Best time to visit: November, December, January, February
Average high: 32˚C
Average low: 22˚C
Price of meals: 1/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Culture / Family / Party / Romantic
Thailand is a paradise holiday destination. From the backpacking gap-year student to families seeking a relaxing and luxurious getaway, Thailand’s lush jungle, varied wildlife and striking beaches offer something for everyone.
The country is covered in thick, jungle canopy and you are never far away from the animals that inhabit it. Elephants are a tourist favourite but, unfortunately, the majority of tours involving these beautiful animals are exploitative and cruel. Fortunately, ethical tourism is improving in Thailand and nature reserves, such as the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, allow you a chance to get up close with elephants with the assurance they are being cared for properly.
The nation is full of culture and history, old and new. From the haunting WW2-era structures of the bridge over the River Kwai in the stunning Kanchanaburi province, to the big Buddha at the Golden Triangle: where Thailand borders with Laos and Burma (Myanmar). Or travel even further into the past by visiting some of the many ancient temples and ruins, like the UNESCO World Heritage ruins of Ayutthaya. The country is full of protected nature parks with exciting jungle hikes and mountain-top vistas, although nothing is as unique as taking a boat tour of the strange geographic constellations at Phang Nga Bay.
The majority of Thailand’s best beaches are in the south of the country, though one of the more isolated ones is Koh Nang Yuan Island. This postcard-perfect, mountainous island is a tropical paradise with a golden beach, turquoise water and some of the best diving in the country (scuba and snorkelling).
Bangkok is a busy but friendly city with plenty of opportunity to bargain with the inhabitants at one of the many markets. Without a doubt, the most exceptional is the floating Damnoen Saduak market. Party-goers will fall in love with Thailand for its numerous festivals and full moon parties, like the Songkran Festival in April, where locals and tourists alike celebrate by splashing each other with water.
Generally, the best time of year to visit Thailand is during the winter. Temperatures are still warm but cooler than the 35-40˚C heat in the summer. It is also far less humid; although night time can be chilly in the northeast and areas of high altitude.
Thailand is a tropical climate and so is warm all year. However, it also receives heavy rainfall in the form of monsoons. Monsoons in Thailand are predictable but fall at different times of the year, depending on the region: May to November in the north; April to October in the southwest; and September to December in the southeast. Rainfall in the south is significantly heavier than in the north.
Meal prices in Thailand are very cheap; even in the capital, Bangkok. An inexpensive meal for one averages less than £2 (80฿), while a three–course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant averages £20. In fact, prices are anything from 40-90% cheaper than the UK. This includes drinks, too. Beer averages less than £2 a bottle, although you should expect to pay more for imported beers. A coffee costs about £1.75 and a bottle of water can be purchased for 20-50p.
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