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Sabbatical & Experiential Travel to Thailand

Holidays & Sabbaticals to Thailand – In a Nutshell

Affectionately dubbed ‘the land of smiles’, Thailand is the most popular country to visit in South East Asia. As a result, a lot of it is touristy, but it’s still possible to go off the beaten track, and find a wealth of incredible experiences and sights. Every twist and turn offers postcard panoramas: pristine white-sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters, emerald jungle, steamy rice paddies, soaring mountains and green seas punctuated by limestone karsts. The capital – frenetic Bangkok – is a bit of a Marmite destination (we love it), all labyrinthine markets and gleaming golden temples. The nightlife is incredible, the street food sublime. Up north, Chang Mai is a calmer, authentic town, with colourful Buddhist shrines and night markets. Nearby Chang Rai is the jumping off point for hilltribe treks and river rafting. Come to visit ruined ancient cities and bask on tropical palm-lined beaches. No matter how mainstream, it’s a fabulous place.

How to Get to Thailand

You can travel overland from neighbouring countries Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. If you’re coming from overseas, you’ll arrive at one of 6 international airports, including Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui and Chang Mai. You can fly directly from London (11 hours). If you’re coming from the US, you’ll need at least one stop en route. From Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, there are hopper flights to a number of internal hubs or travel overland.

When & Weather – Thailand

The climate is generally hot and humid, but confusingly it has opposing east and west coast climates. As a result, it’s a year-round destination, but you may choose to travel at certain times depending on which parts you’d like to visit.
Region by region, aim to visit:
Bangkok: November to August.
North: November to April.
East Coast: January to September (October to December is monsoon season).
West Coast: November to April (May to October is monsoon season).
Generally, temperatures range between 27C (82°F) and °C (36°F).

Who will Thailand Appeal To?

The colourful culture, fantastic food, idyllic beaches and stunning natural landscapes are particularly popular with:

  • Honeymooners
  • Families
  • Solo travellers
  • Active travellers
  • Culture lovers


We work with boutique city hotels, friendly guesthouses, luxury beach resorts, simple beach huts and traditional homestays across the country.

Off The Beaten Path

  • Escape the modern bustle of Bangkok for a day in authentic Bang Krachao, all peaceful mango groves and market gardens. Best explored by bike, but take a boat to the floating markets at Tha Kha, too
  • Swim through the breathtaking Emerald Cave near Koh Lanta at sunrise
  • Swap touristy jungle treks in Chang Mai for Umphang and surrounds, where you can white-water raft through waterfalls and meet Karen, Mon and Shan minorities in Mae Sot
  • Ko Tarutao National Marine Park is an archipelago of stunning, pristine islands
  • Kanchanaburi is best-known for its Death Railway and Hellfire Pass, honoured today by cemeteries and museums. Hike up Erawan National Park’s peaks and swim in jungle waterfalls nearby
  • Kanchanaburi is best-known for its Death Railway and Hellfire Pass, honoured today by cemeteries and museums. Hike up Erawan National Park’s peaks and swim in jungle waterfalls nearby
  • Do a village homestay in Baan Khiri Wong; their simple hospitality will enchant you. Or stay with the remote Lahu Hill Tribe near Chang Rai
  • Climb an extinct volcano in Nang Rong, and visit spectacular 10thC Khmer ruins, a temple complex reminiscent of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat
  • Follow ancient monks’ footsteps to the unseen temples of the mountainous Lampang province, with breathtaking panoramic views over paddy feels
  • Koh Chang is beautiful; idyllic authentic villages and Bang Bao Pier, an overwater fishing village
  • Day trip to secluded Koh Yao Yai in the Andaman islands. Or stay in a luxury resort there, if budget allows, a once-in-a-lifetime experience


  • Khao Yai National Park is home to over 100 mammals, including wild Asian elephants and tigers (the latter rarely seen though)
  • Kayak past dugongs in the mangroves around Ko Libong
  • Visit the bat caves of Phetchaburi at sunset – over 10 million bats flit about every night
  • Swim with elegant manta ray, octopus and leopard sharks at Koh Lanta’s Hin Daeng and Hin Muang dive sites; or snorkel with hawksbill turtles in Koh Tao
  • Whale Sharks frequent Richelieu Rock in the Simian Islands
  • Endangered sea turtles nest on Phuket’s beaches
  • Spot the extraordinary pangolin and binturong in the national parks, plus gibbons swinging and yelling through the trees
  • Lumphini Park in Bangkok has a massive population of Asian water monitor lizards
  • Just avoid the ‘animal tourism’ please – it’s not as ethical as they’d have you believe (eg riding elephants, watching bears dance, visiting ‘tiger temples’)

Thailand Experiences you shouldn’t miss:

  • Renting a longtail boat and chug along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya, disembarking to visit The Grand Palace, Wat Po and the enormous Chatuchak market
  • Bartering for Thai silk and intricate handicrafts in Chang Mai’s Night Bazaar
  • Hiring scooters to explore UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya, one of the ancient cities
  • Hopping between the idyllic islands off the Andaman Coast: famous Koh Phi Phi, laidback Koh Lanta and pristine Ko Kradan
  • Dancing all night at a hedonistic Full Moon party on Koh Pha Ngan
  • Diving amongst a kaleidoscope of corals in Phuket, and day tripping to James Bond Island
  • Watching a Muay Thai match (Thai boxing)

Giving back

The Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary works to support elephants and the livelihoods of the local community including education. With its location in the north of Thailand in a Karen Hill Tribe village, the forest provides an ideal setting for elephants to roam and forage. As well as supporting the project through donations or sponsorship of an elephant, travellers can stay nearby with a homestay family, learning how to backet weave from one of the village elders and visiting the Sanctuary – where you can enjoy observing, recording and learning all about the Elephants and their natural behaviours. For those wishing to stay longer, internship visits are possible, and children aged 6 and over can also join the visitor programmes.

Start Planning

Our experienced team will guide you through a number of ideas based on how you would like to experience Thailand.

Consider visiting Thailand in combination with neighbouring countries Laos and Malaysia, as well as Cambodia, as part of a wider South East Asia itinerary.

Browse our gallery for inspiration and read the sample itinerary below to whet your appetite.

No matter how long you wish to travel, we’ll guide you through the planning process to ensure a trip is carefully pieced together to suit your interests, pace of travel and budget.

Contact us to start planning a holiday or sabbatical to Thailand.