GMT +7 hours
Explore otherworldly temples, jungle-clad national parks and beautiful islands scattered across a glistening emerald sea on our hand-picked Thailand holidays
Whizz between gleaming golden temples in a tuk-tuk; devour combinations of salty, sweet and spicy street food at a night market; and watch elephants wander through an ancient national park – Thailand is a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences.
As you return smiles from just about everyone you meet, you’ll discover why Thailand has long been a favourite with travellers. There’s a warm welcome wherever you go; the only thing you need to do is decide what you’d like to see – whether it’s a glittering royal residence in a hectic city centre or a tranquil island with rich marine life just offshore. Thailand is one of the few places in the world where you can see a city, rainforest and beach in one trip, too.
Give us a call or pop into your local store for a chat and we’ll help craft your perfect tailor-made Thailand holiday.
- Vibrant Bangkok’s endless shopping and intriguing nightlife
- Awe-inspiring sunsets and rock-climbing amid towering limestone cliffs in Krabi
- Humbling temples, elephant sanctuaries, national parks and the captivating Golden Triangle in northern Thailand
- Snorkelling and diving off small islands such as Koh Samui, Koh Lanta and the Koh Yao islands
- World-famous cuisine – whether you fancy speedy street food, three-course fine dining, or whether you want to learn how to make it yourself in a hands-on cooking class.
Best time to visit Thailand
Thailand’s peak season is between November and February when the climate is drier and slightly cooler, while the hottest period is April to May. May to October tends to have higher rainfall but there should still be plenty of sunshine and this is the time to benefit from the greatest value and less crowded beaches. There are seasonal variations between beach resorts – for example, the east coast beach resorts of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan generally have more sun and less rain from May through until June. Northern Thailand is generally cooler than Bangkok in the winter and hotter in the summer.
Thailand holiday highlights
One of the most diverse destinations in Asia, Thailand is a vibrant tapestry of culture, wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes. Walk through temples home to larger-than-life Buddha statues, and then drink in the views of Bangkok’s clamorous streets from a slick rooftop bar, or people-watch from a lively spot on vibrant Khao San Road. As you venture up north it’s a different realm altogether, where the cuisine takes on a more earthy flavour and lush mountainous vistas replace sea and skyscrapers. In the northern capital, Chiang Mai, you can immerse yourself in the hum of its night market or learn about the lives of local hill tribes.
Combining a mainland stay with Thailand’s beautiful beaches is easy with regular domestic flights – and even the more remote islands are worth the journey as you transfer to your hotel via traditional long-tail boat. On Thailand’s gold and white-sand beaches, you can take it easy with a cocktail in hand or a massage in a beachfront sala, or head out into the emerald waters for day trips that wash you ashore idyllic islands or to protected marine parks for snorkelling and diving.
And then there’s the food. Cheap and delicious bites from street vendors, aromatic spices freshly ground with a pestle and mortar in a city cooking class or exquisite morsels at a fine dining restaurant; dining is a treat for all foodies.
Where is Thailand?
Between the Indian and Pacific oceans, Thailand’s mainland is nestled in-between Myanmar (Burma) and Laos in the north as well as bordering Cambodia and Malaysia in the south. It’s home to over 1400 islands which are found around its coast in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
Taxis are the most convenient mode of transport for most journeys, and local metered taxis are often much cheaper than hotel taxis – just make sure the meter is running or to agree on a price beforehand. Thailand’s famous tuk-tuks are a thrilling and unmissable way to get around most cities and resorts. For multi-centre holidays, domestic flights are the easiest and best value way to combine the Northern, Southern and Central Thailand, with some larger islands reachable by air too. For more remote islands, a traditional long-tail boat is a serene way to transfer to your hotel while speedboats are often available too.
A Thai market is an essential experience in Thailand; you can buy beautiful silks, teak-carved handicrafts and flower-carved soaps among the plentiful display of souvenir-worthy trinkets. With the exception of department stores where prices are usually fixed, almost everything is haggled for in Thailand, and many stalls will sell the same items so it can be worth looking around before you buy.
Diving & snorkelling
Thailand has some excellent snorkelling and diving spots. Sea temperatures are warm year-round and visibility can reach over 30 metres during peak season between November and April. Divers can hope to see manta rays, whale sharks, leopard sharks, hawksbill turtles and plenty of tropical fish. The Surin and Similan Islands are some of Thailand’s best dive and snorkelling sites. Both are found off the south-west coast and can be reached by around 1½-hour’s land and speedboat transfer from Khao Lak. Both parks are open between 15 October and 15 May. There’s also snorkelling and diving on the eastern coast in the Gulf of Thailand, where Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi are popular options.
Food & drink
The Thai philosophy is 'eat when you’re hungry', and it’s a great excuse when you’re in a country with world-famous cuisine. Familiar favourites definitely worth a try from its home include pad Thai (fried rice noodles), fragrant and spicy tom yum soup and of course, Thailand’s multiple variations of curry like massaman and penang. And it’s a rite of passage to taste one of the cheap and cheerful morsels from Thailand’s street stalls. Thai food can be very spicy, but instead of gulping down water, eat a few mouthfuls of plain boiled rice to ease the heat. Hotel and resort restaurants will usually cater to western palates; it might be worth asking how spicy a dish is beforehand or specifying how spicy you like it.
As well as chilli, typical Thai ingredients include lemongrass, coconut milk, garlic, ginger and mint. A caramel-coloured fish sauce called nam pla is used in many dishes, and the notorious durian fruit is a definite marmite food. Encased in a spiked outer shell, the creamy yellow fruit can be instantly recognised by its pungent aroma; it’s so strong-smelling that many hotels won’t allow guests to bring it inside. Other exotic fruit includes longan, lychee, rambutan and mango, which is famously eaten which sticky rice and coconut cream as a sweet dessert.
Cuisine noticeably varies by region, and travellers can expect more seafood and curries in the south while Northern Thailand serves up less spicy food with sticky rice. A kantok dinner, based on traditional Lanna banquets, is where you'll try authentic dishes served on a low table and accompanied by classic dance performances. As a rule, it’s safest to stick with bottled water.
Recommended Thailand Hotels
7 nights, Room & Breakfast, 18 Nov '18
7 nights, Room & Breakfast, 25 Sep '18
5 nights, Room Only, 01 Apr '19
7 nights, Room & Breakfast, 11 Sep '18
Suggested Thailand Cruises
Thailand’s top movie locations
Thailand is home to paradise beaches, dense jungle, dramatic limestone cliffs and glistening temples...
Floating markets in Bangkok
Discover the famous floating markets in and around Bangkok with this guide from Kuoni.
Songkran: Thailand's Water Festival
Find out about Songkran, Thailand's annual water festival in 2017, with Kuoni Travel.
7 Thai resorts that you won’t be able to resist
From colonial-style resorts in Hua Hin to hidden villas in a secluded corner of Koh Samui, Centara H...