Thailand has always been a popular destination for Indian tourists for many years now. This is mainly because it has always been easy for Indians to procure Thai Tourist Visa. In fact, now Indians can just fly directly to Suvarnabhumi International airport, Bangkok and obtain their visa on arrival. The added bonus has always been the fact that Thailand is very economical for stay and transport. You can explore the crazy city of Bangkok and can also indulge in beach activities on their scenic beaches. While here, you must not forget to visit Khao san road, watch Muay Thai fight, Tour Bangkok Art museum, Dusit Zoo and Lumbini Park. In Bangkok, the Sukhumvit Area has a lot of Halal food options and you can find affordable accommodation here as well. You might even consider visiting Thailand in Mid-April when they host the annual Songkran Festival. Just be ready to get really wet on the streets of glorious Thailand!
- In Thailand prices are always up for negotiation, so make sure you haggle with the in numerous tour operators available for beach hopping and city tours.
- To save money while renting boats, always wait and share with other groups of tourist.
- The best thing is to make friends while in your hotel.
Currency in Thailand
THB – Thai Bhat(Approx. INR 1.91 = I THB)
Must try Food in Thailand
Papaya salad (Som Tom), Tom Yum Noodle soup, Fried Banana & crepe cake, Mookata buffet. To for information about where you can find halal restaurants, check out this Halal food guide.
Thailand Accommodation Cost/day
Mixed Hostel rooms – INR 275 to INR 575 (150 THB to 300 THB)
Private Hostel Rooms – INR 750 to INR 1100 (400 THB to 600 THB)
Budget Hotels Rooms – INR 1350 to INR 2000 (700 THB to 1000 THB)
Resorts in Islands – INR 2700 to 3800 (1400 THB to 2000 THB)
Thailand Transport Cost/day
- Motor Bike taxis (Bikers in Orange vests) INR 60, negotiable.
- Taxi cost INR 100 per 2KM, but the metre runs even if stuck in traffic and Bangkok is infamous for its traffic jams so you might end up spending more than expected.
- Tuk Tuk(The Thai version of the Indian Auto Rickshaw) is more expensive than the Taxi and Motor Bike taxis and a short ride will cost you INR 250.
- Bus and Metro single trip varies upon distance you travel cost INR 10 to INR 100.
Thailand Food Cost/day
You will be able to find a lot of halal restaurants in Thailand. However, you need to be mindful that some of these will carry the halal logos and yet will serve alcohol. Their rationale is that the meat is cut in a halal manner and hence the food they serve is halal. But, take heart, it is still possible to find quite a few Indian and Arabic restaurants which are halal without serving alcohol. Unfortunately, most of the traditional Halal Thai restaurants serve alcohol. If you have a problem with dining at a place that serves alcohol, then you might just have to make do with Halal Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The food will cost around INR 300 to 700 per day. Depends on your choices. Street food is very tasty and cheaper.
Things to do in Thailand
The Grand Palace
A visit to the spectacular Grand Palace is undoubtedly a remarkable experience while in Bangkok. You can’t help but admire the architecture and craftsmanship of Thai ancestors. Inside the Grand Palace, you will find the Emerald Buddha temple or the Wat Phra Kaew and this is a sacred place for the king and his family. The Royal family does not live in the palace but all their auspicious ceremonies take place here. Tourists are requested to dress appropriately while visiting given its’ sacredness. So, no see- through dresses and flip-flops. If you are wearing inappropriate clothing, you can always rent some modest outfits by paying a nominal deposit. The opening time of Grand palace is from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM and the entry fee will be around 1000 INR.
- Be mindful that during peak festival seasons it will get really crowded so stay together and have a meet-up point in case someone in the group goes missing.
Asiatique night market
Asiatique is located near the Chaophraya River and it is commonly referred to as the open-air mall. It is usually open from 5 PM to 11 PM. It is a convenient place to pick up some souvenirs but some are unreasonably priced so be careful. There is a small theme park and entertainment show area as well. To reach, you have to take the sky train to Saphan Taksin station and take a short walk to the ferry terminal and from there, you can take a free boat ride to Asiatique.
- Avoid going by road as traffic in Bangkok can be horrendous most of the time.
This is a spectacular cultural show that takes you on an exciting journey through the history of the enchanted Kingdom of Siam and it is a kid friendly show. This show starts at about 8 PM and it is advisable to reach here before an hour earlier to enjoy some outdoor performances before the stage show. To get here you have to take the Metro train (MRT) and get off at the Thailand Cultural Centre station and use Exit 1. Once outside, you will find free shuttle bus service to the venue. The show ticket will cost you around INR 1500 without the buffet dinner.
- Book the tickets online and don’t opt for the buffet dinner. It is neither halal nor worth the money spent.
Jim Thompsons House
Jim Thompsons was an American CIA agent who later moved to Bangkok and built a Thai style house to retire to. It’s a traditional small teak house filled with beautiful artworks and artefacts. While here, you can learn about the silk trade and about the unique Thai architecture. There is an entry fee of INR 300 which goes to a children’s charity. You can reach here via boat as well as the sky train (BTS). You need to get off at the National Stadium Station and take the Exit 1. It is a 5-minute walk away.
- Beware of well-dressed touts saying it’s closed for the day. Go to the counters and buy tickets.
Thailand’s floating markets can be considered the iconic feature of Thai tourism. It is a must do while here since it is the authentic part of the local culture. You will be able to find boats selling all kinds of local produce and you can just pull up next them while in your boat and buy whatever catches your fancy. Damnoen Saduak is the largest floating market and shopping from your boat will be an interesting experience. It was for me at least.
Damnoen Saduak is 30 Minutes’ drive from Bangkok and taxi will cost you INR 1500 for one way. While here, you can really hone your bargaining and negotiation skills. Make sure you bargain with the taxi driver and the boat operator as well. A two hours boat ride at the floating market will cost 1500 per person, provided you share a boat with other tourists. If you looking to hire a boat all for yourself then expect to pay around INR 3700 to INR 5500.
- Don’t buy souvenirs at the floating market, it is quite expensive there. There are other cheaper places where you can pick up your souvenirs.
Khao Yai national park
A UNESCO world heritage site, Khao Yai National Park is a 3 hours’ drive from Bangkok. You can make a day trip from Bangkok or camp out at the park for the night. There are two camping sites, namely Phakluaymai and Ham Takong. You can rent tents which will cost around INR 300 and there is an entry fee INR 750 for adults and INR 375 for children. Khao Yai can be explored by car or motorbike and have well-maintained roads for you. Khao Yai National Park has many trails for trekking or you can choose to do the exciting elephant rides. It’s also a good place to see some very unique birds. It’s better to avoid visiting this place during Thai festivals as it can get a little too crowded. Trying to reach this place using public transport can be very frustrating. On the way to Khao Yai national park, you can find a small village called Baan Kwian where you will be able to experience the traditional way of Thai living.
- If you are renting a tent leave the doors and your bags open. Don’t keep any food in your bags as curious monkeys will tear your tent and your bag apart!
- If you are driving there, be cautious while stopping your vehicles on the road side as sometimes people drive rash. Though the speed limit is 60 Km/Hr
If you are travelling to Thailand, it would be a waste if you leave without spending some time on one of her stunning beaches. Phuket is a popular choice and many Indian movies and songs have been shot here. Rain or shine there are always things to do in Phuket. The Phuket town offers some excellent dining options and some funky shops with Sino- Portuguese splendour. You can cruise the wonderful emerald green waters at the Phang Nga Bay or get your history fix at the Thalang Museum or the Phuket Mining museum. You can catch the Phuket Fanta Sea show at Kamala Beach, visit the Wat Chalong temples watch an intense Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) match. Phuket has around 10 viewpoints where you try to catch the spectacular, golden sunset. The best viewpoints are Kata, Promthep, Rang Hill and Panwa point. You can expect Phuket to be overloaded with tourists so decide if that is fine by you.
- You can rent a bike for INR 400 per day which will give a lot of freedom to move around. It is better to skip the Patong beach.
Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi island is the next well-known beach and this Island is 40 km away from Phuket. You can snorkel at Maya Bay which became famous after the Leonardo Di Capri movie called “The Beach”. It has the finest white sand, blue clear waters and marvellous rock formation. While here you can visit monkey beach, Viking cave and Bamboo Island. Bamboo Island has an entry fee of INR 1500. A very interesting trip you can do while at Phi Phi would be to go on an excursion to feed the sharks. A six-hour trip would cost around INR 1500. You can also head out to the Wang Long Bay by kayak and watch the sunset. One more expensive stuff you can do at Phi Phi island is deep sea fishing at night. It will be a wonderful experience but it will set you back by INR 6000.
- There are no taxi and bus services at Phi Phi Island.
- Travel between Islands is done by Long Trail Boat which will cost around INR 350 to INR 700 for an hour.
- Negotiate the prices for all the trips and all other activities.