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Thailand: Know Before You Go

It's huge!

Thailand is surprisingly large, stretching 1,648 km (1,024 mi) north to south and 780 km (485 mi). Each area has a unique geographical features with lush, rain forest covered hills in the north, towering limestone peaks in the south, and beautiful beaches along the extensive coastline. The cultural differences are equally contrasting, making each region worthy of a visit.

Blue Temple, Chaing Rai, Thailand
Dramatic achitecture like Blue Temple in Chaing Rai can be found throughout Thailand, but cultural differences between the north and south can be significant

Transportation is as Varied as the Geography

Tuk tuks are easy to find and a must-do experience

All major cities, Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai in the north; Bangkok, Phuket & Krabi in the south, offer standard ride options like taxis, the Grab App, and of course Tuk Tuks. Along with being a cultural must do, finding a Tuk Tuk is often much cheaper than taxis. Unless you have a lot of time to take a bus, flying is the preferred option to get between regions. There are super cheap airlines all over Southeast Asia including: Tiger Air, Air Asia, Thai Smile and Lion Air. We’re a fan of Thai Smile, a subsidy of Thai Airways, our favorite airline in the world!

Bangkok is sprawling

Basically like Thailand’s New York City, Bangkok is so massive that it could warrant several trips on its own. The must do attractions include Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Arun, Wat Pho’s giant reclining Buddha, and the floating markets. There are two airports, not especially close to one another, so be sure you know which one you are flying in and out of. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is the newest, a bit out of the city, but with better transportation setup. Don Mueang Airport (DMK) is the older option closer to the city center that manages many of the discount airlines. There is a bus that can take you back and forth, but the commute time vary wildly from 50 minutes to over two hours.

Try the food! All of it!

Thailand market
Unique food abounds through Asia, much of it at street markets made fresh daily

It’s always special to enjoy local cuisine, but Thailand is our pick for the most unique and tasty food in all of our travels. Many of the flavors we had never experienced before, making trips to the local markets a full day affair. The fruits alone are worth the trip. It’s important to remember that much of the street vendor options in this part of the world are made fresh daily and may not be displayed in ways that you are accustomed to. People have also been eating bugs for millennia, so live a little bit an try some!

Time for a Splurge

Luxurious accommodations are very affordable in Thailand

For many, a favorable exchange rate makes Thailand a wonderful location to treat yourself. Famous Thai massages cost about $10 USD for the hour and sprawling villas cost as much as a basic hotel in much of the world. Custom clothing may take a few days, but can be made for a fraction of the cost of designer styles off the rack elsewhere. Add in the wonderful hospitality of the “Land of Smiles” and this makes Thailand one of our favorite destinations on the planet!

Dramatic cliffs in southern Thailand attract more tourists than the northern hill country


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