The Top 10 best Thailand travel blogs

My Top 10 Best Thailand Travel Blogs

What are the Best Thai Travel Blogs for tourists?

These are my recommendations for the Top 10 best Thailand travel blogs – all essential reading for anyone planning a holiday here.  Read these blogs and you’ll have a far greater, in depth knowledge of the country plus what to see and do, than any run of the mill travel guide can offer.

1) Tieland to Thailand

Americans Chris and Angela left the 9 to 5 lifestyle in the US to head to Chiang Mai in Thailand to start a new life. This is when Tieland to Thailand was formed, originally to share with friends and family what life in Thailand was like the blog has now evolved into one of the go-to blogs for all things Thailand related. They’ve written posts covering destinations from the north to the south and east to west, plus tips, advice and information on life as an expat in Thailand,day to day living and teaching in Thailand.

2) An American in Bangkok

An American in Bangkok is a blog detailing Scott Mallon’s (the owner of the site) life in a foreign country and how he copes with the day to day life and cultural differences in a country completely different to his native America. His blog allows you to understand what it’s like to live in Thailand, the realities of day to day life, the range and taste of Thai food and of course the friendliness of Thai people. An American in Bangkok also covers the exotic and not so exotic places he visits on his adventures around Thailand.

3) IamKohChang

IamKohChang is the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about the island that is Koh Chang. The site contains a mass of information including the range of accommodation that can be found on the island, different types of activities, getting to, from and around the island in the transport section and a detailed overview of the popular area/beaches to visit around Koh Chang. The website is run by a guesthouse owner on the island so all the information is current and kept up to date.

4) Thaizer

Roy Cavanagh is the man behind the site Thaizer.com for which he’s put together to help provide answers and insights for anyone planning a trip to the ‘Land of Smiles’. Having travelled extensively throughout Thailand and now living in the country his wealth of information has helped make Thaizer.com one of the top blogs on Thailand. There is a mountain of information from ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ while visiting the country to current affairs and events and festivals. If an event or occasion is happening in Thailand then you’ll usually find out about it on Thaizer.

5) Jamie’s Phuket

After visiting 50 plus countries Jamie found himself in Phuket where he settled down, started a family and in 2006 the blog Jamie’s Phuket was born. The blog started because Jamie wanted to show what the real Phuket was like, not just the usual tourist places you see and hear about. And while the blog does cover the main tourist areas it mainly focuses on off the beaten path places where few tourists venture. The blog covers a vast array of information on the island including accommodation, things to do and a great selection of restaurants to try.

6) Thai Travel Blogs

Richard Barrow was one of the first Thailand based travel bloggers and is the man behind the site Thai Travel Blogs which he’s put together to provide tourists with the latest news and events happening in Thailand. He’s been exploring Thailand for over twenty years so has a great insight on the way of life in Thailand plus the best places to visit. The site itself is full of information regarding the many festivals and events which happen in Thailand throughout the year, to the massively popular Songkran to the lesser known Thailand Balloon Music festival, everything is covered here.

7) Can I Live in Thailand

Planning on moving to Thailand to start a new life? Then you’ve found the right place to be. Can I live in Thailand was put together for people wanting to find out the relevant information before making the move to Thailand. The site contains a wealth of information to make the transition of moving to a new country as simple as possible, whether you need to find out about visas, the cost of living in Thailand, renting or the best areas to live, this site has it all plus much more. You’ll also find the owner runs their own Thailand expat blog alongside the site which includes a mass of information as well as tips and guides on life and travel in Thailand.

8) Pattaya Unlimited

First published in 2009, Pattaya Unlimited is essentially an ultimate guide to Pattaya for tourists and ex-pats. The site covers a wide range of topics including he site owners own life experiences of living in Thailand. The site is full of reviews, guides, photos of Pattaya and its beaches, plus the local tourist attractions and best places to eat. Also the more of the unusual Thai customs and cultural differences which happen in day to day life in Thailand.

9) Tips Thailand

Tips Thailand is a blog published in Dutch but you can easily translate it with Google and is definitely worth doing. Dutch couple Sander and Mariska quit their jobs in 2014 to move to Thailand indefinitely. Tips Thailand was set up to allow them to showcase their experiences of living and travelling in Thailand. They’ve put together an extensive list of hotels which they’ve visited and reviewed alongside a great destination guide on where they’ve travelled to in Thailand. So, although it’s not in English it makes the list of best Thailand travel blogs as there are  some awesome posts detailing some very useful information such as what vaccines are needed in Thailand, solo female travel and the Top 25 beaches to visit.

10) Expique

Expique is a website that has the aim to develop a range of unique travel experiences in Bangkok, which in itself is a great idea and they run some brilliant tours. Also on the site, Expique has a blog section with some decent, valuable information on all things Bangkok. The blog literally covers everything, from day to day life in the city, to the best markets to visit, unusual food to try and of course the best places to drink. If you need to find something about Bangkok then you’re more than likely to find it on Expique.

Tips for first time visitors to Thailand

Thailand For Newbies

Avoid These First Timer Mistakes & Enjoy Your Holiday in Thailand

Thousands of tourist descend on Thailand every year and while many trips go by without major problems many common mistakes are still made. Whether it’s being scammed on a tuk-tuk ride or being ripped off just because you’re a tourist, all these mistakes can be avoided just with a little research and common sense.

Set out below is the most common mistakes made while in Thailand and how to avoid them, making your trip more enjoyable and less forgettable.

Gem Scams

The gem scam is one of the biggest scams in Thailand and even though it’s highly documented tourists still get caught out, the majority of incidents take place in Bangkok but it can happen throughout Thailand.

The con-artists target new arrivals in and around the main tourist attractions such as the Grand Palace or the National Museum. They proceed to tell you that said tourist attraction is closed and they can offer you a super cheap 20B tuk-tuk ride to another attraction. You then get whisked away on your super cheap tuk-tuk ride to an average temple, where funnily enough you just happen to bump into a smartly dressed man who can sell you bulk gems at a very special price to then resell for a massive profit in your own country.

The tuk-tuk driver will then take you to a special gem shop to buy your bargain gems to resale and make your fortune, funny enough the gem shops only accept cash and you guessed it once you get back home and go to resale the gems, they are only a fraction of the price you were told you’d get for them. Hundreds of people fall for this scam, make sure it isn’t you!

Packing Too Much

Any newbies going to Thailand or even Southeast Asia usually pack way more than they need. A good rule of thumb to follow is to lay out everything you want to take and then half it, be brutal and only take the essentials. You won’t want to be dragging your suitcase around in hot and humid temperatures. Also once in Thailand, if you’ve forgotten anything you can pick up almost anything from the markets at a fraction of the price you would in your own country.

Elephant Rides

One of the most sought after activities for tourists visiting Thailand is riding an elephant, everyone loves elephants and a lot of people also want to jump on their back and go for a ride. Unfortunately for the elephants it’s not such a treat, they are overworked, underfed and mistreated. The strain and weight on their back eventually breaks it and the elephants become unworkable and are disposed of.

If you do decide you want to go on an elephant ride, do your research on the camps with regard to the conditions and treatment towards the elephants. Another option is to visit the elephant camps where you spend the day feeding and cleaning the animals but not riding them, these camps treat the elephants with great respect and care.

Attire at Temples

This is always a sensitive subject. Temples are everywhere in Thailand and are near on impossible to avoid, at some point during your visit you may find yourself want to enter one and have a look around. The majority of temples have a strict dress code and will not allow you to enter unless you adhere to the rules.

As a rule of thumb make sure your shoulders and knees are covered and remove your shoes before going inside. Don’t be one of those disrespectful tourists who wander around in swimsuits and skimpy outfits, respect their culture and the Thai’s will welcome you with bigs smiles.

Taxi Meters

One of the biggest mistakes tourists make while in Thailand is jumping into a taxi without a meter or without the meter turned on. This is especially the case in Bangkok and after you’ve landed at the airport, your tired and just want to get to your accommodation so take the first taxi you come across. It may sound like your getting a good deal compared to your home country but with the meter on it will be loads cheaper.

Before getting in a taxi make sure the meter is on, if not ask for it to be turned on. If the driver refuses, shut the door and wait for the next taxi. Don’t get fooled into thinking you’re getting a good deal without the meter, you won’t be.

Over Planning

If you’re planning to head to Thailand and travel around the country it can be very tempting to over plan your trip and pre-book accommodation and tours. A lot of people do this due to it being a new country and are unsure how easy it is to book once there.

Speak to experienced travellers and they will always tell you to never book too far ahead as plans change all the time, you may arrive in one place and fall in love with it and want to stay longer, or you may hate it and want to leave straight away. The best advice is always to book your first night and then go from there. Go and explore, enjoy your freedom and have an adventure you can’t book via a tour.

Eating Thai Food

Pad Thai, spring rolls, Kai Jeow and of course the infamous deep fried insects are just a small amount of street food you can try in Thailand. But a lot of new visitors are worried that if you eat the street food you’ll be ill, and while this may happen it’s just as likely you’ll be ill from a 4-star restaurant.

It’s definitely recommended to try the street food as it’s delicious and not to be missed, so don’t be put off. Some good advice to follow to avoid illness is to eat where the locals eat, ( Check out our recommended restaurants on Koh Chang. ) make sure the food is cooked fresh in front of you and to carry and use hand sanitizer with you at all times and use before eating.

Follow these helpful tips above to make your first time in Thailand run smoothly and most importantly enjoy your time in the land of smiles!

Tips to help you prepare for a vacation in Thailand

Preparing for a trip to Thailand

Some tips on getting ready for your holiday in Thailand.

Travelling to a new country can be an exciting, but daunting experience, especially if you’re heading to a country like Thailand which has a completely different culture to your own country of residence.

But fear not, as long as you’ve done some basic research and preparations for your trip then the whole experience will be a lot more enjoyable. To help you on your way we’ve compiled a list of the top things to prepare before setting off on your adventure.  These will help you whether you are visiting Koh Chang or elsewhere in the Kingdom

Baggage Allowance

Your bags are packed and ready to go but have you checked the baggage allowance for the airline you’re flying with. It varies between each airline and even some routes so it’s always best to check while booking the flight than turning up at the airport and having to pay an excess baggage fee.

Low coast airlines often have no checked baggage allowance included and is always an extra cost, so be wary and double check before setting off. To avoid these extra cost you can always just take everything you need in hand luggage, with a bit of practice its very easy to do this.

Passport and Visas

Before leaving check your passport has at least six months left before the date of expiry and that you have enough page room for a visa stamp.

Talking of visas before you leave make sure you’re clued up on what the visa requirements are for the country you’re travelling to. Depending on your nationality some countries such as Thailand allows you to get a visa upon arrival while for others you’ve got to apply in advance.

Travel Insurance

Along with your passport and visa, travel insurance is a necessity when travelling abroad. There are hundreds of insurance companies out there vying for your business so make sure you choose wisely and that the insurance covers everything you need including any activities you plan to partake in such as scuba diving or bungee jumping. Remember cheapest doesn’t always mean better and make sure you read the small print.

Accommodation

When heading abroad to a new country the majority of people prefer to plan everything ahead and get accommodation booked up. While this is best practice on a two week holiday it’s not always the way to go for a longer period of time, especially if you’re moving around the country.

It’s always good to book the first couple nights accommodation just so it allows you time to settle into your new surroundings. But booking everything in advance may hinder your experience, you may really like one place and want to stay longer or completely hate it and want to leave asap. Not booking in advance gives it the freedom to pick and choose and also pick up some great last minute deals for accommodation. There are exceptions, it’s always best to book ahead during busy periods, such as Christmas and New Year.

Vaccines & First Aid

Before you set off on your trip abroad always check to see if you need any vaccines. Some countries you need vaccines to protect you against diseases such as typhoid or yellow fever and other places you don’t need any at all. Also take note as to what part of the country you are visiting as that can also make a difference to whether you require vaccines or not.

Another top tip is to always take a first aid kit with you and include basics such as paracetamol, plasters, alcohol wipes, rehydration sachets and Imodium or something similar for travellers belly.

Money, Money, Money!

You’ve saved hard and now it’s time to spend it, but what is the best way to manage your money while abroad? Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards are accepted worldwide, all you need to remember before you set off is to let your bank know you’ll be using your card abroad so it doesn’t get blocked.

When it comes to cash it’s always better to wait until you’ve landed and left the airport before you exchange your money into the local currency. The rate you will get on the street will be more favourable than the airport and if you need cash straight away use the ATM in the airport to get cash at a better rate.  Check today’s exchange rates at Bangkok Bank.

Thailand Etiquette and cultural guide

Do’s & Dont’s in Thailand – A Brief Guide to Thai Etiquette

How to adapt to Thai culture

Visiting Thailand can, for some be a complete culture shock, especially for westerners who have never left Europe or America. Thai etiquette and culture has certain customs and etiquette that most will be unfamiliar with and have never experienced before. Before visiting any new country it’s always a good idea to check up on the countries customs to save embarrassment or worse offending the local residents while visiting the country.

Remember and following a few simple rules while traveling in Thailand will help you stand out from other tourists and hopefully earn you respect from locals which in turn will enhance your experience and could possibly open up new opportunities on your trip to Thailand.

Below you will find a list of simple do’s and dont’s to follow while in Thailand, do not be put off by this list, the majority of Thai’s are very easy going and will not be offended if you happen to forget to perform a wai or eat with a spoon.

Dont’s for Thailand

Don’t point your feet

Pointing your feet at someone is considered very rude in Thailand and should be avoided at all costs. The feet are considered as the lowest and dirtiest part of the body and the bottoms should never be pointed at anyone, especially at Buddhas. While sitting on the floor try and sit in a way that doesn’t bare the soles of your feet by tucking them beneath you and never rest them on anything such as a chair or table.

Don’t touch the head

While the feet are considered the dirtiest part of the human body the head is considered the most sacred part and should not be touched, even ruffling a child’s hair is offensive and shouldn’t be done.

Don’t offend HM the King

One thing you will notice when visiting Thailand is a number of photos and statues you will see of the king. The king of Thailand is the worlds oldest monarch and should never be disrespected including images and even the currency which has a picture of him on. Being openly disrespectful can land you in serious trouble and even in some cases prison.

Don’t point

As in most cultures pointing at someone is considered rude, especially in Thailand. Pointing at an object or animal is ok but try to use your whole hand to point rather than just a finger.

Don’t get mad

Things will go wrong while traveling through Thailand which will annoy and irritate you. Whether it’s your overnight bus breaking down, getting scammed or the non-stop harassment of market stall sellers and tuk-tuk driver, what ever happens don’t get mad and start shouting and showing strong emotions, this is frowned upon in Thailand and won’t go down well with locals. Instead, try and keep calm, smile and laugh it off, and move on.

Do’s for Thailand

Remove your shoes

Like many Asian cultures, you are required to remove your shoes before entering a temple or someone’s house. This can also extend to some restaurants and shops. If staff are not wearing shoes or there are a pile of shoes outside the entrance then this is a sure sign you will also need to remove your shoes. Quick tip – wearing flip flops or slip on shoes makes this process so much quicker and easier.

Use your right hand

Always use your right hand while eating, passing objects and when paying. The reason for this is because the left hand is considered dirty as in most Asian cultures it is used for toilet functions.

Return a Bow (Wai)

The wai is Thailand’s version on a bow. The hands are placed together like you are ready to pray in front of you and then you bow your head slightly. It’s considered rude not to return a Wai unless you are a monk or the king of Thailand.

Respect monks

You will encounter monks all over Thailand, sometimes in places you least expect. If you do happen to meet a monk always treat them with respect, perform a wait and remember if you are female you must not touch a monk.

Respect Buddha images and statues – Buddha is held in the highest regard and sacred, always respect Buddha where ever you come across an image or statue in public.

Use a spoon to eat

The correct way to eat the delicious Thai cuisine is with a spoon in your right hand. You can use a fork in your left hand to move the food onto the spoon but the fork should never go into the mouth.

Tips and advice on what to bring for a holiday to Thailand.

How to Pack for a Holiday in Thailand

What should you bring to Thailand?

Depending on the type of person, packing for a trip to Thailand can be a hassle free experience where you’re packed and ready to go in ten minutes or you could be that person who’s panicking weeks in advance, packing and unpacking continuously until the day of departure, all the while having a packing meltdown.

Whichever category you fall into the following Thailand packing tips will hopefully make it that little bit easier for you to decide on what to pack, what to leave at home and erase any of your packing worries. But before we begin with the packing list, first of all, you will need something to pack everything into. Usually, this comes down to personal preference, ideally, if you are heading to a resort for two weeks and staying in the same place then a roller suitcase will be fine. But if you are travelling around Thailand visiting numerous places and catching different transport then a rucksack would be a more convenient option.

Whichever option you choose, make sure it’s sturdy, comfortable and well made, this is one item that’s worth investing in and not go cheap.

Another option to consider are packing cubes, these work with any type of luggage and will make you question yourself why you haven’t used these earlier. Packing cubes make it very easy to pack, unpack and organise your clothes, making it easier to find something quickly without having a pile of clothes on the floor.

So you’ve got your luggage and packing cubes, so now you want to know what you need to pack for a trip to Thailand. Speak to anyone who travels more than the average person and they will tell to lay out what you plan to take and then half it. Always pack less and if you do forget anything you can always buy it once in Thailand and usually for a lot less than you would back home, this is especially true for toiletries and T-shirts and dresses.

Clothes & Footwear

Thanks to Thailand’s warm climate you rarely have to worry about being cold, unless you are travelling through the hilly north where the mornings and evenings can become chilly. You can leave your cold weather clothes at home and just pack your warm weather gear, just include a light fleece and maybe a thin rain jacket for those unexpected showers.

Where possible always pack light weight and thin clothing, linen, light cotton or a quick dry material is favourite amongst travellers. It’s light so you don’t get as hot and sticky in the heat compared to if you was wearing polyester shirts, plus if you need to do washing it dries very quickly.

Another thing to consider when packing is that if you are planning to visit temples you must show respect by covering your shoulders and wearing long trousers or a long length dress.

As for shoes, you can leave those heavy boots or high heels at home, the footwear of choice in Thailand is the flip flop or sandal. A lightweight running trainer is also a popular choice and if your planning on doing some treks lightweight hiking shoes are the way to go.

Also remember many restaurants, temples and some shops require you to remove your shoes before entering, that’s why the flip-flop is the top choice due to the ease of removing quickly.

Toiletries & First Aid kit

Unless you are on medication prescribed by your doctor and need to carry tablets you can go easy on packing a first aid kit. Just pack the essentials such as sunscreen, pain relief and anti-diarrhoea tablets, a few plasters, mosquito repellent and hand sanitizer. Once in Thailand, you can buy anything you need in the local pharmacy, it may not be the same brand name your use to but it will still do the same job.

The same goes for toiletries, pack the basics and then if you run out you can top up and replace once in Thailand.

Electrics & Misc.

Travel Adapters – Before leaving to Thailand check to see if you need a travel adapter. The sockets in Thailand fit two kinds of plugs, the European 2 circular pins and the North American 2 flat blades. If you are from a country that doesn’t use these two types of plugs then you will need a travel adapter.

Camera – Thailand is a country where there is a photo opportunity around every corner, it may be an awesome sunset or a stunning temple, make sure you have a camera to hand so you can capture the moment and relive the memories from your trip to Thailand.

Other useful items to consider packing are…
Laptop
USB memory stick
Small padlock
Guidebook
Sunglasses
Waterproof bag

This is just a guide on what to pack for a trip to Thailand, what may be perfect for one person may not be ideal for the next. Just remember packing light is always better and more importantly enjoy your trip to Thailand.

Tips for learning Thai language for a holiday in Thailand.

How to Learn Some Basic Thai language

Is learning Thai difficult?

Very few travellers heading to Thailand on short visits try and learn the Thai language, the two main reasons being that English is widely spoken especially in Bangkok and the main tourist areas. Secondly, the Thai language is hard to learn compared to say Spanish or Italian. For a start, the Thai alphabet is made up of 44 consonants and 30 vowels, compared to the English alphabet of 26 and it’s all in strange unfamiliar symbols.

But that’s not to say the Thai language is impossible to learn, far from it in fact. By making an effort to learn some of the basic words to help you get by will not only earn you more respect from the Thai’s but will possibly open up opportunities that other tourists may not get to experience.

So you may be thinking how do I go about starting to learn a new language? Follow these simple steps below and you’ll be speaking Thai in no time at all…

Get a Learn Thai App

Nowadays most people carry or have access to a smart phone, so what better way to learn Thai than using your phone via apps. Not only can you use it to learn Thai while at home, but also on your commute to work, during your lunch break and even on the flight to Thailand, so what’s stopping you!

Head to your App Store and search Thai language and you will be presented with quite a vast selection of apps (some free, some paid) helping you to learn the Thai language. To save yourself some time searching through each app here are some of the more popular ones…

Walen Thai – this app has been designed to help you learn the fundamentals of the Thai language by guiding you through the process of learning the Thai alphabet and numerical system. By interacting with the characters the app helps you easily learn and memorise the alphabet and in turn start to master some Thai language.

Speak Thai – the Tourism Authority of Thailand developed this app to help your visit to Thailand run smoothly and enable you to interact with locals. The app is a portable translator which includes over 2,500 words to help you communicate with Thai’s with just a few simple touches. The app is great to hear and understand the pronunciation of each word.

Learn Thai – Learn Thai is a free and easy to use mobile phrase book that provides visitors to Thailand wanting to learn the language a good start in doing so. The app has been Developed by Thai people to provide the most authentic pronunciation whilst ensuring it’s still easy to understand and learn from. The basic version contains over 400 essential phrases which include greetings, general conversation and transportation.

Tips to Practice Your Thai

If for what ever reason you’d rather not use an app to learn Thai language then follow these steps below to help you on your way to tackling Thai.

Learn the Thai alphabet – as previously mentioned the Thai alphabet consists of 44 consonants and 30 vowels which at first can be quite overwhelming. But many of the vowels are the same just pronounced with either a short or longer sound, so it’s not as formidable as first thought. As you start getting associated with the alphabet you will begin to understand the language which in turn will help with your speaking.

Practice writing Thai letters and basic words – by practice writing Thai letters you will learn to associate the symbols and sounds with words that are familiar to yourself.

Before you arrive in Thailand a good technique to apply is making note cards with basic Thai words. You can then carry the note cards around with you and practice as you go.

Make friends with locals – one of the most successful ways of learning the Thai language is by practising with the locals. Once you arrive in Thailand try and make friends with the hotel staff, local bar or shop owner and get practising your Thai. Thai people are very friendly and will be more than happy to help you learn the language, they may also be interested in learning your language too.

Basic Thai Words

Some basic words you could start with are:

Hello – Sawatdee
How are you? – Sabai dee ru
Thank you – Khob Khun
Yes – chai
No – mai chai
I can not speak Thai – pood Thai mai dai
How much? – nee Tao Rai?
Water – naam
Airport – sanaam bin
Hot – ron
Cold – nao
Toilet – hong naam
Ice – naam keng
Beer – bia
1 – neung
2 – song
3 – sam
4 – see
5 – haa
6 – hok
7 – jet
8 – paed
9 – gow
10 – sip

Most importantly be patient, confident and try and take each step at a time, Thai may seem hard, to begin with, but stick with it and you will be speaking Thai in no time at all, good luck!

Recommended travel guidebooks for Thailand

Best Thailand Travel Guidebooks

Top Travel Books about Thailand

When you’re heading on holiday to a new destination like Thailand part of the process before arriving is to research the area you’re heading to, to see what places of interest you want to visit, how to get around via transport, the different types of food on offer and any cultural differences. Nowadays a lot of people just get on Google and search to find out all the answers needed and Google is great for that, but sometimes you can’t beat a good book.

All the information is there which you dip in and out of it whenever you need it, without worrying if you have a wifi connection or not. Go to your local bookstore and head to the travel section where will find a good selection of Thailand travel books, but which ones to choose? Below are some top picks to help you on your way…

Lonely Planet Thailand

Lonely Planet has become the world’s leading experts on travel guides, head to any book shop and there will always be a large selection of Lonely Planet travel guides. Lonely Planet Thailand provides you with the most up-to-date and relevant information to prepare for your trip to Thailand. They give you tips on where to go and where not to go plus some off the beaten path places that not all tourists make it to. A very popular feature included in the guide are the detailed maps, easy to read and follow with each being marked with the top hotspots of that particular area or city. The restaurant and hotel recommendations are good but not always suitable for every type of traveller, so it’s definitely worth doing extra research.


Overall the Lonely Planet guide books are a great source of information for any potential visitor, easy to read and follow you can see why they are so popular. But there are other guide books available and are worth considering.

Rough Guide to Thailand

An alternative to Lonely Planet is the Rough Guide to Thailand guide book. 800 pages long the guide is full interesting and readable information on all things Thailand. The Rough Guide productions tend to be less colourful than its opposition instead providing the facts and information you need in a well designed and presented way.

Useful, detailed maps are included and pictures used when needed but not continuously used throughout the guide. Overall if you aren’t a fan of Lonely Planet or looking for a guide which gets straight to the point then Rough Guide to Thailand is the book for you.

Thailand’s Best Street Food

If you’re heading to Thailand and are interested in the different types of street food and tips on ordering then this is the ideal book for you. Thai street food is known worldwide from the staple Pad Thai to the unique fried insects, the book is full of colourful photos and great recipes allowing you to recreate your favourite dish on the return home.

Also Included in the book you will find listings with maps and directions on where to locate certain stalls, making it easier to pick out your favourite dish and head straight to the stall of choice. This book is a must have for any foodies and travellers interested in learning more about the famous Thai Street food.

Diving & Snorkelling Guide to Thailand

Thailand is on of the cheapest places in the world to learn how to dive, with the majority of visitors heading to the small island of Koh Tao to get their PADI certification and dive the wealth of sites surrounding the islands. But it’s not just Koh Tao where the diving is great, dives sites are found throughout the waters of Thailand and this guide features the majority of them.

The book provides great insight to each dive site, giving details on how to get there, expected diving conditions and details of the marine fauna and flora expected to be seen. A great guide for any budding or experienced diver heading to Thailand.

Thailand – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Thailand Culture Smart is a comprehensive guide on surviving the cultural differences you will experience while visiting Thailand. The book provides some helpful insights into the culture and society of Thailand, from customs, values and traditions to the do’s, don’t’s and taboos.

The information found in this book will help you serve any potential embarrassing mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations and turn your visit to Thailand into an enriching experience.


Will you get Malaria in Thailand?

Mosquitoes and Malaria in Thailand

Will You Catch Malaria on Holiday in Thailand?

The big question is when traveling to Thailand do you need to take Malaria tablets? And for the vast majority of visitors, the answer is no you don’t. But don’t start thinking that must surely mean they’re no mosquitoes right? Because you would be widely mistaken, Thailand is in the tropics and is full of mosquitoes, sometimes there is no escaping these pesky biting insects and you will probably at some point get bitten. But apart from a few remote areas where tourists hardly visit the chance of catching malaria is very low.

The main areas of the country where visitors are at risk of catching malaria are remote areas bordering Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. If you do happen to find yourself in these areas and get bitten, don’t panic as not all mosquitoes carry malaria, only certain types carry the disease. But you should always try and take steps to prevent getting bitten as these can be a better option than buying expensive anti-malarial tablets which can be ineffective and carry some nasty side effects depending on the person.

Your doctor may tell you that you need to take Malarone – but are they just saying that because it’s an expensive medication? In fact the Thai medical authorities are opposed to any visitors taking ant-malarial medications as that leads to mosquitoes growing resistant to the drugs in areas where they are really required.  Malarone cant be bought or prescribed to the public in Thailand.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes tend to be more active early in the morning before sunrise and after the sunsets in the evening. Which can be a problem for anyone going out wearing aftershave or perfume as mosquitoes are particularly attracted to these scents. It’s also a good idea to keep away from still water and humid, airless environments as mosquitoes love these conditions and thrive in it.

Some ways to prevent or minimise getting bitten is to wear long trousers and long sleeve tops during the high-risk times. There is also some evidence that mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing so try and wear something light coloured. Also if your Hotel has it turn on the air conditioning as the cooler temperatures help keep away mosquitoes.

The best and most successful way to prevent yourself from getting mosquito bites is to get yourself some DEET. Depending on what type you get it can be strong stuff and you’ve got to be careful with it as it can bleach your clothes. DEET is available to buy in any country but it can be expensive, some visitors wait until they arrive in Thailand to buy it where every pharmacy, 7-eleven and supermarket sell it, usually cheaper than what you can get back home.

Another couple options you can use to prevent mosquito bites is to buy mosquito repellent plug in adapters. You basically plug them into the socket and every once in a while it lets off a spray releasing the repellent. Another option is a mosquito net, but unless you are planning to sleep outside or in beach huts where most come provided anyway it’s not really necessary.

Treating Mosquito Bites

If you are unlucky and do happen to get bitten by a mosquito which you probably will then just like most insect bites you will be very tempted to itch and scratch the infected area. Even though a good itch feels good it can actually make the bite worse, as you itch it releases histamine can make the bite appear redder and blotchy. The majority of bites are minor irritations but if you do happen to suffer bruising or swelling you should seek medical advice asap.

When traveling to Thailand it’s advisable to carry a tube of hydrocortisone in your first aid kit, applying this will help take away the itching and redness. Another option is to use Tiger balm which is very effective for insect bites and can be found anywhere in Thailand, it’s actually great for a lot of things so worth getting when you are in Thailand.

Other Diseases Mosquitoes Can Carry

Two other known diseases that mosquitoes carry and have known to be an issue in certain areas in Thailand are Dengue Fever and Japanese Encephalitis. Both of these diseases can be caught in Thailand but like malaria, it’s only found in remote rural areas. Dengue fever seems to be more prevalent during the rainy season, but most guest houses and hotels take certain measures to protect guests and even carry out anti-mosquito spraying.

Is travel insurance necessary for a trip to Koh Chang?

Do You Need Travel Insurance For Thailand

Why Take Out Travel Insurance?

You’ve got your passport ready, bag packed and your money ready but have you remembered, probably the most important item before travelling abroad? Travel insurance for Thailand is often overlooked, but is crucial.

Leaving home without travel insurance could be one of the biggest mistakes you could ever make.  No matter how careful you are mistakes can and will happen even if it’s not your own doing, credit cards can go missing, flights can be delayed and expensive electronics break, so why, take the risk and worry of not being insured when you should be enjoying yourself.

Nine times out of ten travel insurance will be the biggest waste of money on your travels because that means you haven’t needed to use it, but that one time you do need it your be thankful you’ve got it.

This post is inspired by the tragic story of a British man who was critically injured in a motorbike accident in Thailand recently.  Sadly, he didn’t have insurance that covered this eventuality.

So what kind of travel insurance do you pick?

A quick search in Google and you will be presented with hundreds of companies offering thousands of different policies, so where the hell do you start? First off you need to decide what you want/need to be insured for, are you going to participate in extreme sports? Perhaps you’re going to be carrying a lot of expensive camera gear or maybe you’re going to be visiting a high-risk country? All theses factors have to be considered when selecting the insurance policy which best suits your needs.

When choosing your insurance policy these five things should be included for any trip.

1) Coverage for lost or stolen items

For this you need to try and get enough coverage to cover the price of electronics and valuables, unfortunately a lot of policies provide nowhere near enough coverage so be wary when choosing your policy as you may need to pay for higher coverage or insure your valuables through a separate specialised insurance company. The majority of policies will only pay out if you have filed a police report and have proof the item was yours in the first place, i.e a receipt of purchase.

2) Coverage for lost baggage

Baggage can go missing, especially if you’re catching many flights through different countries, things happen and even though it’s rare you can find yourself stood at the baggage carousel waiting for your non-existing bag. Before you pack, make a note or take a picture of the contents, it will help and make the process of the claim easier.

3) Trip cancellation or interruption

This coverage is ideal to get if you’re paying upfront for an expensive organised tour which is difficult to cancel or has a no refund policy or if you have a family member at home in poor health and something happens to them before or after your trip has started. One thing to check is that your credit card doesn’t already cover you for this, quite a few do and it’s worth checking.

4) Emergency medical transportation

Fingers crossed you never have to use this but it’s always worth making sure you’re quite substantially covered for medical transportation. If you have a medical emergency and need to be airlifted by helicopter you be great full your covered as a medivac doesn’t come cheap, even in poorer countries.

5) Emergency medical and dental care

Another one to make sure you’ve got substantial coverage for.  And while it won’t cover a doctors check up it will cover any major medical emergency you may be unfortunate enough to receive such as severe illness or broken bones. Your more than likely have to pay up front and be reimbursed lately but some insurance companies will pay directly to the hospital after a phone call.

Finally, once you have chosen the best policy for travel insurance to Thailand and have checked it’s suited to your plans,  make sure you completely understand it and check the small print. Insurance companies are well known for trying to get out paying out. Make sure all the information is correct and truthful if you have any long term illnesses be sure to declare it as the insurance company will find out one way or another and you could be left with a large medical bill to pay.

One final tip is to keep all your receipts for everything, including accommodation, transport and doctors bills, you will need them if you make a claim. Most importantly purchase travel insurance so you can have worry free travels knowing you’re covered for any emergencies.

Stay safe and make a note of the important local emergency numbers for Koh Chang.  These can be found here.

Where to stay in Thailand

Where to Visit in Thailand?

So of course, Koh Chang is already top of your list . . .but here are some ideas for other places to stay in Thailand.  Why not take a visit next tripo?

Bangkok

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is usually the first port of call for the majority of visitors coming into Thailand and south-east Asia, and while many tourists head out to the mountains in the North and islands in the south of the country, Bangkok has plenty to offer.

It’s a city of contrast, where you will find towering multi-million-pound skyscrapers built next to wooden shacks, but it has a certain vibe and buzz which attracts thousands of tourists a year. With a mix of modern and traditional you can spend a day wandering the streets visiting temples, historic markets, holy shrines and then go for a drink in one of the many sky bars or take a shopping trip to the modern malls and food courts.

Whether you’re there for a day or a month you will nether be bored as Bangkok is full of surprises.  Most people pass through Bangkok on their way to Koh Chang, if you need to know how to get here, read our handy guide

Luxury – Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
Mid-Range – Siamotif Boutique Hotel
Budget – The Cube Hostel



Booking.com

 

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand’s northern capital is the complete opposite to Bangkok. Tourists escape to the city to relax and recharge their batteries, to wander the backstreets, sample the amazing food and discover this amazing Thai city.

With a very laid back and calm atmosphere, Chiang Mai has become a very popular place to visit, with a feel of a sleepy country town rather than a bustling city. Surrounded by lush green mountainous countryside there is plenty to do, including some amazing waterfalls and of course the elephant sanctuaries.

Luxury – The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
Mid-Range – Baan Klang Wiang
Budget – Varada Place

Koh Lanta

One of Thailand’s many southern islands, Ko Lanta has become a luscious getaway for tourists visiting Thailand. While not as popular as Phuket or Phi Phi, Lanta remains more relaxed and closer to the real Thailand compared to the former two. The island has some amazingly beautiful beaches, hidden coves, coral reefs and good, nearby dive spots and with a relatively flat terrain and good roads it’s an ideal place to explore by motorbike.

Luxury – Layana Resort and Spa
Mid-Range – Lanta Castaway Beach Resort
Budget – Mook Lanta Resort

Phuket

Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is located in the balmy Andaman Sea and is a very popular tourist destination which has turned the island into Thailand’s wealthiest province. Compared to the rest of Thailand it’s expensive and not a place to visit on a tight budget for an extended stay.

The most popular beaches are Patong, Kata and Karon beach, but the island is so big there are plenty of places to escape the crowds and go on an adventure. Phuket is rapidly growing, and while it’s great for a beach holiday there are better places to go if you want to experience the real Thailand.

Luxury – Trisara Phuket
Mid-Range – Eastin Yama Hotel Phuket
Budget – Patong Princess Hotel



Booking.com

Koh Chang

Jungle covered peaks, sweeping bays and white sand beaches are just some of the reasons why Koh Chang, in the Gulf of Thailand, is becoming a popular destination amongst tourists. Whether you’re an adventurous type or a beach bum the island caters for everyone, you can sit and relax on one of the many beaches or head inland and hike through the steep jungle interior to the tiered Klong Plu waterfall. The coast is dotted with bays and villages which can be easily explored by motorbike, especially the more remote and rugged East side of the island.

Luxury – The Chill Resort & Spa, Koh Chang
Mid-Range – Baan Rim Nam Guesthouse
Budget – Lonely Beach Resort

Hua Hin

Hua Hin, located on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand was the countries first resort destination and with it being only 200 km away from Bangkok has become a getaway destination for the cities residents. They are plenty of attractions and activities available including world class golf courses, long white sand beaches, luxury resorts and spas plus Buddhist temples and rustic markets making Hua Hin a perfect holiday destination.

Luxury – Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas
Mid-Range – Nern Chalet Beachfront Hotel
Budget – Peony Hotel

Pai

Located near the Myanmar border 146 km north-west of Chiang Mai, once a quiet market village Pai has become similar to a Thai island getaway – without the beaches and warm sea, for tourists and Thai’s. The town is well known for its chilled atmosphere, budget friendly accommodation and restaurants.

Many tourists use Pai as a base for trekking in the surrounding hills visiting the local tribes. Renting a motorbike is also very popular to get out of the town into the surrounding countryside to explore the nearby waterfalls and hot springs.

Luxury – Romance Another Story in Pai Hotel
Mid-Range -Pai Village Boutique Resort & Farm
Budget -Spicy Pai Backpackers

Krabi

Famous for its craggy limestone cliffs, mangrove forests and over a hundred offshore islands, Krabi has become a very popular tourist destination. The area is excellent for scuba diving, rock climbing and island hopping, the beaches are pretty decent too. Ao Nang, Krabi town and Railay are three of the most popular destinations, all three are on the mainland but Railay can only be reached by boat and is a hidden paradise with some stunning beaches, accommodation to suit all budgets and world class rock climbing.

Krabi town and Ao Nang are more your typical Thai tourist town with all the amenities and attraction you’d expect from such towns.

Luxury – Rayavadee
Mid-Range – Aonang Village Resort
Budget -P.A.N Beach Bungalow

Pattaya

Pattaya is a destination that you’ll either love or hate, the city is well known for its wild nightlife scene and its famous walking street and go-go bars, which attracts international visitors, expats and weekend visitors from Bangkok. It also has a reputation as a sex capital which it’s trying hard to budge and not be associated with.

The city is built around a large sweeping bay, lined with resorts, high-rise condos and shopping malls, the beaches are always busy, with jet skiing and parasailing being very popular activities. When it comes to accommodation the city has a large choice to suit all budgets and styles.

Luxury – Sea Sand Sun Resort & Spa
Mid-Range – Amari Ocean Hotel Pattaya
Budget -Pattaya Blue Sky Hotel

Koh Samui

Ko Samui is home to some of Thailand’s most luxurious resorts and is only behind Phuket in the popularity stakes. With an international airport and decent ferry connections Ko Samui is the ideal island destination and unlike Phuket, the skyline isn’t ruined by high rise buildings due to a local law.

The island is home to some of the best beaches and clearest waters, with a choice of over 500 choices of accommodation and enough activities to keep you going for a long time, to many, it’s the perfect place to be.

Luxury – Nora Buri Resort & Spa
Mid-Range – Peace Resort
Budget – Summer Inn

And finally, it goes without saying that the islands of Koh Kood and Koh Mak, close to Koh Chang are also worth checking out if you have the time.  These are less developed than those in the south of Thailand, so ideal if you want to get away from the package tour masses.