Over 40 million people travel to Thailand every year and there are many reasons why. It’s one of the cheapest destinations in Asia and there are incredible sights to see, as well as a delicious cuisine to try. Thailand always has hot weather, a lively atmosphere and good people that treat you with the greatest hospitalility.
It is only natural to want to try to explore and see the whole country, since there are many known cities and islands that you’ve only dreamt of going to. This is a detailed guide that will help you travel around Thailand the cheapest way possible.
Where to start from
There are seven international airports in Thailand, but the best starting point is from Chiang Mai, where there is an international airport. Prices for flights can vary, depending on which month you wish to fly and where you’re flying from. However, for the cheapest time to go it is best to look at the months of February and March, where temperatures can hit as high as 30 degrees, meaning that you can still have a sunny vacation.
Chiang Mai is a mountainous city and it is has some of the most stunning temples that you’d ever come across. The Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple in Ratchaworawihan is one example, since it is a preserved golden temple that is sacred to the local people and has some of the most picturesque panoramic views of the city itself.
There are also incredible food markets such as the Warorot Market (Kad Luang), that are run by locals where you can try Thai street food and shop for locally grown or produced Thai products.
As for accommodation, you can easily find a very good and safe hostel with a private room for as little as £5 ($6) per night or shared rooms for as little as £3 ($4) per night. The hostels also have a range of ‘Poshtels’ which are posh versions of hostels that offer private and shared rooms. Prices are slightly higher, ranging between £11 ($14)- ($40)£30 a night. It is recommended to stay there for 3 nights before moving on to the next city, which is Lampang.
The quickest way to get to Lampang is to get the bus which is 1.5 hours long and ticket prices can range between THB 96 ($4 /£2) to THB 617($20/£16).
Lampang is the third biggest city in Thailand and is most certainly worth visiting. If you’re a major foodie and you love trying the local dishes when travelling, then it’s highly advised for you to visit the food markets here. A very popular one amongst the locals is the Kad Kongta Night Market, where you get to see this city come to life at night as people gather round and dine at the local hot-spots and street stalls.
At Lampang there is also a tourist attraction called Baan Sao Nak, where you get to have a tour and see traditionally built Thai houses that have been standing since 1895.
Next to Lampang is Phrae which is worth visiting and is only an 1 hour and 46 minute drive there, with bus tickets costing between THB 211 ($7/£5) – THB 260 ($8 -£8). You do not need to stay at Phrae, but it is worth having a day trip there because they have some of the most beautiful sights to see such as the Buddhist temple Wat Na Khu Ha, where you are surrounded by nothing but greenery and the Pae Muang Pee Forest Park, where there are grand sandstone pillars.
The next destination that you should travel to is the important historical city called Phitsanulok.
You can travel from Phrae to Phitsanulok which is roughly a 3 hour journey and ticket prices vary depending on the bus company you choose to book with. You can find different fares online and even book in advance.
Phitsanulok is a city that has a variety of fun activities to do and many ancient temples to see. If you really want to learn the history of Thailand, then you can make the most out of your stay here by visiting important landmarks and archaeological sites such as the Chan Royal Palace, the Wat Nang Phaya 600 year old temple and the Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat where the golden Buddha is on display.
It is recommended to stay here for 2 nights and you can easily find decent hostels for super cheap prices. Phistanulok has an airport where you can fly out to Bangkok and the duration of the flight is 55 minutes. Tickets can range between £30/$50 – £45/$60 and you can check out airlines such as Nok Air or Thai AirAsia for flight availability.
Bangkok is the bustling capital that is known for its wild nightlife and vibrant street life. It’s a city that will make you feel alive, plus you will have the chance to experience new things like never before. Even though Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, it is still just as cheap and affordable to stay at. You can find great hostels that are stylish, fun and modern for just as little as £9 ($12) a night for shared rooms, whereas private rooms can start from £12 ($16).
There is an airport that you can fly out from Bangkok, however, if you wish to continue your journey to Phuket you can, but it is a 13 hour bus drive and tickets start from the price of £14 ($19). There is also the option to fly to Phuket and the journey is a duration of 1 hour, with tickets starting from £24 ($32) with airlines such as Thai Vietjet Air, Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air.
Phuket is known to be the mountainous island that’s absolute paradise. This island has soft white sand, bright blue waves and picturesque cliff tops that are the perfect backdrop for your travel photos. It is the perfect spot to stay at if you wish to have a beach holiday and you want to unwind.
You can most certainly see the majority of Thailand if you plan your trip accordingly with this guide. Another tip is that you can always work your way up from Bangkok, if you see that flights are cheaper depending on which country you are coming from.