When it comes to destinations in South East Asia, you could say that Thailand is the gateway to them all. And because it’s such a big part of the backpacker trail, flights to Thailand are frequent, and it's one of the easiest destinations to navigate, with well-established tours, resorts and roads.
A good place to start is Bangkok, the pulsing, neon heart of the country, and one of the most visited capital cities in the world. The noise, energy and crowds can be overwhelming at first, but just go with it; this is where you’ll find some of the best hotels, hostels, bars, restaurants and street food in Thailand.
If Bangkok is Thailand’s heart, then Koh San Road is its main artery and visiting is a rite of passage. This backpacker magnet is a good place to book Thailand tours, buy second-hand books or simply stop for a breather over a chilled drink or two.
For those who would like to venture further afield, each of Thailand’s islands offers something different: Koh Phangan attracts the clubbers to its legendary Full Moon Party, while the luxury hotels in Koh Samui make it a good choice for couples. Snorkelling and diving enthusiasts love laid back Koh Tao, where the ocean is full of life. Then there’s calm Koh Lanta, a true hidden gem that's often overlooked by the tourist crowds.
If you're curious about culture, one of the best places to head to is Chiang Mai, one of the oldest cities in the country. Here you can go trekking in the jungle, see Buddhist monks in ancient temples and visit an elephant sanctuary.