Our followers know that each year we take numerous international trips, but they are usually shorter trips due to other commitments. For some of us workaholics, this is our best option to travel. The 3-day "I can't wait til we got a Monday/Friday off" type of vacation. We like to do a couple 7+ day trips during the year as well. This year we will hosting a group trip with a few other guys to Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Patong Thailand, so my normal "wait until the last minute" method wont cut it for this trip. This will be our third trip to Thailand so we wanted to write about what we do to prepare for my vacation to the "Land of 1000 smiles" Thailand....
#1 Know your dates of travel
When flying to Southeast Asia, the time of year can play a factor in your outdoor actvity time. It doesnt snow in Thailand but it sure does rain. Thailand has a monsoon season from May/June to October. My first trip to Thailand was in May of '16 and It rained everyday especially at night. This was a damper because it does affect the nightlife and made some of the excursions like long boating to James Bond island undersirable. Its best to plan between November and April. We are going in April for the Thai New Years celebration which is called Songrkran.
(Just a little wet on the streets)
#2 Know where you are going!
Most Americans have seen the Hangover movie and know about Bangkok or heard about the craziness. In my opinion, there are better cities. You can agree or disagree, but Bangkok is the starting point to Thailand for me. Bangkok has two Airports BKK and DMK. DMK services many of the domestic airports and a few neighboring countries. More than likely you will land in BKK. BKK also has domestic flights leaving from there. Either option is usually cheaper than flying domestic in the USA because the BAHT exchange rate is soooooo SWEEET! I caught a flight from Bangkok to Phuket, 5 hours before the flight, for $57 dollars on Skyscanner.com
(DMK AIRPORT airport may have cheaper domestic flights than BKK)
While you are there, you got to check out Khao San Road at night just to say you did it. Its pretty crazy and there are people turning up just about any night. There are also clubs on sukhumvit soi 11 where I stay. Its usually a little quieter than Koh Saan road but close enough to see other parts of the city if I want.
(Khao San Road at night)
If you plan on going to the North or to Pattaya, I would suggest landing in Bangkok. If you are flying to south Thailand to go to Patong, Krabi, or Koh Phi Phi like we are doing, flying into HKT( Phuket International) may be a cheaper choice.
#3 Thailand is almost 2 days away......
Well not really... but it is around 22 hoours from the east coast of the United States and 17 from the west. Most flights from the U.S. leave during the day and arrive early morning two days later because of the time difference. The trip I planned starts on the April 8th so I told everyone to book flights for April 6th to make it on time. On the return, you usually land the same day you took off...maybe a few hours later. It will feel like someone robbed you for hours out of your life somewhere along your journey but the flight time math works out in the end. Be prepared to crash from the jet lag!
#4 Booking Hotels
No matter what your budget is, Thailand has you covered on accommodations. Thais specialize in hospitality, so hotels, hostels, condos, and apartments to purchase are plentiful. Whichever route you choose, accommodations are as low as $6 a night (but obviosuly you get what you pay for). Even with that being said, a hotel or AirBnB in Phuket City or Bangkok is averaging 20-50 dollars a night for an 8/10+ rating room. Many of the Thailand properties on Bookings.com have the "Pay at the property" option. This way I can book my hotels while Im still saving up to pay for it. LOL
#5 Plan things to do
I always tell people that Thailand is the worlds biggest carnival. I say this because it has entertainment for the whole family. The Thai people have literally set it up for visitors to thoroughly enjoy themselves anywhere in the country. Any time of day.
My first trip to Thailand was a fail. All I did was chill all day and party all night. I could have stayed at home and did that. The next trip I made up for it by doing an Island hopping excursion on Koh Chang. After I did that, I was hooked on day time activities. Thailand has all day excusrions, shows and events that can easily be arranged. From hanging out with tigers to catching a Muy Thai fight at one of the local stadiums.
(Tiger Kingdom Phuket)
(Muy Thai Boxing match)
There is literally no excuse to sit in your hotel room other than to sleep, take showers aaaaaaand maybe a night cap with a friend you met on your excursions. My best advice is to check out places like Tripadvisor for tips and contacts on excusrions in the city you are headed to. A simple google search of the activity you want to do should bring up plenty of contact info. Most hotels receptionist are able to help and sometimes arrange excursions for you. Maybe after you book your hotel, you can email them and set something up......
Thailand is the number one tourist spot in the world for a reason. It may take a little bit of prep to get there but it is all worth it once those aircraft wheels touch the tarmac in the country that I simply call "The Land"