Mochilero en Tailandia: Guía de viaje 2024


Thailand is the hub of Southeast Asia travel and the center of the universe for many first-time backpackers..

With its exuberant jungles, its famous beaches, its world-class diving, its delicious food and its crazy parties.

Thailand attracts visitors from all over the world and in this backpacking in Thailand post I am going to tell you all about it. travel cheap and enjoy an unforgettable experience.

Thailand fits most budgets; you can find dirt-cheap guest houses and hotel suites costing thousands of dollars a night right next to each other.

I myself have been to Thailand dozens of times and have even lived in Chiang Mai for over a year; I absolutely adore Thailand and in my opinion, it is one of the best countries in the world for first-time backpackers or digital nomads.

In this epic Thailand travel guide for backpackers, I'll share with you, dear readers, my best tips.

Why backpack Thailand?

backpacking in thailand
If you are interested in backpacking Thailand, you have come to the right place.

Possibly the most popular backpacker destination in Southeast Asia, there are many weird and wonderful places to visit in Thailand.

Thailand is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches and islands in the south, and beautiful jungles and temples in the north.

Anything you want to do, you can do in Thailand. Grab a motorbike and explore the Thai countryside away from the tourist masses, or eat and drink your way in the pulsating capital, Bangkok.

Join a silent Buddhist meditation retreat, or snorkel among world-class reefs

You can relax in a hammock with a Chiang beer, see the great golden Buddhas, go on a yoga retreat or party all night under the full moon on Koh Phangan. There is no limit to what you can do in Thailand!

Best Itineraries for Backpacking Thailand

Below we have written two travel itineraries for Thailand.

You can easily combine both with a month or more.

See our entry requirements section for more information on how to extend your visa to stay longer than 30 days.

3 Week Thailand Backpacking Itinerary: Islands of Thailand

Beach itinerary in Thailand
This is the #beachlife itinerary

starting in Bangkok, the Thai capital, head south to phuket.

If you're going by land, take a side trip to Kanchanaburi, a beautiful national park, although it makes more sense to fly for not much more money. Check domestic flights beforehand.

Phuket is the gateway to the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand. Although touristy, Phuket has things to do for everyone: amazing beaches, boozy nights out, one of SEA's best Crossfit pits, and Buddhist temples galore.

From Phuket, your next step is to travel to Koh Phi Phi, also touristy, but known for its beautiful beaches, epic nightlife, and incredible accommodations.

go to Koh Lanta Next to take a break from all the partying: book early to secure a bed at the best hostels on Koh Lanta. With 2 weeks dedicated to the Andaman Sea, you can get to Koh Lipe.

Finally, end your trip by staying in the Krabi area.

Here you can also extend a couple of days in railay if you like climbing!

Next, it's time to explore the famous Gulf of Thailand, which includes Koh Samui, Koh Phanganand koh tao.

The infamous full moon party is held on Koh Phangan, although there are some quiet areas to stay on Koh Phangan, as well as many more things to do on the island besides partying Koh Tao is known for its relaxed atmosphere with divers and for its incredibly affordable dive schools. Koh Samui is the most unpopular of the three.

2 Week Thailand Backpacking Itinerary: Central and Northern Thailand

Thailand Itinerary #2
If you prefer a more relaxed mountain atmosphere, head north

If you come by international plane, you can fly to Bangkok. It's easy to get a domestic flight up chiang maibut if you want to take the slow route, head over to khao yai first.

Just three hours north of Bangkok, this park is a great place to encounter wild elephants, as well as go hiking and swimming.

It also has some crazy beautiful waterfalls that you have to walk a bit to get to, it's worth it!

You can also go to umphang to do a bit of hiking. Here you can reach the 200m-high Tee Lor Su Falls by rafting and jungle trekking on a three-day tour.

Then go to chiang mai Thailand's capital has plenty to do Thailand's digital nomad capital, Chiang Mai, blends local and backpacker vibes like a cha yen.

Take 2 days in Chiang Rai to see the temples, and spend some time staying in the hippy village of Pai, high in the mountains. People get stuck in Pai; it is one of those places.

Places to visit in Thailand

Backpacking in Bangkok

backpacking in bangkok

This is the hectic heart of the Southeast Asia backpacking scene. Many travelers, myself included, hate it when they first arrive, but dig a little deeper and you'll come to love it.

There are plenty of temples, palaces, markets and other things to do in Bangkok, plus Bangkok's nightlife is fantastic.

A great day trip option is From Bangkok to Ayutthaya where you can take a first look at the jungle temples recovered by nature.

Although not as impressive as Bagan or Ankgor Wat, Ayutthaya is still very cool.

During my first backpacking stay in Bangkok, the city ate me alive and emptied my wallet in less than 24 hours.

After becoming a regular visitor, I now love the city and am much more aware of how to stay safe in Bangkok and avoid potential scams, such as Bangkok Tuk Tuks, which often target visitors on their first arrival days.

Keep your wits about in this city of saints and sinners.

Bangkok is a beast so be prepared.

Backpacking in Kanchanaburi

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
Clearly obsessed with Thai waterfalls!

In 1942, Kanchanaburi was under Japanese control and it was here that Asian forced laborers and Allied POWs were forced to build the infamous "Bridge over the River Kwai" as part of the "Death Railway".

Although it is a sobering experience, the bridge is surrounded by some beautiful waterfalls that are well worth a visit once you have been to the "Jeath War Museum".

If you want to stay overnight or even longer, there are a couple of backpacker hostels in Kanchanaburi, making it an ideal destination for budget travelers who don't want to rush from one place to another.

Backpacking through Khao Yai National Park

Just three hours north of Bangkok, this park is a great place to encounter wild elephants, as well as go hiking and swimming.

It also has some very beautiful waterfalls that you have to walk a bit to get to, it's worth it!

Bring your camping hammock and spend the night in this beautiful national park for free

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
Impressive Haew Suwat waterfall in Khao Yai National Park

Backpacking in Chiang Mai

Most backpackers wind up in this leafy, laid-back city at some point, and for good reason.

The historic, yet surprisingly cosmopolitan, walled city is surrounded by jungle and an incredible hilly landscape that begins a short distance from the city center.

The area has become well known for homestays and trekking among Thailand's hill tribes.

One drawback, however, is that the treks here can sometimes feel woefully commercialized.

I suggest you go trekking somewhere else, like a national park, or take a longer hike to discover more untouched areas, around the border area with Myanmar.

Chiang Mai is worth a visit, not only for the sheer number of temples, but also for the quaint coffee shops that seem to equal them in number, often serving locally grown coffee beans and free WiFi.

Chiang Mai has some of the most amazing street food around, so be sure to try it

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
Hiking Adventures in Chiang Mai

Thai massage prices are some of the cheapest I've come across and the huge night market is one of the best places to buy souvenirs from the country.

There are plenty of things to do in Chiang Mai and it is largely considered the digital nomad center of the universe (for better or worse).

I have spent about seven or eight months living in Chiang Mai in the last few years and have really enjoyed it.

Chiang Mai is not only one of the best places in Thailand to visit, but also to live.

There's a cinema, a Crossfit box, Salad Concept (my favorite fucking restaurant in the world), tons of hangouts and events, and it's very easy to get into working life in Chiang Mai, so if you're thinking of taking a break from your travels and you need access to good WiFi, Chiang Mai is a good bet.

I have done more than my share of eating throughout Thailand; check out some of my favorite places to eat in Chiang Mai:

  • tsunami sushi
  • salad concept
  • Beast Burger
  • Le Brunch
  • Hiding place
  • Smoothie Blues
  • rustic and blue
  • There are also dozens of amazing street food stalls, vans, and booths.

Charming Chang Mai has a lot going on, so be prepared

Backpacking in Pai

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
Pai's beautiful scenery!

Pai, a small town in northern Thailand near the Myanmar border, has only recently entered the backpacker circuit, but it's already super popular.

I love Pai, and the ride from Chiang Mai to Pai is epic if you do it on a motorbike.

It's worth visiting as it's situated in a beautiful area of rolling hills and mysterious peaks, parties, hippies and weed galore.

If you have the time, I highly recommend heading over to the Myanmar border and visiting some of the Karen villages in the area. There are lots and lots of interesting things to do in Pai.

Backpacking on Koh Samet and Koh Chang

Koh Samet and Koh Chang are good island alternatives to southern Thailand.

They are a little closer to Bangkok, a little less developed and a little less hectic than some places in the south. They are also conveniently close to Cambodia, in case you were to visit afterwards.

To get to Koh Chang, you will have to take a bus from Bangkok -there is one that leaves near Khaosan Road- until you reach Trat, where you will take a boat.

Most companies include the connection in a single ticket.

Once you are in Koh Chang, you just have to find a place to stay and rent a bike.

Most of the guest houses are close to the port and can help you rent a motorbike.

Avoid Koh Chang's elephant sanctuaries. They are said to be unethical.

backpacking in pai
Koh Chang. | Source: AsiaTravel (Shutterstock)

Koh Samet is located before Koh Chang and a little closer to Bangkok.

You will need to get to Rayong before taking a ferry to the island Marginal note: if you are coming from Bangkok, don't bother stopping in Pattaya, it's not worth your time.

Koh Samet will be a similar experience to Koh Chang; maybe a bit more local, as many Thais living in Bangkok like to get away here when they get the chance.

Backpacking in Phuket

Phuket is the biggest city in the south and the center of all things seedy and debauched. Honestly Phuket sucks.

I would only stay there for a night or two if I was on a layover or intending to do day trips.

There are much better things to do around Phuket.

go to Koh Yao Noi to live an isolated experience in a tree house.

It's a pretty laid-back place, and it's a short boat ride from Phuket, where I spent a week living in an amazing tree house in the forest.

If you want to disconnect from technology (there is no electricity) or spend a romantic weekend, I recommend you visit The island hideout (this is not sponsored, I paid my ticket and I loved it).

Read on to find out more from this Thailand backpacking guide.

backpacking in phuket
Enjoying breakfast and a cheeky cigarette with my love in this epic tree house.

Arguably the best national park in Thailand, khao sokIt is also a 3 hour drive from Phuket. This palace offers caves, jungles, rivers and magnificent limestone landscapes.

You can explore the park via its hiking trail, or raft, canoe or kayak down the Sok River. If you're lucky, you might spot an elusive gibbon or two.

Ao Phang-nga National Park it is also very close.

This place is famous for its surreal limestone towers and caves. Kayaking around the towers and through the caves is a really cool experience and definitely worth doing.

If you go with a tour operator, they will likely take you to Khao Phing Kan, also known as James Bond Island, where there are scenes of The man with the golden gun they were filmed.

Backpacking in Railay and Krabi

Railay and Krabi are ground zero for climbing in Thailand.

Here you will find some of the most epic and exhilarating routes in all of Asia. If you've never climbed before, this is a great place to start!

Krabi It is the main center of the region. It is not on the coast itself, but more inland.

Most people take the first boat they can find to go to Railay, Tonsai or one of the other nearby beaches. There are a couple of hostels in town if you need to sleep.

tonsai and railay are the most popular places to stay near Krabi. Railay is slightly more developed and a bit more refined.

Tonsai is like a scene from Lord of the Flieswith feral children. Stay in Tonsai if you want to party, or Railay if you want something quieter.

backpacking in krabi

From Tonsai or Railay, you can organize many day trips.

I highly recommend doing a solo deep sea trip, which involves climbing (without gear!) directly out of the ocean. It's a bit harrowing, but totally worth it.

You can also organize excursions to the surrounding islands of Koh Poda, Tup and Po Da Nak. In fact, there are many places around Krabi that are worth seeing.

Many people organize overnight trips to the legendary Koh Phi Phi Krabi islands.

They are one of the most famous islands in Thailand, thanks to the movie The beach – and they are justifiably magnificent.

The problem is that the islands are currently quite overrun and the landscape is at risk of being destroyed. Recently there has been talk of limiting access, and they have They have done it in Maya Bay – but nothing has changed yet.

If you are looking for a place to stay on Koh Phi Phi, try Laem Thong. It's a little quieter.

Backpacking Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

Located off the eastern coast of Thailand, these three islands, fairly close together, offer something unique.

On Koh Phangan you will find the infamous Full Moon Party or Full Moon Party.

They became so popular in recent years that they began to organize one for each phase of the moon: there is a New Moon Party, a Quarter Moon Party, etc.

However, the locals put a stop to this as things got out of hand.

The parties aren't really that great: just a bunch of careless tourists drinking horrible liquor out of a bucket and burning themselves on flaming jump ropes.

In fact, there are much better parties on the island.

Some parties last several days. If you want to be present in all of them, stay somewhere on Koh Phangan (preferably on the east coast).

If not, stay on Koh Samui or Koh Tao and take the overnight trip.

backpacking on Koh Phangan
Koh Samui's pristine waters

Koh Tao is the best place to dive in the area. It is probably the cheapest place to get a diver's license in Thailand and therefore attracts many aspiring dive masters.

Even if you don't dive, Koh Tao is a very laid back place and worth spending a few days on. There are some nice beaches in the surrounding area and nothing is too far.

Koh Samui is the "resort island", inhabited mainly by older couples and vacationing Russians.

It is much bigger than Koh Tao or Koh Phangan, which means there are more things to do on Samui. It is definitely more expensive still, but luckily there are some hostels scattered around the island.

Off the beaten path trips in Thailand

Thailand has a lot of beautiful tropical islands.

For the adventurous, it is possible to find small islands throughout Southeast Asia that are virtually uninhabited.

Here are some remote islands worth exploring while backpacking Thailand:

  • Koh Lanta – Where does everyone go if they are burned out of Krabi and Koh Phi Phi. Here the people are older and quieter. There's still plenty of action around Ko Lanta Yai, if you're looking for it. Check out one of these hostels while you're there.
  • Ko Phayam – An unassuming island, near the Myanmar border, billed as the “Rastafarian” island. Very relaxed and very welcoming. Most of the bars and accommodation are on the west coast of the island; the port is on the opposite coast.
  • Similan Islands – Offers the BEST diving in Thailand, hands down. Almost everyone who visits this location is part of some type of diving trip. I honestly don't know if there is another way to get here.
  • Koh Tarutao – A rather raw and rough island in the far south of Thailand, on the border with Malaysia. Take a ferry from Pak Bara
  • Koh Lipe Beyond Koh Tarutao. One of the 'diamonds in the rough' of the South Ferries from Pak Bara.

The best things to do in Thailand

There are literally too many amazing things to do in Thailand to fit into one trip/one lifetime. Here are some of the best things to do in Thailand.

1. Diving in the sea

Many backpackers fall in love with scuba diving while in Thailand.

The country offers incredible diving opportunities in crystal clear waters with abundant marine life and many wrecks for the underwater adventurer.

The best islands for diving are the Similan Islands and koh tao, but without a doubt the cheapest place to learn is the island of Kao Tao.

Check out this Diving Squad article for the ultimate guide to Diving in Thailand.

shutterstock 359593334 1
Diving in the Similans. | Source: metha1819 (Shutterstock)

2. Party like a machine!

probably the fThe world's most popular backpacker party is the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. 20,000 people party until dawn on Haad Rin beach, Koh Phangan.

It's extremely touristy, with a lot of alcohol, and the music sucks, but it's still worth seeing.

Personally, I prefer the half moon and Shiva moon parties, since there are not so many people and, therefore, the prices do not skyrocket as much.

suffice it to say that in Koh Phangan you will find many parties and nightlife you like them, but you may have to look outside the standards.

The third option is to just screw yourself partying in bangkok

3. Go hiking in the jungle

In the north of Thailand you can practice magnificent trekking through the jungle.

If you choose to hike, be sure to take a multi-day hike.

The most popular places for jungle trekking are chiang mai and Chiang Rai (Chiang Rai is also worth a visit).

That being said, personally, I prefer trekking in Myanmar or Laos.

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
Jungle trekking in Thailand

4. Get a Sak Yant tattoo

Get to know these magical and spiritual tattoos and let yourself be inked by a monk for a truly unique experience. This is an adventure that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

5. View some elephants ethically

Look, we all love elephants, but the sad truth is that not every place you backpack in Thailand will treat these adorable companions in the most proper way.

If you want to see elephants in Thailand, do your research and find an ethical elephant sanctuary.

I have heard good things about Elephant Hills although I have not visited it personally.

Also, the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary (with several locations in Thailand) is an amazing organization that does a great job.

Chiang Mai Elephant Camp
A nice elephant kiss. | Photo by Sasha Savinov

6. Learn to cook

No Thailand travel guide would be complete without a mention of the tempting food that pops up around every corner, every hour.

Thai food is probably my favorite food in the whole world and many tourist areas offer Thai cooking classes.

Learn how to cook amazing and flavorful dishes, so you can take your skills home with you and keep the Thai food train rolling.

It is a memorable experience to try while backpacking in Thailand.

7. Climbing in Tonsai and Railay

You also have some top climbing in southern Thailand, especially near Krabi.

It's a laid-back life: waking up to a climb, downing a mushroom smoothie for brunch, back to hitting the walls before a joint at mealtime.

See Tonsai and Railay Beach if you fancy getting into the climbers' bubble for a couple of weeks (or more).

climber in railay thailand
source: King Ropes Access (Shutterstock)

8. Stretch your ass!

It may not be India, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of yoga retreats in thailand. My ex did her yoga teacher training at

Thailand and let me tell you… I was extremely grateful for it!

Speaking of teachers you can't sleep with at the end of class, check out Freedom Yoga in Chiang Mai. It's run by my friend Adam.

Adam knows what he's doing, he's impressively flexible and manages to be an excellent yoga instructor without being a jerk or a preacher, quite a rare feat 😛

If you are new to yoga, this is a great place to learn.

Backpacker accommodation in Thailand

For me, one of the most exciting things about traveling is meeting new people and staying in new places.

And what better place than Thailand to really get into backpacking culture by staying in some of the most amazing hostels in Southeast Asia.

Hostels in Thailand are backpacker meccas and are perfect for meeting other travelers, exchanging exciting travel stories and just relaxing.

There is an insane amount of accommodation options throughout Thailand, ranging from the squalid to the regal. It is usually possible to arrange accommodation on the fly, on the day, by showing up and asking.

The most notable exception is Koh Phangan during the Full Moon, which is full of annoying children, so we advise booking in advance.

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
camping in northern thailand

If you are backpacking Thailand on a budget, you can also try Couchsurfing. It's another great way to meet the locals and explore the local culture.

You can save yourself a few bucks since CouchSurfing is free.

The best places to stay in Thailand

Location Accommodation Why stay here?
Bangkok Smile Society Hostel, Store, Bed Station Hostel My favorite hostel here was the Smile Society, a cozy little place, conveniently located for exploring the nearby places.
chiang mai S*Trips – The Poshtel, Thai S*Trips – The Poshtel is a great hostel and is a stone's throw from the Night Bazaar where you can try some amazing local food. They also have a reliable wifi.
Pak Chong Hi Pakchong Hostel Located right next to the Pakchong train station and within walking distance of the bus terminals. The staff is friendly and can organize your day trips.
Khao Sok National Park Khaosok tree house complex, coconut khao sok Compared to Khao Yai, there are some pretty good and pocket-friendly accommodation options here. Check out the Khaosok Treehouse Resort if you want to stay somewhere truly special.
koh samui Kingston Jamaica Hostel, Hotel Lotus, Samui backpacking My best option here would be the Kingston Jamaica hostel. It has a pretty laid back backpacker vibe.
Kanchanaburi Sky Resort Kanchanaburi, Sam's House Here you will find some very cheap resort properties. Check out Sam's House
daddy Pai Tribal Backpackers, purple jumpsuit Tribal Pai is a great pop up hostel. It is backpacker friendly, has a relaxed atmosphere and I can assure you that you will extend your stay "one more night". purple monkey is great too the pool is a bit run down but they do some delicious caesars

Backpacking expenses in Thailand

Although it is certainly still cheap in the global sense, compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand is more expensive.

Below I have highlighted what things cost in Thailand by sections:

When you're ready to travel around Thailand, skip buying tickets at the station and book them online.

You can now book transportation in advance for most of Asia using bookaway and doing so can save you a lot of stress (and maybe money, too).

money in thailand

There are plenty of international ATMs, but many of them charge pretty crazy withdrawal fees, so it's wise to avoid small ATM transactions and withdraw a lot of money at once.

Of course, make sure to hide it well!

thai baht 547725 1280

Top tips for visiting Thailand on the cheap, on a tight budget

To keep your expenses to a minimum while traveling in Thailand, I recommend that you follow the basic rules of budget backpacking.

  • Camp: With plenty of great natural camping spots, Thailand is an excellent place to pitch a tent. Check out this post for a breakdown of the best tents to take backpacking.
  • Cook your own food: I took a small gas cooker with me to Thailand and cooked many of my meals while hitchhiking and camping, saving myself a fortune – check out this post for information on the best backpacking cookers.
  • couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is a brilliant way to save some money on your backpacking budget in Thailand AND to connect with the locals – boom!
  • haggle: Bargain your holy heart! A room, a trinket, a few grams of mushrooms - it doesn't matter!
  • Hitchhike: Hitchhiking is very easy in Thailand and is a great way to keep transport costs down and spend them on amazing experiences. So hitchhike as much as you can when backpacking Thailand.
  • Bring a travel water bottle: Save money and the planet every day! Filtered or not, a travel bottle of water is always infinitely better than buying 2-3 plastic bottles a day.
  • To find out how to travel the world on $10 a day, check out the backpacker's bible.
  • Volunteer - Travel slowly and do something meaningful while you're at it. But be careful when searching for volunteer opportunities in Thailand. Scams and things like fake orphanages are not uncommon, so use a reputable volunteer organization like Workaway.

Why should you travel to Thailand with a bottle of water?

While there are many things we can do when it comes to responsible travel, reducing plastic consumption is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do.

Don't buy single-use water bottles, don't bring plastic shopping bags, and forget about straws. All this ends up in the landfill or in the ocean.

If you want more tips to save the world be sure to watch the following video.

When to travel to Thailand

When is the best time to travel to Thailand?

The peak tourist season in Thailand is November to February when the weather is beautiful throughout the country, but there is a high chance that you will meet a lot of tourists.

The most popular guest houses fill up quickly, making it a country definitely worth booking. It is difficult to find cheaper accommodation during the high season.

The local people are very friendly and willing to help, so if you have any problems don't be afraid to ask the locals for directions.

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
All set for adventure!

It is better to avoid the northern areas of Thailand during February to April as the fire season begins and the mountains will slowly be covered in smoke.

Monsoon season is in the summer for most of the Thai islands, but be sure to check.

Festivals in Thailand

Thailand has a lot of great festivals, but the two best ones are Songkran and the Festival of Light:

  • Songkran: It is celebrated in mid-April and is the traditional Thai New Year. The entire country takes to the streets in the most epic water fights imaginable. I mean guns and buckets of water, people driving by in trucks spraying everyone in their path, etc. Everyone has a good time, people drink, but not stupidly, and it's a great way to have fun with Thai people and experience their culture. The biggest celebrations take place in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
  • Loy Krathong (Festival of Light): On the same day, thousands of people gather along the canals and rivers, to release their Krathongs (made from banana leaves and beautiful flowers) into the waters to float.
    In Chiang Mai, the Khom Loy, which are "floating lanterns" that are released on the night of the festival, are also added to the celebration.

Is it safe to travel to Thailand?

You may be wondering if it is safe to travel to Thailand. Honestly, it is quite safe to visit Thailand, and people are willing to help you.

However, there are some pretty wild parties in Thailand, and it's important to be aware of your surroundings and watch out for drugs and alcohol when out partying.

For everything else, Thailand is a very safe country that lives by and for tourism.

Elusive and photogenic monkey eating food in Lopburi Thailand
These little guys will steal the snacks out of your pockets!

Being smart and trusting your gut are the keys to being safe in Thailand. Thailand is a pretty laid-back country, but there are things you should be on your guard for:

Wear a helmet when riding a motorbike in Asia. Despite being an experienced driver, I have had a total of three crashes in Southeast Asia in the last ten years.

On the one occasion, I was not wearing a helmet, I split my head open and had to go to the hospital. It was a very expensive mistake. The locals are sick of running foreigners off the road and trust me, you don't look cool not wearing a helmet.

Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll in Thailand

Though drugs flow freely at full moon parties, Thailand has very strict laws against drug possession, which include imprisonment and even the death penalty in extreme cases.

Yeah! They take drugs very seriously.

So my advice would be to be very cautious when it comes to drugs.

If you fall into the hands of the Thai authorities, you should immediately seek legal advice and contact your consul.

There are English-speaking and dedicated lawyers law firms in thailand who specialize in helping tourists with legal problems in Thailand.

Pai is a popular hangout for drug addicts and weed is easy to get on the Thai islands, but finding some in the cities can be more difficult. Many times, the grass is of low quality.

Mushrooms are also readily available in both Pai and the islands, and LSD and MDMA are available, but the quality varies greatly and the price is often high.

Every once in a while some unlucky backpackers get high, so be careful with your drinks and don't take random shit from strangers.

Tinder is very common in Thailand, but it's more of a hookup app than a dating app.

If you're a white guy rocking Southeast Asia for the first time, you're going to like it, as you'll suddenly be ten times more attractive to local girls than you are back home.

The "ladies" of the night in Thailand

Don't be surprised if the girl you've been chatting with turns out to be a ladyboy… that happens.

Prostitution in Thailand is very common, but always be respectful, whatever your opinion

humans are humans treat people you meet along the way with the same respect that you would show your friends and family in your country.

You are not superior to anyone, not even the girls/boys who walk the streets. Southeast Asian sex workers are people just like you and me; they may enjoy what they do, or they may be on the darker side.

bangkok red light district night
If a local asks you to go to a "special" show, decline. The shows are a bit demeaning. | Source: Clay Gilliland (Wikicommons)

Regardless of your beliefs and thoughts about prostitution, remember that this is another person with thoughts, feelings, and a life outside of the sex industry as well.

You are not superior to these people, you are simply from a more privileged background.

Travel insurance for Thailand

Traveling without insurance would be risky, so consider getting good backpacking insurance before you head out on your adventure.

I have been using nomads of the world for some time now and have made a few claims over the years. They are easy to use, professional, and relatively affordable.

In addition, they allow you to buy or extend a policy once you have started the trip and you are already abroad, which is very practical.

If there is one insurance company I trust, it is World Nomads. To find out why I use World Nomads, see my review of World Nomads insurance.

Arrival in Thailand

The best place to fly is Bangkok. There are also international airports in Krabi, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai, but they are easier to reach from other Southeast Asian countries.

You can enter Thailand by crossing the border from Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. You can also take a boat from Indonesia or even a slow boat from Laos to Thailand on the mighty Mekong River.

bangkok - Temple of Dawn
Most people arrive in Bangkok first. Spend a few nights there.

Entry requirements to Thailand

Many nationalities can receive a free thirty day visa waiver on arrival (if you arrive by air; currently it is 15 days if you arrive by land).

You can usually extend the waiver once, to receive an additional thirty days, for a fee of about $60.

If your nationality requires a prior visa or you want to apply for a Thai visa in advance, especially for a longer stay, it is quite easy to obtain one at the Thai embassy in your country or abroad.

Traveling to Thailand in times of COVID

As of November 2020, Thailand remains hermetically closed to most international tourists.

Those who do manage to enter the country are almost always subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. This eliminates most casual tourists or backpackers, at least for now.

BUT it is still possible to get into Thailand if you plan to stay there or backpack for a while Special long-term visas are currently granted to certain nationalities.

These visas can be extended twice, giving you the opportunity to stay in Thailand for a total of 270 days.

Those entering Thailand on this visa are still subject to a 14-day quarantine and only a select number of entries are allowed on this visa each week.

Go to the most convenient Thai embassy to find out if you meet the requirements and what you should do before entering the country.

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How to get around Thailand

Thailand is quite a large country, and if you're short on time, you might consider taking the odd internal flight while backpacking in Thailand.

AirAsia is a great low-cost airline, but you have to book tickets in advance before it fills up or prices go up.

You can also get around by train, but it is often not as fast or on time as traveling by bus.

Thailand is a relatively easy country to navigate by car, compared to many of the countries I've driven, and many backpackers explore the country by motorbike.

Most of the roads are signposted in Thai and English, so it's pretty easy to find your way around. If you take a tent with the bike, you can also sleep almost anywhere.

cheap train travel in thailand

night buses and night trains in Southeast Asia they're a great way to save on a night's accommodation and get from A to B. In general, Southeast Asia is quite well connected by train.

Fortunately, grab (similar to Uber) is now available in Thailand! grab It is undoubtedly the best way to move around the cities; the price is set in the app, so you can't get ripped off and you can skip the haggling.

Follow the link to take a free reserve credit.

Hitchhiking in Thailand

Thailand is a great country for hitchhiking When it comes to hitchhiking, Thailand is a great place in Asia for the novice hitchhiker who is earning their stripes.

But you have to be persistent and make sure the locals understand where you have to go or you'll end up being dropped off at a bus station.

Hitchhiking in Thailand is quite safe and easy You just have to find a good spot where the traffic is nice and slow and stick your thumb out.

If you are backpacking Thailand on your own, there is a good chance that you will be able to hitchhike with the bikers.

One way trip from Thailand

There are four countries that share a border with Thailand:

  1. Cambodia
  2. Laos
  3. Malaysia
  4. Myanmar

Although neither China nor Vietnam have a border with Thailand, their territories are less than 100 km from Thai territory and easily accessible from Thailand.

You can enter Thailand from any of these countries by air, road, or ship.

Cambodia 1
Cambodia is the natural next step after backpacking Thailand.

In general, unless you're headed home or to Australia to replenish your travel budget, chances are you'll be heading elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Haven't decided where yet?

Work and stay connected in Thailand

Many digital nomads have settled in Thailand and there are significant communities spread across the country. You can thank Thailand's low cost of living, combined with a relatively high standard of living.

Chiang Mai is an extremely popular place and is not only one of the best places in Thailand for digital nomads, but possibly in all of Asia.

The meetings, like Chiang Mai SEO Conference They are held every year and are a great networking opportunity.

Others prefer to work in Bangkok or on one of the better-connected islands in the south, such as Koh Samui.

However, almost any major city in Thailand is a good place to settle if you are a digital nomad.

Internet in Thailand is becoming more and more reliable and fast. You can get free wi-fi in most hostels, hotels, cafes, etc.

In the cities, you will see that Thai people are always connected and with their phone. You can get a data SIM card fairly cheap.

Tab Kak Hang Nak Mountain Nature Trail Best Hike for Views in Thailand
Ready to take the leap? | source: Yuriy Seleznev (Shutterstock)

Thailand is also a very popular place to teach English. Most people sign up for some form of organized placement.

In this case, most of your living expenses and tuition fees will be covered. These practices are, unsurprisingly, quite expensive.

It is possible to start backpacking in Thailand and then find a job on the ground.

If you had a TEFL license earlier, your chances of getting a job would be much better. That said, it's not always required.

To find out more about TEFL courses and how to get a job, read our in-depth report on teaching English abroad.

Volunteer in Thailand

Volunteering abroad is an amazing way to experience a culture while giving something back.

There are tons of different volunteer projects in Thailand, ranging from teaching to caring for animals to farming and pretty much everything.

Thailand is an amazing destination, but low salaries make backpacking volunteers highly appreciated.

There are plenty of opportunities to make a difference, like farming, childcare, and teaching English. There are also a growing number of technical jobs available, such as web design and SEO.

You will not need a special visa if you stay less than 30 days, but you will need a 60-day visa if you stay longer

If you want to find volunteer opportunities in Thailand, we recommend that you Sign up to Worldpackers – a volunteer platform that directly connects local hosts with traveling volunteers.

Volunteer programs run through reputable work exchange programs such as Worldpackers are usually very well run and reputable.

However, whenever you volunteer, be vigilant, especially when working with animals or children.

What to eat in Thailand

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Thailand
There is no better place in Thailand to get stuck than in a floating market!

Thai food is honestly amazing. Their noodles and curries are full of flavor without being too heavy.

  • Tom Yung Goong: A soup blended with fragrant lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves, shallots and lime juice with fresh prawns and straw mushrooms.
  • red curry: Red curry paste made with coconut milk and meat, as well as kaffir lime leaves.
  • Pad Thai: A delicious noodle dish with a sauce made from fish and peanuts, plus chili powder. It is probably the most internationally recognized dish in Thailand.
  • Khao Soi: This soup-like curry rice noodle dish is the most popular in northern Thailand. It is made with fried and boiled egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime, ground chili peppers, and beef curried in coconut milk.

Check this article on 40 thai dishes for more inspiration!

thai culture

The people of Thailand are some of the friendliest and warmest I have ever met.

The aura of friendliness of the Thai people is immediately noticeable when you get off the plane, and although Thailand is famous for its beaches and jungles, it is because of the people that I return.

Thai people are friendly, unpretentious and generous.

I feel like as a traveler it's still easy to make connections with Thai people, whether it's at the market or in a bar.

A woman enjoys dancing in Thailand

Also, Thai people are quite accepting of different sexualities. While backpacking in Thailand, you will hear a lot about ladyboys. Thais are widely accepting of transgender people, as well as same-sex couples.

Useful Phrases for Traveling to Thailand

Although many Thais speak English in the tourist areas, once you get off the beaten track, you'll see that almost no one speaks English.

Even in popular cities, only basic English is spoken. Knowing Thai travel phrases will not only help you get around Thailand, but it will also help you connect with the culture.

  • Hello – Sà-wàt-dee
  • How are you? – Sà-baai dee mi
  • Pleased to meet you – Yin dee têe dâi róo jàk
  • Sorry – Kor toht
  • Please, – Kor..
  • Greetings – Chon
  • Crazy – Ding-dong! (Sounds adorable, not offensive)
  • Motherfucker – Ai hee-ah (Now that sounds more effective!)
  • ladyboy – Katoey (very useful to know this in Bangkok!)
  • no plastic bag – Mimi tihung phlastik
  • No plastic straw please – Mimi fang pord
  • No plastic cutlery please – Mimi mid phlastik pord
  • Where is the restroom? – Hông náam yòo n?i (crucial if you are a lover of spicy Southeast Asian food)
  • Yeah –chai
  • No – Ma Chai
  • Beer – Bia
  • How much –Nee Tao Rai

Books to read about Thailand

Having a good backpacking book is a must Grab a book for those lazy days at the hostel:

  • Thailand's Best Street Food: The Complete Guide to Eating on the Street – Thailand is known around the world for its brilliantly spicy and crazy cuisine. Take this guide to find the weirdest and tastiest food that Thai street markets have to offer.
  • The King never smiles – This is the biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej, a Western-born king who skillfully shaped Thailand's political history.
  • private dancer – A thriller revolving around the popular pole and private dance culture in Bangkok.
  • bangkok babylon – Drawing inspiration from Orwell and Hemingway, Jerry Hopkins looks back on his first decade as an expat in Bangkok, profiling twenty-five of the city's most unforgettable characters.

Brief history of Thailand

Like much of Southeast Asia, Thailand was once roamed by foragers and indigenous kingdoms.

Unlike most of Southeast Asia, Thailand evaded European colonization and had its own colonies.

However, in 1893 Thailand was forced to cede Laos to France. Later it also ceded Cambodia to France and Malaya to Britain.

A new constitution for Thailand was published in May 1946, but power struggles continued between the kings.

In 1947 Field Marshal Phibul staged a coup, and Thailand then became a military dictatorship.

Over the decades, people protested for civilian rule, and in 1992, after many student demonstrations, the king stopped and finally Thailand returned to civilian rule, and in 1997 a new constitution was introduced.

In 2006 there was another military coup in Thailand, but in December 2007 democratic elections were held again.

Unique experiences in Thailand

There is so much to see and do in Thailand. However, these are our quintessential must-do Thai experiences.

Diving in Thailand on a board trip

Thailand has some of the best diving in the world. (psst – the Similan Islands are sublime). The problem is that word has spread.

Millions of tourists flock to Thailand every year to enjoy the wonderful diving that the country has to offer.

Unfortunately, many of the most popular Thai island coral reef systems have been damaged by the high volume of human traffic.

catamaran sailing in thailand
source: satit sewtiw (Shutterstock)

If you like scuba diving, there is still a great way to dive without the hordes of tourists and without a major environmental impact.

Consider joining a Liveaboard trip. Most Liveaboard boats go to remote regions that the average dive shop won't take you to.

Eat, sleep, dive, repeat. That is the name of the game. Sounds great, right?

Check out Liveaboard's amazing dive trips here.

Participate in an organized excursion in Thailand

In most countries, including Thailand, traveling solo is the norm.

That said, if you're short on time or energy, or just want to be part of an impressive group of travelers, you may choose to join an organized tour.

Joining a tour is a great way to see most of the country quickly and without the effort of planning a backpacking trip. However, not all tour operators are the same, that's for sure.

G Adventures is a solid, down-to-earth travel company that caters to backpackers like you, and their prices and itineraries reflect backpackers' interests.

You can get some great deals on epic Thailand tours for a fraction of the price other tour operators charge.

Final Thoughts on Backpacking Thailand

Alright, now let's talk about getting drunk abroad.

It's fun, I do it, quite a lot. But being drunk doesn't give you the right to be a jerk. Writing your name in black marker on your temples, drinking Chang beer shirtless, swearing out loud, and visiting tourist attractions with unethical animals? You, sir, are an idiot.

Luckily, most backpackers don't fall into this category, but when you're out and about and you've had too much to drink, it can be easy to embarrass yourself.

It's easy to get carried away in Southeast Asia, everything is damn cheap and so much fun.

I am by no means the perfect traveler; I've been the drunken idiot on the street.

I know firsthand how hard it is to be the only person in a group who says no when someone comes up with a stupid idea that, for whatever reason, everyone supports.

I am in no way telling you not to drink, smoke and party. Make it and decorate it. Only don't get so drunk that you become a jerk your mother would be ashamed of.

If you can't stand drinking long drinks, then stick with beer. If you want to see elephants, go see them, but do your research first.

Tips to save money in Thailand

Find ethical animal sanctuaries who treat and care for animals properly.

Don't ride elephants. If you're you don't like to see the temples, don't worry but don't be disrespectful, inappropriate or disfigure them; Of course, do not try to enter without a shirt.

Go to Asia and have fun like never before, do the things you have dreamed of but be respectful along the path.

Traveling the world makes you an ambassador of your country, which is amazing.

We can make a positive impact on people when we travel and get rid of any ugly stereotypes that may be associated with your country.

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7 comentarios en «Mochilero en Tailandia: Guía de viaje 2024»

    • ¡Totalmente de acuerdo! Tailandia es increíble, pero hay tantos otros destinos fascinantes por explorar. ¿Qué tal Nepal para una experiencia de montaña inolvidable? O quizás Vietnam para sumergirse en su rica cultura. ¡El mundo está lleno de opciones emocionantes más allá de un solo destino!

    • No te preocupes, Tailandia es un paraíso para los vegetarianos. Hay una gran variedad de opciones deliciosas y auténticas. ¡No te pierdas el pad thai vegano y los curries de verduras! ¡Disfruta de tu viaje y de la comida tailandesa!

    • ¡Suena emocionante! Tailandia es un destino increíble para mochilear. Solo asegúrate de respetar la cultura y el medio ambiente mientras disfrutas de tu viaje. ¡Buena suerte y que tengas una experiencia inolvidable!


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