Thailand Tips

Just a list of hints and tips we picked up while travelling in Thailand:
First of all:
  • Do not be afraid of street food, it is the best food! Seriously, it’s better than most restaurants and bonus: it’s cheaper.

  • Bring a padlock; most hostels provide lockers but no way to lock them.

  • If going on an elephant trek, make sure it is an ethical one which doesn’t use bullhooks or make them carry you on the seats.

  • Thai people are lovely but we found that they are quite intrigued by pale, tall foreign girls. They might just give you compliments or even ask to take pictures with you …a group of soldiers actually asked to take a picture with us on the Kwai bridge! Just be polite about it and pose if you want, or not if you don’t.

  • In general, I'd suggest carrying hand sanitiser. Also, beware: the toilets are not always western, and are sometimes a squat. 
Language:

  • These are the two phrases you will come across constantly:
                    Hello:     Sawadee ka/kap*           Thank you: Kop koon ka/kap*
*(‘ka’ if you are female, ‘kap’ if male)
I just wrote them phonetically but listen out for how people say it.
Also, if someone bows to you with their hands together, try to do the same in return.

Pronunciation:
  • ‘Ph’ not pronounced ‘f’, but ‘p’.          For example: Koh Phi Phi – pronounced pee pee. (Yes, hilarious, I know. You’ll get over it.)

Clothing:
  • Thai people are very polite and helpful. They are also quite conservative, so don’t parade around naked and keep bikinis for the beach and pool-side.
  • Take off your shoes when going inside temples, accommodation and some shops.
  • Dress conservatively for any temples – ie, covered knees and shoulders – or they won’t let you in.
  • You quickly realise the amazing comfort of the patterned Thai trousers you find on every street for a few pounds. They’re great for travel days, pjs, or covering knees for temples.
  • Dress for the season. We were travelling during the wet season, however, it was still very sunny and humid. I packed plenty of sun cream (factor 50+ please!) as well as the endlessly attractive kag-in-a-bag.
  • Shoes: we pretty much lived in flip flops, but sometimes you’ll need something more substantial too for travelling in or trekking or just long days on your feet. Don’t bring your fave new trainers (Lizzie!) but do keep an eye out for bargain prices on fake Nikes on the street (mine were about £20 and are still going strong).

Getting around:

  • Tuk tuks will give you a flat rate for your destination before you get in, haggle it down if you can. 
  • When taking taxi cabs, make sure the meter is running. However, sometimes they won’t use a meter (for instance, at night in Bangkok, or on the islands) and will just give a flat rate which you can try and haggle. On the islands, it was more expensive. They also use larger tuktuks, (more like trucktrucks!!…sorry.) so try and get a few of you in the back to spread the cost.
  • We bought a few internal flights to save time. However, the trains and buses are really good value for money, and comfy. More than likely, you’ll be able to book most routes through your hostel. (check out seat61.com for more info)
  • In terms of island hopping, we took SeaTran ferries. It takes slightly longer than the catamarans but costs slightly less. Depending on the island route, it took 40mins to an hour and cost between 400-600 baht as far as I remember (which is around £8-12). Sit inside in air con, or out on the deck in the sun.
Accommodation:
  • A lot of hostels ask for passport details or even for the passport itself.
  • If you’re arriving or leaving accommodation at awkward times, tell your hostel before.
  • Wifi is very readily available all over the country – hostels are pretty well connected and usually have their own computers. There is never an internet café too far away either.
  • You get more for your money in Asia than in Europe – but some places can still be very basic. The islands and Bangkok were generally more expensive. Chiang Mai was by far the cheapest place we stayed.

Before you travel:
  • Take copies of all important documents and email them to yourself (and maybe to a family member at home. This was my worried mum’s idea but it does make sense in case of emergency ).
  • Make sure you’ve had any vaccinations you need. In the UK, the NHS provides most of the injections you need. Non-essential, but recommended injections which aren’t on the NHS include Japanese Encephalitis (about £150), Rabies (about £120) and anti-malarials. I didn’t get any of the non-essential meds but took the anti-malarial Doxycycline when travelling through Cambodia – make sure to take this with food or you can get an upset stomach.
  • Bring insect repellent – thankfully, I wasn’t bitten much but in case you are bring some hydrocortisone cream.


Do you have any other tips and advice for travelling in Thailand?

frithington

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