Get In Touch
Table of Contents:
- Where is Thailand?
- Why You Should Elope in Thailand
- My Top Thailand Travel Tips
- 8 Stunning Thailand Elopement Locations
- Best Time of Year to Elope in Thailand
- How to Get Your Thailand Marriage License
- Where to Stay in Thailand
- Epic Activities for Your Thailand Elopement
- What to Wear for Your Thailand Elopement
- Thailand Elopement Packages
You’d think that after visiting Thailand multiple times, I would know exactly what to expect – yet every time I go back, I am blown away yet again by this incredible, incredible country! It’s absolutely my favorite place I’ve ever been, and I truly believe it’s one of the most magical elopement destinations in the world. That’s why I poured all of my knowledge & experience from my own trips into this complete Thailand elopement guide, where I’m giving you everything you need to know to elope in Thailand from A-Z! Whether you already know you’re dying to elope in Thailand and you just need help picking a location, or you know NOTHING about Thailand and you’re ready to learn it all, you’re going to leave this guide just as head-over-heels in love with this country as I am. Enjoy!
Where is Thailand?
Let’s start out with a little geography lesson to make sure you know where in the world we’re talking about! Thailand (a.k.a. the Kingdom of Thailand) is located in the heart of Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar and Laos to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the east, and Malaysia to the south. Spanning over 500,000 square kilometers along the Indochinese Peninsula, Thailand is home to over 70 million people, around 15% of which live in the capital city of Bangkok. Thailand is famous for its phenomenal beaches, with the Andaman Sea to the west and the gorgeous Gulf of Thailand to the south!
How to Get to Thailand
One of the main (and really, one of the only) reasons why people here in the U.S. may opt out of visiting Thailand is because getting there is NOT an easy feat. The flights are looong no matter where you leave from – depending on what side of the U.S. you depart from, you can either fly east or west around the world to get there. When I traveled from south Florida to Thailand, it usually took me around 32 total hours of travel either way. Here are the two routes I would usually take:
Miami → Los Angeles → Taipei → Bangkok → Chiang Mai
Miami → Dubai → Bangkok → Chiang Mai
The main airports in Thailand are Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Phuket International Airport in Phuket, and Chiang Mai International Airport in Chiang Mai. There are also plenty of smaller domestic & international airports if you’re traveling to other parts of the country, with budget airlines such as Nok Air and AirAsia offering pretty cheap flights in-country!
How to Travel Around Thailand
Once you arrive in Thailand, you have a few different options when it comes to transportation depending on your budget, where you’ll be traveling, & what you’re most comfortable with. Here are the four methods of transportation I tend to recommend!
Driving in Thailand can be a bit challenging for tourists, since they drive on the left side of the road and traffic laws aren’t always followed by locals – but it’s an option! If you feel comfortable driving yourself and would rather have total freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want, you have the option to rent a car during your time in Thailand. Make sure to get your International Driver’s License and that you’re familiar with local driving rules & regulations!
The option I’d recommend if you’d like to travel by car, but you don’t want to drive yourself, is to hire a driver. It can be super helpful to travel around with somebody who speaks Thai and knows more about the area, as long as you find somebody who speaks some English so that you don’t get totally lost in translation!
Tuk-tuks or taxis
Tuk-tuks are a fun and classic way to travel in Thai cities! They’re often around the same cost as metered taxis, so you can’t really go wrong either way when you’re in the city. Tuk-tuks provide a much more authentic travel experience since they’re what most locals use to get around, and they’re a great way to travel short distances.
Lots of foreigners love renting mopeds in Thai cities, and you can totally go for it if you’re comfortable getting around that way! That being said, if you’re going to rent a moped, please please drive them sober & safely so that you don’t end up on someone’s Backpacker Bingo sheet as “tourist covered in bandages.” Trust me – it happens more than you’d think!
Finally, if you want to travel to & within the Thai Islands, you’ll obviously need to take a boat or a ferry. Depending on what islands you’re traveling between, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 5+ hours to move from island to island! There are a few types of boats that you can expect to find when traveling to one of the Thai Islands: normal ferries, high-speed ferries or catamarans, speedboats, and longtail boats. Each boat travels at a different speed, carries a different number of passengers, and travels different distances.
Why You Should Elope in Thailand
Enough geography & transportation talk for now – let’s start getting into the fun stuff & the top reasons you should elope in Thailand!
I’ve spent about 10 weeks in Thailand over several trips, and I can say it’s absolutely my favorite place in the world. I will never, ever get tired of exploring everything that this beautiful country has to offer: the rich culture, the spectacular scenery, the kind people, the phenomenal food, the endless opportunities for adventure. . . it’s pure magic. Thailand truly has something for everybody, no matter what kind of traveler you are!
If you love learning about the history of places you visit, then visiting the many Buddhas & temples around Thailand is a must. The culture of Thailand is really interesting to learn about, infusing traditions from many different influences but the majority of the culture coming from the ethnic Thai people. They’re known for their warmth, hospitality, and general friendliness, which is a huge reason I absolutely adore spending time in Thailand! Most people in Thailand follow some sort of Buddhism, which plays a major role in the country’s history and culture.
If you love lounging around on the beach, spending as much time in the water as humanly possible, and booking bougie activities at your luxury hotel, you’re going to freak when you discover the Thai Islands. The palm-lined white sand beaches are absolutely breathtaking, and so are the clear, vibrant blue waters that are a dream come true for snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and even parasailing!
If you’d rather spend your time in a hippie town than a big city, you’ll LOVE Pai. Explore some of the most idyllic landscapes in the country, visit the waterfalls, or join a yoga class!
And if petting an elephant is on your bucket list, then you’ll adore the abundance of opportunities you have to see wildlife in Thailand! I’ll talk a bit more about this later on in this guide, when we’re talking about activities for your Thailand elopement.
As you can probably tell, I could go on FOREVER, but I’ll leave it there for now – here’s a quick recap of the top reasons you should elope in Thailand:
- The pristine beaches
- The warm, hospitable locals
- The spectacular food
- The rich culture & history
- The breathtaking scenery
- The idyllic islands
- The plentiful wildlife
- The laid-back lifestyle
My Top Thailand Travel Tips
Before we dive into all the best places to elope in Thailand, I wanted to give you a list of a few important Thailand travel tips I’ve gathered over the years, that will be super helpful for you to know while you plan your trip.
- Currency: The currency used in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB), and as of August 2023, the exchange rate is 1 USD to 35.03 THB.
- Getting visas: If you’re a U.S. citizen entering Thailand for tourism purposes, and you’re staying for fewer than 30 days, no visa is required! Just triple-check that your passport is valid, as the U.S. Department of State recommends that it be valid for at least six months before the day you arrive in Thailand.
- SIM cards: I recommend buying a prepaid SIM card when visiting Thailand as a tourist! Most parts of the country get good coverage and decent data speeds. You can buy a SIM card at either of Bangkok’s airports or the Chiang Mai airport, or you can get one at a convenience store like 7-11.
- Wi-Fi: As far as Wi-Fi goes, many public places have hotspots available to the public such as restaurants, malls, airports, and cafés. Most hotels, resorts, and Airbnbs will have Wi-Fi as well, but getting a SIM card will ensure you can just use the internet on your phone wherever you go!
- Religion: It’s super important to be mindful & respectful of local religious practices when visiting sacred places like temples, as over 90% of the Thai population are Buddhists and follow Buddhist practices, such as removing shoes before entering homes or temples.
- Food: For food, I always go with what smells best on the street, or I look for spots that aren’t quite as touristy. I have curry for almost every meal when I’m in Thailand, but I’m always also looking out for sauteed vegetables in oyster sauce, and little regional delicacies like Khao Soi in the north. There’s also pad thai, thai tea, some unique Asian vegetables, durian (if you want to taste a fruit that’s banned in public places for being too smelly), and some amazing street meat. On the other hand, if you’re vegetarian, be careful, because sometimes they stick meat in veggie dishes (like gyoza, japanese dumplings – a vegetarian on my trip ordered the vegetable one but there was also pork in there for flavor). Just ask! There are a ton of vegetarian & vegan options all over the country.
8 Stunning Thailand Elopement Locations
We’ve finally made it to my favorite section of this guide – the one where I can rave about all the most incredible places to elope in Thailand! I personally have spent the most time in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and have visited Pai and Krabi, as well as a number of islands: Koh Tao, Koh Samui, and Koh Phi Phi. EVERYWHERE is beautiful, you really can’t go wrong! It’s just up to what type of experience you’re looking for and what kinds of activities you’d like to have available to you.
For reference, the northern part of Thailand provides a more “authentic” experience and gives you a great sense of Thai culture, whereas the islands are much more touristy, but are absolutely gorgeous, of course! I’ve divided up all of my favorite locations into northern, central, and southern Thailand, plus the islands, to make it easier for you. Ready to fall in love with these 8 epic Thailand elopement locations? 😉
Where to Elope in Northern Thailand
Kicking off this list is Chiang Mai, one of my personal favorite parts of Thailand. Visiting Chiang Mai is a ridiculously beautiful experience that feels more authentic than the islands, which are way more catered to tourists like I mentioned above. Chiang Mai is filled with kind people, mouth-watering food, ethical animal tourism opportunities, and lush rainforest – it’s probably my favorite place on Earth!
When visiting Chiang Mai, it’s important to dress conservatively to be respectful of the local culture – you should avoid showing your shoulders, knees, and chest (men can wear long shorts). It’s most important to cover up when you want to visit a temple (as in, mandatory), whereas everywhere else in the north it’s just a show of respect.
You’ll also never wear shoes inside – stores, temples, homes, etc. – so I recommend living in slip-ons (like Birkenstocks), so that you don’t have to constantly undo laces or straps.
Pai is a small hippie town near the Myanmar border that I highly recommend if you’re looking for more of a nomadic experience filled with backpackers and expats. Pai has plenty of cute markets to walk around, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure – but my favorite thing about Pai is rafting the Pai River! I’ve done a two-day white water rafting trip through the foothills of the Himalayas with the company Pai Adventures (twice, actually!), and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. You raft, pull over for lunch, raft more, and camp in a bamboo structure they have set up in the jungle (complete with a bamboo shower contraption). They even cook you dinner (and provide all food, helmets, dry bags, etc.)! There’s brutal sunshine, and the rapids can be challenging, and you do have to sleep on a bamboo mat wrapped in a mosquito net, but 18 year-old me had never felt more alive than when I was on this trip.
Where to Elope in Central Thailand
Visiting the capital of Thailand is a must! Bangkok is most known for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks including the Reclining Buddha, the Golden Buddha, and the Emerald Buddha. The temples and buddhas can get a little repetitive, but if you’re in Bangkok, you’ve gotta do it! The most important thing when visiting Bangkok is that you wear good walking shoes that are easy to take on & off when you go inside places. Again, I literally live in my Birks when I visit Thailand!
Asiatique is a huge flea market in Bangkok with some good restaurants (including lots of good pizza), and there’s also the famous Khaosan Road, which is a big street market during the day & a wild party street at night. It’s definitely worth checking out – you’ll find more souvenir-y trinkets here such as clothing and bracelets, and the most random things like a custom suit for $100. Be careful if you’re buying any little elephant trinkets to make sure they don’t have any real ivory!
When I was in Bangkok, I stayed at the Silom Serene and enjoyed it, but there are SO many nice hotels in the area. It’s helpful to pick the activities & places you want to be close to, and find a hotel near there!
Where to Elope in Southern Thailand
I wasn’t expecting to love Krabi when I visited, but I really did! Railay Beach is one of my favorites in the whole country. Krabi is home to the Tiger Cave Temple, which is a temple on top of a mountain accessible by 1260+ steps. If you’re up for the challenge, the views are so worth it and the peace you feel at the top is amazing! There are also a few magical places to swim in Krabi, including the Emerald Pool (Sa Morakot), located in the Khao Nor Chu Chi forest, as well as some beautiful hot springs in Namtok Ron, such as Tambon Khlong Thom.
I stayed at the Phra Nang Inn when I was in Krabi, which was beautiful with a great beachfront location. It’s just two doors down from where you catch the boat to Railay, and across the street from a bunch of restaurants, bars, market stalls, and ice cream shops!
Where to Elope in the Thai Islands
Koh Phi Phi is one of the two islands that make up the Phi Phi Islands, and is one of the most famous islands off of Thailand’s Andaman Coast – for good reason! During my time on Koh Phi Phi, I’ve used the Adventure Club to go diving and absolutely loved my experience with them. Whether you go snorkeling or scuba diving, the water is so gorgeous and you’ll have such a magical time! I also highly recommend finding a longboat tour that takes you around the Phi Phi Islands, especially if you can find a sunset tour & go snorkeling at night to see the bioluminescent plankton.
Now if you’re an animal lover, you will have the absolute time of your life on Koh Phi Phi. The island is overrun with cats (like, they’re EVERYWHERE) and it’s amazing! But I don’t recommend inviting them into your hotel room, since they could have ticks – which I did not realize when I did it. You can also make a stop at Monkey Beach, where you’ll find a forested cliff that is home to a ton of monkeys. Please be sure to find an ethical company that warns you about the dangers of these monkeys, and does not encourage you to feed them – they can get really aggressive if they think you’re teasing them or withholding food, and you definitely don’t want to mess around with rabies.
Koh Tao (“Turtle Island”) is located on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand, and is the top destination in Thailand for scuba diving. Whether you want to trek through the lush jungles, get some R&R on the white sand beaches, or go snorkeling with sharks, it’s a magical little place for a peaceful island experience. When I visited Koh Tao, I went snorkeling in Shark Bay to find some black tip reef sharks and it was incredible!! Not only did I get to snorkel with sharks (totally worth it even though the water was a little cloudy), I also witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets of my life on this island. It’s also an amazing destination for astrophotography & stargazing!
If you’re looking for a larger resort island to stay at during your time in Thailand, Koh Samui is the place to be. Koh Samui is famous for its stunning beaches (duh!), breathtaking waterfalls, temples, fishermen’s villages, and world-class wellness spas. When I was here, I took a bomb-ass cooking class where we got to make a 6-course meal – it was an amazing experience, and I now highly recommend finding a cooking class to take! Keep in mind that this is one of the more touristy islands and can be slightly pricier than some of the smaller, less crowded islands.
Finally, Ang Thong National Marine Park is a spectacular archipelago made up of 42 different islands, with some of the most beautiful, bright teal water you’ll ever see! It’s an awesome spot to go snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking, especially if you can make it up to Wua Ta Lap Viewpoint to take in the stunning vista over all of the islands.
Best Time of Year to Elope in Thailand
The best time of year to visit in Thailand depends on what kind of activities you want to do, and what your priorities are – some couples are okay with more crowds and want to elope during dry season when it’s not as hot & humid, whereas others would rather elope during a hotter time of year to avoid peak tourism and bring down travel costs a little bit. Either way is totally fine, it’s just up to you!
In general, though, the best time of year to elope in Thailand is during the dry season, which lasts from November-March in most areas of the country. Temperatures range between 84°F to 97°F, with humidity levels reaching their lowest point in March at around 60% relative humidity. This is also peak tourist season, so be prepared to be surrounded by other visitors & to have to put in a little more effort to find peace and quiet!
Here’s a quick overview of the different seasons in Thailand:
- Summer: June-August
- Fall: September-November
- Winter: November-February
- Spring: March-May
- Dry season: November-March
- Monsoon season: June-October
- Windiest month: June
- Hottest month: May
- Coldest month: December
- Wettest month: September
- Driest month: January
- Most humid month: September
- Least humid month: March
P.S. if it ends up being rainy or windy at your elopement, don’t worry! Hop on over to my blog post about How to Embrace “Bad” Weather On Your Elopement Day for my top tips on making the best out of any weather situation 🙂
How to Get Your Thailand Marriage License
Now let’s talk about the legal stuff! You basically have two options when it comes to eloping in Thailand: either you follow the process of getting a Thai marriage license as a foreigner, OR you do all the official stuff back home before your trip. Obviously it would be pretty dang cool to get legally married in Thailand, but the application process can get a bit complicated for U.S. citizens, so it may be more worth it for you to just get your marriage license in your home country, and then have a symbolic ceremony & celebration in Thailand!
If you do want to consider getting legally married in Thailand as a U.S. citizen (whether you’re marrying another U.S. citizen or a Thai citizen), you’ll need the following:
- A registration of your union with a local Amphur (Thai district office)
- A notarized marriage/divorce affidavit from the U.S. Embassy Bangkok or Consulate General Chiang Mai
- A certified copy of your passport
You’ll also need certified Thai translations of the above documents through a professional translation service. Then, you’ll need to get them all legalized by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and finally, you’ll present the following documents at any Amphur to register your marriage & obtain a Thai marriage certificate:
- Original marriage/divorce affidavit, Thai translation, and any supporting documents
- Passport, certified copy, and translation
- Written permission from parents to marry if either party is under 20
You can read about the whole process on the U.S. Embassy website!
The other route you can take, if you’d rather not go through all that, is to simply have a symbolic ceremony in Thailand. This helps you avoid the complicated and lengthy legal process of getting a Thai marriage license, and I promise that a symbolic ceremony will be no less special than a legal ceremony in Thailand! You’ll be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about the official stuff, since you’ve already done it all back home.
Where to Stay in Thailand
Thailand has PLENTY of options to offer when it comes to accommodations – it’s just about choosing what type of experience you’d like to have! Depending on the region of Thailand you’re staying in, you can find 5-star luxury eco resorts on the beach, stunning Airbnbs in the jungle, treehouses up in, well, the trees, campgrounds on public land, and smaller local hotels. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly option without all the bells and whistles, you want to stay in a dreamy bungalow in the mountains, or you want a bougie beachfront hotel with a full luxury spa, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for! Trust me, it is SO worth it booking an amazing place to stay, and it’ll truly take your Thailand experience to the next level.
Epic Activities for Your Thailand Elopement
If you’re flying alllll the way to Thailand, you better make your trip worth every damn second on those airplanes by adding a variety of awesome activities to your itinerary. Here are just a few of the top activities I’d recommend adding to your elopement itinerary, based on my time in Thailand!
The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is such a fun way to experience a local Thai market! This one is HUGE and offers amazing, vibrant nightlife as well as delicious local cuisine, unique souvenirs, fun clothing, & more. Keep an eye out for some cheap Kanken bags, and be ready to haggle!
Regarded as one of the most ethical animal sanctuaries in the world, visiting the Elephant Nature Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Elephant tourism is often super heartbreaking and unethical, so it’s really important to do your research on any sanctuary you’d like to visit. Here, you can feed the elephants, watch them bathe, and interact with them, but they’re the most strict about interacting with them. There are other sanctuaries that allow you to actually get in the mud and bathe with elephants, but that’s a bit more debated on whether or not it should be allowed. However, having done it before, I can say it is amazing to be able to get so up close & personal with them! Be careful to not support any parks/camps/places that call themselves sanctuaries, but still put the elephants to work, and avoid any place that allows you to ride elephants or where the elephants perform tricks.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most famous temples in Thailand, located just outside of Chiang Mai. It’s an incredibly beautiful sacred site with insane architecture, and I’ve liked it more and more each time I’ve visited!
Getting a Thai massage is a MUST – at every opportunity. Seriously, if you can get one every day, do it. They’re usually $6-10 an hour, so take full advantage! Just know that Thai massages are very different from normal massages: the masseuse will stand on you, get under you, swing you around, crack every bone in your body, and if you opt for an oil massage, it may be a little more intimate than you were prepared for – but you will feel SO good after.
Finally, I definitely recommend taking day trips from wherever you’re staying so that you can see as much of Thailand as you can!
Here are some of the best day trips from Chiang Mai:
And here are some of the best day trips from Bangkok:
Okay, and how about a few more activity ideas for good measure? You’ll have an incredible elopement experience in Thailand if you do ANY of the following:
- White water rafting
- Scuba diving
- Longtail boating
- Take a Thai cooking class
- Rock climbing in Krabi
- Take a private catamaran tour at sunset
- Visit a floating market in Bangkok
What to Wear for Your Thailand Elopement
When it comes to what to wear for your elopement in Thailand, it really depends on the season – but generally, you can expect it to be pretty hot and humid. Even when I was traveling from south Florida, where I grew up with 95ºF summers and 95% humidity, I was STUNNED by how sweaty I would get in Thailand in July.
Because it’s hard to avoid the heat and humidity, I recommend choosing elopement outfits that will at least help you be as comfortable as possible! Picking lightweight fabrics that are breathable, not too thick, easy to move around in, and comfortable on your skin is CRUCIAL.
If you’ll be wearing a dress, avoid wearing a heavy ball gown, a skirt that has too many layers, or a dress made of thicker materials such as mikado silk. Instead, opt for a sleeveless dress made up of lightweight materials that’ll help keep you a little cooler in the heat, such as chiffon, organza, tulle, or crepe!
If you’ll be wearing a suit, same thing – keep your layers as minimal & your fabrics as thin as possible. Linen, cotton, flannel, and seersucker are some of the best and most breathable suit materials for hot weather!
Finally, make sure that if you plan to go into any temples or visit any other sacred sites in your wedding attire, that you follow the dress code and cover up as necessary.
Are you packing your bags & booking your plane tickets to Thailand yet?? I’ll be right behind ya 😉 In all seriousness, my love for this country exceeds anything I could ever explain to you in words – you truly just have to experience the magic of Thailand yourself to understand it. Luckily, I am ALWAYS ready to go back, and would love love love to document your own incredible Thailand elopement.
My Thailand elopement package starts at $12,000 for a full day of coverage, including all of my travel so that you don’t have to worry about making sure I find the cheapest flights! You’ll also get all of my best insider knowledge from my time in Thailand, and I’ll be there to help you plan your perfect Thailand elopement based on my firsthand experience. You can learn more about me & what I offer here, and if you feel like we’d be a great fit, I’d love to get this party conversation started with you!
For more in-depth elopement guides just like this one, head on over to my Blog – or check out a few of my recent favorites below!