Land of Smiles – Thailand
Thailand is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world and given the country’s spectacular beaches, sensational food and famously friendly people; it is easy to see why. Thailand offers something for everyone and that, along with the fact it remains a relatively cheap destination, helps make it such a well-loved holiday spot.
Despite a strengthening baht (the Thai currency), a trip to Siam, to use its former name, is still fantastic value. In fact, for a two week vacation, your flights are likely to form the majority of your total expenditure. Thailand flights start at around £425 from the UK, although it is very easy to pay a lot more than that. To get the cheapest flights possible you will need to avoid the peak seasons (generally around Easter, July and August and over Christmas) and also book in advance; as far as 11 months if possible.
If you choose to book a package you may sometimes get bargains closer to the time but given the enduring popularity of the country you could also end up missing out. Thailand is very easy to travel around, be it by coach, ferry, train or plane and so we would say the best option is just to book flights to the capital Bangkok and then take it from there. To make things a bit easier you could also book some accommodation for when you arrive and with four star hotels available from around £30 per room, there is no need to skimp.
Krungthep or Bangkok
Bangkok is a fantastic city, a good mix of old and new with ultra-modern shopping malls sharing the same streets as ancient temples. Inexperienced travellers may find it a little hectic but for many that is all part of the charm. Depending on your time away I would recommend up to four days in the capital: time enough to visit the Grand Palace, most of the major temples, the bargain-filled night markets, the backpacker-central that is the Khao San Road and maybe take in some Thai boxing as well.
For options further afield and particularly if you like trekking, then Chiang Mai in the north is likely to appeal. This is an ideal base to explore the surrounding countryside and spectacular scenery. If you’re more of a beach person then you really are spoilt for choice, with Koh Samui, Koh Phangan (home of the infamous Full Moon parties), Koh Lanta, Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi just some of the islands offering white sand galore.
If you have time, then travelling by rail, or coach and ferry is a highly recommended experience that will allow you to see more of the country. Whatever you do, you are sure to have an amazing time in this friendly, beautiful and excellent value country. Whether you want to backpack on a budget of £15 per day, or have a luxurious five star spa experience, Thailand can meet your needs. Just remember to get those flights booked early!