Johnny's Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand

Since I've been living off and on in Thailand for almost 8 years now, naturally have had dozens of friends ask me what they should do in Thailand on vacation. I've written books and longer blog posts about moving here as an expat or living here as a digital nomad, but realized that I didn't have a blog post dedicated for people visiting purely on vacation for a week or two which is what most people's vacations end up being, especially my American friends who hardly get any time off of work. In this post I'm going to share where I would go if I just had a short vacation and wanted to see the best of Thailand, skip the tourist traps, avoid getting ripped off, and really have the best experience possible.

I'm going to break down this blog post to what to do if you have one week or less, two weeks or more, and include some info for those who have the freedom of time to stay even longer and explain what I'd do and see if I were in their shoes and had to start all over again. My goal with this and with all of my posts is to write it to be able to share with my friends, family, and anyone else in my personal network that would normally come to me for advice. Get ready, as Thailand is an extraordinary place and one of my favorite countries in the world, which explains why I keep coming back to visit year after year.

When to Come

One of my favorite things about Thailand is the fact that it's in the perfect location in the world where there's always one coast that has good weather even when it's monsoon season on the other side, yet it's small enough where you can fly from one place to another in 1.5 hours or less for $100 or less!

That being said, the best time to come is anytime, and the sooner the better, and for the longer the better. But if you really had to choose, the best weather is ironically during December/January which is also the busiest high season as well, which kind of sucks as the entire country gets crowded with tourists which means, you'll have less space to yourself and pay higher prices for everything, especially accomidation. But don't worry, since I'm a local and have been living here half of the year or more since 2008, I can steer you in the right direction no matter what.

First, decide which part of the country you want to go. Let's break it down further by area.

Thailand Tourist Map

Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand)

The following weather is basically for anything north of Bangkok including Chiang Mai, Pai and Chiang Rai.

November - February: Best time to come as it's the cool season, which means, even though you'll need a light jacket in the mornings and evenings, during the day it's sunny and perfect and ranges from 21-28 degrees celsius, which is about 70-82F. At night it can drop down to as low as 10-13c which is 50-55F.

March - April: This is the worst time to come to Chiang Mai as it's burning season where the farmers burn the crops and fill the sky with smoke that chokes the city, traps car pollution and otherwise makes it miserable. Exact dates vary depending on the rainfall for the year but in general avoid Chiang Mai from February 20th - April 11th each year.

April - May: This is hot season. The only reason to come here during this time is to go to the Songkran water fight celebration. Other wise, I'd go down to the islands to dip in the sea and cool off during these months.

June - October: While it's known as the rainy season, or green season, it's actually a really nice time to be in Chiang Mai. The air is super clean from the rain, the jungles are lush green, there is a ton of ripe fruit, and even though it may rain hard for 2-3 hours a day, just make sure you're inside during those times and the rest of the day is usually beautiful and sunny. Most of my days during this time consist of waking up to the sunshine, going for a walk, or even a swim, ducking into a coffee shop to edit photos and go online for a few hours when it starts raining, then having the rest of the day be beautiful again.

Chiang Mai Weather

The Southern Islands

The best islands to visit in Thailand is the ones that currently have the best weather. You'll love pretty much any of the islands if you have bright, sunny days, and dread them if you go there during monsoon season. So when it comes to the Phuket vs. Koh Samui debate, my suggestion is to go to the one that has the best weather during your time of visit, as they are similar enough where you'll enjoy either if your timing is right.

West Coast Islands: Phuket, Krabi, Lanta, Phi Phi

Any island west of the peninsula is on the Andaman Sea side and is best visited anytime from November to March. Even though it's technically wet season on the west coast from April - October, I've lived in Phuket during that time and it wasn't that bad at all. The only problem with places like Koh Lanta or Phi Phi during the rain is that there isn't anywhere to escape to and most restaurants are indoor/outdoor.

Phuket on the other hand is more built up, so you could always go to a mall, indoor restaurant or even a movie theater if it happens to rain that day. Just like Chiang Mai, just because it's rainy season during these months doesn't mean it rains all day everyday. You'll still get clear days, and be able to sit on the beach or by the pool for at least a few hours a day usually.

But still the best times to come are November - March if you want to go down to the west coast islands.

East Coast Islands: Koh Samui, Phangan, Koh Tao

Do not go to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao in November! It's super monsoon season there during that time and will most likely rain all day, all night, and flood at some points. The good news however, is pretty much the rest of the year is great there on the east coast, which is the Gulf of Thailand.

Go to that side anytime between mid December onwards or anytime between January - October 9th or so. Just make sure you go to the Phuket side if your trip is from October 10th - December 10th as it's terrible on the east side then. My favorite island on this coast is probably Koh Tao as it's a fun, beautiful backpacker island with a ton of cheap, easy, scuba diving on the island.

Where to Go

So now that I've broken down the best and worst months, you should use that as an idea of where to actually go during your trip. My suggestion to anyone coming to Thailand for the first time would be to skip Bangkok either entirely, or save it till your last 2 days of your trip as that's more than enough time to see everything there, and you'll be more comfortable with Thai culture and the business of Asia before you go to the big city capital.

Bangkok is overwhelming, even for locals. I know some people love the craziness of big cities, but if you're coming on vacation, trust me, save it till the end of your trip, as the main reason to go there is to shop and you won't want to carry everything you bought with you down to the islands and then back up again. So if you insist on buying clothes or souvenirs buy it at the end of your trip.

So even though my favorite city in Thailand by far is Chiang Mai and it's where I live most of the year, for most people during their vacation, you should go down to the island's first as it has more of a wow factor.

My favorite island is probably Koh Lanta as it has a good mix of a laid back island vibe, great restaurants, and is a great spot for couples. Koh Samui on the east coast would be similar but a bit larger. Koh Lanta however has world class scuba diving and Samui has basically nothing.

johnny FD Koh Lanta Digital Nomad

If you're looking for a livelier scene, Koh Phi Phi or Koh Tao are known as backpacker islands and are filled with beach bars, people in their 20's and cheap places to stay. Both are great places to learn how to scuba dive and get your Open Water Certification as since the dive sites are close by, they are cheap to dive from.

Aside from that Koh Phangan is a great under visited island that has many faces. There is the full moon party which is awesome and great if you're under 35 and single. But it also has a lot of hippie parts that are a bit harder to get to but very nice.

Krabi is another island that is often missed even though it has an airport and some beautiful spots. The problem with Krabi is that the actual town of Ao Nang, similar to Phuket is a bit too touristy to enjoy. If you go, make sure you go to Railay Beach instead even though it's a bit out of the way as that's where you'll find the true beauty. It's known for world class outdoor rock climbing and free soloing which is climbing without ropes over water. Even if you're a beginner, it's worth going to as it's gorgeous and they have routes for all levels including novices.

Travel Itinerary

1 Week: 

If you only have 1 week or less, I would honestly tell you to either find a way to stay longer or just go somewhere closer to home such as Mexico if you're from the US. The problem with coming to Thailand for 7-10 days is that it takes 2 full days to get here, 1-2 days to get home, and you'll be exhausted from jet lag and travel while you're actually here. Because of that most people who come for a week end up just visiting Bangkok, which honestly isn't worth it.  

I know everyone has different levels of vacation time and freedom of travel, but honestly, don't come if you're just here for 7 days. If you do, the best advice I could give you is to fly directly to Bangkok, Transfer right away with another direct flight on Bangkok Air to Phuket or Koh Samui and spend your entire time there until you have to leave, with maybe spending your last night in Bangkok just to see it.  You can still do day trips from the islands, but make sure you don't try to move hotels too much as you'll be exhausted. 

2 Weeks: 

This is the minimum amount of time I'd recomend anyone coming all the way to Thailand from either the US, Canada or Europe. My suggestion for you would be to fly into Bangkok, then directly fly with either Thai Air or Bangkok Air to one of the islands. Book your first 4 nights somewhere, then leave it open ended from there. Unless you're coming in December, you don't need to prebook as most of the year you can just book things a day or two beforehand.

That way you'll have the freedom to stay longer or shorter at each destination. My advice would be to fly from Bangkok to either Krabi or Phuket, then island hop from there to places like Railey Beach, Phi Phi, or Koh Lanta as you please. You'll want to stay a minimum of 3 nights at each location to really get the most of it and settle in so you don't feel rushed. If you get bored of the islands, you can fly up to Chiang Mai to spend 3-4 nights at the end of your trip.

3 Weeks: 

As a tourist, this is the perfect amount of time to really enjoy Thailand. I'd recomend doing everything mentioned above but then spend the last week or so in Chiang Mai. The only thing you need to book ahead of time are the Elephant Parks in Chiang Mai as those get booked up weeks or months ahead. But everything else you can do last minute and stay flexible. 

4 Weeks:

If you're backpacking around, or coming to live and work as a as a digital nomad then good for you! My suggestions would be to base yourself on Koh Lanta or Koh Phangan for the first month to enjoy the islands, then come up to Chiang Mai to actually live. Or if you're on a budget or really focused on the digital nomad life, just come straight to Chiang Mai and save the islands for a vacation.

As for places to see, you can easily spend a week in Chiang Mai as there's a ton to do which I wrote about in my Ultimate Guide to Chiang Mai here. But aside from the city itself including the day trips, night markets, and temples, you can also go up to the hippie village of Pai for 3-5 days, where you can do things like stay at the Pai Circus Hostel and learn how to juggle and do acroyoga, or you can splurge and stay in pure luxury at Reverie Siam. 

Aside from Pai, Chiang Dao is also a nice quiet and affordable get away, good for couples, or if you want to take some beautiful photos, go to the White Temple in Chiang Rai, and make sure you also visit the less famous, but even more impressive Black House (Baan Dam) which doesn't look as good in photos, but is much cooler in person.

johnny fd jen thailand
Or spend the weekend at the Veranda High Resort in Chiang Mai

Malaria Pills? 

I get asked this question all of the time and the problem is, it's usually western doctors or pharmacists who have never even been to Thailand that suggest taking it just in case. I've been coming to Thailand for the past 10 years and have met thousands of tourists, no one I know has ever gotten malaria. However, I've also met dozens of people who took malaria pills, most of which had terrible side effects such as not being able to go into the sun. Not being able to lay on a beach or tan. And not being able to drink alcohol during their vacation. 

Long answer is, do not take malaria pills, when coming to Thailand. It's not needed. However, do not let mosquitoes bite you, as even though your chances of getting malaria are very tiny, the chances of getting dengue fever is higher. Make sure you wear mosquito spray during morning and sunset when the mosquitoes come out. You can buy spray here at any 711 for $2-$3. I suggest buying the natural citronella one first which is in the clear round bottle, and also buying a small bottle of the one with DEET in it, which is the small pink or orange bottle. Try the natural one first, then use the DEET one if it's not working.

Try to stay in places that are kind enough to have bug screens on their windows or mosquito nets. That's it. Don't take malaria pills, spray mosquito spray instead. 

What to Pack

Everyone always overpacks when coming to Thailand. You could technically show up with just the clothes on your back and $200 and buy everything you'll ever need here. Seriously, not even joking. On the islands you'll be wearing flip flops, shorts, and a tank-top everyday and up in Chiang Mai, you'll be wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Aside from really speciality items, Thailand is now a 1st world country where even at 711 which they have on every other block, you can buy all of your toiletries you'll need. Even the luggage yourself will probably be cheaper in Thailand than back home. Knowing that, come with less stuff than you think you'll need. The only things that aren't available here that I would highly recomend are:

1. Neosporin - It's not available here, and it heals cuts 5x faster than any anti-biotic cream you can find here. You'll need it for random cuts you'll get from rocks, coral, walking around in sandals, wearing shorts, etc. Get it here, just bring one tube.

2. Sun Block - You can buy it here but for whatever reason it's double the price. I'd bring a tube of SPF 30 if you want to save some money. Same thing as condoms or tampons. =)

3. Good Sandals - Even though it's cheap to buy knock of Havianan's here, since you'll be doing a lot of walking, I suggest bringing a better pair such as my favorite, the Luna Mono's. Also if you're larger than a size 11, you won't find shoes in Thailand, period. 

4. Electronics - All electronics from laptops to cell phones are cheaper in the US than Thailand. In fact, if you time your arrival for October each year, you can fund your trip by buying two new iPhones as they are released and selling them here for a big markup the first month they come out. If you're planning to travel with a laptop, I suggest a 13" Macbook/Air/Pro or a 13" Chromebook. Leave your heavy 15" laptops at home, they're a hassle to travel with.

5. Extra Space - Leave at least 33% of your luggage empty as you'll buy things guaranteed. Whether it be clothes, gifts or souvenirs, it's almost impossible to go to Thailand and not buy something. The best suitcases to bring would be a small day pack as your carry on, and a 75L suitcase or backpack as your main check in. Anything larger won't fit in most taxis, and will be difficult to move on and off ferries and boats when visiting the islands. I have a 30" Northface Rolling Duffle that I'm very happy with and think it's the perfect halfway point from a backpack and a suitcase. 

Don't bring more than this.

Must Dos in Thailand! 

Here are a list of the best parts and things to do in Thailand that I've loved the most. See which ones call out to you and put them on your to do list. 

Scuba Diving -

I had no idea how much I'd love it until actually coming here and trying it for the first time. If you've never done it before, I'd highly suggest getting super comfortable swimming in a pool if you haven't already. A good test is being able to swim with your head in the water for at least half a lap or being able to swim on the bottom of the pool. You can do a 1 day Discover Scuba Dive for around $100-$150 or get certified over 4 days for $300-$400. If you plan on getting certified, I'd highly recomend doing the free SSI Online course before you come as otherwise, if you come and do a PADI course, you'll be rushed through the theory/classroom sessions. The best thing you can do is to go through half of your open water certification at home, taking your time over 4-8 weeks and simply save the open water dive portion for the warm waters of Thailand instead of your cold lake or quarry back home. That way you get a non-rushed dive education back home in a swimming pool, and you can enjoy warm tropical open water diving here. 

Scuba Diving changed my life and is one of the most beautiful things you can do in your lifetime. It's like going to outer space and seeing thousands of alternative life forms. The oceans are dying so see them sooner than later as they won't be the same in 10 years. Koh Tao is the most popular place to get certified as it's cheap and easy.


Even though I highly encourge everyone to try scuba diving while you're in Thailand as the experience is usually 100X better. If for whatever reason you can't, snorkeling is the best next option. The problem with most snorkeling operators is the fact that that most of the Thai boat drivers/tour operators have never actually snorkeled themselves and don't swim.

That means that they usually offer cheap tours where they randomly drop you off somewhere that may or may not have good conditions to actually see what Thailand has to offer. It's a shame that big tour operators take hundreds of tourists on cheap snorkeling trips daily, and use unsustainable tactics like fish feeding, or dropping anchors onto reefs, and have hundreds of tourists with life jackets and fins standing on coral. So just bewarey of which snorkeling tour you go on and don't be afraid of writing them a bad review to warn others if they act this way.

That being said, the best snorkeling in Thailand by far is in Koh Haa lagoon which is one of the islands off of Koh Lanta. There is decent snorkeling around the Phi Phi Islands if they operator takes you to the right places such as the Bidas. Some of the bays in Koh Tao such as Japanese Garden are decent as well.

Muay Thai - 

If you're interested in it as a martial art, Thailand is the home to Muay Thai. Go watch a fight at one of the big stadiums in Bangkok, or settle for a smaller show in Chiang Mai or Phuket. If you're really serious, go join a class while you're in town.

If you're interested in Muay Thai, I wrote an entire book detailing my experience living and training in Muay Thai gyms around thailand, you can find it on amazon or at 12 Weeks in Thailand. 

Elephant Trekking

One of the coolest things I've done in Chiang Mai was really experiencing the elephants. Don't go to a shitty show or ride as they are devastatingly cruel to the elephants. If you're going to go, do it the ethical way and read my guide to Elephants. If you're not coming up to Chiang Mai, these are the only other places to see them ethically. Do not support the elephant shows on the streets, the metal chair riding, or painting shows.

Night Markets - 

The best night markets in Thailand are in Chiang Mai on the weekends, both saturday and sunday night so try to come up for those. Also Bangkok has some good ones and there are small markets in most places worth going to.

Eating Food - 

Thai food is amazing. But you need to get out of the tourist traps to really enjoy it. Chiang Mai probably has the best food in Thailand, which is why foodies love it here. Bangkok also has great spots but are hard to get to. In general the islands are more expensive but you can still find good, authentic food, it just most likely won't be at your hotel or on the main tourist streets.

Rock Climbing - 

Outdoor rock climbing in Railay was beautiful and amazing. It's also a mecca that rock climbers travel to.  I'd suggest getting a lesson at an indoor gym back home first, and practicing a few times before coming and strengthening your forearm muscles to really get the most of it.

Island Tours

Sometimes just being out on the water is beautiful enough. Going to the small islands near Phi Phi are beautiful. The reason why I really like scuba diving is you get the boat tour built into your day of diving.

You can also do day boat trips to the Phi Phi islands, small uninhabited islands just to walk around on, or do something adventurous like deep water soloing!

Massages -

Get a massage the day after you arrive, trust me, it'll make your flight soreness disappear. If you're on vacation for just a week or two, there's no reason not to get a massage everyday as they are usually around $5-$10 per hour. One of my favorite things to do is to pop in for a foot massage in the middle of the day.

Motorcycle Riding -

Riding a scooter is super fun, and it feels like pure freedom while you're here. Most people can learn how to ride it within a few hours. Just make sure you wear a helmet even if no one else does, SERIOUSLY. Also if you're a beginner, realize it's 3X harder to take someone on the back. Just get two scooters, it'll be safer both of you.

For those experienced in riding back home, you'll be pleased to know that dirt biking is super fun in the jungles, and you can also rent big bikes to do things like the Mae Hong Son Loop which is a 5 day drive through the mountains near Chiang Mai.

Hippy Stuff -

It's funny that if it wasn't for coming to Thailand I probably never would have gotten into Yoga, healthy eating, or meditation. But it's a great place to try it all. Look for an Acroyoga meetup, go up to Pai, the little hippy village north of Chiang Mai or over to Koh Phangan and learn how to juggle or spin fire.

Fishing -

The deep sea fishing in Thailand is unfortunately pretty bad now as the seas are completely overfished by unsustainable commercial fishing methods such as longline fishing and bottom trawling. But good news it there are lakes where you can catch things like Giant Mekong Catfish all day in both Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Resorts -

To be honest, for most people you'll be happy spending most of your day just staying in nice resorts and relaxing with a book or in the pool. On the islands you'll end up just walking around on the beach, and hanging out. Remember, this is a vacation, relax, and enjoy yourself. Don't just do stuff for the sake of doing it. Your goal should be to go back home more rested than you arrived, not the other way around.

There are plenty of nice resorts for as low as $30-$50 a night in Thailand, or as high as $300+, it really depends on your budget, but I've had an amazing time in the $60-$100 a night range and for as little as $30 a night in places like The Nest featured below. Also most resorts, no matter how nice will let you walk in and hang out by the pool as long as you buy a drink, so take advantage of that.

Shopping - 

I love buying things at the night market, but realized that less is more and that souvenirs usually just end up taking up space and aren't often appreciated by friends that you bring them back for. Don't stress too much about buying things and just enjoy your time here.

The only thing that I really loved having when I used to actually wear suits, was a custom, tailored made suit that I got for less than $200. If you wear suits or dress shirts often, my advice is to get them done either in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, and give yourself plenty of time to go in for 3 fittings. The problem with most tailors is that they will rush it knowing that you're in a rush, and you'll end up getting something a bit too big rather than perfectly tailored. Read reviews before you go, and never ever go to one off the street without reading reviews first. My favorite place is Neramit in Chiang Mai but the owner is getting old so I don't know how much longer it'll be around. My advice is to go anywhere with good reviews that has the tailors on site. Most places send the suits to a central factory and you never get as good of a fit with them.

Cooking Classes -

They are super fun to do and you get to eat everything you cook. Highly recommended, you can do this anywhere, just make sure you read reviews of the place first.

Visit Chiang Mai - 

My favorite city in Thailand to stay in long term is Chiang Mai. After going to the islands for a week or so to enjoy the ocean, diving and beaches, I really like spending time in the small mountain town of Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. 

There's so much to do here that even after coming for five years, I seem to discover something new every week. Here are 25+ of my favorite things to do in Chiang Mai. 

My favorite, Must Do things in Chiang Mai

Other/Random -

The best experiences you'll have on vacation in Thailand is through serendipity. Whether it's meeting other travelers from random countries, going on a side trip somewhere, or discovering something new or going on an adventure. I'm sure I've missed a few things while writing this, so I'll be sure to update this post as needed. Leave a comment below and let me know if you have any questions or recommendations!

Read the book on Amazon or at 12 Weeks in Thailand

Destination Weddings:

Honeymooners would also follow this section, as the best destination wedding spots and resorts for weddings would also be great for a honeymoon. This part just added as the director from the Destination Wedding show just asked me where they should look for possible destination wedding locations in Thailand. Here's what I told him and would recomend to others:

The main three options would be: 

  • Koh Samui
  • Phuket
  • Chiang Mai 

The first two are good because they are tropical islands, and there are literally hundreds of hotels that offer destination wedding or honeymoon packages with 4 or 5 star experiences. I would just go through and sort from highest priced or best reviewed and work your way downwards. Just remember that unless you are staying at an international brand such as the Four Seasons, the standards for 4 or 5 stars in Asia, especially when it comes to service are different from what you would expect in the US or Europe, but then again, you might only be paying $120 a night verses $500+.

As for Chiang Mai, there will be less options but really nice mountains and the elephant nature park for photos. The top hotel would be the The Dhara Dhevi which is formally the Mandarin Oriental, or the Four Seasons.  

All three destinations have airports which make them popular. 

But aside from those three, there are dozens of other, smaller islands or locations that could offer some amazing destination weddings for even less money, with more seclusion and have the possibility to have the entire hotel to yourself. 

For an example, you can have your destination wedding on the island of Koh Lanta where it's possible to rent an entire 20 room, 4 star hotel for $2,000 a night and have your wedding there for not that much more. There you could do something crazy like go early enough in the morning or pay off enough boat captains to have all of your guests swim through the Emerald Cave and pop up to see your bride or groom standing in a wedding dress on this secluded beach that's surrounded by rocks on all sides and is only accessible during low tide. 

The only problem with choosing a more remote option aside from Phuket, Koh Samui or Chiang Mai is the fact that they won't be as used to doing weddings and may not have things like professional photographers on hand, etc. The upside would be a more unique experience, lower costs, and more privacy. I'd recomend going with one of the top three destinations if you wants things to go smoothly, or go with a lesser known destination if you and your guests are more adventurous. 

Emerald Cave Koh Lanta


What Visa do I need?

None. You'll automatically get a 30 day exemption when you arrive at the airport for free. If you think you're going to stay longer, make sure you apply for a 2 month tourist visa before you come. If you plan on staying even longer than that, get a 6 month Multiple-Entry Visa before you come.

How Much Money Do I need?

None, just kidding. But it really depends on how you budget, where you stay, what you do, etc. If you want to spend less than $1,000 a month, you'll need to live like a local and stay in one city such as Chiang Mai or on just one of the islands. If you want to travel around, stay in hotels, resorts, drink alcohol, party it up, etc, you'll need at minimum of $350-$500 a week. Read my book above for some money saving tips.

What Neighboring Countries Should I See? - 

None. Seriously. Thailand is relatively big country with a ton to to see. Don't country hop just to say you've been places. Take your time and really get immersed and see it all. It'll be less stressful, more enjoyable, and cheaper. The only exception I'd make is if you're staying for more than 2 months, then definitely go to another country after your visa expires, even if jut to do a visa run, sightsee a bit and come back. The other scenario is stopping by your layover country for a few days. 

When flying from SF or LA, I often need to stop in Seoul, Korea or Taipei, Taiwan for a layover. It would make sense to ask the airline if I can stay for 2 days or so and sight see a little on the way there or back if that's something you want to do.

How Can You Afford to Stay for So Long?

I first worked as a divemaster which paid me around $600 - $1,000 a month which was enough to live off of. Then I wrote 12 Weeks in Thailand and discovered how to make money online. If you want to know more read either this blog post, or better yet, read my 2nd book where I explain it in more details at Life Changes Quick. It wasn't easy, but it has definitely been worth it.

Want More Info?

Feel free to ask me anything in the comment section below and i'm happy to help, and will add your questions and answers to the FAQ above. 

Or even better, you can simply read my book, 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap which is the book that summarizes everything I did, and learned during my numerous 3 month trips to Thailand where I was spending on average of $600 a month. 

Another good book to read if you're interested in longer trips is the book that inspired me to take the leap, the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Both are great books to read either before you come, or on the plane ride here. 

I hope you enjoy Thailand! It's probably my favorite country on Earth and it keeps me coming back each year for more! Leave a comment to mention anything I might have left out, or ask me anything! I'm happy to help!

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Nice guide. Are you planning to go back to Thailand after your European adventures?

    1. Thanks Shane! I'm actually missing Thailand already but will spend the rest of the summer here before I go back. But yes, I'll definitely be back =)

  2. That's great.
    We visited in November 2016 for three weeks, Chiang mai, Khao Lak then Bangkok, from the UK. We are thinking of 3 weeks now to Cambodia this November... but your article makes me think!
    Have you done the golden triangle of the north, and we would like to visit the Udon Thani area?
    Any ideas on a 3 week itinerary to include these. I'm not very good at leaving it loose.... ☺

    1. Hey Heather, if you've haven't spent a lot of time down on the islands, I'd recomend doing that over the golden triangle.

      The north is good for people that take the beach and prefer mountains/jungles or have seen it all already and are looking for something to do on their 2nd or 3rd trip to Thailand.

  3. I was thinking about coming to Thailand this August but am nervous about the weather. I don't want to just get there and have it rain the whole time. I read your article but honestly do you think it's worth it during that time of year? My plan was to fly into Bangkok then immediately go south to Phi Phi and Ko Lanta then up to Chiang Mai. I can handle a bit of rain but would still like to enjoy the beaches a bit and be able to walk around etc and not just be pouring buckets the whole time. -Paul

    1. Hey Paul, my advice for coming in August would be to spend the majority of your time on the east coast islands, such as Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan as it'll still be technically the hot season then. It'll rain a bit on the west coast and Chiang Mai, but trust me, rain in Thailand isn't' the same as rain back home. Since it's warm and sporadic, it really doesn't affect anything.

      Don't change or cancel your trip, just change the coast.

      Here's what someone said about going during August that I agree with:

      "Rainy season doesn't mean that it rains all day, every day. Sure, some years we do have days that the rain doesn't stop, but after living here for over six years I can only remember one year it did that.....Most of the time it simply means that we will have a thunderstorm in the afternoon. The rain during the storm could be very heavy at times, but it doesn't last long at all. (It's usually just a good time to duck into a little tea shop and have a snack, then when the rain stops...on you go!) I'm sure that the rain wouldn't spoil your time here in any time of the year! A year ago, it rained the day after Christmas and was very cold...not the usual weather here...but the next day the sky was bright blue and the air was wonderful. Do bring a folding umbrella that can fit into your purse, and also remember to bring mozzie spray! Marie (nannyre)"

    2. Thanks Johnny, I think i'll stick with it.

  4. Hey Johnny, great post!
    I love to go to Thailand but I always read that you need a work permit to work online in Thailand and if I need a work permit then I need to open a business in Thailand. Sound like a pain, do you have a work permit in thailand? Is it easy to get one?

    1. Hey TBX, 99.9% of people working online in Thailand don't have work permits as there's no easy way to get them. There are thousands of people that come on vacation to Thailand every day for vacation who happen to answer work emails or do a bit of work while they're there, so it's a grey zone that is accepted as long as you are not taking Thai jobs, or hiring people locally.

      I wouldn't worry about it.

  5. "Krabi is another island that is often missed even though it has an airport".
    What on earth are you talking about??? Surely you know Krabi is on the mainland and the main jumping off point to the Andaman islands. Srsly, have you ever been to Andaman coast?!?!

  6. Nice article on travel guide of Thailand. I am coming Chiang Mai to the Next January. Will you available in that time? Thanks anyway.

  7. Great information here included, thanks


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