April 30, 2015

5 Tips for planning your Thailand holiday

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for South African travellers but, as with any destination, it’s important to know what you want from your holiday to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for. Here are 5 tips to make sure your Thailand trip suits you to a T.

Thinking of Thailand? 
Here are five great reasons to visit.

(1) Where to go
The first step towards answering where to go is to ask yourself, what do you want?
Beach-time and relaxing? Shopping? Culture and temples? Vibes and a party? Active outdoor activities like hiking? Off-the-beaten track exploring away from the tourist crowds?

Shopping and culture? Don’t skip Bangkok. Yes you can shop till you drop, but there’s also a wealth of fascinating cultural experiences that you shouldn’t miss. A Bangkok city tour takes in must-see sights such as the Grand Palace and The Emerald Buddha, while a day trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya or a visit to the floating market of Damnoen Saduk are must-dos.  

Beach and nightlife? Phuket is the most popular Thai island so expect tourist crowds. There are also 2 distinct areas of Phuket: Patong is vibey with a busy nightlife (ideal for travellers wanting to party) while Karon is quieter and perfect for relaxing (ideal for families and couples). Great day trips from Phuket are the Phi Phi and “James Bond” islands.
To experience one of the famous Moon parties, head to Koh Phangan.
Krabi is a popular tourist island but more laid back than Phuket.

Relaxing/quieter beach time? Try Koh Samui (Thailand’s third largest island), Khao Lak (great sunsets), Koh Tao, Koh Lanta (an undeveloped jewel and a true idyllic retreat) and Koh Phi Phi. 

Read more about the different Thai islands here.

Get back to nature? Head to Cheow Larn Lake in the Khao Sok National Park where you can drift off to sleep in floating tents dotted around the lake surrounded by nothing but the sounds of nature.

Exploring the forests and waterfalls of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, enjoying elephant back safaris and rafting the rivers, is also a must. 

(2) How to get there
When Thai Airways announced last year that they were no longer flying from South Africa direct to Thailand, there was fear that Thailand would no longer be good value for money. Thankfully prices don’t seem to have been too negatively affected, although you will spend longer in the air. Some good airline options are Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar going via their respective hubs as well as SAA codeshare flights.

(3) When to go
Although Thailand is a year-round destination, there are best times to visit depending on where you’re going.  The cooler, dry months are from November to March. The warmer months are from April to October when you can expect cooling showers. Between April and September is the best time to visit the eastern islands, such as Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, and between October and March is the best time to visit the western islands such as Phuket, Krabi and Koh Phi Phi.

(4) Visas
Just one of the perks of visiting Thailand, South African passport holders don’t need a visa!

(5) What things cost
Thailand is a good value for money destination for South Africans.
1 South African Rand = 2.78 Thai Baht (approximate as of 30 April 2015).
Go with an empty suitcase because trust us, you’re going to easily fill it with all the great shopping bargains. Sampling the unique & delicious street food is a must and makes for cheap dining. 

There are fantastic packages to Thailand which are great value for money and usually include flights, accommodation and breakfast. 

Luckily for you, Sure Travel consultants are Thailand experts and can give you all the inside info on how to make Thailand suit you to a T.  Find your nearest Sure Travel agency here

Have you visited Thailand? Comment below with your Thailand tips and stories. We’d love to hear from you!


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