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Plan for Your Thailand Vacation

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Thailand is one of the most hassle-free countries in the region to travel to, but there are a few things to do before you arrive.

Decide Where to Visit

Thailand has a lot to offer visitors, from a thriving capital to beautiful mountains to tropical beaches and islands. Unless you’re here for a few weeks or more, you won’t be able to even see all of the highlights, so make some choices before you arrive. Buy or borrow a guidebook before you set any plans in stone, and make sure to investigate some of Thailand’s underrated destinations, too.

Book Flights

With the large number of carriers and flights available, most people don’t make advance bookings for domestic air travel in Thailand. If you’re travel times are flexible and you’re going to very popular destinations like Phuket or Chiang Mai, you should be able to find flights even a day or two before you plan to travel. If you’re going somewhere with fewer flights like Sukhothai, Trat or Chiang Rai, buy your tickets well in advance as flights do sell out. And if you’re traveling in Thailand during a major holiday, book flights to any destination in advance. Keep in mind that tickets get more expensive the later you book. Even on discount carriers it’s not uncommon to pay half the price if you book a few weeks in advance.

Book Accommodations

If you already know the general area you want to stay in and it’s heavily touristed and densely packed with accommodations, like Khao San Road in Bangkok or Patong Beach in Phuket, it’s not too difficult to walk from hotel to hotel to find the one that’s right for you. But bear in mind that these days arriving without reservations usually doesn’t save money -- even some small guest houses offer cheaper rates if you book ahead on the internet. Better to do the research, pick the area you want to stay in and make the reservation before you arrive. Wandering around with a backpack searching for a place to sleep sounds like fun but often ends up a miserable experience.

Visit Your Doctor

Thailand poses few health risks for visitors, but many doctors recommend a Hepatitis B vaccination and possibly other medications and immunizations depending on your general health and the regions you’ll be visiting.

Get to Know Thailand’s Culture

Thailand is like no other place in the world. Whether you’re coming from North America, Europe, Asia or Africa, most likely Thailand will seem very foreign and exotic when you arrive. Make the transition a little more comfortable (and get a little more out of it) by reading up a bit on the country’s history, religions, and etiquette.

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