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While Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for travelers of all ages, there are many important things to keep in mind when planning a trip there. It’s useful to have some insider advice so you can relax and enjoy the stunning beaches, impressive temples, and amazing food and nightlife. Here are ten tips for your trip to Thailand to go as smoothly as possible.
Cash and Currency
Even most smaller hotels won’t take card payments so you’re better off having plenty of cash. You might be ok in more luxury hotels, airports, and sometimes shopping malls, but pretty much anywhere else will only accept cash. In order to get the most out of the fantastic local markets and street food, get plenty of cash changed before you go. This will ensure you get the best rates. You don’t wanna be stuck somewhere desperately trying to get Thai baht as you might get taken advantage of, especially if they know you don’t have any other option. Consider ordering your currency online and having it delivered securely. You can even pick it up at the airport for a better rate than you would on the day.
Seen as Thailand has so much to offer, it can be tempting to try and do too much. Don’t forget that even though the country has infinite incredible sites to see, they’re not all next door to each other and trains and buses are not as quick as what you might be used to. Try and prioritize. The best thing to do is look at the climate at the time of year you’re going. Certain parts of the country will have better wetter and you need to watch out for rainy seasons. This will help you to narrow down your itinerary, and you can still find a full range of places to visit. In pretty much any region you can fit in nature, beaches, and culture.
Thai people are very friendly and used to tourists but unfortunately, you’ll still have to keep your wits about you and be on the lookout for the odd scam. Don’t get yourself in a sticky situation where you can easily be taken advantage of. Make sure you plan ahead and keep your options open. It can be difficult when you know there’s not much you can do about getting scammed but being the most informed as you can before you go anywhere is always a good start. Keep maps and guidebooks with you, and don’t accept offers from strangers. You will often be expected to negotiate so don’t just say yes to the first price you are offered in markets or by taxi drivers. Pickpockets do operate as well so be careful with your belongings.
Motorbikes serve as taxis in Bangkok and other cities so it’s up to you if you want to take this risk. There’s no helmet rule and other traffic laws won’t necessarily be adhered to. It is not advisable to rent your own motorcycle unless you are an experienced rider. These are the cause of many accidents among tourists and the roads are not very safe.
Check out the place you’re going before you visit as often the elephants are often mistreated. There are telltale signs of elephant abuse on their bodies such as bullhook wounds, dry or peeling skin. Elephants have very sensitive skin, so if their skin looks healthy in the pictures it’s a better sign. It’s better to go with a recommendation, however. There are some more ethical sanctuaries however such as Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chang Mai.
Most places are pretty relaxed about this and used to tourists so you can wear anything you would normally in the heat. When visiting temples however it’s a different story. Dress modestly on these days, this means covering your shoulders, knees, and cleavage. Keep a scarf or some light trousers in your bag so that you can take them on and off if it’s unbearably hot. Not adhering to these rules is very disrespectful. Take care as well in museums and other cultural buildings. Think about your footwear too. Pack waterproof walking boots as well as flipflops, and some smarter shoes for going out in the evenings.
As well as looking up the best beaches, take your time to research the history and culture of the country. Learn something about the architecture as well, so you can tell the difference between a wat and a Chiang Mai house. This will bring you more satisfaction from your trip.
Look into the traditional and modern lifestyle of both rural and urban Thai cities. This will help you to understand better how to interact with locals and respect their culture. There are plenty of travel books which give a quick cultural low-down as well.
You can’t go wrong with Thai food as it’s so varied. Try the street food and eat in local markets for a cheaper and more authentic experience. See if the local people are eating the food too then you know it’s safe. Consider doing a Thai cookery class as well as these are lots of fun and you can bring the recipes home with you.
There are no necessary injections for Thailand but some are recommended just to be safe such as; Tetanus, Diptheria, MMR, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A. You might have had some of these in past either as a child or for other trips, which means they should still protect you in Thailand.
It’s difficult to give an exact budget but in general, Thailand is very cheap if you do it properly. The Lonely Plant guidelines are good to go on as they offer several alternatives, depending on the range of luxury you want. You can vary how much you spend and have treat days like spa packages. Most of the time travel will be fairly cheap, but you can choose from low-budget to a more high-end experience.