How to Plan a Vacation in Thailand

A Beginner’s Guide for Planning a Trip to Thailand/Phuket/Bangkok

Complete guide for planning a trip to Thailand

In order to reduce your time, I would like to directly jump on to the point by without narration, essays, description etc..

Note: Always plan for an independent trip. Avoid agencies, agents to reduce your cost

Thailand packing list

  1. Clothes (you know it very well and travel towel)
  2. Shoes and chappals or slippers so that you can roam around in beaches and streets
  3. Stationary
  4. A Pen to fill visa application forms and arrival departure card.

  5. Make up
  6. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodarant, moisturiser and any make-up , hair straightener is allowed on airplanes on cabin baggage as well.

    Keep in mind that every make up items should be less than 50 ml or 50 g while travelling on airplanes. Plan accordingly

  7. Power plug
  8. I recommend every traveler to get a travel adaptor. So that you travel to any countries.

    Indian power outlets will support in Thailand.

    Power outlets most commonly has two-prong round or flat sockets

  9. Camera Gear
  10. Camera, Lens, Small Tripod or selfie sticks, Additional batteries and memory cards

  11. Electronics
  12. Powerbank, Headphones, Hair straightener, Travel adaptor, Additional USB cables in case of cable failure, Backpacks/Rucksacks & Luggages

  13. Water Bottle
  14. We highly recommend bringing a reusable bottle for water with you so you can fill it in airports or shops so that you don’t have to pay for the water.

    Note: Security clearance doesn't allow water bottles filled with water. So bring empty bottles or drink it completely before you enter.
  15. Passport, Visa and proofs

Currency

Baht

Best time to go

November and early December may be the best time to visit Bangkok , it doesn’t make much difference too.

Cheapest time to go to Thailand

Generally, flight prices and accommodations will be cheaper between March and October.The cheapest flights to Bangkok are in September and April.

Climate

Three main seasons: hot season from March to June, rainy season from July to October and mid rainy season between November and February

Planning for Visa

There are two kinds of Visa if you are travelling to Thailand. I would recommend you to get Visa on Arrival.

We travelled on January , Thailand has waived off the visa on arrival fee of 2000 Baht to encourage tourism. So it’s free for us. Plan accordingly.

Indian passport holders who are visiting Thailand for Tourism and plan to stay not more than 15 days in the country can avail the Visa on Arrival service.

Indian passport holders will require the following documents for Visa on Arrival service

  1. Airline Boarding Pass
  2. A passport that is valid for at least 6 months following your departure date with at least 2 remaining unused pages for any necessary entry and exit stamps that may be issued.
  3. A completed visa application form available at Immigration checkpoints in Thailand. Once you landed, find the immigration board wherein you will find the visa form in which you have to fill.
  4. One recent photograph of 4 x 6 centimetres headshot not older than 6 months
  5. A confirmed airline ticket showing the departure from Thailand within 15 days of the date of entry. Land exit from Thailand will disqualify you for Visa on Arrival.
  6. A completed Arrival-Departure card, which the airline staff will distribute before landing in Thailand
  7. Proof of means of living expenses while in Thailand, which is 10,000 Baht per person and 20,000 Baht per family.
  8. Please note that you can show this expense in any currency. If you have in INR you can get bank statement. They haven’t asked us about the expense. They checked only the passports and return tickets. Don’t worry about this.
  9. Visa on Arrival application fee of 2,000 Baht

Second type of visa is Apply For Visa before You Travel

You can get a regular Visa from the Royal Thai Consulate General which is in three cities – New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. Your passport will come back to you in 3 working days after your application is fully complete.

Go to Thailand portal for more information.

Currency Exchange

Always exchange your currency, at least 7 days prior to your departure. Exchange at the Forex or travel agencies which gives you lower exchange rates without commission. Shop around and compare exchange rates.

Do Not Exchange at Airports

Airports are known to charge anywhere between 5-10% margin when you buy or sell currency. Only exchange currency at an airport if it is absolutely necessary.

I got 15000 baht planned for the trip. If there is remaining amount after you return from the Thailand and if you don’t need baht anymore , you can exchange at the airports to INR or dollar

How To Get Around Thailand (Complete Plan/Itinerary)

What we explored:

  1. Phuket
  2. Patong beach
  3. Freedom beach(The best beach in the phuket)
  4. Phi Phi Island
  5. Layan Beach

I will let you how we planned the itinerary and executed it.

Download offline Maps

We strongly recommend you to download offline maps for Phuket and Bangkok, So that you can reach any destination without internet.

Day 1- Landing at Phuket International airport

Reached the airport at 6.30 pm.

Once completing the Visa on arrival form, Exit the airport terminal and go to left.

Find the minivan office board in yellow and red color. They will charge 180 baht for one person in minivan (It can hold upto 9 people) to patong beach.

You could also take metered taxi straight about 50 meters is taxi stand. The taxis are colored yellow and red. It costs 500baht plus 50 baht airport surcharge to Patong Beach.

We took minivan that is cheap for us. It directly took us to the hotel.

Stayed in a hotel near to patong beach. It was a pretty decent hotel, so that at night you can roam around the beach and enjoy nightlife.

You can walk from hotel to beach by using offline google maps.

Note: Remember to keep bills when you have paid VAT on shopping, you can claim it back. When you buy your goods and if you would like to claim the tax back and the staff at the shop will give you a tax refund form (known as a PP10) and a tax invoice. You will also need to show your passport together with the immigration card that was attached to your passport on your arrival in Thailand. The PP10 will partly be completed by the store and partly by you. Key points to note: 1.) Goods must be purchased from a store that participates in the VAT refund for tourists scheme 2.) The minimum amount of your purchase is 2,000 Baht.

What to eat in Phuket

  1. Pad Thai
  2. Pancake (Dosa)
  3. Fried Yellow Noodles with chicken, shrimps

You can also find Indian Restaurants at the Patong beach. Search in Google maps.

Note: tipping is not required. You can pay to cashier directly.

Day 2- Heading to freedom beach

Trust me! This is the best beach in the Phuket. You will definitely love it.

Be an early bird to go in the beach, we started at 7 am.

This beach is less crowded because many are not aware of this and also to reach the beach you need to take a ferry.

It may take 17 minutes to reach the Freedom beach from patong beach.

In the southern end from patong beach, you can see long tail boats/ ferry boats are located. Go and ask to the ferry boat person and bargain. He agreed to take us for 1100 baht for a round trip for two persons. If you came as a gang then it will apply the same price only.

Note: Don’t give the total amount while boarding itself. Give half amount for departure alone and while coming back give the remaining amount. They will ask you the time for the pickup from freedom beach to patong beach. Provide them your time. They can understand little English. Use a simple English to speak with them.

Remember to bargain always and reduce the price.

There is only one restaurant at the beach

You can get one young coconut -80 bahts, a local Singha beer -80 bahts, Tom Yam soup -120 Bahts, roasted chicken – 200 Bahts.

Adults can enjoy the nightlife very much as there will be bars and go go bars in patong.

Once done with the enjoyment and photography, we returned to the patong beach at the evening.

Taxi for Transportation

Always hire a metered taxi only. Even if you boarded into a metered taxi, ask them if this is metered or not. Confirm once before boarding in the taxi

Day 3- Heading to Phi Phi Island

12pm is the checkout time for hotel mostly, we checked out the hotel and we already booked a hotel near Phuket town by great deals and seeing the ratings. From patong beach hired a metered taxi after waiting for sometime at the road, started from hotel in patong beach to Phuket town where we checked into a new hotel.

Go to Phuket (Rassada Pier). The rassada pier is the place where ferries and speedboats are located.

The travelling time is about 2 hours. Always go in a ferry boat rather than speedboats as it is costly..

The schedule below displays the ferries between Rassada Pier in Phuket and Tonsai Pier in Phi Phi

You will definitely enjoy the journey.

Read more at:Phi Phi

PHUKET - PHI PHI Ferry Schedule

DEPARTURE Phuket: 08:30 Phuket: 11:00 Phuket: 13:30 Phuket: 15:00

ARRIVAL Phi Phi: 10:30 Phi Phi: 12:30 Phi Phi: 15:30 Phi Phi: 16:30

PHI PHI - PHUKET Ferry Schedule

DEPARTURE Phi Phi: 09:00 Phi Phi: 14:00 Phi Phi: 14:30

ARRIVAL Phuket: 11:00 Phuket: 15:40 Phuket: 16:30

The price is about 500 baht for a one-way ticket

Day 4- Heading to Layan Beach

Checkout time is same 12 pm. Also we need to catch the flight from Phuket to Bangkok at evening. Flight from Phuket to Bangkok is very cheap. It's around 2000 INR for one person. After the packing the things, we decided to spend the time halfway through the airport by heading to Layan beach.

Layan beach is a less crowded beach as most don’t know. But it is certainly a beautiful beach. You will enjoy the journey

Note that,There won’t be much taxi’s available in Layan Beach. So we asked one of the hotel staffs to get us taxi, we ended up paying more as it is not a metered taxi.

Once you reach the Bangkok airport, find the exit and turn right immediately and head for door Number 8 at the far end.

Inside the number 8 room, you can see people waiting for board in the metered taxi. Get a Token from the counter and wait for your token number to appear in the Board displayed above.

Where we stayed in Bangkok

We got the taxi and headed to Phrom Phong. In phrom Phong, stayed in a decent hotel. Taxi fare was around 450 from airport. We chose this place because of Indian Restaurants are nearby as well as sky train is nearby too. Healthy is wealthy!!

If you reach the airport before 12 pm, you can board from Mo chit BTS station (Get a taxi till Mo Chit BTS station only) to Phrom Phong BTS station by skytrain. It operates upto 12 pm only.

If you couldn't reach the airport before 12 pm, then you should come by metered taxi only.

Day 5- Heading to Grand palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun

Heading to Grand palace

Start from (Phrom Phong BTS Station - Chit lom BTS Station) by skytrain.

From Chit lom, Hire a metered taxi and head to Grand Palace(Around 128 baht)

The Grand Palace Timings are 8.30Am -3.30 pm. It's the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace.

For Foreigners, the entry fees for Grand palace is 500 baht for one person.

Heading to Wat Pho

About 650 metres (7 minutes by walk )from Grand palace, you could head into Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho).

Entry fees are 200 baht per person. You will see the majestic Buddha reclining.

Timings of Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) is (8.Am- 6.30pm)

Note: Remember to keep bills when you have paid VAT on shopping , you can claim VAT tax refund.

Heading to Wat Arun

Walk about 200 meters from the Wat Pho to the Tha Tien Pier (Straight Road from Wat Pho).

You will find a ferry pier. You have to pay 8 baht to cross the river and reach the next side in which Wat Arun is located.

Do visit Wat Arun in the Dawn or at the night. The lights are amazing.

Timings of Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) is 08:30 to 17:30

Once done, reach the other side by returning in the same way by paying 8 baht.

Catch a metered taxi and head back to Chit lom BTS station.

From Chit lom BTS station, we reached the Phrom phong BTS station and returned to room.

Day 6- Heading to Chatuchak Weekend Market shopping

Once checking out from room head to Mo chit- BTS station from Phrom Phong BTS station.

Get down at Mo chit BTS station. Head towards Chatuchak Weekend Market by walking about 600 metres(8 minutes by walk).

you will get cheapest prices . This is the recommended place to do shopping.

Once done, That’s it take a metered taxi, head to Don Mueang International airport.

Claim VAT tax Refund

You will find VAT tax refund in the airports.

When you purchase goods in Thailand, VAT at 7% is included in the price. Before you depart Thailand airport, you can claim the VAT refund.

At the airport, Give your PP10 form and tax invoice at the customs office before you check in to your flight. You may also be asked to show the goods that you purchased and your passport.

The customs officer will then stamp your form. You can then check in for your flight and proceed through passport control. The second office where your refund will be made is in the departure area after you have proceeded through the security and immigration counters.

That’s it Once done. Head back to India.

Total Cost

We were two, Total cost for 5 days are 11000 baht excluding accommodation and flight tickets

Tips on Planning for Thailand trip. How to plan?

This is the most essential part. This is one which saves you everything.

Three places to keep in mind: Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok.

Pick either Pattaya or Phuket, not both. The beaches in Pattaya are not great.

You can get direct flights to Phuket from Bangkok, either with budget airlines from Don Meuang Airport or with Bangkok Airways from Survarnabhumi Airport.

You need to start doing some research. Use Google.

When planning your itenary, you need to focus on place of stay.

It should be on a place where you can board to skytrain, metros and at least buses should be easily accessible.

It should not be in the center of the city which costs more, but not too interior of the city.

If you are travelling to roam south and head towards north to explore within some kilometers inside a city, then you have to stay at the center place so that it will reduce some costs.

Decide the Length of Your Trip

How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Thailand?

It’s not the cheapest of the countries in the region, but it isn’t expensive.

You can book hotel room INR 2000 per day for a decent room, food shouldn’t cost more than 300 Baht a meal, and beer (around 80baht generally).

Tips on Getting to Thailand

You may get a cheaper deal in goibibo or makemytrip so you should properly analyze and then book anything.

Remember to book before 3 months. Only then ticket prices will be low.

At certain deal periods, paytm and flipkart(makemytrip) offers a low cost flight ticket compared to these both.

Book the flight by comparing the four websites by proceeding until checkout(before payment), because at the end some surcharge may add upon on some websites when you are checking out at the end.

Don’t book tickets by seeing the price which shows up at first.

Tips on where to stay in Thailand

Thailand has accommodation options to suit everyone, from luxury hotels to hostels. Prices vary depending on the popularity of the location.

Always stay in a hotel which has wifi.

I recommend to use Goibibo or booking.com when travelling to get the best deals. Please compare before you pay.

You can also prefer to stay in apartments. They offer several benefits:

  1. Access to a full kitchen
  2. Separate bedrooms from the living room
  3. You can cook in the kitchen by purchasing from the supermarkets nearby