Not that you need an excuse to visit a country full of amazing shopping, culture and stunning beauty, but here are the top five reasons why we think you need to go to Thailand the next time you consider a vacation.
1. Incredible luxury hotels at a great value
Value is the key word here. Thailand is simply an amazing value. When a 5-star hotel in Europe or the Caribbean would run you in the thousands, Thailand offers affordable luxury at it’s finest. Don’t believe me? Take the Ritz Carlton brand, for example. The Ritz Carlton Reserve in Krabi will run you about $500 per night for a standard room. The Ritz Carlton Reserve in Dorado, Puerto Rico, however, will run you about $1900 per night. Quite a difference right? These hotels are both world-class, 5-star properties and yet the price difference is astounding. That is the beauty of Thailand.
On our first trip to Thailand, we stayed in all 5 star properties, most of them averaging $100-150 per night. We had expansive rooms, incredible service and relished in the fact that we would never get this type of value anywhere else in the world.
2. Island hopping
You can see a lot of diverse, incredible places in a short amount of time. Whether you’re looking to plant yourself on a beach for a week or explore 5 islands in 10 days, anything is possible in Thailand and it’s a great place all year due to its weather patterns. When it’s monsoon season on one side of the country, it’s sunny and dry on the other and vice versa. Keep in mind, it’s helpful to be carrying a backpack or a shoulder duffel (like this one) when island hopping. Sometimes the boat transfers drop you off during low tide and you have to walk through some 2-inch water to get to land and holding onto a suitcase could be difficult.
A couple of my favorite island-hopping trips:
Phuket –> Koh Yao Noi –> Koh Phi Phi
Krabi –> Koh Phangan –> Koh Samui
3. Diverse adventures
Thailand really does have it all. From snorkeling to world class scuba diving to learning how to train adopted elephants, there is no shortage of adventure. Scuba diving in Thailand is world class. Never tried it? It’s also a great, inexpensive place to get certified! Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi are just three examples of islands with numerous dive centers that provide inexpensive, well-run dive services.
Water not really your thing? Rock climbing in Krabi is world class! Check out Krabi Rock Climbing if you’re curious.
Head north to Chiang Mai to experience a whole other type of adventure. Rent a motorcycle and explore the countryside (motos are cheap- just beware of the speed limits or you will get stopped). Head to the Thai Elephant Home to learn how to be a “Mahoot” for the day and train/bathe adopted elephants in the river. The Thai Elephant Home was one of my favorite days in Thailand. Or, for a really fun time, swing through the trees on ziplines for the day with Jungle Flight.
4. Buddhist Heritage
Thailand’s Buddhist heritage has led to breathtaking temples and historic sites all over the country- particularly in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Regardless of where you go, you are bound to find stunning temples and Thai people are always willing to tell you a story about them. You can even find temples on the islands, such as Koh Samui. Visiting the temples are typically completely free and you are left to marvel at the beautiful, intricate designs that often are many decades old.
5. Cityscapes are completely different
One of the things that I love about Thailand is that every city is SO different. You will find new scenery, pace of life and activities in every city. Want to party and have the best upscale meal of your life? Head to Bangkok! Want to slum it on the beach and shop at inexpensive, local markets? Go to Phuket! Want to experience a clean, beautiful, historic city that really protrudes the Thai culture? Head to Chiang Mai! Spending a few days in each if you have the time is a fantastic supplement to island-hopping.
So, how do you get to Thailand? Thailand is extremely easy to get to as there are three major airports: Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. We recommend signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights alerts. We love the premium option that sends out constant alerts about flight deals specific to your origin. This year, I got the best flight deal of my life from Scott’s cheap flights and I have nothing but good things to say about them ($250 round trip direct from SFO –> BCN).