Cost of living in Thailand_Thai currency

Cost of living in Thailand for short and long term stay

Everyone knows Thailand for its affordable cost of living and traveling. There are many of you who might be planning your travel or looking to get on the recent digital nomad and remote working trend

In this article, we will examine the cost of living in Thailand for both short and long term stay. We will be mostly using the cost of living in Bangkok as a reference, so if you are planning to visit or live in smaller cities, the cost will be relatively cheaper.

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Daily cost of living in Thailand

Food and beverage

There is a wide range of options for eating out in Thailand. You can select from street side vendors, local to fine dining restaurants. For this reason, a meal in Thailand can cost anywhere between THB 50 all the way to THB 500+ per meal per person.

Inexpensive meals from local vendors and restaurants that Thais typically consume generally cost between THB 50 – THB 100. Eating in a mall can take this cost up to THB 100 to THB 300 per meal.

Taking low cost to the extreme, if you home cook using local ingredients for the whole month, the meal cost per day can be around THB 120 per day according to Picodi.

Cost of living in Thailand_local market food

A scrumptious meal at a local market generally cost between THB 50 to THB 100.


Main modes of transportation in Thailand include driving, public bus, sky/underground train, taxi and motorcycle.

BTS and MTR can cost between THB 40 – THB 60 per trip if you are going from the suburbs into the city center. If you are traveling 2 trips a day, the average cost would be around THB 80 – THB 120. 

Public buses are a more affordable traveling option. It can cost between THB 8 to THB 30 per trip, however we do not recommend this mode of transport to foreign visitors.

Taxi fare in Thailand starts at THB 35, then it will charge you by increment of THB 5 – THB 10 per km depending on the distance. A taxi ride from city center to Suvarnabhumi airport would cost around THB 200 to THB 400 (around 20 to 30 km). We would recommend taking Grab instead of taxi if you want a more transparent price and less likelihood of getting scammed. Read more about traveling safely in Thailand in our other article.

The cost of driving using a private car is more complicated, we will cover this in another aticle.

Other living expenditure in Thailand for short term stay


There is a great selection of hotels, hostels and Airbnbs in Thailand. The market is competitive, which means you can always find a good bargain whether you are looking for a budget or luxurious stay.

Hostels are suitable for a budget stay, and the accommodation can cost as little as THB 150 per night. You can also get a private hostel room for THB 500 to THB 800 per night.

The price range of a hotel room in Thailand is quite large. A decent 3-star hotel can cost around THB 500 – THB 600 per night, with a 4-star hotel costing up to THB 800 to THB 1,000 per night. Based on our experience, a 5-star hotel can cost anywhere between THB 1,000+ to THB 5,000+. There are also many boutique options for a 5-star hotel, beyond your big chain options. For example, we stayed at the Hansar Bangkok, a 5-star boutique which was amazing and did not cost much more compared to 4-star alternatives from large hotel chains.

Cost of living in Thailand_Hansar hotel

Photo from our last stay at Hansar Bangkok – the room was hip and came with some in-door greenery.

Mobile and internet package

It is hard to get by without the internet, especially if you are not used to the city. Surely you’ll need to access your Google map or your Grab app, right?  

You can get many tourist internet packages on pre-paid sim cards that typically cost around THB 150 to THB 600. The costs depend on your duration of stay (THB 150 for 4 days and THB 600 for 15 days). 

Other cost of living in Thailand for longer term stay

Are you looking to stay in Thailand for multiple months for extended vacation or remote working? If the answer is yes, there are a few costs that you should be aware of (and prepare to pay!)


There are a lot of apartment and condominium rental options. Your rental will greatly be depending on the location and the quality of the place you are looking to rent. 

Based on our experience, monthly rent for a 30-35 sqm, fully furnished apartment in Bangkok city center can be anywhere between THB 8,000 to THB 25,000. You can think of the city center as the area within a few BTS stops from business/shopping districts like Silom, Asoke, or Ratchada.

It is also possible to pay a much lower rent if you are not staying in Bangkok or staying in the suburb of Bangkok. However, you should also be aware of the lack of convenience and also lower English proficiency as you move away from the city center.

Cost of living in Thailand_condo rental

Our one bed room apartment is equipped with pool facility. It is located in the city center, and is within minutes of walk to a BTS station.


The cost of electricity and water for 1 to 2 people should generally be between THB 1,000 to THB 2,000 per month. But this cost will definitely be higher if you have unique needs like bitcoin mining (electricity cost) or having a large garden/pool (water cost).

Mobile and internet packages

A good postpaid mobile plan can cost between THB 350 to THB 700 per month. Such a plan typically includes unlimited 4G data.

Home internet packages are generally affordable. Moreover, extra discounts are available if you sign-up through your apartment or use the same provider as your mobile phone. In general, this would cost around THB 300 to THB 800 per month.

Health insurance

Thailand offers one of the best healthcare services in Asia. In fact Thailand was ranked in the top 10 countries with the most efficient healthcare system in the world by Bloomberg in 2020.

While Thailand has quality healthcare to offer, the cost to access “premium” healthcare services in private hospitals can be costly. Therefore, you may need to consider getting health insurance during your stay in Thailand. 

On the topic of health insurance, the premium in Thailand can cost anywhere between THB 5,000 to THB 20,000+ per year.

How much is the cost of living in Thailand in each month?

The beauty of living in Thailand is that the cost of living in Thailand can be low or high depending on your lifestyle. The cost of living in Thailand can be very low if you are budget-conscious (but there are still plenty to enjoy). The country,  however, also offers an extra level of comfort and luxury for those who seek for them and are willing to pay for them.

In general, your monthly expenditure can range widely between THB 10,000 to THB 60,000 per person during the stay.

Go and read other posts that we have on the land of Smiles 🙂

Cities in Thailand_beach

Cities in Thailand you should visit after Coronavirus

Most people know Bangkok. It is the most well known-city in Thailand. Partly because it is the capital city, and also because it has certain appeals that made many famous movies featuring the city! Have you watched Bangkok Dangerous, The HangOver and One Night in Bangkok? These movies use Bangkok as the main setting for the story! Thailand is, however, way bigger than just Bangkok alone. In fact, Thailand has over 76 provinces, and there are many cities in Thailand that offer diverse and unique experiences to their visitors. 

In this article, we’ll talk about cities in Thailand that are interesting for tourism and/or living destinations.

Largest cities in Thailand

Most visitors and foreigners may feel more comfortable with large cities as they tend to be more developed and convenient. Large cities in developing countries like Thailand also tend to have more things to offer to visitors. So let’s start by looking at some of the largest cities in Thailand. 

The largest provinces in Thailand by the number of population include:

  • Bangkok (Central Thailand) with a population of 5.6 million
  • Nakhon Ratchasima (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 2.6 million
  • Ubon Ratchathani (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.9 million
  • Khon Kaen (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.8 million
  • Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand) with a population of 1.8 million
  • Buri Ram (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.6 million
  • Udon Thani (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.6 million
  • Chon Buri (Where Pattaya is, Eastern Thailand) with a population of 1.6 million

As seen above, many of the provinces from this list are located in Northeastern Thailand. This region is the largest in Thailand, and is home to about a third of the country’s entire population. However, these large cities, except for a few of them, are not that popular among international travelers. Only some cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chon Buri would ring a bell to many travelers. 

Rather than visiting large cities in Thailand, many travelers prefer to visit smaller cities with unique experiences.

Which are the best cities to visit in Thailand?

Metropolitan city

Using other international cities as the benchmark, we would categorize Bangkok as the only metropolitan city in Thailand. Bangkok is home to almost 6 million people and ranked #1 in terms of tourism revenue. Bangkok has a lot to offer like from things like delicious food and drinks in restaurants, cafes and bars to night markets, shopping, visit to temples, a relaxing massage, or take a day trip to nearby provinces.

However, Bangkok is also the most expensive city in terms of cost of living in Thailand.

Mountain and lush greeneries

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s 5th largest city and is ranked #6 in terms of tourism revenue. Chiang Mai is famous for its relaxing vibes and relatively cooler weather given its location in Northern Thailand. Moreover, Chiang Mai is home to many cool and hip cafes, and at the same time it has a lot of cultural heritage to offer. You can also take a trip outside of the city to enjoy the nature like mountain, waterfall and national parks.

Chiang Rai is a smaller province located next to Chiang Mai and it shares a border with Laos and Myanmar. Chiang Rai is a less known province to foreign visitors – but it also has many beautiful natural and cultural sites. If you are in Chiang Mai and have extra time, you can consider making a day trip to Chiang Rai. However, if you want a more relaxing trip, consider staying in Chiang Rai for a night or two before going back to Chiang Mai.

Cities in Thailand_mountain green cafe

Golden beach and blue sky

Phuket is a southern island with less than half a million in population. Regardless, it is ranked #2 in terms of tourism revenue. It is indisputable that Phuket is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand. While Phuket is most famous for its beaches, you can also find great hiking routes, enjoy night markets and visit temples. Phuket is also a well-developed tourism destination, making the stay on this island very foreigner-friendly.

Pattaya is located in Chon Buri province, eastern Thailand. Chon Buri is one of Thailand’s larger provinces and is ranked #3 in terms of tourism revenue. Pattaya is a very popular destination among travelers as it is very close to Bangkok. It is approximately 45 minutes drive away from Bangkok so you can simply hire a car or short tour package to visit Pattaya. Similar to Phuket, the city is very foreigner-friendly.

Krabi is a southern Thailand province and is ranked #4 in terms of tourism revenue. Krabi is the most southern city on our list (only about 4-5 hours drive to the border of Malaysia). Apart from beautiful beaches and surrounding islands, you can also experience southern Thailand cuisine and culture in this city. Having been to Krabi ourselves, we think this city is quite underrated given its beauty and serenity! 

Koh Samui is located in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand. The province is home to a million population but is ranked #5 in terms of tourism revenue. Koh Samui (“Koh” means island) is Thailand’s second-largest island after Phuket. Being an island, Samui has many beaches with a lush green forest at the center of the island.

Photo shot during our trip to Krabi, no filter involved.

Historical heritage

Ayutthaya is the place to go if you are a fan of history and culture. Located in central Thailand (about an hour drive from Bangkok), Ayutthaya used to be Thailand’s capital city until 1767. Some 250 years later, Ayutthaya is now home to many heritage sites – earning its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(last but not least) Our favorite among cities in Thailand!

Here comes our favorite place to visit, Hua Hin. While it is somewhat known, Hua hin is not as popular relative to its peers like Phuket or Krabi. Hua Hin is a city in Prachuap Khiri Khan province in southern Thailand (ranked #9 in terms of tourism revenue). Beaches in Hua Hin may fall short relative to those in Krabi or Samui and the city itself is less bustling than Phuket. However, Hua Hin offers a hip and relaxing experience not too far from Bangkok (about a 3-hour drive). We did enjoy our time in Hua Hin eating tons of local seafood and fresh coconut, visiting local markets, and exploring cafes in Hua Hin.

Cities in Thailand_hua hin cafe

We shot this photo during our visit to a beach-side cafe in Hua Hin.

Thailand airports

Thailand has 6 international and a total of 20+ airports reachable via commercial flights. This makes traveling between any major Thai cities convenient and also foreigner-friendly.

Once you can travel again, which cities in Thailand should you visit?

The answer is, it depends!

As you can see, there are many cities that you can safely travel to as a foreigner and each will offer a different kind of experience. You may already know cities like Bangkok and Phuket, but now you know that Thailand has a lot more to offer whether you are looking for beaches, mountains, or heritage sites.

You can stay longer and visit multiple cities at one go. Or, just visit different cities every time you come to Thailand. There is no rush, these cities are not going anywhere!

Find out more about Thailand via our posts

Learn Thai language_online learning

Learn Thai language – what to know before you begin

In the previous article, we have talked about English proficiency in Thailand and tips & tricks to navigate the country without speaking Thai. However, the best way to enjoy Thailand (especially if you are looking to stay long-term) is to learn the Thai language. 

Like many languages, whether a language is easy to learn depends a lot on how similar the language is to your mother tongue. We will explore more about Thai written language and spoken Thai in this article.

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Written language and alphabets

Thai language alphabet has 44 consonants and 32 vowels (out of which only 28 are still used today). This is almost twice the amount of Latin counterparts. Approximately 70 million people in Thailand use the Thai language alphabet. It is unique and nowhere else in the world uses this alphabet. You can find the full list of Thai alphabet and its pronunciation here.

Thai is a phonetic language. So, you can look at the Thai written language and will be able to pronounce it directly. The difficulty comes with being able to produce accurate tones and pronunciation. Inaccurate pronunciation and tones can distort the meaning of the words.

Learn thai language_thai alphabet

Is Thai a tonal language?

Yes, Thai language has 5 tones

If you have learnt languages like Mandarin (4 tones) or Cantonese (9 tones), you will understand the added complication of learning tonal languages. The same word pronounced with different tones can imply completely different things. 

For most cases, there are marks in the Thai writing that indicate tones (similar to what you see in Chinese pinyin).

Learn Thai language: the difficulty

Difficulty of learning a new language can vary for everyone. One key determining factor is how different is the language from your mother tongue?

Compared to English, Thai language has simpler grammar and sentence rules. Structuring a basic sentence in Thai would be manageable for English speakers (with a minor exception of adjective placement). 

For example, saying “I want to go to the Airport” in Thai would follow the exact same sentence structure as English. 

The challenge with Thai language lies heavily in its tones and pronunciations. This is especially true for people who have not learnt tonal languages before.

The learning curve of Thai language

Learn Thai language_using Thai

Just like many languages, picking up basic Thais can be done without much difficulty. And this is especially true if you are living in Thailand. You can get used to holding basic daily conversations. For example, you’ll be able to  converse with local shopkeepers, taxi drivers, etc.

However, the learning curve starts to kick in when you have to strive for language accuracy or the correct nuances. It also gets harder when you try to switch from casual language to more formal one. Formal Thai is used in work setting, business meetings, official communications or in legal documentations. 

The Foreign Language Training of the United States categorizes Thai language as “difficult language to learn”. This implies it would require approximately 44 weeks for learners to reach professional working proficiency. 

Should you learn the language?

We strongly believe that learning Thai language would make your experience in Thailand a lot more enjoyable. Picking up Thai language while staying in Thailand could be fun and rewarding. You can start experiencing Thailand like a local and this will allow you to see Thailand from a different angle.

However, due to the fact that Thai language has a unique alphabet and tones, you will need patience in mastering the language. This might be a challenge that you want to take up if you are looking to stay in Thailand for a long term.

Learn more about Thailand through our other posts: 

best time to travel to Thailand lantern festival

The best time to travel to Thailand

When is the best time to travel to Thailand? A run down on weather, festival, seasonal food

Thailand is a great destination all year round. However, visiting Thailand at a different time of the year will definitely give you a different experience. Learn more about different factors that can help you determine the best time to travel to Thailand.

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Best time to travel to Thailand for the best weather

Thailand is hot all year round with the temperature ranging from 20 to almost 40 degree Celsius. In Thailand, there are 3 seasons: summer, rainy and “winter”.

The summer season is from February till April, with April being the hottest. Temperature of a Thai summer ranges from 25 to 37 degrees.

Coming next is the rainy season that starts from May to mid-October. While the temperature tends to be cooler (24 to 33 degrees), there is also 2-3x more rainfall relative to other seasons. We would recommend you to not travel in August or September. These two months usually have the heaviest rainfall. You can check this site before your Thailand travel/trip for the rainfall trend in Thailand 

The “winter” in Thailand is from mid October to January. Temperature during this season ranges from 21 to 30 degrees Celsius.

The best time to visit Thailand from the weather standpoint would be from November through to January. This period is usually the highest season for tourism as well with December being the peak.  

Best time to travel to Thailand_Bangkok temperature

Northern Thailand is slightly cooler

Northern Thailand enjoys slightly cooler temperatures than the rest of the country (about 1-2 degree lower). The effect is greater in Winter which is about 3 degree cooler than other parts. Normal temperature can get as low as 17 degree during winter in Northern Thailand. You can visit famous cities like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to enjoy some chilly, mountain weather.

Go visit the official Amazing Thailand travel website to check the temperatures of different places in the country ahead of your travel.

Best time to travel to Thailand_rainy market

Visitors should plan their trip ahead to optimize their experience in Thailand.

Best time to travel to Thailand for the unique experience

Thailand has many cities and unique local cultural festivals to enjoy. However, there are some more well-known ones that both locals and tourists enjoy which we will highlight here.

Songkran (April)

Songkran or Thai New Year is Thailand’s biggest festival. It is usually celebrated by everyone in Thailand from 3 days up until a week. Traditionally, Songkran is a cultural event where families gather and visit temples together. In the temple, they will follow a ritual of pouring water on Buddha figures. Nowadays, while family gatherings still take place, Songkran has turned into a big water festival. Crowds will close down the streets to enjoy splashing water onto each other. For many foreigners travelling to Thailand, this can be a very unique experience. 

Loy Krathong (November)

Loy Krathong is another festival that is celebrated throughout Thailand. Thai people have depended on water for their livelihood since the ancient time. Loy Krathong is a tradition where Thai people pay respect to the river and ask for forgiveness. In most parts of Thailand, people would float “krathong” onto the river. Krathong is (and should be) a biodegradable object made out of banana trunk/leaf, flower and candles. In northern Thailand, people light up lanterns instead of krathong. This was the start of the lantern festival where thousands of lanterns would lit up the sky on this night.

International and Chinese New Year (December / February)

International New Year (Dec 31/Jan 1) and Chinese New Year are not specific to Thai culture but Thai people also celebrate them. For the New Year, you can expect similar celebratory events like in any other part of the world (with fireworks and all that!). Chinese New Year is not as big of a holiday when compared to how it is celebrated in Mainland China. You will find the biggest buzz during Chinese New Year in the Chinatown area. In Bangkok’s Chinatown, you will be able to watch the dragon dance performance and also see firecrackers everywhere. But the highlight is definitely the street full of food vendors.

Most foreigners love the cultural exposure from taking part in these festivals. Experiencing these festivals first hand can easily be the highlight of their Thailand travel. So, you might factor in the timing of these festivals to determine the best time to travel to Thailand!

The best time to travel to Thailand if you love tropical fruits

Thai people love their tropical fruits. The country is bountiful of fruits, many of which visitors may have never seen and would find “exotic”.

  • Banana, oranges and coconuts are mostly available all year round.
  • Mangoes and papayas can be found all year round as well but they are more available from November to April.
  • Rambutan, durian, longan and mangosteen are often considered exotic and they are only available from May to September.

Fun facts: durian is also often called “king of fruits” and mangosteen “queen of fruits”, and both can be found easily in Thailand with good quality!

You can always find these fruits in supermarkets or local markets, however one more place that you can explore is the export-quality fruit market. This place is not widely known by tourists but you can find a lot of very good quality fruits and also local food there. One example is Or Tor Kor Market which you can easily visit after you are done with Chatuchak – they are near to each other!

Thailand trip cost

A trip to Thailand is relatively inexpensive for most tourists especially if you come from countries with stronger currencies (US, Europe and some major economic powerhouses in Asia). However, during high season like December or during large festivals like Songkran, accommodation prices tend to go up fast. So, if you plan to travel during those periods, book early to keep your Thailand trip costs reasonable.

So, when is the best time to travel to Thailand?

Well, you can do your Thailand travel all year round. However, in some months you may get to enjoy cooler tropical weather, and in some other months you may have a higher chance of being stuck in the rain when going outdoors. So depending on what kind of travel you are doing, you decide when is the best time!

Moreover, by planning ahead, you can coincide your travel with some exotic fruit seasons and local festivals. Remember that Thailand trip costs always increase nearing the popular festivals like Songkran and Loy Krathong. If you plan ahead you can still enjoy better pricing.

Having said all this, unfortunately Thailand is facing the third coronavirus wave at the time of writing. You might want to postpone your Thailand trip until the coronavirus situation gets better. You can check out our other articles about the current Thailand travel restriction and also Thailand coronavirus situation.

Check out our other articles on Thailand!

Thai language Thai letters

Thai language overview and useful tips to navigate Thailand

Thai language overview: learn more about Thai language and get useful tips for your visit/stay in Thailand.

Thailand is one of the top travel destination globally, but Thai language is not nearly as wide spread as English, Spanish, French or Mandarin. What language do Thai people speak? how should you prepare before making a visit? find out more below.

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What language do Thai people speak?

People in Thailand speak, read and write Thai – an official & national language of Thailand. Thai language is said to have been derived from older languages like Pali and Sanskrit.

The characters and vocabularies also share some similarities to languages used by our neighboring countries like Laos and Cambodia (Although I could barely make sense of characters while traveling in Cambodia).

Language similarities also extend to English where many of commonly spoken Thai vocabularies are borrowed from English. Some potentially useful borrowed vocabularies will be shared below in the tips section below.

Thai language_language comparison

English language proficiency in Thailand

While Thai language is dominant, Thais learn English as part of the school curriculum from primary school until college. Having said that, locals still have low English language proficiency relative to other Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Thai language English proficiency

English Proficiency Index ranking from Education First.

Thailand has a “very low” proficiency rating according to Education First – in fact among the lowest in Southeast Asia. You would naturally have no problem in countries with high to very high proficiency ratings like Malaysia or Singapore. Personally, I have had little troubles navigating countries with lower ratings like Vietnam and Indonesia as well.

This information looks at countries as a whole, but you will find a more English proficient population in big or touristy cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and many more. Do not let the number deter you just yet because we will further examine Thailand as a travel destination in more detail.

Thailand is a top tier travel destination

Many Thais only speak basic English, just enough to help visitors to get by on day-to-day activities. You may find some activities inaccessible without speaking Thai, however there are still plenty to enjoy.

Thailand is among the top tourist destinations despite its low English proficiency. 2019 data from World Tourism Organization put Thailand as the 7th most popular destination globally with 40 million arrivals. The country has been serving more than 10 million visitors annually since the 2000s, and this makes tourism the key industry for Thailand.

Thai language_Thailand tourism ranking

You will face some language barriers without speaking Thai language, but Thai people are very much used to interacting with visitors. Shops and businesses in big, touristy cities have English websites, menus and signs. Most hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities would have English (or translated) information prepared – ask if you do not see one.

Adding to the above, Thai people are friendly like every Southeast Asians. So if you are patient enough to communicate, you can eventually get the information you are looking for. 

Thai language barrier: what to look out for?

You can anticipate a certain degree of communication challenges but most tourism related activities in big or tourist-friendly cities are likely to be prepared for non-Thai speakers. Large operators (of places like shopping malls, hospitals or apartments) also offer communications in English which make extended stay in Thailand possible.

Thai language apartment mobile app

English options are available in some restaurant menus and mobile applications.

So where can you expect to face the Thai language barrier?

Rural Thailand

You can expect a lower level of English proficiency in the more rural parts of the country. Getting by with English will be less of an issue in cities like Bangkok and other touristy cities like Chiang Mai.

Small mom-and-pop and street side shops

Street side vendors or “hole in the wall”-style mom and pop shops are generally less prepared to serve non-Thai speakers. Some shops may be equipped just enough to tell you that you are purchasing chicken, but you may not get the remaining details like it is a “grilled chicken marinated with cumin served with sticky rice”.

Local markets

Thailand is famous for street food and night markets. Chatuchak market and Train night market are both famous and the vendors are used to serving non-Thai speaking customers. However, other local markets in Thailand are not as ready to serve non-Thai speaking customers. 

Thai language local market

Public buses

We recommend avoiding public buses in general (a combination of Thai language constraint and safety concerns). BTS and MRT trains are a lot more well equipped to serve foreign visitors. Taxi is also a valid alternative, some drivers are used to serving non-Thai customers even when their English proficiency might be very basic. It would still be a good idea for you to know how to pronounce your destination in Thai or have a map (or Google Map!) opened when getting on a taxi. 

Tips and tools to help with the Thai language barrier

Get a local tour guide

Getting yourself a local tour guide is probably the most effective way to overcome the language barrier in Thailand. Some guides also come with a private car and this would be the most convenient way to get around.

Thai locals are friendly so you should not be reserved about asking for communication assistant. For example, if you are having difficulty talking to a shop keeper, trying asking local youth for help.

Make use of Google Map and Facebook

Google map and Facebook pages contain a lot of information on shops and restaurants. You can look at their menu along with review & rating by checking Google or Facebook ahead of your visit. This popular noodle spot for example, has their whole menu in Thai, English and Chinese which is clearly posted on their Google map page.

Install Google translate

While using Google translate sounds like a no brainer, you would be surprised by the accuracy of the Thai language pronunciation produced by Google translate.

Thai language google map

Learn useful words in Thai language that are borrowed from English

Learning Thai is the most effective way to overcome the Thai language barrier. However, this may be too time consuming if you are not planning to stay in Thailand for an extended period. Having said that, you will have a much easier time by learning some Thai vocabularies. Thai people understand “Thai” vocabularies that are borrowed from English!

  • Beer
  • Computer
  • Charger
  • Chocolate
  • Card
  • Golf
  • Kilogram
  • Kilometer

Should Thai language deter you from visiting Thailand?

No! do not let the language barrier deter you as there is still plenty to enjoy in Thailand. You can have a much better experience by doing some preparation ahead of time. You should also note that traveling has since changed due to coronavirus so be sure to check out Thailand’s latest travel restrictions as part of your preparation.

Planning your first trip to Southeast Asia but have language barrier concern? You can consider other countries like Singapore, Indonesia or the Philippines as your first destination (But do not forget Thailand!).

Other materials for Thailand travel preparation:

Thailand travel restriction Featured

Thailand travel restriction during Coronavirus pandemic

Understand the latest of Thailand travel restriction measures during Coronavirus pandemic

Despite the Coronavirus situation, Thailand still welcomes visitors who want to enter the country. But obviously, travelling there will not be as easy as before. You will need to prepare a checklist for entry approval, Coronavirus swab test, yada yada.. before you travel. And upon arrival, you certainly will need to undergo quarantine instead of heading straight to your destination, unlike how it was in the pre-Coronavirus era. Here you will find summary of Thailand travel restriction, tips for travelers entering Thailand and the latest update on travel arrangement for vaccinated travelers.
Updated review using Thailand Pass as of December 2021 can be found here.

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Thailand travel restriction during Coronavirus pandemic for foreign visitors

Thailand allows foreign visitors to come both for leisure and business purposes during the Coronavirus period as long as you have the relevant visa and satisfied all of the country’s restrictions. 

There are certainly restrictions in place when you come to visit Thailand. The best place to check what travel restrictions you need to adhere to is the Thai embassy website from your place of departure. The website will include the most updated information about restrictions for travelers from that country. For instance, if you are in London, you can check the website of Thai Embassy in London for official travel information.

Before you travel to Thailand, there are several things in your checklist that you need to prepare:

  1. Passport and the right visa for your stay
  2. Medical certificate with a lab test result showing that Covid-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR test, issued 72 hours or less before departure
  3. Certificate of Entry (COE)
  4. Medical insurance 
  5. Booking of alternative state quarantine (ASQ) on arrival date

What to expect at the airport? travel document check, health declaration, and transportation from the hotel waiting for you. Thailand country reopening initiative reduced quarantine period to 7 to 10 days depending on whether you are vaccinated. However, the quarantine period is now back to 14 days due to the latest Coronavirus wave.

Preparing for visa, certificate of entry, quarantine in Thailand and what-not

Visa and starting your COE application

Thailand has just extended tourist visa for some countries that are eligible for visa exemption from 30 to 45 days. Once you confirm that you have the right visa for your travel into Thailand, start your COE process. The process should take less than 30 minutes, but it may take 2-3 days for you get preliminary approval. Pro tip: DO NOT book and upload any supporting documents such as flight or hotel booking until you receive this preliminary approval. You can start your COE process here.

Official video for the COE registration process.

Book flight, Alternative State Quarantine hotel, and medical insurance

After getting the COE approval email, you can proceed to book a flight, ASQ, and medical insurance. You can check the Thai embassy website for your country/city for available flights. For ASQ, you can book your quarantine hotel in Thailand via travel aggregator like Agoda or directly via the hotel website. Agoda is a great place to compare prices if you do not have any place in mind yet, or you can also use this sheet that has info compiled by a government agency. You will also need to purchase medical insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000 covering Covid-19 treatment in Thailand. You can check out and purchase medical insurance online via the Thai General Insurance Association here

Get printable version of your approved COE

Now, you can upload confirmation documents for flight, ASQ and insurance to the COE portal to obtain a printable version of the final COE which you will need during your travel. It would be a good idea to ensure that any details on your COE are aligned to your actual travel date, flight/ASQ booking. If you change your travel date or time, re-visit COE portal again – however when our flight was canceled, we had to go to the Thai embassy to do the info update (which took less than 30 minutes).

Thailand travel restriction COE sample

Book Coronavirus test

After you are done preparing for the COE, you should book the Coronavirus RT-PCR test. You will need to take this test no longer than 72 hours before departure.

Other useful tips: 

  • Get all the documents ready before your travel to Thailand. Also, print this T8 form so that you can fill it in and present it to the officer upon arrival
  • Download AOT Airport application, Thailand Plus application before flying
  • Some airlines may have their own special document requirement at check-in, be sure to check with your airline beforehand

Travel restriction and quarantine in Thailand

Officers at the airport will check the above-mentioned documents upon your arrival. The ASQ hotel will arrange transportation for you so keep an eye out after collecting your luggage and come out at the arrival hall. You will be restricted from making a stop or detour and will be escorted directly to your booked ASQ venue. You will need to take a Coronavirus test upon arrival and during your quarantine period. The regulation will not allow you to leave your room during the quarantine, however some hotel may set aside an on-premise relaxation area for you so do check with your hotel. After completing the quarantine, you will get an official quarantine/coronavirus test certificate and you will be good to go!

If you are curious about what’s Thailand quarantine experience is like, feel free to check our Thailand quarantine review.

Arrangement for vaccinated traveler / vaccinated passport

Vaccine passport has been a hot topic among travelers, however we may need to wait for some time before we can travel using this. Right now vaccination will only help to reduce your quarantine period when traveling to Thailand. There is a road map to removing quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers in October 2021, however this is subject to change. 

Our verdict on Thailand travel restriction

Thailand travel restriction during coronavirus time may be confusing to many people. So many documents and approval to prepare for, and such requirement can change anytime depending on the decision by the government. Based on our own experience, this gets easier with a guide or a checklist hence we hope you find this piece of content useful. Lastly, with quarantine requirement in Thailand (and potentially in your own country on the way back), a longer trip to Thailand would be more worthwhile.

If you are planning on staying in Thailand for an extended period, check out other resources below: