Thailand has four distinct regions: The Northern Mountains Ranges, The Central Plains, The Eastern Provinces and the South Coast & Islands. The most common destinations are along the route from Chiang Rai in the North, down through the central plains to Bangkok and South along the Coast in order to visit some of the exotic islands only accessible by boat. For a change of pace, I spent two weeks in the North among the Indigenous Tribes communities that live inside the country’s National Parks.
It is very difficult to see all of the amazing things Thailand has to offer in just 30 days. So I recommend choosing a few locations that will offer a wide range of experiences and spend enough time in each to fully enjoy what the city, village or island has to explore. Thailand is such a well traveled country, many tourists return for a second or third adventure! So don’t be too disappointed if you can’t see everything on your first trip. I spent all of my first trip in the North and Central Plains, but I will try and fill you in about the South as best as I can.
When you think of Thailand, you should think of the Tuk-Tuk. They are everywhere! For new travelers, you will quickly find yourself paying two to three times the price if you don’t know any better! They are a novelty for inner-city transportation mostly used by tourists. My recommendation is to use common sense! On a hot day in Bangkok with heavy traffic, take an air-conditioned Taxi! In a small town with fresh air, a cool breeze and a view, the Tuk Tuk is a great way to get from A to B. Pay slightly less than you would for a Taxi: 40-80 baht depending on the distance. A bargain under this price is likely a scam to lure tourists to gem shops.
One of my favorite experiences was taking the city bus for four hours after getting lost in Bangkok. Some Bangkok buses ranged from 9 to 18 baht and trying to figure out how to find my way was a great chance to meet many locals! Exploring the fabulous subway system was also a really great way to get around the busy supercity! There are two rail lines: The MRT & BRT (Bus Link to airport A1 & A2- 30 BHT) that charge 12-20 baht per ride depending on the number of stops. Please make sure the meter in the Taxi is turned on, if they refuse, find another cab.
For outer city travel, I recommend the train and private bus lines. My favorite resource, again, is seat61.com. This guy knows his Trains and stays up to date with the info! I took several VIP buses, to Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Thung Chang for 460-600 baht, each time from the local bus terminal. The service is really good, they have bus attendants who hand out blankets, drinks and snacks for the day and overnight buses. They are also very reliable.
The only trouble I had was booking a seat in the 13 passenger Van to Pai which sells fast, and once getting to the bus station too late in the day as tickets for the last bus were already sold out. It can be worth it to make a stop to buy your tickets a day in advance if you have a strict schedule. Lastly, transportation on the islands can be very overpriced, however the prices seem to be fixed, so it is often easier to rent a motorbike with a friend for several days to tour the island.