Updated: July2013
When someone says "Thailand" most people either think about either Bangkok or the beaches. And why not? But there is so much more to see away from the coast and the capital! We've visited and listed just a few.

That said, there are some amazing islands and coastal areas to visit. In fact, too many to list? We don't know, but with your help, we will list as many of your recommendations as possible!

I hope what we have in place already proves useful.
Elli xx


Most nationalities including Americans, Australians and most Europeans receive a free 30 day tourist visa upon arrival into Thailand by air. However, if arriving by land you will only receive 15 days. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entering. 

Visa Extensions

Visas can be renewed for a fee at immigration points. The cost is 1,900 baht for 7 days extra and can be extended only once. If you leave the country and return, your visa will be renewed for free. You can exit and re-enter the country as many times as you like this way, and most travel agents can arrange border runs to neighboring countries. 

Late departure

500 baht per day. The maximum fine for overstay that you can pay is 20,000 baht. After this you may face deportation at your own cost or imprisonment. 

Basic Information
Thai Baht

Exchange Rates
July 2013
$1 = 30.9 baht
€1 = 40.8 baht
£1 = 47.5 baht

For free cash withdrawals use AEON

ATM Locator

Capital City

Main religion
95% Theravada Buddhism.

Main Language

Telephone code 

Time zone
GMT + 7 hours

Emergency numbers
Ambulance 1554
Fire 199
Police 191

Climate: When to go?

Most of Thailand experiences 3 seasons; the cools season occurs from November to February, followed by the hot season March to May, then the rainy season, between June and October.

As with many countries in this part of the world, the wet season tends to consist of short, hard down pours. The time of the rainy season however, differs from the East coast to the West. 

The Andaman coasts (West) experiences monsoon from June to September (Phuket, Pi pi, Krabi, Railay). Whilst in the gulf of Thailand (East) rains mostly fall during September to November

Where to go?
Thailand's bustling, frenetic capital, known among the Thai as Krung Thep. Plenty of tourist sites make this a great introduction to Asia. Local travel can appear to be daunting at first, but throw yourself onto a river ferry and get a sky-train map and you'll be laughing.

A historical city, UNESCO World Heritage Site and old capital of Siam. Just 90 minutes away from Bangkok by train, this city is well worth a visit. Cycling around the ruins of the temples is something that everyone should try to do.

Chiang Mai
De facto capital of Northern Thailand and the heart of Lanna culture. Enjoy the temples in the old city and the night-life that supports a large ex-pat community. Some of the best food in the country! A great stop-off on the way to Pai, Chiang Rai or to the northern border into Laos. Can be reached by air, bus or overnight train from Bangkok.

Chiang Rai 
Gateway to the Golden Triangle, ethnic minorities and mountain trekking.

Home of the bridge over the River Kwai and numerous World War II museums. A two train journey from Bangkok (though neither very long in duration), this is a great base to travel to Hell Fire Pass, the Erawan waterfalls and national park. A reasonable sized ex-pat scene means that the international and local food is to a good standard. 

Nakhon Ratchasima 
Largest city of the Isaan region.

One of the main tourist destinations, known for its outrageous nightlife. That said it's not all about the nightlife! The amazing Anek Kusala Sala museum, housing the only terracotta army soldiers outside of China as well as some truly amazing sculptures is worth a day trip from Bangkok, so if you are in the area it really is a must see! If it's too much for you in Pattaya, then head south a few kilometers to Bang Saray for sea food and relaxtion with the locals.

Thailand's first capital, with amazing ruins that will take your breath away. Worth a couple of days but can be done in one. If you're travelling with a guide book that advises to stay in the New City then read our page - in our opinion the Old City has more to offer and staying there means you have more flexibility to see the ruins rather than polishing a wooden bench with your bum for 30 minutes each way on the local bus.

Surat Thani 
Home of the Srivijaya Empire, gateway to the Samui archipelago.

Ko Chang
Once a quiet island, now undergoing major tourism development.

Ko Lipe
Small island in the middle of Tarutao National Park, amazingly unspoiled with great reefs and beaches.

Ko Pha Ngan 
Site of the famous Full Moon Party with miles of quiet coastline.

Ko Samet
The nearest island beach escape from Bangkok.

Ko Samui
Comfortable, nature, and entertainment hippie mecca gone upmarket.

Kho Tao
Dive, dive, dive! Now home to several free diving schools and a multitude of scuba schools. This island passes more novice divers that anywhere else in the world. Subsequently they are scrutinised by all of the top dive bodies to ensure that they are doing things properly. Okay, it is not the best diving in Asia but it's bloody good! And at about 60% of the price of a dive in Kho Phi Phi... well worth considering. Narrow beach strips and a vibrant young scene keep it popular with travellers. Fancy visiting when it's a bit quieter? Then head there for full-moon; everyone else will be heading to Kho Pha Ngan!

Khao Lak
Gateway to the Similan Islands, hard hit by the 2004 tsunami, but vibrant once more.

Khao Sok National Park
One of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Thailand.

Khao Yai National Park
Take a night time jeep safari spotting deer or visit the spectacular waterfalls.

Krabi Province
Beach and water sports mecca in the south, includes Ao Nang, Rai Leh, Ko Phi Phi and Kho Lanta. Krabi town is a great base that allows you to explore some of the local islands and resorts on a budget. 

The original Thai paradise island, now very developed, but still with some beautiful beaches. Before you travel, make sure you are aware of the costs associated with this area - it is much more expensive than other parts of Thailand. If you speak to most ex-pats in Krabi, they will direct you to the islands off of the east coast instead.

The Leaping Lemur Group - Our Chosen Charities.

There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.
Elli xx

In Thailand, elephants have traditionally worked with humans in the logging industry and as the trucks and heavy machinery of the day. When in 1989 the government officially banned all logging activity most of these elephant's went into the tourism industry, "trekking camps", circuses and wandering the streets of the big cities begging, are the new reality for these animals. Elephant's World was founded in 2008 to function as a 'retirement home' for elephants that have been injured during, or are too old to continue with, this type of work. We are a non-profit organization, meaning we are funded exclusively by visitors and donations and every cent we earn goes towards making our elephants lives as pleasant as possible and, of course, retiring new elephants.[more]

YMCA Bankgok
The YMCA is a world-wide recognised organisation. Get in touch with us to volunteer for Summer Camps and Enlgish Day Camps. [more]

Pattaya Orphange
In 1972, Rev. Fr. Raymond Allyn Brennan, a Redemptorist priest, was requested to go to help work at St. Nikolaus Church, Pattaya, temporarily, and one morning when he opened the church door he saw a newborn child left at the stairway front. Not knowing what to do, he took care of the child, asking his friends about “how to give milk and how to change the diaper”. News about the fostering of the child spread, resulting in more children being brought to give to him, most of whom were fruits of the presence of the U.S. military base at Sattahip. 
During the Vietnam War, Pattaya became a favorite place of the American servicemen who came for recreations, so there were a large number of abandoned children. A military officer and Father Ray consulted each other on how to find ways and means of aid. [more]

Lanta Animal Welfare
Lanata Animal Wlefare (LAW) is based on Koh Lanta in the south west of Thailand. LAW’s objective is to relieve the suffering and pain of the animals on the island through sterilisation and care. To date, we have sterilised and treated over 6,000 animals.
You can help us by: Adopting one of our friendly dogs or cats from Thailand (our animal adoption programme makes taking an animal from Thailand to your country a very simple process) and you will have given a beautiful animal the home it deserves. [more]

MAP Foundation
They come seeking employment, livelihood and, for some, refuge. Nearly all migrants from Burma support their families and communities in Burma by sending home money they earn in Thailand.  Migrants may also seek to establish a safe and stable life for their family in Thailand.  The military dictatorship of Burma denies the existence of this pattern of migration to Thailand and consequently fails to safely provide its people the necessary documentation to leave Burma or enter Thailand legally.  As a result, nearly all migration across the border to Thailand has been irregular and the migrants are completely undocumented. It is thus very difficult to estimate the number of migrants from Burma living and working in Thailand. The largest number of migrants from Burma to register for a temporary residence card was 921,492 in 2004, which probably only represents a third to a quarter of the total number of the migrants from Burma in Thailand. [more]

The Leaping Lemur

We have several blogs in their final edit being prepared to be published on-line.

Suggested Routes
If you've been to Thailand and have a route that you could suggest then why not let us know? Otherwise, if it is your first time in Thailand, have a look at some of our readers suggestions.

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