It is easier than ever to find cheap flights to Thailand, leaving more of your hard-earned cash for the holiday of a lifetime. Whether you choose to visit the hill tribes of the north, engage with elephants at one of the country's most reputable sanctuaries, or go island-hopping in the south, you'll have a great time. And, with plenty of direct flights to Thailand available from the UK, you can be there in just half a day.
When is the cheapest time to fly to Thailand?
Thailand is unique in that it can be a budget or luxury holiday destination. Thankfully, it's easy to mix-and-match budget with luxury – you can book cheap flights and then unwind in a knockout hotel. Flights are cheapest in August, but this in the heart of the Thailand's wet season. For the best deal – at a time when you'll have good weather – try to fly to Thailand in May, as ticket prices often go down as much as 20% in this month, compared to other times of the year. This shoulder period is considered off-peak tourist season, because the weather turns humid, but for some travellers the heat can be very welcome. Look out for midweek flights too – Monday is often the cheapest day to fly to Thailand.
When is the best time to book flights to Thailand?
If you want cheap flights to Thailand, it's best to book about three months in advance. You're unlikely to find a better price before then. You could hedge your bets and try to find a last-minute deal, but it's important to keep in mind that flights from London Heathrow to Thailand often increase in price closer to departure. So booking last minute can be risky.
Which airlines fly to Thailand?
For cheap direct flights to Thailand, we'd recommend flying with British Airways, EVA Air or Thai Airways. If you want to keep the costs down even more, compare prices of an indirect flight with Turkish Airlines, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Etihad or Emirates. With a stopover in cities like Istanbul, Amsterdam or Dubai, an indirect flight can be a fun way to break up your journey. While most airlines fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, it's also possible to fly straight to Phuket. So, if you prefer, you can skip the capital and head straight to the beach.
Which UK airports offer flights to Thailand?
All the major UK airports offer flights to Thailand. You can fly direct from London Heathrow to Bangkok, but several other UK airports also offer indirect flights to Thailand. You can fly to Bangkok or Phuket from London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and more.
How long does it take to fly from the UK to Thailand?
A direct flight from London to Bangkok usually takes 11.5 hours. Cheap flights with layovers can take up to 24 hours, but this also gives you the chance to stretch your legs and explore another city.
Airports in Thailand
Thailand has four main airports: two in Bangkok, one in Chiang Mai in the north, and one in the south, Phuket. Several international airlines fly directly to these airports, which means there's ample opportunity to avoid a stopover. You can then book a domestic flight on to places like Koh Samui or Krabi, if you wish.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Bangkok's newest airport opened in 2006 to replace the older Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). It's the primary airport for international arrivals and departures in Thailand, and serves as a hub for much of Southeast Asia. Although there's just one terminal, Bangkok's airport has many concourses – so be sure to check a map to find your way around it. Most return flights to Thailand from the UK land here.
Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)
There are two terminals at Bangkok's other airport, which is located 15 miles north of the city. As this is the primary airport for budget airlines, this might be the best place to head to, if you're looking for a cheap domestic flight to another Thai airport, like Koh Samui. Luckily, transferring between the international and domestic flights is simple and hassle-free.
Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX)
This airport is just north of Chiang Mai, making travel into the city relatively painless. Some flights to Thailand from the UK go directly to this city, allowing you to visit the area's famous elephants in no time at all. Domestic and international arrivals are split by terminal, but navigating this recently renovated airport is simple. You can choose to start your holiday in Chiang Mai, or fly Chiang Mai straight down to Koh Samui.
Phuket International Airport (HKT)
Flying into Phuket International Airport is delightful, as the airport is located behind the stunning Mai Khao Beach. Limestone islands dot the azure sea, giving you a glmipse of what's in store on your holiday. Phuket Airport is also an important hub for travel to and from the Gulf Islands, as well as other destinations in Southeast Asia.
On arrival and getting around the airports
Thailand's international airports tend to be larger than the domestic ones. Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and Phuket International Airport (HKT) all have two terminals each, while Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) has only one. To make airport transfers seamless, a free shuttle bus runs between Bangkok's two airports from around 5am until midnight every day. Wi-fi is also available, allowing travellers to keep in touch with home or work easily.
Getting to the cities from the airports
Thailand's public transit system is a great option to save money when travelling to your hotel. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is reachable by free shuttle, air-conditioned bus or taxi. For cyclists, there is a bicycle lane to the airport as well. Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and Phuket International Airport (HKT) are easiest to reach by using the Thailand’s ubiquitous tuk-tuks.
Why visit Thailand?
The country's capital Bangkok boasts attractions of value, including the spectacular Grand Palace, formerly the home of the monarch, but still to this day considered the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom. The temple of Wat Arun is another must see, which despite translating as 'Temple of Dawn', is stunning at sunset. Close to Bangkok you will find the floating markets, where you can purchase tropical fruits and vegetables, fresh coconut juice, and local food cooked on the river in floating kitchens.
You will no doubt wish to head away from the bustle of the capital, and explore the multitude of beautiful islands that Thailand has to offer. The Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands and the Phang Nga province are all great destinations. The less-renowned Ko Tarutao is located in the Tarutao National Marine Park archipelago, and boasts sea turtles, whales, monitor lizards and crab-eating macaques. The snorkelling may not be as epic as elsewhere, but the beaches, waterfalls, hiking and wildlife make up for that.
Don’t forget before you fly
Travelling to Thailand is relatively straightforward for British citizens. Arriving by air or by land, British passport holders can enter the country for up to 30 days without a visa. This visa exemption can then be extended for another 30 days once in the country, meaning that you can take your time exploring this marvellous place. However, keep in mind that all visitors must provide proof of onward travel, or they may be refused entry.