Hello pals and welcome back, or if you’re new here then hello I hope you stick around (and subscribe)! Today’s post as you may have guessed from the title is 20 things I think you should know before visiting Thailand.
If you’ve been following my blog and/or social media for a while you’ll be aware that I recently visited Thailand with Intro Travel and thought that I’d share with you a few things that I wish I’d have known before I visited Thailand myself.
That’s enough waffling from me, I think it’s about time we got to the bit you came here for right?
1) Money – It’s really easy to withdraw money in Thailand as there are ATM’s (almost) everywhere. My advice would be to take cash (in your currency) and exchange this once you are in Thailand. This helps avoid any withdrawal charges from using ATM’s and means that you only change over currency you need as Thai baht isn’t used in many places.
2) WiFi – For those of us who can’t bear to be out of contact from the rest of the world (when we really should be enjoying our travels). You’ll be pleased to know that most bars/ restaurants/ train stations etc. have free WiFi available to use, you just need to ask for the password.
3) Maps – For those times where you have no service or don’t have access to data (some plans charge you extra to use data in Thailand as it is outside of the UK) Maps.me is a free app that you can download prior to your trip which allows you to download the map of the place you are visiting, you’ll thank me for this later.
4) Thai SIM cards – If you don’t want to rely soley on free WiFi then a Thai sim card may be for you. These are particularly useful if you’re travelling around a lot and for quite some time. You can purchase these pretty easily in Thailand and the shops are usually more than happy to help install the SIM into your phone for you. Please note that these only appear to work on unlocked phones, so if your phone isn’t unlocked I wouldn’t waste your money.
5) Laundry – If you travel light or worry about how easy it is to get clean clothes then it may please you to know that it’s really easy and cheap (depending on where you are) to get your laundry done. Most hotels offer laundry service for around 100 Thai Baht per kg (approx £2.50) and return your laundry in 24 hours or so.
6) Water – Drinking the tap water in Thailand is not recommended, always opt for bottled water or fill up at designated fill up stations which are filled specifically with drinking water.
7) Time – If you need to be somewhere at a specific place and/or time make sure to allow plenty of extra time, I know this sounds obvious but the traffic in Thailand is often crazy.
8) Supermarkets – 7-11 is essentially Thailand’s version of Tesco, I’ve heard that the toasties are pretty incredible (I’m gluten free so can’t comment but they are highly rated). Oh and if you happen to stumble across a Lotus Tesco, you may be disappointed as they are not quite like the English Tesco…
9) The King – It’s best not to mention The King let alone say anything bad about him as this could have serious consequences such as being thrown in jail. You may think I’m joking but I’m genuinely serious.
10) Long distance travel – If you need to travel far I.e. Chiang Mai to Bangkok then flying from one place to another can be fairly cheap or if you want to save even more money it may be cheaper to book an overnight train where you have a bed included (this doubles as transport and accommodation for an evening).
When I did this journey it cost me around £40 including the train ticket, ticket insurance and booking fee which I booked through 12Go Asia. 12Go Asia book and pay for the train tickets for you and then you simply collect them before embarking on your journey. You will need to provide your passport number when booking tickets and ID when collecting them.
11) Dress code – When visiting temples or religious places you must cover your shoulders and knees, this applies to both men and women.
12) Footwear – You’ll be surprised to see that many people a) don’t wear shoes in a lot of places and b) mainly wear flip flops when they do wear footwear. Coming home to wear shoes again was a bit of an adjustment after almost three weeks bare foot.
When it comes to packing footwear I’d suggest packing flip flops and a pair of comfy trainers as these are useful when you want to do more adventurous activities. It’s also important to note that a lot of places require you to remove your footwear before entering, so having easy to remove/put on footwear is advised.
13) Passport – This may sound silly but make sure that before your trip is due to start that you have at least 6 months left on your passport. If you don’t have this you may not be allowed to enter Thailand.
14) Weather – The weather in Bangkok (and Thailand as a whole) can change instantly, so make sure to have a waterproof at easy access, you never know when you’re about to get caught in torrential rain.
15) Physical contact – Don’t touch anyone’s head, I’m not sure why you would actually do this but it is considered to be very rude in Thailand. Oh and the same goes for feet, try not to touch anyone with your feet or point them at people, the feet are the dirtiest part of your body and this can be considered to be very rude.
16) Hygiene – Always carry tissue(s) and antibacterial gel. The toilets in Thailand can often be quite gross and often lack basics such as loo roll. I’d recommend bringing small packs of tissues everywhere you go or an actual loo roll.
17) Travel – GRAB is Southeast Asia’s version of UBER. You can download GRAB on your phone. Grab car (from my research) seems to be more reliable and affordable than Grab taxi as these are owned by ‘regular people‘ as opposed to taxi companies.
18) Insurance – I’m not sure why you’d travel without this but it goes without saying that Travel insurance is a must have when travelling. World Nomad’s is a company that’s been recommended to me a couple of times. Some banks also offer travel insurance, I have worldwide cover included in my banking so it’s worth seeing if you have this.
I visited Thailand and Bali this year and it was cheaper to pay for travel insurance through my bank than to pay for two separate periods of travel insurance through an external company.
19) Insect repellent – Even if you’re one of those super lucky individuals who rarely gets bitten I’d advise using insect repellent in Thailand. I’m not one to often get bitten but I got bitten to shreds even when using repellent.
20) Dietary requirements – For those of you (like me) who struggle with dietary issues I wouldn’t worry too much about finding something to eat in Thailand. The Thai are pretty clued up when it comes to avoiding things such as Gluten, Dairy, Nuts or avoiding animal products as a whole (Vegan) all you have to do is ask.
So there you have it, my 20 tips that you need to know before you visit Thailand.
Thank you for reading,
Love Saff x
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