There are many reasons as to why Thailand is a favoured destination among holidaymakers. Thailand has a beautiful cultural heritage and a spectacular mix of nature’s finest scenic elements. But as with every holiday, getting to know the region before you reach there is important so that there would not be any surprise or shock for you once you are in a new country. Before you visit any new destination, it is natural for you to have many doubts and unanswered questions about the place. If you are planning your next vacation to Thailand, here are few travelling tips for you to keep in mind to ensure a stress-free Thai holiday.
What to do before you visit?
Make sure what type of travel visa is required for your Thailand travel. All visitors entering Thailand for leisure and tourism purpose require a tourist visa. Citizens of certain countries do not require a visa for visiting Thailand for less than 30 days. Certain countries can avail Visa on Arrival for 15 days. Those exempt from these criteria need to apply for a visa before arriving in Thailand. Any tourist to Thailand should have the adequate finance to cover the expense of their stay in Thailand – around 10,000 Baht per person and 20,000 Baht per family.
When should you visit?
Since Thailand’s weather varies in different regions, it is better to check the climate before planning your vacation. However, November to April is considered as the best time to visit Thailand when the tropical climate is at its best combination of coolness, humidity and plenty of sunshine. September till October is monsoon season throughout Thailand. The summer months of May and June can get harshly hot with occasional drizzles, but this is also that time of the year when hotels and ground transportations are at low costs. If you plan your trip during festival times, then you may have to face huge crowds and even higher rates of accommodation and other services.
What should you pack?
One of the biggest dilemma while travelling is to decide what things to take along with you. The decision lies on which month of the year you are planning to visit, the region you are visiting and what activities you plan to enjoy in Thailand. Thailand overall is a tropical country, so you can leave the woolen and heavy clothes out and opt for casual, breezy clothes. The beaches of Thailand are really tempting for a swim so don’t forget to pack your swimwear. There can be unexpected drizzles in Thailand so it is a good idea to carry an umbrella. For trekking and nature adventures, make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing and the right footwear. Many temples, palaces, and shrines require you to respect etiquettes and follow conservative clothing rules. You have to keep shoulders and knees covered hence these places do not allow shorts, skirts and sleeveless clothes. Carry your personal medications as there is a good chance you won’t find the same kind of medication in Thailand. Some night show attractions require elegant dressing.
Which services should you book?
Once you reach Thailand, you may have a tough time deciding on transport modes. If you are a first-timer, you may end up paying more money just for transfers. Private taxis and vans charges are quoted double than usual for visitors. Pre-booked transport services are the safest and your best choice for reasonably valued services. If you are renting a car for the day, it is better to book the same from the hotel concierge than opting a private one. The MTR & BTS services are efficient and cheap ways to travel in Thailand. If you are travelling by a private taxis or Tuk Tuk, and the drivers are not giving you a ride by the meter, negotiate a price with them before you start your journey and fix the price to avoid any hassles after the trip is complete. For your cell phone, opt for local SIM cards sold in Thailand airports to get cheaper and local tariff for your calls.
How should you keep yourself safe?
- Make sure you carry a copy of your important travel documents with you all the time while you are out sightseeing in Thailand. Ensure that you keep your original documents safely in the hotel. Roaming around with your original passport is not a good idea.
- Ignore any request from strangers for a sightseeing tour or any travel service as these turn out to be scams. There are also chances of getting mugged with such services.
- You can shop anywhere in Thailand for apparels and souvenirs. But if you are planning to buy electronics, jewelry or any other expensive product, please do make the purchase in a reputed store or in a shopping mall where you will be provided with a receipt for your purchases. Shopping for these goods on the street has the risk of getting duped with fake products.
- Always carry enough cash in Thai Baht for emergencies and for street shopping as credit cards are not accepted by street vendors.
- For solo travellers, never go to an isolated beach or other lonely places as there are high chances for such travellers to become a target of getting mugged.
- Whenever you book any private transport service in Thailand, make sure to note down the vehicle number and driver ID. Being vigilant on a holiday will always favour you.
- Thailand’s electrifying nightlife attracts lots of travellers. While it is a great opportunity to let yourself loose and mingle with new people, some safety measures should be kept in mind such as not getting heavily drunk, avoiding lonely, poorly-lit areas, not to leave your drinks unattended to name a few. Always trust your instincts while having a late night enjoyment in Thailand.
What to expect regarding food and accommodation?
Thailand has a myriad of accommodation options that cater to all types of travellers. If you are looking forward to a luxury vacation, you get an amazing array of world-class hotels ready to pamper you with their luxury services. But if you are looking for budgeted options, you can opt for budget hotels, hostels, and vacation homes. Local food restaurants are often cheaper than fine dining restaurants. If you are visiting a street market and looking forward to sampling some local Thai dishes, be sure to ask the vendor what exactly you are eating. Thailand food stalls have some weird local dishes which might not suit your taste buds. If you prefer vegetarian cuisine, inform the restaurant before placing the order. If it is your first time in Thailand, it is better to stick with known Thai cuisines of Pad Thai and Thai chicken curries.
What should you know about etiquettes in Thailand?
- Thailand is known for its culture and heritage, and locals are very serious about these aspects. So while you are in Thailand, you should respect their ways of lifestyle and cultural values to avoid any offense to them. Thai locals respect and dearly love their king and the royal family. If you are conversing about the royals, do speak respectfully and don’t talk critically about them.
- A simple gesture of holding hands in prayer position and bowing known as Wai can do wonders in making locals friendly towards you. Greet locals with Wai and a smile or use the same in case you want to apologize for something. While interacting with locals, do try to avoid conflicts or resolve them with a raised voice. Also, Thai locals find it rude when someone points or beckons. A person’s head is considered as the most sacred part of the body in Thailand. So never touch anyone’s head, even a little gesture as touching the hair can cause offense.
- While visiting a sacred place, temple or anyone’s home, remove your shoes before entering. Dress appropriately while visiting temples and royal buildings. Carry a shawl to cover your head when needed and wear long-sleeved dresses. Avoid wearing shorts and miniskirts at such places. You can be denied entry to temples and royal palaces if you are not properly dressed.
- If you are going to interact with monks, avoid touching them and speak in a polite tone.
What else should you know for a hassle-free Thailand trip?
- If you are keen to have a paradisiacal Thai beach vacation, then you won’t find the same in usual beaches of Koh Samui, Phi Phi Islands and Phuket as these destinations are the most usually visited beaches in Thailand. Head to lesser known beaches of Koh Lanta, Koh Phangan, Koh Lipe and Similan islands which are still unhindered by the tourists and gives you an idyllic slice of sun, sea and sand experience.
- A beginner’s guide in the Thai language will benefit you. Learn few phrases in Thai so that you can get through basic conversations with locals and also easily bargain while street shopping.
- Keep in check when Thailand has its national holidays and festivals. During these periods, Thai destinations can get very crowded as locals join in celebration and festivities. Knowing about the Thai festivals in advance can help you in planning your holiday in such a way that you can avoid crowded spots of interests.
- Tourists to Thailand should be prepared to shell out more for attraction tickets and entrance fees than the locals. Museums, Temples and many points of tourist interests charge a different price for Thai nationals and tourists. Tourists are charged more than the Thai locals.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do… This phrase fits quite perfectly for globetrotters visiting Thailand which is deeply rooted in its ethnic cultures and traditional values. Following few of these tips will guarantee you a memorable and safe Thailand vacation.