Thailand trip-planning FAQ

Answering some of the most common questions for planning a trip to Thailand

When's the best time to go to Thailand?

Thailand is tropical, which means it technically has a rainy season and a dry season. However, in practice the heat and the rain don't quite appear and disappear in lockstep with one another. Thailand is, in general, hottest February to September, while it is rainiest May to October. That puts the sweet spot of the best weather between November and January... Full Story

Is Thailand safe?

Generally, yes: Thailand is safe. Sure, pickpockets abound anywhere there are tourists (especially major sights, markets, and on public transportation), but keep your wits about you—and your valuables in a moneybelt—and void fishy-sounding invitations and shifty characters, and you should be fine... Full Story

Do I need a travel visa or entry visa to visit Thailand?

Most visitors do not need to apply in advance for a visa to enter Thailand. When you land at the airport, the stamp in your passport allows you to stay in Thailand for 30 days. (details: Full Story

Do I need any vaccines to visit Thailand?

You do not normally need any shots to visit Thailand—though some travel medicine experts recommend vaccines against hepatitis and Japanese encephalitis. However, you will need to provide a Yellow Fever vaccine certificate if you are arriving from or have traveled through pretty much any country in South America or sub-Saharan Africa (the list: Full Story

Can I drink the water in Thailand?

Technically, you can drink the water in Thailand—but I'd advise playing it safe and drinking bottled water instead. (After all, most Thais do.) As in much of the developing world, there are plenty of food and waterborne diseases (dysentery, cholera, liver flukes), so try to stick to bottled water (or beer)—and bring a water purifier (like a Steripen or a Katadyn purifier water bottle) for when you can't. On a related subject, avoid raw seafood or undercooked food... Full Story

What about other health concerns and diseases in Thailand?

There is both malaria (largely in rural areas) and dengue fever in Thailand, so do everything possible to cut down on mosquito bites. In any event, if you feel seriously sick, go to the hospital. If you are worried about health insurance the like, see this page... Full Story

Just how bad are the mosquitoes on Thai islands, and are they seasonal?

Thai islands are actually better than the Thailand interior, if for no other reason than the steady light breeze coming off the water keeps mosquitoes at bay. Mosquitoes are a bit worse throughout Thailand during and just after the rainy season (June through October), but are a nuisance year-round. Mosquitoes tend to swarm in the early morning and again in the late afternoon/early evening; plan to stay indoors at these times. Use bug spray with DEET. Wear lightweight, light-c0lored, baggy clothing that covers you from ankle to wrist (spray your clothes with Permethrin for extra protection). Keep windows and doors closed. Always sleep under mosquito netting or go for an air-conditioned room... Full Story

Do I need to book hotels ahead of time?

Not really. Do book during high season in popular places too tiny to support enough hotels to meet demand (like Koh Phi Phi or Railay) and during major festivals (e.g.: Songkrang in Chiang Mai). Also, I always make a point of reserving a room for my first night (or nights) upon arrival. It makes life much less stressful... Full Story

Can I take a day trip to Angkor Wat?

Possible, but not recommended. The Angkor Wat temple complex in neighboring Cambodia is simply massive. A hint: the basic ticket there is good for three days... Full Story

Where can I get more Thailand tourist information?

The official Thailand tourism office site is Also helpful: and

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.