Backpacking Thailand on a Budget

So you wanna backpack Thailand on a budget? Here are some tricks to keeping things wallet friendly and as cheap as possible giving you more money to spend on activities and adventures in Thailand. The cost of living in Thailand is incredibly cheap and you can make your money go far by following my budget Thailand tips below. As I live in Bangkok, I’m a frequent backpacker and like to keep things cheap so I can travel as much as possible and spend my money on scuba diving and other awesome activities in Thailand.

How much is the cost of a holiday in Thailand? It completely depends on your lifestyle, your accommodation and the activities you choose to do. I have included general prices for things below so that you can get a gist of the cost of living or staying in Thailand.

How much is food in Thailand?

If you eat local you can eat extremely cheaply in Thailand. Thai street food is delicious and cheap. Most dishes will cost between 30-60 baht ($1-2 US dollars). When on the islands, the most expensive restaurants are normally on the beach front, so I’d avoid these touristy restaurants if travelling Thailand on a budget. Western dishes such as pizzas and burgers etc are generally made using imported items which means they are much more expensive. Stick to noodles, rice and soup if you want to eat cheap in Thailand.

Buying toiletries and goods in Thailand

7-11 convenience store is your new best friend. Snacks, alcohol, toiletries…there’s nothing you can’t do here. (You can even pay in cash for flights here with Air Asia or Nok Air). Beer is obviously much cheaper here than at a bar (approximately 50 baht per beer ($1)and a large bottle of water costs around 13 baht ($0.42)

Can I drink tap water in Thailand? How much is water?

No so unfortunately many tourist buy bottled water from convenience stores, adding to the plastic problem. Luckily there is a way to be environmentally friendly and drink water SUPER cheap in Thailand.  Bring your own reusable water bottle at a water filling machines. You can fill up ONE large bottle for ONE baht ($0.03)! You can find these machines all around the country, often at the side of roads, in condos and on the street. If you’re consuming around 5 bottles a day then that’s a serious saving and definite help for the environment. Consider buying a refillable bottle instead, like these from Amazon. I bought my mum this one for Christmas as I think it is a great size, contains a filter and is available in various colours. 

Haggling and negotiating in Thailand

Negotiate. Most prices in Thailand are up for negotiation, not only at the markets but also accommodation. If you have unlimited time then you can haggle with hostels and hotels and if you stay longer then they might give you a discount. Always haggle with patience and a smile! My advice is to get an idea of a reasonable price to pay for something, otherwise you can insult people if you are unsure of the price and suggest a price that is too low.

Having said that, you can find fantastic accommodation deals on both booking.com and Agoda. I usually compare both of them to find the best deal. Agoda also do ‘insider deals’ once you have an account with them which I find to be very reasonable rates. It also means you can be organised if you only have a short holiday in Thailand. Backpackers there for longer can afford timewise to just show up and negotiate.

What is the cost of alcohol in Thailand?

Drink local. Most travellers find that their biggest expense in Thailand is spending money on alcohol. While Thailand is generally cheap for alcohol, it can add up when people decide to drink every night. Thai beers are great – Leo and Singha (usually around 80-100baht in a cheap restaurant or bar ($2.5-4). Chang is always the cheapest beer but I can’t stomach it most of the time…it always leads to a “changover” for me – even if I only have two! Thai rum Sangsom is also delicious with coke and costs approximately 200 baht ($5-6) for a small bottle! Imported beers or wines are incredibly expensive so avoid these if you want to keep it cheap. Tax is high on most imported goods so drinking local beers and spirits is the best way to drink alcohol cheaply.

Cost of tours  and excursions in Thailand

Shop around different tour operators when booking snorkelling/island hopping/day excursion trips. I often find your guesthouse charges you more than buying a trip from a tour operator who has a stall on the street.  Snorkelling tours in a long tail boat are often cheaper than in a speedboat. For the cheap tours, the agencies will fill up the boat as much as possible so be prepared for the boat to be busy and to make some new friends. Make sure to enquire if National Park fees are included as I have been caught out many times. For example, I have previously booked a snorkelling trip for 400 baht ($13) which is a great price, only to find out the morning of the trip that National Park fees are an extra 400 baht, doubling the cost of my trip. These are fixed by the government and tour operators cannot reduce the cost of National Park fees. Many national parks are well worth the fee though! Read more about National Parks in Thailand here.

Cheap Shopping in Thailand

Thailand, in particular Bangkok, is my favourite place in the world to go shopping and find budget clothes. Shopping in markets is fantastic, so many interesting finds and all at a cheap price with money going straight to locals. I have discovered 100 baht ($3) dresses and bikinis at Thai markets. As a general rule, I find that if the price is written on the items then haggling is not possible. My haggling tip for Thailand is to negotiate the price down for one, and then consider buying two or more to make it even cheaper again.

Cheap Transport: Take the Night Bus

Travelling by night bus is not as comfortable as trains or planes but they are generally the cheapest way of travelling around Thailand. Package deals can often be booked which include ferries which I think is a good idea as they often take you all the way to the pier rather than dropping you in a town near the coast. You then would need to add in the cost of a taxi from the town to the ferry terminal. From Bangkok you can leave from Mochit 2 Terminal (to go North), Ekkamai or Sai Tai Mai/Southern Bus Terminal (to go South). Some tourist companies leave from Khao San road and these tend to be the more comfortable buses in my experience. A friend has a travel company and you can get great discounts by booking multiple tickets and group tickets as well, as each time you add a trip it decreases in price, saving you money. 

Travelling Thailand by Boat

For travelling to Thailand’s many islands there are often multiple options concerning boats. There are slower ferries, faster ferries, long tail boats and speed boats. The cheapest options are obviously the slower transport so if you aren’t in a hurry the always take the ferry or a long tail boat. Speedboats and catamarans are the fastest but always more expensive. Like with the snorkelling trips, get some quotes from different tour operators and see if you can get a pick up from your accommodation included.

Backpacking around Thailand cheaply

Taking public transport is the best idea when on a budget.  It’s an obvious one but taxis can be at least three times more expensive than local buses and songtaews (trucks) so stick to public transport to save a lot of money. If you’re in a group then a taxi might be worth sharing however as they still are very reasonably priced when on the meter. I try and avoid taxis in Phuket or other areas of the country as they will never go by meter and are very expensive.

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Thailand: Be aware of Culture

Planning to backpack Thailand? It’s important to be aware of culture in Thailand and how visitors can show respect to locals and their customs and traditions. For the last three years I have been trying to understand the strange, alien behaviour that can be part of culture in Thailand! Some aspects are amusing, others infuriating but I’m always learning more!

DISCLAIMER: sweeping generalisations and talking about Thai people like everyone is the same is clearly not ok. But these are some things I’ve found to be true…and wish visiting tourists would take note!

  • Don’t point the soles of your feet at people. Especially Buddha! To respect local culture, if in a temple, sit mermaid style or cross-legged. Particularly do NOT stretch your legs out in a tuktuk and point your shoes at the driver (my personal peev!). Moving things with your feet is also frowned upon.
  • Don’t wear shoes into someone’s house. This also applies to certain shops where the owners live in or above it. If you see flipflops outside a small convenience store on an island then do the same.
  • Cover your shoulders and knees when you are in a temple. This applies to both men and women #equality
  • Ask at least 3 people for directions. Thai people don’t like to lose face and admit they don’t know something, so will tell you the WRONG directions to not cause themselves embarrassment. Yes, unhelpful. Yes, annoying. But kind of endearing as well? Just me?
  • Thais HATE rain. It is not uncommon to see adults with paper bags on top of their heads in rainy season and no-one is laughing at them. (except me…and I’m already soaked!)
  • The Thai Walk: If you walk fast people will think you are mad. Also I really feel that people know I’m behind them and start walking in a zigzag so I can’t overtake. ( yes I’m paranoid…and often late ha!) Slow down and walk at ‘market shopping pace’.
  • Generally confronting people, shouting, losing your temper will only reflect badly on you (as in most cultures I assume!). Try to be patient, explain the situation and KEEP CALM (jai yen as the Thais say).
  • Bangkok Traffic – plan your day around rush hour traffic! Generally 6-9am and 4-8pm.
  • Visiting zoos/tiger temples/elephant riding camps – BIG no no and you are just funding animal abuse. Read reasons why
Travelling Thailand Culture What to Know
Visiting ethical elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Bitching about the difference between ‘Thai price’ and ‘foreign prices’. If you know one of these people then please enlighten them. The average local Thai salary is 300 baht a day. I personally think it is fantastic that so many tourists in Thailand are Thai and it is because of these low prices that people can afford to travel in their own country.
  • Haggle with a smile. Shopping in Thailand is a pleasure and I find it frustrating to see tourists getting angry in markets. I used to dread haggling when I first arrived in South East Asia and now I’m in my element at JJ market, even haggling in Thai! Keep things light, smile and never go less than half the offered price. See more on JJ market shopping. Read more about Bangkok markets and more
  • Haggling TOO MUCH. You will offend people and ultimately think about what the item is worth and what you are happy to pay. This is a developing country and people need to make a living.
  • Treating Thailand like it is your own country. I see this over and over again. Tourists with no respect for local culture, customs, traditions and religions.
Travelling Thailand Culture Backpacking
Be Respectful of Buddha: Buddha Statue in Ayutthaya, Thailand
  • Taking Bangkok taxis who refuse to use the meter. Don’t do it. It is illegal. Just laugh at their inflated price and take another one. My record is 10 taxis before ONE of them would take me home. Perseverance is key! 😉 More on Travel in Thailand here
Travelling Thailand Culture Backpacking
Thailand culture- Taking Taxis in Bangkok
  • Taking taxis in Phuket. Very over-inflated prices and I’ve heard rumours about who pockets the money and it’s not the taxi drivers. Try and take minivans or songtaews (trucks).
  • Smiling – Thailand’s nickname is indeed the Land of Smiles. However, I found it VERY useful once I realised that people don’t always smile because they are happy but also because they are embarrassed, uncomfortable or confused!
  • Criticising the Monarchy or, for that matter, the government at the moment can get you on very dangerous ground. I’m talking jail time.
  • Tipping – a little for you and a lot for them. If in doubt go for 20 -50 baht for taxis/restaurants.

Any cultural quirks or differences you’ve picked up on in Thailand?

Top 15 Chiang Mai Activities

Take a night train, sleeper bus or flight and head to Thailand’s second biggest city – Chiang Mai! Surrounded by mountains, most of the city is walkable and squared in by canals so it’s easy to find your way. Take song thaews (trucks) for around 30 baht or haggle for tuktuks. With a cooler climate and fresh air, you definitely should not miss a visit here! I lived here for 2 months and despite the hard work I was doing, I really enjoyed it!

1.Elephants elephants elephants! Head to Hug Elephant Sanctuary and spend the day with these gentle giants, feeding, bathing and observing them. Read here for why you should choose your sanctuary carefully! This is one f my favourite sanctuaries that I’ve been to twice! http://www.hugelephantssanctuary.com/Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Chiang Mai Grand Canyon – not quite as Grand as the U.S version but it’s still pretty sweet! Rain waters have filled up an old quarry and the result is stunning blue water where you can go cliff jumping (if you dare) or just float around on wooden rafts for the afternoon. Take a tuktuk

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

3. Sunday Walking Market…night market…or just any market in Chiang Mai! Quirky, unusual stuff that you don’t normally find in Bangkok or the rest of Thailand!

4. Ziplining – spend the morning whizzing through Chiang Mai’s jungle, over natural scenery and valleys below.

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

5. White water rafting – better in rainy season (May – October), hold on tight to your dinghy while sweeping down rapids and admire monkeys and elephants on the river banks on the gentler river swirls

6. Tubing – Vang Vieng it isn’t but plonk yourself into a rubber tube, attach yourself to your mates and, more importantly, the tube with the ice bucket full of beers and float your worries away down the Ping river – watch out for the occasional nibbling fish!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

7. Day trip to Doi Inthanon – the highest point in Thailand and the foothills of the Himalayas, stopping at a few waterfalls on the way!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

8. Day trip to Chiang Rai and the white temple – one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand! Stunning on the outside and just plain weird on the inside!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

9. Eat Khao Soy – my favourite Thai dish. Think yellow curry with egg noodles, crispy noodles and a chicken drumstick.

10. Visit Street Pizza – it’s true, you can eat too many noodles. Check out this restaurant that I personally claim to be the BEST pizza in Thailand!

11. Try a cooking course – even if, like me, you prefer eating to cooking, this is still a fun way to spend the day and you get to eat a lot too!

12. Brunch at Chiang Mai Breakfast World – amazing European bread, cheese, cold cuts of meat…not cheap but worth the investment!

13. Party at Zoe in Yellow area with the dirty backpackers! Be warned, most bars close by midnight. It’s an army thing.

14. Celebrate Songkran – Thai New Year from April 13-16th with a massive city-wide waterfight! I’m talking water guns, pistols, ice buckets, hoses, a Buddha procession that comes down from the hills and being solidly wet for three days. The most fun you will ever have in a Hawaiian shirt! Chiang Mai is arguably the best place to celebrate and party and a lovely mixture of tourists and locals!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

15. Celebrate Yi-peng and Loy Kratong in November in Chiang Mai – one of the best places! Watch thousands of floating lanterns wind their way up into the sky for hours like something from a magical Disney movie.

 

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok:

For getting to Chiang Mai by night bus or night train, book via this website for great discounts on multiple bookings or tickets.

Or if you prefer flying, compare prices using skyscanner here

 

 

Best Diving in Thailand

Thailand has some great dive spots and while some of them may not be as incredible and colourful as they once were, the reasonable prices and wide availability of dive centres will always keep me coming back for more diving.  As far as I know Koh Tao still claims to be one of the cheapest places to do your Open Water certification, which is where I did my first diving certificate 4 years ago, and it’s been an obsession ever since. I have over 70 dives and most of them have taken place in Thailand. I still have a few more dive places to try out in the near future though.

While I’ve dived off many islands and beaches around Thailand the following are my top dive sites that I have returned back to many times:

Diving Koh Phi Phi

Known as a party island, Koh Phi Phi often surprises her divers with some great underwater marine life. Some of the best diving I’ve done in Thailand has been around Phi Phi Marine Park. One dive, my sister and I spotted a turtle, a black tip reef shark AND a leopard shark – all before midday. The coral is generally in pretty good shape, though the waves can make you feel a little queasy on the way out to the dive sites. I recommend using travel bands like these from Amazon Travel Sickness Wristbands (Black)

diving with turtles in Thailand
Diving with turtles in Thailand

Getting there: Fly or take a night bus to Krabi, then approx 2 hour ferry to Koh Phi Phi. You can book joint bus and ferry tickets here. The more tickets you book the cheaper they get.

Stay: I have yet to find a great place to stay in Koh Phi Phi (after around 5 trips at least), I recommend showing up and using the little accommodation office near the pier. Give them your budget and they will find you a place.

Don’t miss: the beach fireshows – after I have been spoilt for fireshows living here, I still think they are impressive and the best in Thailand.

Diving Koh Similan / The Similan Islands

Diving the Similan Islands is usually on the bucket list for divers in Thailand. While the Similan islands are no longer covered on coral and marine life, they still have some great dive sites. Whale sharks and manta rays can be spotted around this area. Day trips here are extremely expensive (when I went we paid 6000 baht for two dives, compared with 2500 baht average in other dive spots around Thailand). Liveaboards are very popular here and you can often get great deals at the end of the season (April, May) if you can be flexible. This whole area is closed off during the rainy season (end of May to October) and even in October you are not guaranteed diving (my liveaboard was cancelled due to enormous waves one October). If you are considering a liveaboard then make sure it includes Richelieu Rock or at least Koh Bon for a chance of manta rays.

diving thailand

Getting there: The jump off point to the Similan Islands is in Khao Lak. You can book your night bus travel here on this website. Alternatives are to fly to Phuket and then travel on (sometimes two buses) two hours North to Khao Lak.

Stay: Beware of cheap accommodation here. I’ve stayed in various dives (pun intended) so nowhere to recommend.

Don’t miss: Khao Lak’s tiny national park with a few secret hidden beaches to discover along the way. For more on Thailand’s National Parks, read my post here

Diving Richelieu Rock

Arguably the best dive site in Thailand, I was lucky enough to spot my first whale shark here and therefore it will forever by up there in my memories of great dives. The dive site has lots of pretty purple coral and is claimed to be one of the best spots for whale sharks in Thailand. ( If only we could hold the whale sharks to that…!). North of the Similan Islands, it’s about a two hour, fairly bumpy, speed boat ride to get there.

diving thailand
4 metre ‘baby’ whale shark at Richelieu Rock, best dive site in Thailand

Same details for Khao Lak, see above.

 

Diving Koh Phangan

Diving on Koh Phangan can be both great and disappointing in my experience. Sail Rock dive site has a lot of shoals of fish so if you’re looking for quantity then diving here can be impressive.  The coral is fairly pretty, although expect a lot of divers underwater around the time of the Full Moon Party.  The visibility is always worse around Full Moon and, unsurprisingly, there is no diving on the whole island for the day after the Full Moon party.  For Full Moon Party Tips, read my post here as I’ve been to 5!

diving thailand
Find Nemo everywhere you dive in Thailand

Getting there: There are several ways of getting to Koh Phangan. Options include flying to Koh Samui + ferry (more expensive but faster), flying to Surat thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat + minivan + ferry, and booking a train or night bus to Chumpon + ferry. You can check out great travel deals here on this island website.

Stay: I loved staying at Seaboard Bungalows in the North and Sail Rock Divers also had some good value, nice rooms. I always use Agoda for finding the best deals.

Don’t miss:  Bottle Beach, it’s one of my favourite quiet beaches in Thailand. Read more about it and other quiet beaches here

Diving Koh Tao

While diving on Koh Tao has seen its reputation take a nose dive (!), it remains one of the cheapest places to get your Open Water Certificate and there are 75+ dive centres to choose from. If you just arrive on the island, use your negotiation skills to get your diving qualification and accommodation throw in together. Be prepared for it to get very busy underwater.

Getting there: there are multiple options. I recommend night bus or train to Chumpon and then ferry from Chumpon to Koh Tao, book your tickets here.

Don’t miss: a trip to Ang Thong Marine Park- I’m yet to go but have heard great things.

 

Ao Nang Islands, Krabi

Many dive shops in Krabi will also advertise taking you to Koh Phi Phi Marine Park, but a cheaper alternative is to stay and dive the local islands.  Visibility is not always the best but when I went I saw two bamboo sharks and I was lucky enough to see this amazing seahorse. I find there can often be lots of marine life to see even when some of these dive sites don’t shout about it. Ao Nang also offers a great jump off point for island hopping around Railay, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Yao Noi and more. 

Getting there: Fly or night bus to Krabi and then take the airport shuttle or songtaew (truck) to Ao Nang area. . Book your bus tickets using this handy website.

Stay: I loved the location and pool at Timber House in Ao Nang, book your stay here on Agoda

diving thailand
Seahorse spotting in Krabi, Thailand

More dive posts coming soon: snorkelling around Koh Lipe was beautiful but I have yet to dive there and I’m planning on a few dives around Phuket once rainy seasons finishes. Watch this space.

Into sea animals? Read about how and where to see pink dolphins in Thailand year round.

And for more island advice, check out my honest island summaries here to help you decide where to visit

Useful Dive Items

 

I never go diving without my Gopro Hero 4. I’m convinced the moment I do is the dive when I will see five sharks, 10 mantas, some dolphins and a whale. Buy GoPro HERO4 BLACK from Amazon here 

It took me a while to figure this out but your underwater dive photos and videos will look shit unless you include a red or orange filter. (Should have listened more on that colour loss part of the Advanced Open Water!) Get yours here Polarpro Red Filter and make sure you remember it when you dive. Or your photos will look like my whale shark one above – very blue!

If you get cold easily then I recommend using a long sleeved rash vest under your shorty wetsuit. I am yet to find a dive shop in Thailand that would give me a long wetsuit (for free). I always use my billabong rash vest to keep warm on those longer, deeper dives. And especially for liveaboards when multiple dives means a lower overall body temperature. Buy a similar one here from Amazon, Dakine Women’s Persuasive Snug Fit Long Sleeve Rashguard

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something, I may receive a small commission for it at no extra cost to you.

Best Weekend Getaways from Bangkok

Staying or living in Thailand and looking for the best weekend getaways from Bangkok? After living in Bangkok twice, both pre-covid and post covid I have visited many destinations near Bangkok and have done a lot of weekend trips outside of Bangkok.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a booking I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Most Thailand visitors find themselves in Bangkok at some point during their trip. I find many people have a love/hate relationship with Bangkok and it’s my mission to try to convert tourists to loving this crazy city that I call home. If you love the beach, nature or history, read this Bangkok blog to find out where to visit for a weekend trip outside Bangkok.

Khao Yai National Park

One of my favourite short trips from Bangkok is to spend the weekend in the jungle. Khao Yai National Park is one of Thailand’s oldest national parks. If you love nature and the wilderness then, this is the best weekend trip from Bangkok. It takes approximately 2 hours to travel there from Bangkok. You can see wild elephants, monkeys, gibbons, snakes, porcupines, deer and many more inside Khao Yai National Park.

My top recommendations are to book a jungle day trip with Greenleaf Tours, who have awesome, knowledgeable tour guides and I have been with many times before.

The best budget place to stay near Khao Yai is Wynnhouse. I stayed here in 2022 and it was fairly accessible to head into the park from there although there are not that many restaurants around.

If you love camping, consider camping overnight in the park by renting motorbikes and heading into the park independently.

Please note there is a National Park entrance fee of 400 baht. Once you have entered you will be required to pay again if you leave and re-enter but not if you camp overnight (information accurate at time of writing in 2022)

How to get to Khao Yai National Park from Bangkok: Minivans from Ekkamai take about 2/3 hours and will drop you in Pak Chong.

Read here for more information about Thailand’s National Parks

Bangkok day trips
Get back to nature and spot wildlife in Khao Yai!

Best weekend getaways from Bangkok: Koh Samet

Koh Samet is one of the nearest islands to Bangkok and is therefore very popular with Bangkok residents. It has some lovely white sand beaches, particularly Ao Prao beach which boasts clear, turquoise water. At the weekends, it can become crowded and turns into more of a party island although it hasn’t yet returned to its pre-covid party glory.

I have stayed at two fantastic mid-range accommodation in Koh Samet and would recommend both. Pre-covid I stayed at the lovely Tubtim Resort which has spacious wooden bungalows bang on the beach, with green lily pads growing everywhere.

In 2021, post covid I enjoyed a very quiet beach on Koh Samet and loved staying at Silver Sands Koh Samet. 

How to get to Koh Samet from Bangkok?

Take a minivan ride to Rayong from Bangkok and then either take the local ferry or a shared speedboat. Both can be booked  when you arrive at the pier. Please note these boats do not run into the late evening.

Bangkok day trips
Koh Samet – Bangkok’s famous weekend trip island getaway

Weekend Trips from Bangkok to Lopburi

A few hours on the train from Bangkok (costing approximately 40 baht) you can find yourself in the ancient city of Lopburi, famous for its monkeys and temples. It’s all slightly off the tourist trail which might be a welcome sight for many. I recommend collecting a map of the different temples from the temple opposite the station and deciding on where to visit. All temples that I visited were walkable and there are certain ones that are home to huge families of macaques. Please be aware of not feeding the monkeys any food that is not natural for them. They also will grab your sunglasses or anything else in range so be careful.

If you feel like renting a scooter then you can access the gorgeous sunflower fields (seasonal around November- January) and the Peacock temple is worth a visit as well. Along with the birds there is also a great viewpoint if you feel like some exercise up many stairs.

lopburi bangkok day trip

lopburi bangkok day trip
Monkeys in one of Lopburi’s temples
Whale Watching (seasonal Aug-Nov)

Only two hours from Bangkok, the enormous Bryde whales can be seen! Entering the Gulf of Thailand to feed on anchovies these gentle giants are incredible and one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in Thailand. Wildlife Encounters Thailand offer weekly trips for 2500 baht including transfer from Bangkok and lunch on the boat. An amazing day out and still possible post covid in 2022.

I have recently been on this trip twice to see both the Bryde whales and Irawaddy dolphins in Thailand and absolutely love this day trip from Bangkok.

I have a whole blog post dedicated to whale watching in Thailand so please read here for more information about seeing whales near Bangkok!

For more about other wildlife in Thailand, read this article

Bangkok day trips
A Bangkok day trip that was a whale of a time!

 

Another island near Bangkok: Koh Lan

One of my favourite weekend getaways from Bangkok is Koh Lan which is an island just off of Pattaya. Cheap accommodation and a couple of beautiful white sand beaches are there to welcome you. This used to get very busy (pre-covid) with huge tour groups. Jump in a songtaew (truck) or motorsi taxi for 20-30 baht and spend the day exploring lesser known beaches and taking in great views of the island! I really enjoyed my stay at Castello resort, it’s walkable to the pier. However, my last weekend trip top Koh Lan was pre-covid so I am looking forward to a Bangkok weekend getaway there soon!

Find out more about Thailand’s paradise islands and where to visit

Bangkok day trips
Monks on a beach in Koh Lan, Thailand. A lovely Bangkok weekend trip
A weekend trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya

An interesting and cultural Bangkok day trip or weekend trip to experience some Thai history. Head to this ancient temple town, one hour by train or minivan from Bangkok. Rent bicycles cheaply and enjoy cycling around and soaking in the culture of these ancient temples and a former capital of Siam. Don’t forget to try my favourite dessert roti sai mai – kinda like a rolled up candyfloss.

Bangkok day trips
The ideal cultural Bangkok day trip: explore the ruins of Ayutthaya
Best Weekend Trips from Bangkok: Kanchanaburi

If you are interested in World War II history, then Kanchanaburi is a must visit as a weekend or slightly longer trip from Bangkok. Tourists come here to see the bridge over the River Kwai and understand more about the dark history of this area where prisoners of war were held by the Japanese during World War II. It is quite far for a Bangkok day trip but I have done it before in one day. I recommend staying one night though. Two hours by car/minivan or a little longer on the train.

Weekend Trips from Bangkok to Erawan Waterfall

You can combine this with a Bangkok day trip or overnight stay from Kanchanaburi. Visit these stunning, blue coloured waterfalls with 9 steps inside Erawan National Park. Around 45 minutes by car from Kanchanaburi, bring a picnic and spend the afternoon swimming in stunning pools, cliff jumping and getting back to nature.

Bangkok day trips
Bangkok Day trips: Swimming in blue waterfalls in Erawan National Park
Beaches near Bangkok – Hua Hin

One of Bangkok’s nearest beaches and very big for kite surfing, this is definitely possible as a Bangkok day trip or weekend getaway. A large stretch of yellow sand beach for hanging out on and a wide range of accommodation is on offer here. Swimming is not always recommended as there are jellyfish lurking! Cha-am is another beach stop just before Hua Hin. You can take minivans or the slow train to either place from Bangkok.

Bangkok day trips
View of Hua Hin from Takiap Beach, a good Bangkok day trip or weekend visit.
Bangkok Weekend Trips: Water Park

Water parks are a great Bangkok day trip and a fun day out. There are many both towards Pattaya or towards Hua Hin. I loved Splashdown, near Pattaya. It is more of an inflatable obstacle course, this brightly coloured water park will have you and your mates running around behaving like big kids, plus a few beers!

Bangkok day trips
Big Kids Day out in Splashdown – funnily enough no-one made it all the way across these giant floating obstacle courses!

Where are your favourite places for a Bangkok weekend getaway? I’m always looking for more inspiration!

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