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Thailand travel guide

There are so many reasons why Australians love Thailand. It's got the best food, beaches and weather on the planet, and some of the nicest locals you'll ever meet. One visit and you’ll see why it's called the Land of Smiles.

Where to go in Thailand

A great way to get a feel for Thailand is to island-hop in a longtail boat around the Phi Phi Islands or kayak around Ko Pha Ngan. Look out for locals in Phuket who'll take you on a boat trip through spectacular Pha Nga Bay under limestone cliffs and towering monoliths.

Thailand is a diver's dream, with standout wall, drift, caverns and drop offs all around the coast and islands. The same goes for snorkelling – you'll see everything from parrotfish and turtles to giant clams.

Back onshore, Thailand has tropical beaches galore, so you can kick back and relax on Phuket or take a backpacking trip to Phi Phi Don's beach party paradise.

Take the family up to Chang Mai to visit colourful markets and to do a cooking class. You'll learn how to make a proper Thai green curry so you can show off your culinary skills back home. Here in the mountainous north, it's possible to explore rural areas and join up with locals to visit hill tribe villages.

Thailand's pulsing capital of Bangkok has a carnival of markets, from food, to flower, to floating, that are pumping day and night. Hail a tuk tuk for the afternoon and zoom from the Grand Palace to the Reclining Buddha to Wat Arun, then get dropped back at the ever-busy Khao San Road for some sizzlingly delicious Thai street food.

There's so much to see and do in Thailand that it helps to make a list and write up an itinerary. Get a travel insurance policy that covers what you plan to do – and tick that off your list before you go.

Thailand tips and travel advice

You want to stay healthy on your trip to Thailand so you don’t miss out on any of the fun. Remember, Thailand doesn't have a reciprocal medical agreement with Australia. Here are a few tips for your trip:

Try Thai street food

It's highly likely your nose will lead you to a busy street corner where there's a stall selling Thai food. Choose from gai ping (chicken skewers), guay teow (noodle soup) or a veggie soy yam (papaya salad), and for dessert khanom pang sankaya (coconut jam on steamed bread). Thai street food packs a chilli punch, but it's as authentic as it gets and a must eat on your trip to Thailand.

Carry a sarong

Sarongs make great skirts and double as beach towels, and they come in really handy when you're out and about and you want to visit a temple. It's likely you'll be wearing a singlet and signs tell you to cover your shoulders – a sarong does this perfectly.

Wear a helmet

Like lots of other countries in the region, hiring a motorbike is a fab way of getting around Thailand. Even though it's hot, do wear a helmet and protective clothing. It's better to be sweaty than to end up in hospital! Check what cover your travel insurance policy offers for motorcycling and if there are any restrictions to the cover.

What's the weather like in Thailand?

It's stinking hot in April and May so always carry a bottle of water with you to keep hydrated. December and January are the best months to go to Bangkok when the temperature is in the high 20s and bearable. The cool season runs from November to February and the hot season from March to May. The wet can see torrential rain at any time from May to October so carry an umbrella with you.

Thailand travel risks and warnings

Before you head off, check the government's Smart Traveller website for current travel warnings for Thailand. In recent years there have been terrorist attacks and levels of civil unrest – the government website may advise you to exercise caution and avoid borders.

Get vaccinated before you go

At least six weeks before you go, check in with your doctor to get your vaccinations for Thailand. Monkeys, dogs and other mammals carry rabies – so as much as you want to pat them, just coo from a distance instead.

Mosquitos, mosquitos, mosquitos

Malaria, Zika virus, Japanese encephalitis and Dengue fever have all been reported in Thailand, so make sure you cover up with loose clothing, have a good insect repellent and see your doctor for antimalarial medication. Visit a doctor immediately if you start to feel fluey on your trip.

Getting taken for a ride

Watch out for men in fake uniforms who tell you a major sight is closed, then offer a cheap 40 Baht ride to see a bunch of other temples – sure, you'll see those temples, but you'll also end up being taken to a few shops and pressured into buying silk shirts, suits or even a carpet. The driver will make a nice commission out of it too.

Crime in Thailand

One of the ugliest crimes in Thailand is drink spiking, so make sure you look after your drink and see it being made. Take care, especially at Full Moon parties. The usual opportunistic crimes occur here, such as pickpocketing and bags going missing on public transport. Jet ski hire can sometimes be an issue when operators blame you for damage that you didn't do – take photos before you head out to have fun on the waves.

Choose CGU travel insurance for your trip to Thailand

It's important to get travel insurance that has you covered for the types of activities you'll enjoy in Thailand.

At CGU, we can help you find the right level of protection, so all your activities, luggage, medical bills, and cancellation costs are covered. It means you can relax and unwind, as we'll be looking after you.

If you are unsure about the best insurance to buy for Thailand, then give us a call on 13 24 80.