fluent English.

Currency

Thai Baht (THB).

2.50 Thai Baht is approximately R1.00

Time Zone

UTC +07:00, making Bangkok 5 hours ahead of Johannesburg.

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Thailand Fast Facts

cost-of-beer-asia

Drinks

A bottle of local Thai beer from a café or shop can cost as little as 40THB (around R16). A Sangsom and soda bucket can cost between 124THB (about R50) to 300THB (about R120) depending on where you find it, and are so strong they're best shared!

cost-of-food-asia

Meals

Thai street food can cost as little as 50THB (just over R20) and can be every bit as delicious, if not better, than in some restaurants. For a sit-down meal somewhere midrange, expect to pay between 150THB (R60) to 300TBH (R120).

cost of accomodation in thailand

Hostels

A basic dorm bed in Bangkok can coast you as little as 125THB (about R50); expect to pay double on the Southern Islands such as Koh Phangan, especially if you're staying there over Full Moon.

thailand hotel cost

Hotels

For a mid-range room for two people in a hotel or guesthouse, you'll pay upwards of 435THB (R175). Fancier hotels can cost around 1,100THB to 1,775THB (R440 to R710) . Book in advance with STA Travel to bag the cheapest rates; we always have awesome Thailand accomodation on offer!

taxi cost thailand

Taxis

Taxis cost around 5TBH (R2) per kilometre, after the initial surcharge. A 10km ride should cost you under 150THB (R60), and from the airport to Khao San Road, expect to pay between 350-530THB (R140-R212). Always ask for the meter to switched on; it's fun to haggle a price before you start the journey, and you'll get a better price.

transport cost thailand

Busses & Boats

A 10 hour bus journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on a pretty comfy sleeper coach costs around 500-600THB (or anywhere between R200-R240). A 12-15 hour bus journey from Bangkok to Phuket costs 1000THB (just over R400). Boat trips between islands cost around 500THB (R200).

Top Places to Visit

Take a step back as Thailand throws everything it's got at you; friendly people, sacred sites from days gone by and the best beaches...oh, the beaches *sigh*. Laze on pure white sands and dunk yourself in sparkling blue seas on the Thai Islands, explore Chiang Mai or bag yourself a bargain at a Bangkok market...

BANGKOK

Energy-consuming, humid, heaving, chattering with beeping horns, whooshing tuk tuks and rowdy street markets; this is Thailand's capital. You'll either love it or hate it. Be mesmerised by the unrelenting traffic, glitzy MBK Mall, resplendent Grand Palace and 5.5-ton Golden Buddha. Eat pad thai, listen to live reggae at a rooftop bar, then get haggling for a pair of bright orange cheap Ray-Bans.
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Chiang Mai

Welcome to the rolling green foothills, sacred temples and lush landscapes of Northern Thailand. Wander through the bustling night bazaar and jam to live music in one of Chiang Mai's many bars then head for the hills where you'll hike through remote villages and learn the secrets to jungle survival.
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Koh Tao

The cashew-shaped isle of Koh Tao undisputedly offers some of the best and cheapest diving on the Gulf of Thailand. Grab your flippers and snorkel on Shark Bay (they're harmless black-tip reef sharks) or throw yourself in the deep end and try wreck diving to discover World War II submarines and battleships. You'll be in no hurry to leave this small but perfectly formed former pirates' hideout.
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Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi is probably the most iconic, picture-postcard image of Thailand, catapulted into notoriety by box office hit 'The Beach'. Limestone cliffs, aquamarine waters and glinting white sands, the six-island archipelago is easily accessible by boat from Phuket. Get up close with hoards of monkeys on Monkey Island and camp overnight on Maya Bay. Bliss!
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Top Thailand Experiences

Don't spend all your time in a Bangkok bar or stuck on an island beach. While both are understandably vital to many who visit this beautiful country, there's also a lot more to see here. Hike through thick jungle and gleaming rice paddies in the northern mountains and learn first-hand about life in a hill tribe, learn how to cook up mouth-watering Thai cuisine or sail the high seas in a catamaran. Check out our top Thailand experiences below...

Sailing Thailand

Get out there and island hop from one idyllic Thai island to the next! This mesmerising corner of Asia is brimming with sublime rays, rugged landscapes, mouth-watering Thai cuise and azure snorkelling hotspots. Anchor up under the stars at these well-known and off-the-radar islands in a catamaran, complete with an experienced skipper. Prepare to enjoy a little slice of paradise!
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HILLTRIBES TREK

Head off into the hills of northern Thailand. Spend your nights in traditional bamboo huts listening to the soothing sounds of the jungle and your days trekking, meeting indigenous tribes and cooling off in tumbling waterfalls.
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Do I need a visa to travel to Thailand?

As long as you’re in possession of a South Africa passport with at least six months validity left on it, you’ll be granted a free visa upon arrival in Thailand. You’re allowed up 30 days in the country; if you'd like to stay longer, you can speak to the Thai embassy in Bangkok, a reputable travel agent, or one of our travel experts.

Another popular way for backpackers to see more of Thailand than 30 days would allow, is to see some of the country, then visit neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam or Malaysia too, before looping back into Thailand for your flight home, seeing more on the way!

Which vaccinations do I need before I travel to Thailand?

Check with your doctor to see which of the following vaccinations you've already had in school, and which ones you might still need, out of Tetanus, Diptheria, Typhoid, and Hepatits B. You can book an appointment at any travel clinic to get these, six weeks before you depart. If you're off to a remote area that's far off of the beaten path, you might need malaria pills.

What should be on my Thailand packing list?

It's easy to get carried away with your packing list when you're taking a trip to such an exotic country, but if you're planning on travelling to multiple locations, pack light! Don't forget a 220-240 AC voltage, or a universal plug adaptor, mosquito repellent, earplugs, a waterproof and waterproof bag if you're visting during rainy season, and comfortable shoes for all the exploring you'll be doing. Don't, under any circumstances, forget to organise travel insurance before you go!

SOMEWHERE ELSE?

If Thailand isn't for you, why not try another Asian destination? From Vietnam to India, or Cambodia to Sri Lanka, we've got a range of Southeast Asia adventure tours for those short on time and money. You'll meet loads of like-minded travellers and have access to bags of insider knowledge, so you don't miss a thing. Prefer a tailor made package? Contact us and we'll put together your dream trip for you.