Thailand Holidays

Owing to its reputation for affordability, Thailand is rapidly replacing countries in southern Europe as one of the UK's favourite holiday destinations.

But, as ever, planning a trip halfway across the world can be a daunting task - particularly if it's the first time you're heading outside the EU. Here's our guide on budgeting, timing, and - most importantly - making sure it's the trip of a lifetime.

What's the appeal?

Thailand attracts both large families on all-inclusive package deals and casual back-packers looking to satisfy their appetite for adventure.

If it's an off-the-cuff style holiday you're after, few countries in Asia are better. Thailand has a friendly and affordable hostel circuit, as well as a transport system that is - albeit a little busy - good enough to take you the breadth of the country and back in just a few days.

You're going to want to sample the spirited night life we hear so much about, but don't forget that Thailand is also rich in culture and natural wonders, with some stunning architecture and scenery well worth adding to your bucket list.

Here are some of the landmarks that are non-negotiable:

Chatuchak Market

For those of us brought up in the west, the allure of Thailand's bustling street markets is almost irresistible. For a taste of this, head to Chatuchak, just off Kamphaeng Phet Road in Bangkok.

Wat Phra Kaew Temple

Much of Thailand's rich culture is borne from Buddhism, with Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew one of the most important places of worship in the entire country. The archetecture is magnificent, and tourists are welcome provided they follow the dress code.

Full Moon Party

At the other end of the spectrum is the Full Moon Party, an all-night beach extravaganza hosted on the island of Ko Pha Ngan. If you want to let your hair down, then this is the place to go.

How much should I budget for?

In most circumstances, holidaymakers looking to pinch the pennies are advised to book accommodation well in advance of their trip, and avoid any last minute deals. The very opposite is true when you head to Thailand: turning up on the night is the cheapest way to get a room.

Another good tip, in terms of managing your finances, is to keep your wits about you at all times. While it's wrong to characterise Thai streets as being riddled with crime, tourists are an obvious target for scams in just about any country - particularly those with busy, narrow streets.

Direct two-way flights to from London to Bangkok generally cost in the region of £500 to £600, although there is a way to get around this cost. Take a connecting flight instead and you can save yourself up to £200 a pop - which, of course, frees up extra money to spend when you're actually there.

When should I go?

While Thailand's night life tends to be at its most alluring during the new year, we'd recommend that you avoid booking trips around January, February and March. Flights at this time tend to be at their most expensive.

By contrast, you can find relatively good deals in May and June, sometimes for as little as £350. Hostel rates will also be much more favourable around this time, although you could face competition from students making the most of their holidays.

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