Thailand is somewhere for everyone.
Whether it’s for diving on Koh Tao,
visiting the white sandy beaches on Phi Phi.
and checking out the temples in Bangkok
even searching the sex scene in Pattaya.
Whether you want to relax on Koh Lanta
or climb to reggae bars up in the jungle
Maybe you want to trek through the jungle in Chiang Mai,
Whether you’re a couple, in a group or traveling solo. Thailand is such an awesome country filed with traditions, culture, mad weather and of course, jungles, beaches, tropical paradise and mountains.
1. There is always a back up.
You can get away without booking anything. I’ve booked flights the same morning, turned up at hostels, missed ferries and been let on the next. There always seems to be another option and the best thing is, it can all be done last minute. Thailand can suck you in, If you love somewhere and want to stay, stay. If you have a return ticket out of somewhere it’ll cause you to feel rushed and put a limit on some things you do. Just enjoy everything and go with it.
Extending your visa is easy and there are many travel agents dotted around to help with the information you need to know. Don’t worry, everything seems to have a way of working out over here and there is so much to do.
2. Stick to flip flops.
Unless your hiking up a mountain or trekking through jungles, you’ll end up taking your shoes off almost everywhere.
Most shops, local business and cafes will request you to be shoeless. It can be a nightmare undoing your shoes and putting them on every 10 minutes. I’ve stayed in hostels where you leave your shoes outside the front door and the temples, of course. Ive sat in coffee shops, tattoo parlours and restaurants where everyone is bare foot. You never know so keep it simple and wear some decent, light and convinient flip flops.
There’s always people walking around bare foot. I lost my flip flops on the beach on Christmas Day and stayed bare foot for the next few days. Bangkok isn’t as fussy about this rule but it’s too humid to wear any other shoes.
P.S You can buy flip flops and shoes all over Thailand for a good price!
3. The police might not be the same back here then back at home.
On the islands they all work closely with business’. This can be good and bad depending on the situation for us tourists. They can easily be payed off to let things go and they can also work closely with locals trying to catch people out for drug use etc. I’ve found the police in Thailand quite helpful and friendly compared to other countries. Most of them speak English but even down south, the police don’t always have the same role as mainland. Be respectful and they will help. Even if you have to tip them a little extra cash.
4. Your passport is your life.
You should never really have to give this to anyone. Lots of hostels like to have a copy which is fine. Some chains and known hostels may want to hold your passport during your stay but always see if they will accept something else. You should never give them to bike shops. They know how valuable and important our passports are and will try and charge you for damage and maybe extras to get your passport back. There can be other forms of ID they’ll accept so if you can avoid giving your passport over, do so. It’s not so much a deposit but more of a scam. Be wary who actually needs your passport.
5. Haggle haggle haggle.
It becomes second nature in Thailand. Make sure you’re wary of when something is a set price. There may might be a sign or you just need to ask for it cheaper but when it comes too public transport, stalls, small business you can always lower the price. Even if it’s 30p or less then a dollar. It all adds up. Places like travel agents can’t change the price of a boat or ferry. You can’t always haggle rooms and bars will stick to a price. Markets, taxis, tuk tuks, small clothes shops and souvenir shops will lower the price. Chiang Mai are crazy for your business however Pai don’t budge the price as much. Ask other travelers and get the feeling of where it’s possible. Don’t always settle for the first offer.
6. We have left the stone ages.
It’s 2016, the world is slowly but starting to be taken over by technology. Thailand is nowhere near up to date with places like America, England and China but there are cash machines everywhere! They take all types of card and almost every hotel, hostel and trip can be booked with a card. I try not to carry too much cash but having a travel card and credit card helps so you don’t have to pay the transaction fee every time! Use your common sense on where may be harder to access cash but things can be so cheap, you don’t need to carry around a big wod of notes.
7. Respect the King.
They value the King of Thailand and you are not to speak about him badly. Yeah I’ve asked a few questions out of curiosity and it’s been fine but I’ve got the know the local I’m talking too and show them it’s a genuine interest I want to be able to understand. You’ll see photos and shrines to him everywhere but always stay polite when mentioning him. He’s looked at almost like a god for doing so much Thailand. He’s dedicated his life to the country and his hugely respected for it.
It is against the Buddhism religion to have tattoos, souvenirs and jewellery of Buddha. They find it disrespectful. Some places will still sell souvenirs and it’s such a beautiful symbol but if they do tattoo, it’ll only be above the waistline. The jewellery will always be a necklace, you can’t wear lower on the body and Buddha heads are never to be placed on the floor. I recommend covering up any tattoos of Buddha when entering the country and also when visiting holy places.
9. Sawadee Ka.
The greetings. Thailand is a very respectable country and everywhere you go, most Thai people will greet you with a warm welcome. For a man. Sawadee kup. For a female, sawadee Kah. It’s respectful to say hello, thank you. Take some time to learn and understand the basic sayings, most of the Public do there best to talk basic English, some very good English, at least learn the basics. They’ll probably greet you with a traditional bow with their palms together just in front of their face. As a tourist we are looked at as a higher class, we have more money and again, out of respect, will bow when greeting you.
10. Money. Affordability. Price.
Thailand is a lot cheaper then westernised countries like America and England.. You get more for your money on various things however it’s not AS cheap as it used to be. Some hostels charge a lot more for busy periods so be aware of the bump up in price. Local stalls and cafes in the streets offer tasty and cheap meals which are great value. Public transport can be a lot cheaper and you get more for your money. Don’t come over thinking you won’t be spending much as things aren’t always as cheap as it can be made out.
11. This is Thailand, not a deserted desert in the middle of nowhere.
All over the country most things are accessible. Bangkok has almost anything you possibly want and need. There are clothes stalls everywhere, pharmacies spotted all over cities and towns. Even in places like Koh samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai and of course Bangkok. You have maccies, Starbucks, KFC, boots etc!
12. Sometimes having a sense of smell isn’t always a good thing.
Thailand is magical with a lot going on. Sometimes it won’t be the cleanest or most hygienic and is still to have proper sewage lines installed. Many homes and business don’t have big clean garbage bins and it can cause all sorts of smells. Even some of the wonderful but weird foods they cook can have some perculiar odours. Each street has a different smell and especially when it’s humid and sticky it can’t always be pleasant. Embrace all senses while traveling but be aware it’s not always the nicest of smells. I recommend carrying hand sanitizer and wet wipes and embrace the smells!
Oh dear god. What a crazy system. I say system, there isn’t one. Speed limits are ignored, no sense of lanes and sometimes no one gives a shit what direction they are allowed to drive in. Hiring a moped is always a good idea to explore but we wary of the other crazy drivers. Read my blog on how to hire and drive a moped in Thailand! Click here. Lucky for you English folk, it’s still on the left! If you are going to drive at all be aware and confident as a lot of roads around Thailand are old and rocky.
14. Animal lover?
You have no choice. There are dogs and cats everywhere! There are so many stray dogs everywhere and it breaks my heart. You can’t go 5 minutes without seeing some kind of stray dogs or lazy cats asleep in local shops. Majority are harmless and mind there own business. As a huge animal lover, I always give them a little cuddle or stroke but you get used to it. The reason I’m adding this in here is because they are actually so calm and gentle. Like anything, if you provoke and agitate them, theyll respond. Like me for example 🙂 haha! But expect to see them everywhere, sleeping on the side of the road, wondering through the markets. You’ll see cats bloody everywhere. In shops, sleeping in your hostel social area, chilling in restaurants.
No they may not be the cleanest but don’t be afraid to give them a little love. If you want to find out more about my time volunteering at the Phangan animal care click here!
I just want to elaborate these are my own opinions and views. This blog isn’t to show people how to travel but my personal ideas and tips.
All photos are mine. Please ask if you would like to use them and I can’t send over a high quality imagine.