Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations and gets visited by people all around the year. Also known as ‘the land of smiles’, it is famous for its party life, spas, Buddhist temples, beaches, and shopping.
If planned efficiently in advance, a trip to Thailand can be on the cheaper side of the budget spectrum when compared to other European and American countries. It binds any trip that is well thought out in advance to have its benefit to cost and touring.
Sometimes, we do not bother doing much research on the place we plan to visit, and this where all the difference lies. This research determines whether we will have a cheerful trip or a lousy one packed with regrets.
Here are the fifteen most crucial things you need to be aware of before you plan a trip to Thailand:
1. Use public transportation
Although you will see many tourists using taxis and tuk-tuks, try using public transport to save money. Many tourists avoid local transportation as they feel intimidated, but in reality, they are well-maintained and easy to use.
The BTS (Subway) and MRT (Light Rail) are the most common public transportation systems available in Thailand. They are cheap, fast, and convenient. You do not have to worry much about the language barrier as they have a token system easy to use. Maps for the subway and light rail routes are simple to decipher. To save extra money, get a day pass to travel.
2. Best time to visit
The best time to visit Thailand is during winter and spring, i.e. from November to April. Also, as different parts of the country have different weather conditions, plan accordingly.
3. Never insult the royals
Thailand treats their royal family with the utmost respect, and they take seriously anything against the king. Refrain from talking anything rude as you can even be jailed for insulting the monarch.
In Thailand, they consider anything against the King an insult against the national religion and patrimony. Therefore, it is a punishable offense under the law. Also, remember to rise for the Royal anthem whenever you hear it play.
4. Everything is up for a bargain
The prices of the items in markets can be bargained for. The best way to haggle is to let the shopkeeper quote the price first. Then try lowering it down by a minimum of 20%. One of the best markets to bargain is the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok.
5. Cover up while visiting temples
You need to cover your shoulders and knees while visiting monasteries or temples as not covering them is considered rude by the Thai. It’s better that you carry a scarf or a sarong with you at all times as it is easy to carry and can easily cover your shoulders or legs.
6. Say no to elephant rides
When planning your trip to Thailand, you might have had this picture in mind where you are traveling on top of an elephant in green surroundings. It is time to pop that dream off as elephant rides have become a major cause for concern and debates in Thailand.
The money spent by tourists for the ride creates the demand along with giving hay for their capturing. Therefore, to have ethical travel experience, try not to promote such practices as they are harmful to wildlife. If you want to see an elephant, you can visit wildlife sanctuaries that rescue many such elephants that are abused and held in captivity.
7. No lines or queues
Thai people dislike forming a queue or a line. It’s a lively country where people like to gather around, instead of standing in lines. It is another one of the Thai quirks which you might find astonishing.
8. Bring your tissue paper
You will not find tissue papers in most of the washrooms in Thailand. Also, the toilets are not so clean in Thailand. So this can be a problem if you do not prefer their method of cleaning. Buying tissue paper of your own, as it will come in handy whenever you want to use the washroom.
9. Beware of taxi drivers
Though the Thais are very nice and caring, some of them might try to rip you off. Many times, the taxi driver will suggest another place to visit if your said place is closed. But most of the time, the taxi driver is suggesting this place to get a commission for bringing you there.
The best way to tackle this situation would be to just deny the offer politely. Price scam is another thing you need to be wary of. Research online on the prices for transportation and entry tickets before coming to Thailand. This will give you a rough idea of it so that you do not get scammed by locals.
10. Beware of street dogs
You will find many street dogs roaming openly in Thailand. Sometimes these street dogs can create a nuisance. So be careful while walking on the streets. If you dislike dogs, then this is something that you should consider before visiting Thailand and be mentally prepared beforehand.
11. Use bottled water
Thailand does not have clean tap water like American and European countries. You can not randomly drink tap water when you are thirsty. Buy bottled water for drinking as it is a safe and hygienic option.
12. Be careful of scams while shopping
Sometimes tourists also face scams while shopping in markets. You might have selected a product and paid for it, but the shopkeeper might replace it with a similar but cheaper quality product while packing. To avoid this, stay alert and keep a watch on such things while shopping.
13. Try 5-star hotels in Thailand
You read it right. Staying in a 5-star hotel can be workable if you take on the right deals. Many 5-star hotels in Thailand are cheaper than hotels in other foreign countries.
If you have always wondered what it will be like to stay in a luxury hotel, then this is the time. Look for good deals online. Chances are you might get an infinity pool in your room for a cheap price.
14. Massages everywhere
Thailand is famous for its massages and spas. But it isn’t a joke when they say massages are available everywhere. You will find people getting massages even on the side of the streets in open. Every street has at least one massaging place, which is amazing if you want to relax after a long day of touring.
15. Do not touch anyone’s head
The Thai consider it rude to touch anyone’s head as they consider the head to be the most important part of the body. You should also refrain from touching the head of a Buddha status as they consider it disrespectful.
These are the most crucial things one should keep in mind while visiting Thailand. Other than this, you have nothing to worry about as the Thai are easy-going, nice, and helpful people. One should try adopting some of their life mantras to have a less stressful life.