Important: One of the requirements for obtaining a Thailand Pass (necessary to enter the country) is to have a hotel booking for at least your first night in a hotel certified by the Thai government. Click here for more information.
Which portal is best for booking a hotel in Thailand?
Why book through Agoda or Booking?
The reason is that even though there are other platforms besides Agoda and Booking such as Trip Advisor and the like, prices on those platforms are higher than what you can find directly on the aforementioned sites since even Trip Advisor has to make something (thereby charging an additional commission).
In addition, Agoda and Booking often have special offers available only through their sites, and not on third-party platforms.
Agoda is one of the best portals for Asia, both in the number of hotels and the price.
Pros: Usually Agoda offers the best deals when it comes to hotels in Thailand. Additionally, their network of hotels in the country is superior to that of Booking.
Cons: There aren’t many “cons”, when booking a hotel in Asia on Agoda. The only exception is, perhaps, China, since there are specialized portals for that country that offer a wider range of hotels, especially in less visited areas.
Booking is one of the most famous and efficient platforms for booking a hotel in the entire world.
Pros: Booking is an extremely professional platform; they also often offer the possibility of cancelling your reservation without additional fees (by a certain date).
Cons: Their selection of hotels in Thailand is less than that of Agoda, and their prices are often higher.
Comparing the two platforms
Number of hotels:
If we take Bangkok as an example, the most visited city, Agoda offers 3,153 hotels and Booking 2,217. Lastly, if we take a look at Nong Khai, a destination that isn’t frequented by tourists (at the most you could pass by if you’re heading to Laos), Agoda offers 64 hotels and Booking 43.
To conclude, if you already have an account on Booking, considering that the differences aren’t terribly great, you might think about just booking with them (unless the prices on Agoda are much less). If you don’t have an account with either Booking or Agoda, then Agoda is likely your best choice!
Here’s a comparison of prices in USD (American Dollars) of three hotels in Bangkok (for three nights starting August 1st). There’s a cheap hotel (In a Box Hostel), a mid-range hotel (Hotel Clover Asoke) and a high end hotel (Villa Song Saigon).
- In a Box Hostel: A bed in a small room costs 9 USD a night on Agoda, and 11 USD a night on Booking.
- Hotel Clover Asoke: The price for a double room on Agoda is 50 USD a night, while on Booking it’s 64 USD a night.
- The Peninsula Bangkok: The price for a double room on Agoda is 207 USD a night, while on Booking it’s 241 USD a night.
As you can see, Agoda can be cheaper (even though prices are often similar).
What are Alternative Quarantine Hotels and how can I book one?
As a measure to prevent the COVID-19 epidemic, the Thai government has imposed certain obligatory measures for travelers entering the country, including spending at least one night at authorized accommodations.
Alternative Quarantine Hotels (AQ Hotels) are hotels certified by the Thai government allowing travelers to complete their quarantine period or to spend their first night as a part of the Test & Go Program.
Quarantine in Thailand
Below is a summary of quarantine periods for Thailand*:
- Completely vaccinated against COVID-19 and arrival by air (Test & Go program): 1-day quarantine.
- Completely vaccinated against COVID-19 and arrival by sea or land: 7-day quarantine.
- Unvaccinated and arrival by air or sea: 10-day quarantine
- Unvaccinated and arrival by land: 14-day quarantine
*Keep in mind that these periods may vary depending on your country of origin and the situation of the pandemic at the time you enter the country.
How to book an Alternative Quarantine Hotel (AQ Hotel)
Certified hotels will state SHA Plus (SHA+), Alternative Quarantine (AQ), or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ), normally beside the hotel’s name.
What should an Alternative Quarantine Hotel booking include?
It’s very important that when you make your SHA+/AQ Hotel booking, you ensure that it includes the following services at a minimum:
- Pick-up at the airport
- 2 COVID-19 tests (PCR and rapid antigen)
- Food during your stay
Hotels in Thailand often offer a satisfactory internet connection, as do international hostels. If though internet connection is really important to you, then I recommend that you really read the reviews found on Agoda and Booking.
Where to book your hotel
For Bangkok, I recommend that you book something in the center since you’re talking about an enormous city and public transportation isn’t the best.
The other cities are more “liveable”; so if walking for 20-30 minutes isn’t a problem, you don’t necessarily have to book in the city center.
Are hotels in Thailand safe?
Thailand is a relatively safe country (so long as you stay away from the frequent political protests). The only problem you might run into is theft from your room, especially in budget hostels where the locks aren’t the greatest.
Many hostels offer the option of inserting a padlock on the door to your room; you can bring one from home or get one in the many tourist shops (usually shops that sell bags and pouches, etc, also sell padlocks).