Known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand is a fascinating Southeast Asian destination that offers something for everyone. Culture buffs will be captivated by ancient temples and spectacular landmarks like Bangkok’s ornate Grand Palace, while sun-seekers can relax on white-sand beaches with clear blue waters or find a slice of paradise on one of the idyllic islands along the coastline. Wildlife lovers can get up close and personal with monkeys on their namesake beach on Koh Phi Phi, or interact with Thailand’s revered pachyderms at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Feasting on fabulous street food is a quintessential Thai experience, and foodies shouldn’t miss Chiang Mai's Sunday Walking Street, where you can tuck into local treats and delicacies before browsing the myriad stalls. If you’re trying to find good deals on cheap flights to Thailand, choose your destination carefully, as the best fares are often found on routes to Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket.
With a climate that guarantees warm temperatures all year round, Thailand is an inviting getaway destination at any time. In general, the best month of the year to snap up cheap fares to Thailand from Ireland is February, which also coincides with the Chiang Mai Flower Festival. March to June is the beach season as temperatures begin to rise, and if you’re visiting in April you may catch the Songkran Festival celebrating Thai New Year. Temperatures begin to drop in July, and the wet season continues into October with rain throughout most of the country. December is a peak month to visit Thailand, so make sure to book flights well ahead of the Christmas rush.
You’ll find a good selection of connecting flights from Irish airports to Thailand’s most popular destinations. Popular routes to Bangkok from Dublin include Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, Etihad via Abu Dhabi and KLM via Amsterdam. From Shannon, the only one-stop option is British Airways via London, but if you don’t mind an extra connection, Etihad via Heathrow and Abu Dhabi may be a cheaper choice. KLM offer a one-stop route from Cork to Bangkok via Amsterdam. From Dublin, you can fly to Phuket with just one onward connection with Etihad via Abu Dhabi or Qantas and Emirates via Dubai, but from Cork and Shannon, you’ll need to factor in at least two stopovers. If you’re flying to Chiang Mai, there are several two-stop options such as Air Lingus and Thai Airways via Frankfurt or Paris from Dublin, or Air Lingus and Singapore Airlines via London and Singapore from Shannon and Cork.
Licensed, metered airport taxis are usually the most convenient transfer option from Thailand’s airports unless your hotel provides a private shuttle service. The 30-km journey from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city centre costs up to 600 Thai baht (THB) including motorway tolls and taxes, and takes between 45-60 minutes and even longer during rush hour. For a cheaper option, check out the Airport Rail Link with services to central Phyathai Station every 30 minutes. Chiang Mai International Airport is only 3 km from the centre, and the 10-15 minute taxi ride to anywhere in the city will cost you approximately THB160. Phuket International Airport is 32 km from central Phuket, and the average taxi fare to the centre is around THB500 including an airport surcharge, with the journey taking around 30 minutes.
To experience a traditional aspect of Thai culture, spend a day at a floating market for a fun dining and shopping experience. Early morning is the best time to visit, and this is when you’ll see hundreds of boats crowd the market, paddled by women in straw hats. Market vendors sell their wares on the floating boats, which are piled high with everything from colourful tropical fruit and vegetables to fresh coconut juice as well as local food like traditional boat noodles. Amphawa Floating Market is smaller but more authentic than better-known markets like Damnoen Saduak – don’t miss its freshly grilled seafood straight from the boats.
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