Ultimate beginner’s guide to backpacking: Thailand
After traveling through Thailand we have compiled all our tips and tricks to make this ultimate guide for all those excited, yet nervous backpackers out there! As you read through this guide you will find everything you need to know about accommodation, transportation, activities and food. Without further ado let’s get into it!
Best time to go:
Depending on your travel type, whether you want a quiet oasis vacation or want to meet as many new people as possible, will depend on the seasons
High season- November- February
– Expect tours and accommodation to be racked up pretty high and also super busy
– Lots of people decide to go at this time so lots of 18-30 year old’s traveling around this time
– Along with this time the weather is generally known as the ‘cooler months’. Which is still close to and over 30 degrees
Low Season- February to October
– Lower pricing on almost everything
– I find this time easier to barter pricing, due to it being a bit slower and everyone wanting business
– Along with this, the weather is generally the hotter months of the year, June-August you are getting up to 40 degree in temperature (Keep that in mind)
Based on what time of year you decide to go will also depend on what major event or holidays they have going on:
Jan 1: Western new years, still a huge deal for them as well.
February 11: Makha Bucha now these days vary on which specific day it will land on due to where the moon is in its cycle. This is a very important day in Buddhist history.
April 6: Chakri, A day to pay respects to the Royal Family.
April 13-15: Thai new year, most important holiday in all of Thailand. Filled with lots of festivals, parades, and expect to get wet while traveling through this time as they use to cleanse themselves for the new year!
May 5: Coronation day, A day where the country celebrates the current King.
June 4: Visakha Puja, a Buddhist holiday where a Buddhist celebrates 3 major events in his life: Birth, Enlightenment and Death.
July 8: Another day that falls on a different day each year due to the cycle of the moon, this day celebrates a Buddhist sermon day.
August 12: Is both the Queen Birthday as well as Mother’s day in Thailand.
October 23: Chulalongkorn Day, celebrating King Chulalongkorn’s life and death. He was the king that allowed Thailand to a freedom of religion and also Thailand’s independence.
November 3: Loi Kratong, another festival that depends upon the cycle of the moon. This is not a National Holiday but it is a huge festival celebrated on the 12th full moon. This is also known as the “Festival of lights” everyone floats candles down the river canals or releases floating lanterns. December 5: Father’s day in Thailand.
December 10: Constitution day, the day Thailand signed its own constitution.
As well as the Full Moon party festival, now this celebration also depends on when the full moon of the month would be, you can visit the full moon site to find out the exact dates.
Looking to do something during the days or at night, you can pretty much find anything to do. Along the beaches there will always have options to go island hopping or go on a boat tour, but on your more laid back days you could go paddle boarding or surfing. There is a lot of different places that offer daily packages, do your research and search around. Some companies will have online reviews or you might find good places form fellow travelers, take your time to find the best options.
( I will have a blog post of different things to do in each place very soon, stay tuned!)
Everything is relatively cheap in Asia, we never planned anything too far ahead. We liked the freedom to plan day by day for the fact that if we did or did not like the place we were staying we could go somewhere else or stay a little longer since we had the flexibility. The two booking apps we ONLY used were hostelworld.com and booking.com. These two companies helped us out tremendously and made our bookings issue free. Now depending on your travel type and budget, accommodations can range anywhere from $3-$60 a night!
( I will have a blog post of the TOP places to stay in different places soon, stay tuned!)
Transportations can be one of the more extravagant expenses over seas. The options available are:
Tuk-Tuk’s – Can range from 30baht to 300baht ($1.15can- $11.50can) This is one of the harder things to barter in Thailand but be aware and don’t let them rip you off! 1500baht is WAY to expensive and 500baht is still pretty pricey!
Taxi’s – Make sure when getting a taxi that it is a metered taxi or they will charge you like crazy!
Busses – Good for long routes throughout the country, however, unless you are really good at directions and constantly paying attention the bus in the cities can be more difficult to follow.
Motorcycles – Pretty cheap to rent day by day, only downside is they take your passport for insurance purposes. Also there are a lot of other travelers looking to sell their motorcycles so it’s easy to find one to buy in hostels and hotels, which can be a cheaper option.
You MUST try street food, some of the food will look gross but some of it will be the best thing you’ve ever had! Lots of Thai food is very spicy but also packed full of flavor! Don’t be afraid to try something new! If you are still hesitant and you just want to stick with western food there are a lot of restaurants with available options!
Now, if you are not ready to do things on your own quite yet, there are some great travel companies you can book through!
Contiki – Packages start at $5,799 for 27 days or go as low as $880 for 9 days! They have tours for north and south Thailand, also plenty of island hopper tours. This website gives you great travel options as well as payment plans so you don’t have to pay all up front!
If you decide to book with them you can click on this link for some serious savings!!
Life before work – This travel company is more targeted towards the younger demographic. The people you meet through this company will be those who are big into adventures and looking to have a good time! Packages start at $6,770 for 80 days or go as low as $990 for 11 days. These tours have the options to really combine any tour together.
Busabout – These last two companies have great options for those freestyle travelers. Busabout has great options and tours for a wide range of travelers with all different travel styles. Ages range to a high demographic, rather than it being more in the twenty age range. Tours usually start at $800 and go upwards from there.
Free and Easy Traveler – Another great freestyle travel company for those wanting the freedom to explore. I have heard such great reviews from friends who have booked with this company. They allow you to have a “set schedule” but also give you a ton of free time to explore on your own.
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