Thailand is an amazing destination for a road trip, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. With its well-maintained roads, affordable rental cars, and friendly locals, Thailand is a great place to explore on four wheels.
As you travel through Thailand, you'll encounter breathtaking landscapes, from the lush jungles of the north to the pristine beaches of the south. You can stop to explore hidden waterfalls and caves, hike through national parks, or simply take in the stunning views from the roadside.
One of the most popular road trip routes in Thailand is the Mae Hong Son Loop, which takes you through the scenic mountains of northern Thailand. This route includes winding roads, stunning viewpoints, and opportunities to visit hill tribe villages and soak in natural hot springs.
Another great road trip option in Thailand is the Gulf of Thailand island-hopping route, which takes you through some of the country's most beautiful coastal destinations, including Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. You can explore pristine beaches, snorkel or scuba dive in crystal-clear waters, and indulge in delicious seafood cuisine.
Thailand's cities are also well worth exploring on a road trip, with bustling markets, ornate temples, and colorful street life. The capital city of Bangkok offers a wealth of attractions, including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Khao San Road. Meanwhile, the ancient city of Chiang Mai in the north boasts a vibrant night market and a range of cultural experiences, from cooking classes to meditation retreats.
Of course, no road trip in Thailand would be complete without sampling the local cuisine, which is renowned for its bold flavors and fresh ingredients. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, you can taste authentic Thai dishes such as pad Thai, green curry, and papaya salad, as well as regional specialties like khao soi in the north and seafood dishes in the south.
Overall, a road trip in Thailand is an incredible way to experience all that this diverse and fascinating country has to offer. With its friendly people, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural scenery, Thailand is sure to be a destination you'll never forget.
One of the greatest attractions in the country is Bangkok. Thailand’s capital rarely sleeps and will welcome travellers with a clash of Thai traditions and Asian modernity. Most holidaymakers tend to start their journey from the Banglamphu District and the Rattanakosin Area. Other notable highlands include the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo, and the National Museum, where you’ll learn more on the capital’s history.
Travellers who seek beautiful open spaces, green forests, and relaxing time spent close to nature should definitely head for Central Plains. A beautiful idyllic environment is offered by the town of Kanchanaburi situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai. It is valued by many backpackers seeking a top-notch starting point for the local tourist sites.
Those who are into archaeology will be surely intrigued by the remnants of Lopburi that remembers the times of Hindu Khmers’ reign. Other interesting settlements in the region are Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai, and Mae Sot – a top-notch accommodation base for the waterfalls of Umphang.
If you are into long hours spent in the sweltering sun, you can always head for the Andaman Coast. The most popular resort town here is, of course, Khao Lak offering brilliant infrastructure and plenty of water sports opportunities. It will be also an ideal place to start the exploration of the nearby Khao Sok National Park. The second most popular resort in the region is Krabi, well-known for its crystal clear waters and the backdrop of dramatic islets.
Ko Samuo, located around 80 km from the equally popular town of Surat, is a magnificent paradise for those who seek idyllic spaces. From here, you can travel to a number of smaller towns of Maenam, Bophut, and Choeng Mon. The small towns of Thailand are where you can learn the most about the country’s intriguing culture and understand its traditions to the fullest.
Thailand is a paradise for travellers who enjoy sightseeing with the help of public transport. The bus network is considered very reliable and you won’t find exorbitant prices here. Most cities in Thailand are nicely connected with a network of buses. There exist a number of bus classes varying in terms of their standard, price, and convenience. For more scenic views behind your windows, it’s also great to try local trains which connect the four corners of Thailand.
Travellers who enjoy being independent and having greater freedom of planning during holidays tend to choose rental cars. Car rental companies are available in larger cities and at international airports.
There are a number of traffic regulations which are comparable to other Asian and European countries. Passengers travelling in the front seat, along with the driver, are obliged to use seatbelts. What’s more, Thai police officers will surely perform a breathalyser test to see whether you’ve been drinking before hitting the road. The blood alcohol level that you mustn’t exceed is 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
Remember that Thailand is following left-hand traffic. What’s more, you are obliged to leave a distance of 50 metres before any emergency vehicle. The use of horn is forbidden unless you are trying to prevent a car accident.
The minimum driving age is 18, but the minimum driving age if you want to rent a vehicle is 23. You also shouldn’t be surprised if some of the car rental companies will require you to pay a fixed fee for being an inexperienced motorist – especially if you are under 25.
There are a number of toll roads in Thailand. However, these aren’t expensive and offer top-notch road surfaces that will improve your driving experience.
The documents that you should carry while travelling around Thailand are: driver’s licence, vehicle registration documents, and insurance documents.
It’s important to follow speed limits while travelling around Thailand. You can drive as fast as 90 km/h outside built-up areas. In towns, the speed limit is 50 km/h. When it comes to highways, you can drive at a speed of up to 120 km/h.
In Thailand, you’ll find a number of fixed speed cameras. However, the whole speed enforcement system mostly relies on mobile speed traps. If you are caught speeding while driving a rental car, a car hire company will forward the ticket from the police to the driver.
Interestingly, you are allowed to use speed camera detection devices and no fees or penalties will be applied if police officers spot such a device in your car.
When taking a road trip in Thailand, there are a few things to be aware of to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
Traffic: Thailand's roads can be busy, especially in larger cities such as Bangkok. Be prepared for heavy traffic and use caution when driving, especially during rush hour.
Road conditions: While Thailand's highways are generally well-maintained, some rural roads may be more narrow or have potholes. Be prepared for unexpected road conditions and drive with caution.
Driving laws: Thailand has its own set of traffic laws and regulations, which may differ from those in other countries. Familiarize yourself with these laws and drive safely and responsibly at all times.
Safety: Some rural areas of Thailand may be less populated and more isolated. Be sure to take appropriate safety precautions, such as carrying a first-aid kit and emergency supplies, and informing others of your travel plans.
Culture and etiquette: Thailand has its own unique culture and customs, which visitors should be aware of and respectful towards. This includes being mindful of religious traditions, dressing modestly in certain settings, and avoiding inappropriate behavior or gestures.
Language barriers: While many Thai people speak some English, there may be language barriers when communicating with locals, especially in more rural areas. Be prepared to use nonverbal communication or a translation app if needed.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable road trip in Thailand and make the most of all that this fascinating country has to offer.
The best time to take a road trip in Thailand can depend on several factors, including weather, seasonal events, and personal preferences. Here's a breakdown of the seasons in Thailand and what you can expect during each one:
Dry season (November to February): This is the most popular time to visit Thailand, with cooler temperatures and low humidity. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking or exploring national parks, without the discomfort of high heat and humidity. It's also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices.
Hot season (March to May): This is the hottest time of year in Thailand, with high temperatures and humidity. Visitors can still enjoy outdoor activities but may need to take extra precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. Prices may be lower during this season but be prepared for less comfortable conditions.
Monsoon season (June to October): This is the wettest time of year in Thailand, with frequent rain and high humidity. Some areas may be prone to flooding, so check weather reports and plan accordingly. Prices may be lower during this season but be prepared for potential disruptions to your travel plans.
Overall, the best time to take a road trip in Thailand is during the dry season from November to February, when the weather is mild and comfortable. However, if you're willing to deal with higher temperatures and the possibility of rain, you can also visit during the hot or monsoon seasons. No matter when you choose to visit, Thailand is sure to offer a wealth of experiences and adventures for your road trip.
The cost of a road trip in Thailand can vary depending on several factors, including the length of your trip, the type of accommodations you choose, and your dining and entertainment choices. Here are some rough estimates to give you an idea of what to expect:
Budget hotels and guesthouses in Thailand can cost between 500-1,500 Thai baht ($16-50 USD) per night.
Mid-range hotels and resorts can cost between 1,500-3,500 Thai baht ($50-115 USD) per night.
Luxury accommodations such as 5-star hotels and villas can cost upwards of 5,000 Thai baht ($165 USD) per night.
Dining out in Thailand can vary in cost depending on the type of restaurant you choose. A street food meal can cost as little as 30-50 Thai baht ($1-2 USD) per person, while a mid-range sit-down restaurant can cost around 200-300 Thai baht ($7-10 USD) per person.
Shopping at grocery stores and preparing your own meals can save money, with grocery expenses averaging around 200-300 Thai baht ($7-10 USD) per day.
Many of Thailand's outdoor activities, such as hiking and exploring national parks, are free of charge. Other activities, such as museum visits or live entertainment, can range from 100-500 Thai baht ($3-16 USD) per person.
Some of the country's popular tourist attractions, such as temples or theme parks, can be more expensive, with admission fees ranging from 200-500 Thai baht ($7-16 USD) per person.
Renting a car in Thailand can also vary in cost depending on the type of vehicle you choose and the rental company. On average, renting a mid-sized car can cost around 1,000-2,000 Thai baht ($33-66 USD) per day, while a larger SUV or luxury car can cost upwards of 3,000 Thai baht ($99 USD) per day.
Overall, budgeting around 1,500-2,500 Thai baht ($50-80 USD) per day per person for accommodations, food, and activities is a reasonable estimate for a road trip in Thailand. However, costs can vary depending on your specific travel plans and preferences. By doing some research and planning ahead, you can find affordable options and make the most of your Thailand road trip.
There are several excellent guidebooks and road maps available to help plan your road trip in Thailand. Here are some recommendations:
"Lonely Planet Thailand" by Lonely Planet: This guidebook provides in-depth information on the country's history, culture, and attractions, as well as practical advice for road trippers.
"Thailand Road Atlas" by ThinkNet: This detailed atlas features detailed maps of highways, roads, and landmarks throughout the country, as well as information on outdoor recreation areas, including national parks, campgrounds, and hiking trails.
"Thailand Travel Guide" by DK Eyewitness: This guidebook includes suggested itineraries, as well as recommendations for the best places to eat, stay, and explore throughout Thailand.
"Thailand's Islands & Beaches" by Mark Beales: This guidebook focuses specifically on Thailand's beautiful islands and beaches, providing recommendations for the best beaches, snorkeling spots, and island hopping routes.
"Thailand's Best Street Food" by Chawadee Nualkhair: This book is a comprehensive guide to Thailand's famous street food culture, providing recommendations for the best food stalls and markets throughout the country.
No matter which guidebook or map you choose, make sure to do your research ahead of time to ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip in Thailand. With so many unique destinations and attractions to explore, a road trip in Thailand is sure to be an unforgettable experience.