Thailand is a long-haul, exotic holiday destination and a lot of folks prepare for the event, acting like they are on their way to visit an alien world. Chill! Don’t worry! There really is no need to overdo your preparation plans. ATMS, mini marts, shopping malls, pharmacies, taxis and English speakers are everywhere. Other than getting a few vaccinations a month before and wearing mosquito spray just before dusk each evening you are there – there really isn’t anything you need to do other than book your flight and pack your bag. You don’t even need a visa (for up to a month’s stay). Here are some essential travelling tips for Thailand.
Consider Emirates or Thai Airways for your flight
If you are flying in from Europe, the two best flight options are Emirates or Thai Airways. Emirates is very comfortable, and you get a nice 2-hour or 3-hour stop in Dubai to stretch your legs. Thai Airways is also a great choice because you can fly directly from Europe to Bangkok in around 11 hours. The food and service is delicious. The seats are not as spacious as Emirates, but the bar is much better. Qatar Airways to Phuket is also good.
Once you arrive in Bangkok, we have an excellent blog for you about how to get into and around the city of Bangkok or transfer to the domestic airport. Thai Airways domestic flights leave from the main airport, which is another reason to consider this carrier, as you don’t have to change airports in Bangkok for domestic travel.
Be prepared for the hot weather
Thailand has a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 23 – 38 degrees depending on which month you visit in. Not only is the sun very hot, but it is also extremely humid throughout the day and night. I would avoid travelling during the hottest month of April unless you really want to sweat it.
The best time of year to visit would be from November to February as the temperatures drop slightly and the air isn’t as humid. June to October is rainy season, but don’t be put off. It doesn’t rain all the time and you can get great deals during this time. Whether you love being outdoors or not, wear sun cream to protect your skin and stay hydrated with plenty of water.
Learn basic Thai phrases, especially thank you
Knowing a few Thai words is not necessary in tourist areas because in these areas most Thais know basic or advanced English. However, you always get a nice big smile for trying! Try sawat dee kha/krap (hello), chan mai khao jai (I don’t understand), kau thot kha/khap (excuse me/I’m sorry), and khap khun kha/krap (thank you).
You can also try the ‘Wai’ which is a great way to begin or end a conversation especially someone who is old. Bring your hands into prayer position with the tips of your fingers at the level of the tip of your nose, then bow your head. It’s a very polite and respectful way to say hello and goodbye and fun to try.
Play by the rules
Like every other country, Thailand has its own rules, customs, and culture. The majority of Thai people are Buddhists so when you visit temples, make sure you dress appropriately by covering your shoulders and knees and taking off your shoes before you enter because they are always working temples (sometimes with monks living there) and so you should treat the whole area with respect.
Try cover up a little when you leave the beach or pool area, especially in the south of Thailand, because the islands can be up to 80% Muslim. The same goes for public displays of affection. it is polite to keep it to hand-holding, as although a Thai would not say anything, full on passionate kissing in public is not the done thing.
It is best not to raise your voice if you are exasperated or angry, as this comes across really badly – even worse than in your home country. There is very little chance that you would get angry in this happy country, but if things are not going well, take a deep breath and smile through resolving the problem, speak slowly and explain the issue in a different way as it may be a language barrier problem.
Thailand has many options when it comes to shopping, but not all of them are appropriate for bartering. If you are in a market, then go ahead, but in a regular shop, the ticket price is what you should pay. There are lots outdoor markets which sell clothes, souvenirs, handmade goods, food and other various items. Often, at these markets, you can bargain with the sellers so don’t always take the first price that you’re offered. If you walk away and you are not called back, then the seller was not willing to go as low as you wanted. Be respectful and refuse politely if you’re not happy with the price that you’re offered.
One thing which is great about Thailand is that there are always sales at the shopping malls, so if you prefer shopping in an air-con mall environment then Siam Paragon, MBK or Central World are great places in Bangkok to take advantage of the sales.
Romancing a Thai Person
If you are in a tourist area and get approached romantically by a massage worker, bar staff, or tour guides, take good care. There are some Thais who top up their income by having many holiday romances and deploy tried and tested methods to make money from you. Even a few hundred dollars will go a long way especially if the day after you leave, the ‘romance’ starts all over again with someone new. If you want to have a holiday romance, just keep your eyes open and your wits about you.
It might well be that the handsome Thai man has fallen hopelessly in love with you, but it’s best to take it slowly, or just enjoy the experience as fun. If you feel that the man or woman is getting possessive my advice would be to back off immediately – just as you would in your own country.
That’s it for a quick hit on essential tips for Thailand. If you have any questions, you can contact us using the contact form on this site – have a great holiday in Thailand!