Thailand is a hot destination for backpackers and not just because of the weather. Thailand features a very active expat and backpacker community and is one of the most popular backpacking destinations outside of Western Europe. Flying to Thailand generally costs more than other destinations, particularly if you’re flying from the US, but once you’re in Thailand it’s very affordable. The Euro, British pound, and dollar all are strong currencies against the Thai baht and prices for food, hostels, and tours are relatively cheap if you’re carrying any of those currencies.
The temperatures in Thailand are comfortable (to downright hot) throughout the year but you’ll want to avoid monsoon season which hit about late May and lasts through September. You’ll still be able to backpack during this time and there will be less crowds – you’ll just have to put up with a lot of wet rainy weather.
In and around downtown Bangkok there are many moderately priced hostels that are close to the popular touristic and nightclub districts of Phra Nakhon, Ratchaprasong, and Rattanakosin. In general, staying in and around these crowded areas of Bangkok is safe, with the violent crime rate low (reliable statistics aren’t readily available). The most common form of crime tourists face is from price gouging, tuk tuk scams, and other hassles about price. Armed robbery and other violent crimes are infrequent, especially on tourists.
The high density of hostels and backpackers in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand creates strong competition which further helps keep the price down. This competition also forces each hostel to provide good amenities and services to keep up with its neighbors. Most hostels will have Wi-Fi, in fact getting online in Southeast Asia in general is very convenient and easy. Some of the popular hostels in Bangkok include the HQ Hostel Bangkok, Take A Nap Hostel, and The Urban Age.
If you plan on backpacking outside of Thailand or taking some day trips to see more of the country (something you certain should do), consider making your way to Pai, Sang Khom, Pattaya Beach, or countless other sites. Thailand is an excellent place to hike and explore nature so you can expect to spend a lot of time on your feet while you’re there. That said, consider bringing a light pack that is designed to draw heat away from your body. The Osprey Atmos 50L Pack is one of the most durable, light, and well insulated backpacks you can take with you.
Backpacking The Region
If you’re considering a regional backpacking trip try combing Australia with: