Travelling to a new destination can be exciting yet daunting, considering there are so many things to know before you travel, which of course vary significantly from country to country, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Firstly, by getting in contact with a local ‘Destination Expert,’ and by getting an overview of the main things to know, you can prepare for your trip of a lifetime and make sure things go smoothly. So many things you will come to learn as you travel to a new country, but there are a few specific things you should know before traveling, and here are some specifically for Thailand.
If you have traveled to South East Asia before, some of these things to know may be familiar to you, but if it is your first time to the region of Thailand in particular, there are some things worth noting before your trip. To make your trip hassle-free, let us check out the main things to know about traveling to Thailand.
The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht, and as of January 2022, $1 = 33.42THB. No matter where you are traveling from, you will find that the costs in Thailand are meager compared to other parts of the world. Almost everything is very cheap, from clothing and food to tours and souvenirs; however, be prepared to haggle and, of course, shop around, especially in touristy areas.
Although some places accept cards, be prepared to carry cash because you will certainly need it, especially at street food vendors, markets, souvenir stands, and for tips. Tipping is not expected in Thailand but is appreciated, so it is recommended to round up your bill if you want to leave a tip. Likewise, haggling is expected, so brush up on your haggling skills and don’t be afraid to get a good bargain, but make sure you only do this when you intend to buy.
Accommodation costs vary between budget, mid-range, and luxury. Still, even at a luxury hotel, you won’t pay nearly as much as you will elsewhere, and this is what draws people to return to Thailand regularly – you truly get more for your money there.
Thai food is one of the best cuisines globally, and if you are a fan of Thai food outside of Thailand, you will be pleasantly surprised when you taste the authentic dishes. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will thrive, considering there is a wide variety of fresh vegetables, meat-free dishes, fruit, and smoothy stands. If you are a meat-eater, you will also find many kinds of meat dishes, so Thailand can be considered a haven for all sorts of dietary lifestyles. Spicy food in Thailand can give a real kick, so if you are not used to this, start slowly with some less spicy food and work your way up.
Although there are many restaurants to choose from, it is highly encouraged to eat street food in Thailand because it is freshly made, readily available, and cheap. It is world-famous for a reason.
Thailand is a fantastic place for modes of transport, and on a single trip to Thailand, you will probably travel by Tuk Tuk, by train, by foot, by moped, by boat, and by overnight bus. No matter where you plan to go in Thailand, there is always a way to get there, and you can guarantee it will be adventurous. If you plan to travel around, rather than base yourself in a hotel for the duration of the trip, pack light and bring a medium-sized backpack that you can comfortably carry around. There will be times when you arrive by boat to a beach and have to step out into the water and walk the rest of the way – you don’t want to be doing this with a suitcase!
Overnight buses are cheap, save time, and are a great way to get around, so if you are short on time or want to see as much as possible, you should opt for overnight buses when possible.
Thailand is known as the land of smiles, and when you travel there, you will understand why. On almost every corner, you will find a local smiling at you in a very genuine way, and this is because they are an extraordinarily warm-hearted and welcoming nation. The locals are primarily Buddhist, but the capital is a true melting pot of cultures, so to see the real Thailand, make sure you get off the beaten track and discover more. This is a great Off the Beaten Track tour.
There are a few things to note when it comes to the Thai culture, for example:
- The head is considered sacred, so do not touch someone’s head.
- Always take your shoes off before entering a temple, a home, small shops, restaurants, and basically, anywhere you see, many shoes line up at the door, or anywhere you are asked to do so out of respect.
- Always dress respectfully if you plan to enter any temples or spiritual landmarks, and if you meet a monk, do not touch him or pass anything directly to him.
- And lastly, make sure to smile back. It will be well received.
To get the most out of Thailand and learn about the culture, check out The Best of Thailand’s Culture tour.
When to go
Planning a trip means that you should always check the weather and the seasons concerning the regions and the activities you have planned. Believe us; this will prevent any disappointment on your trip of a lifetime. The best time to visit Thailand is between November and April, the driest time of the year and has the most hours of sunshine. However, this can be the hottest time too. Make sure to check the regions you plan to go to, as the climate differs between the north and south and east and west coasts.
Thailand is a very safe country to travel around, and that is what makes it an ideal destination for solo or first-time travelers. It is always good to exercise some degree of caution, as you would anywhere else, by not having valuables on display, not leaving bags unattended, and not wandering into unknown streets at night. It is always good to explore places with others, as there is always safety in numbers, and it is worth letting people know where you are going if you plan to venture off alone. If you get lost, locals will be more than willing to help you, but if you feel unsafe, be sure to call an Uber or take a Tuk Tuk to a busier area or back to your hotel. The key is to trust your instinct.
Thailand is world-renowned for its nightlife, and many people go there to attend the infamous Full Moon parties on Koh Phangan Island and have an unforgettable night out in the crazy city of Bangkok. No matter where you are in Thailand, chances are a party going on. Be prepared to see signs for ping pong shows, lady boy shows, jungle parties, pool parties, and many other crazy things. You will see it ALL in Thailand.
It is worth knowing that there are currently no laws in Thailand protecting elephants from abuse, so if you plan to see some wild elephants, go to a moral refuge center, rather than opting to do any elephant rides (even if they try to say they are treated well). Luckily there are many great refuges to choose from, all of which are doing some great work, and you can even volunteer at them if you have the time.