When it comes to travelling to Thailand, one is definitely spoilt for choice with the large variety of tourist destinations to pick from. Filled with places to see, things to do and food to try out, Thailand has so much for the tourists. Offering completely different holiday experiences, one is often torn choosing between the one-stop shopping destination, Bangkok and the unforgettable beach escape, Phuket.
The capital city of Bangkok welcomes thousands of tourists every year, and is known to offer something to cater to the interest of every kind of traveller. Popular for its nightlife and shopping escapades, it also offers tourists with a variety of eatery options, boat rides through floating markets, magnificent temples and unique cultural monuments. Bangkok is a favourite destination for shopaholics, where one can spend time bargain-shopping at the city's luxury malls, boutiques, street stalls and floating markets, without feeling the pinch.
Phuket, a beautiful island surrounded by the Andaman Sea, is one of the best places to visit for some rest and relaxation away from your busy life. The untouched beaches of Phuket with their crystal clear waters make it a favourite destination among beach-lovers. Often referred to as the 'Pearl of the Andaman', Phuket offers the unique balance of relaxation and adventure. It is also popular as one of the best snorkelling and diving sites in Thailand, and hosts a variety of marine life in the waters around Phuket Island.
While planning a trip, the weather is important to factor in. With a tropical climate, both Bangkok and Phuket have a warm and humid climate throughout the year. However, some months tend to be cooler than others.
The hottest months are from March to June, with high temperatures and humidity levels. The monsoon season lasts from July to October. The months of November to February enjoy much cooler weather, with lower temperatures and less humidity in both Bangkok and Phuket.
Best Time to Visit
When considering the weather, the best time to visit Bangkok or Phuket is during its cool season, from November to February. The temperatures and humidity are lower during this time, but there is no cold winter season here like other cooler countries. However, this time of the year is also the peak tourist season, which would require booking in advance, and will also prove to be quite expensive compared to other times.
If you visit Bangkok or Phuket during monsoon season, you will be able to take advantage of lowered rates of hotel rooms and also enjoy a peaceful atmosphere as compared to the crowds during peak season. September and October are the rainiest months, but it is less likely to have continuous days of rainfall. However, going at this time may not be suitable for any water-related activities, due to dangerous water conditions.
The weather condition between November to April is ideal for activities such as snorkelling, diving and boating. In order to get the benefits of lower fares as well as cool weather, the best time to visit Bangkok and Phuket is between late November to early December, and thus beating the crowds.
From backpacking hostels to luxury hotels, street food to haute cuisine and road bazaars to fashion boutiques, Bangkok truly has it all. Often regarded as one of the cheapest travel hubs in the world, it offers tourists with a wide range of accommodation, travel, food and shopping options, so how much you decide to spend is completely up to you and your budget! Compared to other places in Southeast Asia, alcohol is relatively expensive in Bangkok, with one bottle of beer (0.33 litre bottle) costing approximately THB 70 to 180.
Tip: Try out the local street food to save on spending, it is famously cheap and tasty!
Phuket is considered as one of the most expensive places in Thailand, and thus may not be the best destination for shopping unless you wish to splurge. Although most accommodation options along the beaches are a bit pricey, there are affordable options available further into the town. Despite this, Phuket is a hit among most beach-lovers and water-sport enthusiasts.
Tip: Planning your trip during the off-peak season will help to save on costs!
As for favourite tourist destinations, both Bangkok and Phuket are accessible and easy to reach. Bangkok is home to the Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the Don Mueang International Airport which are easily accessible by flight from many countries all over the world. Some airlines, including budget ones, offer flights going to Bangkok - direct and indirect. You can also arrive in Bangkok via rail, at Hua Lamphong Station. From the airports or train station, you can arrive at your accommodation using a taxi, rental car, sky-train, bus or by walking.
You can reach Phuket by flights, by arriving at the Phuket International Airport, which is regarded as Thailand's third busiest airport (after Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport). From here, go to the destination by taxi, mini-bus, rental car or bus. The airport is approximately 33 kilometres (40-45 minutes) away from the main Phuket town. You can also get here by intercity bus, leaving from Bangkok's Southern Terminal Station.
There are no direct trains going to Phuket, but you can take the train going from Bangkok to Singapore and get off at the Phun Phin station. From there, you can reach Phuket by bus within 5 hours. You can also opt for the train from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Station and get off at Surat Thani, and take a bus or mini-bus to Phuket.
Purpose for Travel
The type of vacation you're looking for also has a major influence on the destination you choose - whether it's solo travelling, a family trip or a romantic getaway.
Although shopping and delectable cuisine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bangkok, there is more to Thailand's capital than you know. The bustling city can be an excellent destination for a romantic getaway, a fun family vacation or even great for solo travellers. Whether it's dining with a view at one of the several posh eateries or rooftop bars in Bangkok, or visiting breathtaking cultural and historic sites together, or having a unique couple's spa experience, Bangkok's beauty can make for a perfect romantic trip for you and your partner.
Bangkok's food, attractions and hotels make it ideal for family vacations, with endless options for all ages. From art galleries and live shows to aquariums and theme parks, Bangkok is a great place to spend time with your loved ones without anyone getting bored. It is also home to some interesting family attractions like Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World, Art in Paradise, Dream World theme park, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, Safari World, Siam Park City water park, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Siam Niramit show and Muay Thai live.
A serene escape from our fast-paced everyday lives, Phuket provides you with a calm and relaxing atmosphere for your vacation. There are plenty of special services available for couples, including romantic dining, cruises, couple's spa, snorkelling, diving and island hopping as well as a number of luxury resorts to stay in. Phuket also has a number of beaches on the island which are perfect for couples, where they can enjoy sunset views and go on romantic strolls along the white sands of the beach.
With its picturesque beaches and the wide variety of water sports available, Phuket also makes for an unforgettable family vacation or some much-needed 'me-time'. It has a host of activities and attractions for kids, teenagers and adults, such as the Phuket Trickeye Museum, James Bond island tour, Surf House, Splash Jungle water-park, Fanta Sea theme park, Phuket Aquarium, Phuket Zoo, Phuket Bird park, Ghostinium and Upside Down House. Adventure enthusiasts can also participate in elephant trekking safaris, go-karting, river rafting, zip-lining, water zorbing, surfing, scuba diving, bungee jumping, windsurfing, snorkelling and more!
When one thinks of sea, sun and sand, Phuket is one of the places that first come to mind. Similarly, when you think of shopping, culture and food, Bangkok first comes to mind. Yet, these places do not differ much in what they offer to travellers. The tasty cuisine, cultural and historical monuments, exciting nightlife and range of family activities are what make Bangkok and Phuket such famous tourist destinations. It's no surprise that they are the one of the busiest, most visited and most popular destinations in the Land of Smiles!