How to get to Thailand

Wondering how to get to Thailand? Most direct international flights arrive in Bangkok from major cities around the world, including those in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. However, if you prefer a more exciting route, Thailand is easily accessible from its surrounding countries. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to get to Thailand with tips from our local travel experts.

How to get to Thailand?

The best way to get to Thailand is by flying directly to Bangkok, the capital city, from major airports worldwide. From the UK, British Airways, Thai Airways, and EVA Air offer non-stop flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in around 11-12 hours. 

The best way to get to Thailand from the US, is by flying directly to Bangkok from major cities like Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO). Generally taking 17-24 hours with layovers in cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Taipei. Alternatively, you can explore indirect routes through neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Singapore, or Vietnam.

Thailand currently has six international airports, in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui. The vast majority of travellers fly into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Major airlines flying to Thailand include:

  • Thai Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Japan Airlines
  • Lufthansa

Air fares to Thailand generally depend on the season, with the highest being approximately mid-November to mid-February, when the weather is best (with premium rates charged for flights between mid-Dec and New Year), and in July and August to coincide with school holidays. You will need to book several months in advance to get reasonably priced tickets during these peak periods. See our guide to the best times to visit Thailand for more information on weather and crowds.

Ang Thong National Marine Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

Ang Thong National Marine Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

How to get to Thailand from the United States

The fastest way to get Thailand from the United States, is to fly into one of three international airports in Thailand:

  • Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK): Located in Bangkok
  • Don Mueang International Airport (DMK): Also located in Bangkok
  • Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX): Located in the northern part of the country

Major airlines offer one-stop flights from cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver

For example, a flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok with a layover in Hong Kong takes about 20-24 hours in total. The average round-trip ticket costs between $800 and $1,500, depending on the season and how early you book. 

  • The cheapest months to fly are generally April, May, and September, avoiding the peak tourist seasons and holidays. 
  • Direct flights are limited (and expensive), so most opt instead to have at least one stopover.

Required documents for travel to Thailand

If you have a US passport and an onward or return airline ticket, you don't need a visa to enter Thailand. What you do need is:

  • Passport with at least six month validity
  • Onward or return airline ticket

Upon entry, Thai immigration officials will stamp your passport, allowing a 30-day stay if you arrive by air or land. You can extend this stay for an extra 30 days by paying a 1,900 baht fee to the Thai Immigration Bureau.

How to get to Thailand from the UK

The fastest and most comfortable way of reaching Thailand from the UK is to fly non-stop from London to Bangkok with Qantas, British Airways, Thai Airways or Eva Airways, a journey of about eleven and a half hours. 

There are no non-stop flights from any regional airports in Britain or from any Irish airports, and rather than routing via London, you may find it convenient to fly to another hub such as Frankfurt (with Lufthansa), Zurich (Swiss), Abu Dhabi (with Etihad) or Dubai (with Emirates).

  • Prices for round-trip tickets generally range from £500 to £900
  • The cheapest months to fly are typically May, June, and September

There are many ways to get to Thailand © Shutterstock

How to get to Thailand from Europe

If you’re travelling from mainland Europe, you can reach Thailand conveniently with numerous direct and connecting flights. Airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, and Finnair operate flights from major cities like Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and Helsinki. Additionally, Turkish Airlines offers some great deals on flights via Istanbul.

  • A direct flight from a major European city to Bangkok takes approximately 10-12 hours, with round-trip tickets costing between €500 and €1,000
  • The cheapest months to fly are usually April, May, and November

How to get to Thailand from Australia and New Zealand

There’s no shortage of scheduled flights to Bangkok from Australia, with direct services from major cities operated by Thai Airways, Qantas and half a dozen others (around nine hours from Sydney and Perth). Round-trip fares tend to range from AUD 700 to AUD 1,200. The cheapest months to fly are typically February, March, and November. 

From New Zealand, your best bet is to connect through Australia, with total travel time around 12-14 hours and ticket prices between NZD 1,000 and NZD 1,500. Air New Zealand and Thai Airways offer connecting flights via Sydney.

Raft houses on Cheow Lan lake in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

Raft houses on Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand © Shutterstock

Travelling to Thailand by boat

For those who wish to reach Thailand by boat, there are a few options:

  • By ferry: Regular ferry services operate from Penang and Langkawi in Malaysia to southern Thailand destinations like Satun and the island of Ko Lipe. These ferries provide a scenic and relatively quick journey, making it a convenient choice for regional travelers.
  • By cruise ship: Many luxury cruise lines offer itineraries that include stops in Thailand. Popular ports of call in Thailand for cruise ships include Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), and Ko Samui.
  • By private boat or yacht: Chartering a yacht allows you to explore Thailand's stunning coastline and numerous islands at your own pace, starting from nearby countries like Malaysia or Indonesia. 
Canoeing at Khao Sok National Park in Surattani © Shutterstock

Canoeing at Khao Sok National Park in Surattani © Shutterstock

How to get to Thailand by surrounding countries

Sharing land borders with Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, Thailand works well as part of a Southeast Asia itinerary.

From Malaysia

You can enter Thailand from Malaysia via several land crossings. The most popular entry point is at the town of Padang Besar, where both train and road connections are available. Direct trains run from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar, where you can then transfer to Thai trains heading to Hat Yai and beyond. 

From Cambodia

If you're coming from Cambodia, your main entry point into Thailand is at Poipet-Aranyaprathet. Buses and shared taxis frequently shuttle between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to Bangkok. 

For a more scenic journey, consider taking boats from Siem Reap across Tonle Sap Lake to Battambang, followed by a bus to the border.

From Laos

Getting into Thailand from Laos is pretty straightforward. There are multiple border crossings available, but the Friendship Bridge between Vientiane, Laos, and Nong Khai, Thailand, is the most popular. 

Other options include the Friendship Bridge II linking Savannakhet to Mukdahan and the Huay Xai-Chiang Khong crossing, which is great for travelers heading to northern Thailand and Chiang Rai.

From Myanmar

Crossing from Myanmar into Thailand offers several checkpoints, with Mae Sot-Myawaddy being one of the main ones. This route is commonly used by travelers moving between Yangon and Bangkok. Buses and shared taxis run regularly to the border, where you can cross and continue your journey into Thailand. 

Ties Lagraauw

written by
Ties Lagraauw

updated 26.06.2024

Ties is a true world explorer - whether it be for work or leisure! As Content Manager at RoughGuides, and the owner of Dutch travel platform, Ties is constantly on the move, always looking for new destinations to discover.

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