Rai Le beach in Krabi, Thailand.

Planning Your Time on Thailand’s Andaman Coast

How you plan your time on the Andaman Coast depends mostly on what you want to get out of your vacation. Here’s a look at where to base yourself and plan for diving, island-hopping, or good ol’ fashioned beach bumming.

Cabins on the water at Khao Sok National Park.

Southern Gulf of Thailand Travel Planning

Visit the southern Gulf of Thailand for idyllic islands, off-the-beaten-path beaches on the mainland, and some charming small historical cities where you can learn about the culture and history of the region.

Snorkeling at Ko Phi Phi along the Andaman Coast.

Where to Go in Phuket & Ko Samui

Phuket and Ko Samui are Thailand’s most popular resort islands. Here’s where to go for endless beaches, luxury resorts, prime diving, cultural immersion, and outdoor adventure.

On the shore of Ko Pha-Ngan, Thailand.

Ko Samui and Ko Pha-Ngan Travel Planning

Tips and advice on planning your time in Ko Samui and nearby Ko Pha-Ngan; Ko Samui is a popular Thailand vacation spot, an excellent budget destination with a growing five-star scene, while Ko Pha-Ngan remains a backpacker haven.

Aerial view of Phuket Town. Photo © Sunanta Boonkamonsawat/123rf.

8-Day Best of Phuket and Ko Samui Itinerary

This itinerary will begins in Phuket, where you’ll get a chance to tour waterfalls, snorkel, dive, explore the world-famous beaches, and do some island-hopping, too. After that, you’ll take a flight to Samui, where you’ll visit not only the main island but also neighboring Ko Pha-Ngan.

Aerial view of Phuket Town. Photo © Sunanta Boonkamonsawat/123rf.

Discover Phuket

It’s no wonder millions of people visit Phuket each year. The landscape, with its hilly, green, forested interior and clean, sandy beaches, is awe-inspiring. The vibes of the beaches and their surrounding areas vary from spring break fun to secluded romantic getaway to family-friendly. The accommodations range from unbelievably cheap to unbelievably luxurious. The tourism infrastructure is solid, and anything you want—perhaps a spur-of-the-moment diving trip, a midday massage on the beach, or a bespoke suit made in 24 hours—is available with no hassle.

Aerial view of a southern Thai island.

Geography and Climate of Thailand

Moving to Thailand means not only getting used to a whole new set of rules and social customs, it means navigating an entirely new physical country too. While a general overview of the lay of the land is helpful for a traveler, for an expat, it’s one of the keys to a successful life.

A pair of transgendered performers greet visitors.

Gender Roles in Thailand

Thailand is a traditional but increasingly progressive society when it comes to gender roles. Women are actively involved in what some might consider ‘men’s work’, but they’re also usually primary caregivers in the family. Additionally, Thailand has an extremely progressive and tolerant view toward homosexuality, and it may be one of the most open societies in the world when it comes to transsexuality. Despite this, Thai women and anyone identifying as LGBT face the same issues as their counterparts all over the world.

A new building at Srinakarin hospital in Khon Kaen,Thailand.

Health Care in Thailand

Health care in Thailand is generally good and inexpensive. In fact, people from all over the world come here for everything from routine plastic surgery to fertility treatments. The nicest private hospitals in Bangkok look more like five-star hotels than health care facilities, and doctors often speak three or four languages. Public hospitals are sufficient for many issues but are not always staffed with nurses and doctors that you will be able to communicate with.

A cargo ship with working crane bridge in a Bangkok shipyard at dusk.

Moving Your Belongings to Thailand

Thailand has nearly everything you’ll need to set up a comfortable home, so it really is feasible just to pack a couple of suitcases with the clothing, documents, and books you’ll need and get everything else while you’re here. If there are things you need to ship, author Suzanne Nam has advice about costs, timeframes, customs, tax exemptions, and tips on common items to consider packing or shipping that are either unavailable or very expensive in Thailand.