Once no more than an exotic dream in an inaccessible corner of Southeast Asia, Thailand has transformed itself into one of the UK’s top holiday hotspots. Boasting a fantastic climate, breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture and great food, cheap flights to Thailand have helped to close the gap between this sun-kissed paradise and the grey skies of Britain.
Thailand has carved out a popular niche for winter sun holidays, with its busiest season running from mid-October to mid-February. This period not only guarantees the best weather but also encompasses the Christmas/New Year holiday in the UK, when most of us are keen to swap winter chills for warmth and sunlight. Budget flights to Thailand are at a premium during this time of high demand, but thanks to intense competition from the major international airlines, you may unearth a bargain if you’re prepared to shop around. August/September are the rainy months in Thailand so this is a good time to travel if you’re more interested in sightseeing than sunbathing. March to May is the best time to find cheap flights to Thailand, but the temperature usually soars in the cities, so if you’re visiting during these months it pays to head for the coast.
Direct flights to Thailand from UK airports land at either Bangkok or Phuket, while other popular destinations such as Koh Samui can be reached with connecting flights, usually involving a changeover in Bangkok. If you’re travelling straight to the Thai capital you’ll be spoiled for choice – EVA Air, Thai Airways and British Airways all fly direct from London Heathrow in around 11 hours 30 minutes. If your priority is price, check out one-stoppers – for example, Norwegian Airlines via Oslo, Jet Airways via New Delhi and Oman Air via Muscat offer cost-effective alternatives. Etihad flies from Manchester and London Heathrow to Phuket via Abu Dhabi; another option out of Heathrow is China Eastern’s competitively priced route via Shanghai.
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport handles the bulk of Thailand’s international flights, so it’s well equipped to welcome visitors. The Airport Rail Link offers quick and easy access from the terminal to Bangkok’s main station with stops en route, while the city’s easy-to-spot green and yellow taxis are lined up outside the arrivals hall ready to whisk you straight to your hotel. Suvarnabhumi was opened in 2006 to cope with the increase in air traffic, but some international carriers still use the older Don Mueang Airport, so check which airport your flight lands at when planning your onward travel. Phuket Airport is also used to catering for large numbers of visitors, with transport options including taxis, minibus and private shuttles, although it’s worth pre-booking, especially if your flight arrives early or late in the day.
Thailand’s jaw-dropping beauty and unique heritage are a heady combination. You’ll be hooked from the moment you set foot on the soft sand of Krabi’s picture-perfect beaches or feel the big-city buzz of steamy Bangkok. From atmospheric night markets to awe-inspiring national parks, carefully preserved archaeological sites to quaint unspoiled villages, world-class cultural attractions to traditional festivals, there’s so much more to Thailand than swimming pools and sun loungers – nice though they are! Travel north through the interior to the banks of the mighty Mekong, follow the Gulf of Thailand to the globally protected wetland of Songkhla Lake, or take a relaxing boat trip round the glittering islands of the Andaman Sea. Fill up on flavoursome street food in a colourful market or splash out at a glamorous high-rise restaurant with unforgettable views. Thailand is different things to different people, but no one leaves without finding their own little piece of paradise.
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