Group Tours v Independent Travel in Thailand

Visiting Thailand is a dream come true for some. With exotic temples, ancient cities, tropical islands and a bustling capital, there are lots of things to keep tourists busy and entertained. But is it better to visit as an independent traveller and stay in one of the comfortable thailand vacation rentals or would a group tour be more suitable? Every visitor has different needs, interests and preferences for travel. This article looks at the pros and cons of group and independent travel in Thailand.

Knowing What’s Best for You

If you plan to visit for a holiday and want to relax by the beach or in the spas, then joining a tour group probably isn’t necessary. The same holds true for adventure travellers and backpackers who prefer to explore at their own pace. But elderly tourists might opt to join a package that takes them to all the top attractions. If you’re visiting as a group, more likely than not, you’ll get the chance to see all of Thailand’s major attractions in destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and the islands. Solo tourists would have to plan the logistics themselves.

The Benefits of a Tour

The biggest and most obvious reason to join a tour is the convenience factor. After paying the fees, the operator takes care of everything else from visas and accommodation to day trips and transport. Tourists will most likely be met at the airport and go straight to a comfortable hotel before having a set itinerary for sightseeing. Everything is planned and organised. All you do is turn up. But the other advantage is the guide to show you around the attractions. Not only will the trip feel more organised but it also provides visitors with a broader historical and cultural understanding.

However, despite the pros, there are a few criticalthings to consider. First, tour groups are costly. In fact, a typical package might cost two or three times more than booking everything independently. Second, the lack of flexibility might not be to your tastes. Sometimes days might be to action packed while others could give guests with a lot of unwanted free time. It’s also possible you might not get along with the rest of the group, have a not-so-good guide or feel frustrated with the management.

Travelling Solo in Thailand

Getting onto your laptop and booking a flight to Thailand can be exhilarating. If you’re travelling from halfway across the world, it gives the real sense of adventure. Planning dream trips can be fun. Some travellers relish the chance to get online and start reading up on destinations and must-visit attractions in a country. And if you fit into this category, you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time in Thailand. With the freedom to travel and to visit the attractions that appeal to you, solo travel is much more suitable. It also gives you an opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers.

But planning a dream trip doesn’t always go to plan, especially in a place like Thailand. Travelling between destinations can sometimes be confusing for first-time visitors. While buses and trains connect most major towns and cities to Bangkok, it can be a challenge to find out which one to take. After all, most signs are in Thai. And travelling around a country enriched with so much culture and traditions without someone to explain the context might leave visitors without an understanding of what they’re looking at.

Finding Tours in Thailand

There’s a third option that combines the advantages of both independent travel and packages: Booking day tours. Visitors can give themselves the flexibility to choose where they want to visit in Thailand and then search for day trips to get the most out of each destination. For example, you could spend a few days in Bangkok and take a tour to visit Kanchanaburi and the Bridge over the River Kwai. Likewise, tour operators in other parts of the country like Chiang Mai can give you the chance to explore northern Thailand. This style of travel combines the flexibility and freedom with getting the most out of your trip.

But if you do decide to arrange a tour when you arrive in Bangkok, make sure you take care when choosing a reputable company. As with most thing, some are better than others,and it pays to doyourdue diligence and read customer reviews. But unless most testimonials are negative, take the information with a pinch of salt. The type of activities and style that appeals to you might be drastically different fromothers and vice versa.

It might also be a good idea to try to arrange tours online before you arrive in the country. This way, there’s plenty of time to research. But also there are plenty of operators offeringlow-quality tours at inflated prices to tourists too. If you do decide to choose somethingwhen you arrive in the country, consider asking the hotel for recommendations. And always be wary of places that use terms like ‘special promotion’ and ‘discount’.

Group Tour or Independent Travel?

Every tourist is different,and while some will enjoy the convenience of a group tour, others might feel suffocated by the lack of flexibility. Only you know the style that interest you. But you could also combine the best of both worlds. Plan where you want to visit and travel independently before arranging a day tour to take you to the attractions. Just remember to always put plenty of time and effort into researching the quality, reputation and general feeling of recent customers before signing up.


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