Thailand is an incredible country with so many stark contrasts of surroundings. I mean you’ve got the hot sandy beaches, lush (monkey ridden) forests and the bustling city streets of Bangkok.. there is just so much to take in and like every Asian country, there comes the fascinating history and culture to soak up.
Here are my tips for those preparing for a trip to Thailand!
Get your vaccinations
I know I know, not a very pleasant start to this blog post but it is really something to consider if you are planning a visit! Hepatitis A and B as well as typhoid are the most common and recommended vaccinations to have before departing. Although Thailand is still considered at a ‘low risk’, it is better to take precautions.
Bring your camera
Thailand is a gorgeous country, so be sure to pack your camera to snap some of the beautiful temples, beaches and general landscapes. Get happy snapping and don’t forget to pack an extra/spare memory card.
Pack as lightly as possible
Don’t pack too many clothes and also don’t make the mistake of packing heavy clothes that not only take up more room but they also weigh down your bag…and you will regret it straight away. Thailand is hot and humid all year round, so pack light clothes (girls think thin loose dresses, sarongs and loose tops) and avoid heavy clothing such as demin and anything too tight. Chances are you will pick up some cheap buys in the many markets and boutiques during your trip, so you want to allow for some extra suitcase room.
Money belt = essential and smart travel
This is an essential item that keeps your money close and away from prying fingers, especially in busy tourist areas where theft can happen. Just remember to keep your valuables to a minimum and your money, credit/debit cards close with a money belt worn beneath your clothes.
Drink bottled water
Drinking plenty of water is super important no matter where you are in the world but with the added heat, you’ll probably feel like drinking more water but always remember to buy bottled water to rehydrate. The water isn’t as safe as back home and you definitely don’t want to risk getting sick. Handy tip: Use your bottled water also to brush your teeth instead of from the tap.
Taste Thailand’s street food and culinary delights
A trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without tasting some of the street food and local restaurants. Although tempting to only eat at your hotel/resort, some of the best food and memories you will have will guaranteed to be when you venture out and eat like a local! Of course it is wise to take precautions and use your common sense i.e. eat where there are more people/crowds and avoid places where hygiene is lacking.
Know the currency difference prior to arriving
It’s a wise idea to have an idea of the exchange rate of your currency (for me AUS dollars) to Thailand’s Thai Baht. This will help with bargaining for purchases for things such as shopping and taxi/ tuk tuk fares and prevent the possibility of being ripped off. Handy tip: Always agree to a price before getting in a tuk tuk and insist on any taxi you use being metered.
Thailand can be conservative
Yes, despite the beaches and casual attire you see many tourists walking down the street in, Thai’s are actually quite conservative people and Thailand as a country are quite religious. You are expected to dress more conservatively when visiting some of Thailand’s more historic landmarks i.e. temples and shrines. It is important to be respectful and to bear this in mind or else you will not be allowed to enter if you are wearing a bikini or anything deemed inappropriate.
It’s probably likely you will visit a busy marketplace sometime during your trip and although you will get some great bargains and bang for your buck, just remember Thailand is a mecca for fake designer labels and brands. Also, you must haggle the price down, don’t just settle for the first price they are offering – this is a bad move and just a highly inflated tourist price! In addition to the above tip, knowing the currency difference and be confident in haggling the item down to I say personally, at least one third the original price but don’t be disheartened if they are disgruntled..just move on and chances are you will see it elsewhere nearby.
Stay in a 4 or 5 star resort or hotel
Budget or not, there is cheap and affordable accommodation all throughout Thailand that are amazing value for the price. What a better way to treat yourself to some luxury while still paying a cheaper price than you would anywhere at home!
Use the hotel safe box
Although I would suggest leaving personal valuables such as expensive watches and jewellery at home granted you can go without them during your trip, you should make use of your hotel safe to put things like passports and electronics (ipods, ipads etc)to ensure they are hidden away safe. Also, it is a good habit to always lock your bags up before you head out for the day. This is not to say that all housekeeping in Thailand should not be trusted, but merely a precaution to take. Out of sight, out of mind right?
Whether you pack some in your bag prior to leaving or buy some in Thailand, I recommend purchasing some to lather up and avoid the mozzies.
Tissues can come in so handy at the best of times, especially when visiting public toilets. You just never know if there will be any toilet paper but knowing you are covered is totally worth it. Tissues don’t weight the bag down either.
Safety and scams
There are common street scams that are used to trick any naïve tourist visiting Thailand and can be so easily fallen for. For instance, don’t trust anyone who approaches you (and are seemingly kind and well spoken) who will take you to ‘a secret temple’ or ‘a friends local bar’ or tries to sell you tickets to an event of some kind. Most likely it is fake and just don’t trust them.
Aside from the occasional pickpockets (in busy and crowded tourist hot spots) yourself and your belongings are generally safe. Thailand is a safe country to visit, there are just some precautions to be aware of – just like every country has them!