Thailand – a country full of tradition and beauty. Personally, it is one of my favourite countries in Southeast Asia. The people are very kind and the travel opportunities are vast. It doesn’t matter if you are visiting Bangkok, Phuket or Khao Lak – I can promise you that you’ll have a great time!
Before you travel to Thailand, make sure that you read the below tips to better prepare for your trip.
1. Don’t Buy Buddha Decorations
In the Thai culture it is seen as a sign of disrespect if tourists purchase any Buddha statues for decoration, and not as religious objects. You will see many shops selling those but please refrain from buying Buddha images. To legally buy any Buddha image you need an export license. It involves a fair bit of paperwork. However, no retailer will tell you that as they want the business. Some people will say that they’ve bought and taken a Buddha image out of Thailand without any problem and that’s true- but technically it’s illegal.
2. Don’t Talk Negatively about the King
Thailand is a monarchy and as such you will find everywhere images of the royal family. The country’s law forbids insulting or talking negatively about the monarch – it is one of the strictest laws in the world. It has been increasingly enforced ever since the Thai military took power in 2014. The punishment can be a jail term between three and 15 years!
3. Use Bottled Water
In Thailand it is not safe to drink tap water. Please use bottled water instead – even to brush your teeth. You don’t want to fall sick during your precious holidays!
4. Taxis are Better than TukTuks
Especially when you are in Bangkok, you will see many TukTuks. What many people don’t know is that most of them are not metered and only take fixed prices. Those prices are WAAAAY higher than the ones of a regular metered taxi (which also has air-con!). So that’s a clear choice I think!
5. Don’t Dress to Impress
I am sure that you will be visiting some temples when you are traveling to Thailand. And rightly so – they are beautiful! However, when you do visit any religious site, please make sure that your shoulders and knees are adequately covered (no cleavage, my girls)! Some temples will provide you with scarfs as well but others won’t simply let you in…
6. Change Money in Advance
The first thing you do when arriving in a country is to go straight to an ATM to get some local coins. However, in Thailand ATMs are real cash-cows. Every time you withdraw some cash, the transaction fees are 220 Thai Baht (10 SGD, 7 USD). So beware!
7. Mean Mosquitos
Bad news! Many, many mosquitos live in Thailand (even in Bangkok unfortunately). You will think now: ‘So what? What is a small mosquito bite?’. Reality is that those mosquitos can carry dangerous diseases, such as Dengue (I had it once and it wasn’t funny), Zika, Chikungunya or Malaria. So make sure that you use proper mosquito repellant!
8. Transport in Bangkok
In Bangkok it is very safe to use the Skytrain (often the fastest way to get around), the Bangkok underground Subway (MRT) or a regular taxi.
However, the last time I visited Bangkok, I was traveling on my own. I landed in Bangkok late at night (maybe around 10pm?) and had to take a taxi to my hotel in the city centre (around 40 minutes drive). A colleague of mine recommended taking a private airport shuttle rather than the normal taxis. The taxi driver will not speak proper English and if you are a girl traveling on your own at night it’s just safer to take a private driver. This is why I took the AOT Limousine service from the airport. They have a counter right at the arrival hall. Highly recommended – safety first!
9. Food Heaven
In Thailand everything is about food. Enjoy the satay, the beautiful curries (I love the ones made with coconut milk- so good!) and all different kind of spices. Just be careful with all street food. Make sure it is properly cooked and not pre-heated!
10. Massage Paradise
Thailand is known for great massages at very affordable prices. If you are not sure what massage to go for, you can start with a simple foot massage. They are really lovely as well. Or try a fish SPA – a really unique experience.
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