|Ko Phi Phi||$919|
The dry, cool climate months of November through to February are the best time to visit Thailand when both temperatures and humidity are lower and the seas are at their clearest for diving and snorkelling. This also coincides with the peak tourist season, particularly over the Christmas/New Year period, when many Europeans visit to escape the cold back home. By March and April things have started to heat up considerably and the mountainous north gets busy with locals escaping the soaring temperatures in Bangkok. But with the skies still relatively dry, this is a good time to visit the southern beaches if you want to escape the crowds.
The “wet” season months of May through to October caused by the southwest monsoon see frequent downpours and high humidity that keep many visitors away. September and October tend to be the wettest months, with some roads becoming impassable, particularly in the mountainous regions of the north. The rain comes and goes however, meaning you will still get some clear, sunny patches, and if you want to avoid the majority of tourists and get the best flight deals, this is a great alternative period to travel.
You will get the best flight deals to Thailand year round if you book as far in advance as possible, particularly if you are traveling over New Zealand’s long summer holiday months when flight tickets can get booked out. The cheapest flights to Thailand are generally found outside of school holiday periods and you can get some good deals if you are willing to make one or two connections en route.
From other New Zealand cities, the most direct flights to Thailand are connecting through Auckland first.
There are direct flights to Thailand from Auckland with Thai Airways four times a week, flying into Bangkok, or daily flights via Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines into Phuket. From Wellington there are flights to Thailand via Sydney with Qantas into either Bangkok or Phuket, while Singapore Airlines has good flight deals in conjunction with Silk Air from Christchurch. The cheapest flights to Thailand often involve multiple connections.
If you are flying into Phuket, try and get a window seat as the approach path flies right over magnificent Phang Nga Bay with its towering karst limestone formations and multicoloured fishing boats.
While Don Mueang International Airport is Bangkok’s lowcost airline and domestic hub, flights to Thailand from New Zealand land at the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport, located 25 kilometres east of the city centre. It is divided into two international terminals and a domestic terminal, all linked by a free shuttle bus service.
Airport buses link Bangkok’s airport with the city centre along four different routes that stop at a number of major hotels and landmarks. They depart from just outside the Terminal 1 arrivals hall and take around 5060 minutes.
Bangkok Airport’s new Rail Link offers two lines into the city centre with travel times starting at around 15 minutes on the Express Line to Makkasan station.
Taxi is the most expensive route into the city, but will drop you directly at your hotel door. There are either metered or unmetered taxis available, but if you opt for the unmetered service, be sure to negotiate your fare before departing the airport. The journey should take around 40 minutes, depending on your destination.
If you are flying into Phuket International Airport in the south of Thailand, there is an hourly airport bus into Phuket Town (30 minutes) that departs from 6:30am to 9:30pm. This is the cheapest option and tickets can be bought from a counter on the ground floor. If you are heading to Patong (40 minutes), Kata or Karon Beach (1 hour), there are also minivans that will drop you directly at your hotel and tickets can also be bought from counters inside.
The fastest way from the airport is by metered taxi which depart from a stand outside the main airport terminal, but you may need to ask the driver to turn the meter on to avoid being charged an inflated price.