Thailand has been a backpacker paradise for years. The relative cost of living compared to the West, along with an exquisite culture, have kept a steady flow of straphangers coming for everything from a spiritual retreat to a full moon party. The sprawling capital of Bangkok is full of temples, like the reclining Buddha, and plenty of food stalls to enjoy the flavorful Thai cuisine. Don’t miss out on a tuk-tuk ride, which serves as the main form of taxi in Thailand.
Beyond Bangkok, Thailand offers a chance to play in the mud with elephants, visit floating markets, or enjoy world-class beaches. Beyond Thailand, you can continue on to other hotspots in Southeast Asia, such as Cambodia or Vietnam. If you’re proficient cruising on two wheels, a motorbike can be one of the best ways to explore this part of the world. You’ll see them everywhere as it is the main form of transportation for the locals.
Flights to Bangkok and the rest of Southeast Asia: Prices are consistently low thanks to an influx in competition from mainland Chinese carriers like China Eastern and China Southern. I regularly see round-trip fares in the mid-$400s to mid-$700s in North American cities served by these carriers. Every once in a while, you’ll find other carriers, like ANA, competing with similar fares.