December – February
LCY → BKK
Up to 30 days
Taxi: 10 £GBP (50 min)
Bus: 1 £GBP (60 min)
Shuttle: 3 £GBP (60 min)
Travel insurance and vaccinations are recommended
More often than not Thailand holidays are concentrated around the cosmopolitan capital Bangkok, however, Thailand's beautiful islands, like Phuket and Koh Samui, also deserve to be thoroughly explored.
In Bangkok Wat Arun across the Chao Phraya River from the stunning Grand Palace is not to be missed. North of the city is Kanchanaburi's notorious Bridge over the River Kwai where you can follow the rickety Death Railway to Nam Tok's waterfalls and Hellfire Pass. Also in this region there is the mountainous Golden Triangle around Chiang Mai. For something off-the-beaten-trail and exotic, spend some time in northern Chiang Mai for hiking and rafting experiences with the hill tribes of Thailand. Archeology buffs will be impressed by the ancient capital Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, which is UNESCO-listed.
To the south you can island hop and dive around stunning islands around the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Coast. Then there’s the food...Thai cuisine is renowned and loved worldwide and here it’s the real deal.
Thailand's tropical climate means both temperature and humidity are high. During the dry season, the temperature climbs rapidly in the second half of March, reaching more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in some places a month later. The southwest monsoons that start to arrive between May and July (except in the south) mark the start of the rainy season, which continues until October. The cloud cover reduces the air temperature, but humidity levels rise as the tradeoff. November and December see the return of the dry season the climate is much less trying with a cooling North East breeze and a reduction in the humidity level. This is also the main tourist season, and the best time for holidays to Thailand as temperatures can drop to 19 degrees Celsius (66.2 Fahrenheit) before beginning to climb again in January.
Bangkok’s outwardly brash personality can be daunting at first but take a deep breath there are many hidden secrets, just waiting for you to discover them during your Thailand holidays. Bangkok showcases Thailand’s eccentric blend of the old and the new. Here you will find majestic temples next door to gleaming skyscrapers. Add to this vibrant nightlife and the often bizarre street culture and Bangkok will quickly hook you. It takes a few days to experience all Bangkok has to offer. The place of life in Bangkok is both leisurely and chaotic, and the latter is apparent nowhere more so than on the roads where that chaos is best experienced in a tuk-tuk. The leisurely side of Bangkok can be experienced in a long-tail taxi boat on the Chao Phraya river where you can see The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha from the water. On the bustling Khao San Road you can experience authentic Thai cuisine right on the street and watch as the street transforms in to a packed nightlife party zone at night.
You'll be charmed by the incredible natural beauty of Koh Samui and soon discover the appeal of this paradise is not just in its fantastic beaches. When you arrive you’ll be greeted by the Giant Buddha, a 12metre high statue overlooking the beach. On Koh Samui you can experience both beach and culture and Koh Samui offers both in abundance. From elephant treks, trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls, cabaret shows and 24-hour non-stop partying. Learn about the Secret Buddha Garden’s statues, hear the legend of Hin Ta and Hin Yai – two incredible rock formations. Go hiking or diving in the postcard-beautiful Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Phuket is Thailand's largest island and is just one hour from Bangkok, atmospheric, beautiful and culturally diverse. This truly is an unforgettable island paradise. It is home to beautiful temples, perfect beaches, green landscapes and intoxicating nightlife on holidays to Thailand. Live a little, eat deep fried insects, gain some spiritual awakening from Buddhism and feel like you are on a film set when you travel to the Phi Phi Islands. Beyond the bustling bars, shops and restaurants - you'll discover a remarkable way of life.
Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand is the country’s fifth-largest city and is much greener and much quieter than the capital.
Pattaya is resort city on the Eastern Gulf Coast of Thailand, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Bangkok and is famous for its go-go and beer bars. Sex tourism is the main money earner here, but the resort also attracts families and holidaymakers from around the world. More than 5 million people visit Pattaya per year, choosing this destination for their Thailand holiday packages.
Sukhothai is a small city 427 kilometers (265 miles) north of Bangkok and is home to the ruins of the ancient city of Sukhothai, the name translates as “the dawn of happiness”, it was Thailand’s first capital and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Send your senses into overload with the colours and scents of the Pak Khlong Talat flower market. Get up early to experience the floating market at Damnoen Saduak. Alternatively cross to the Chao Phraya River’s west bank and take a long-tail boat trip along the canals during your holidays in Thailand which are known locally as klongs. Dine al fresco at a rooftop restaurant or check out Pattaya’s exciting nightlife.
One thing Bangkok is famous for is it’s shopping from hi-tech malls such as the MBK Centre with more than 2,000 stores through to traditional markets.
However Bangkok is perhaps even more famous for its nightlife and there is something for everyone, from classical Thai dance to the infamous shows put on in gogo bars. At night Khao San Road comes to life.
Day trips from Bangkok
Given Bangkok’s location in the centre of the country, the city is the perfect location for day trips to other cities and sights.
Be sure to visit the Ayutthaya temples on a day trip from Bangkok on your holidays to Thailnad. This UNECSO World Heritage listed site of Ayutthaya was the seat of power for a thriving Siamese kingdom and is home to spectacular ruins and temples.
The famed Bridge on the River Kwai at Kanchanaburi marks the beginning of the Death Railway and is a chilling reminder of the thousands of prisoners of war and forced labourers who lost their lives building the railway 130 kilometers (80 miles) west of Bangkok.
Head to the pedestrian only Chaweng Street for a riot of colour, sound and scent, then go to Bo Phut Fishermans Village for high-quality clothing and accessories and original artwork. Take a day trip to the magnificent Ang Thong Marine Park. This unspoiled archipelago is made up of 42 islands with great beaches, picturesque waterfalls and limestone rock formations. See one of the island’s most popular attractions – the big Buddha – or rub shoulders with locals while watching a Muay Thai boxing match.
Koh Samui's markets offer a unique atmosphere, be sure to haggle prices for a bargain. Explore Mae Nam’s seven side streets, and visit the boutiques in the fisherman’s village of Bo Phut during your Thailand holidays. The 5 kilometer (3 mile) beach at Chaweng is Koh Samui’s most popular has shops and stalls that sell almost anything. The palm-lined Lamai is a quieter alternative, while Ban Taling Ngam is relatively unspoiled with its private bays.
Koh Samui’s dining scene covers every taste and budget, from street food to fine dining, while the nightlife options on Koh Samui are endless. Get caught up in the lively atmosphere of Chaweng on the main street, relax in a hammock on Lamai Beach or travel to Bo Phut for a more sophisticated and romantic evening.
Mix with Phuket locals at the markets – they have an electric vibe and as always the food is amazing. Jung Ceylon shopping mall offers a “megamall” experience, admire one of Phuket’s most important temples – Wat Chalong, and look into Thailand’s colonial history at the mansion of Baan Chinpracha.
Choosing Thailand holidays packages, notice that Phuket offers diverse, exciting shopping experiences, from the markets to the shopping malls. Try out the local delicacies at Phuket's weekend market or search for oriental antiques at Boran Boran. Have a tailor-made suit made for yourself and be sure to haggle for the best price.
The limestone karsts that rise out of the deep blue waters of Phang Nga Bay are impressive and make for a great day trip from Phuket, while Chalong's Big Buddha offers spectacular views. The old streets of Phuket town are a reminder of the way of life before tourism and packed with shrines and temples.
Thai cuisine is world-famous and Phuket offers many ways to try it. From market stalls to the seafood offered by the floating restaurants of the east coast. Soi Bangla is Patong's greatest party area or feel the relaxed vibe of reggae music at Ska Bar on Kata beach.
On the west coast the beaches include Patong, which is large and used as a base for a lot of water sports as well as being home to a large number of bars and restaurants. Karon offers long golden sands, while the snorkeling is excellent at both Kata Noi and Little Kata beach. Go north for the idyllic Laen Singh beach or visit Hat Mai Khee.