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Thailand doesn’t need an introduction! It is one of the most visited destinations in Asia and often also the starting point of Asian travels. When you think of Thailand the first thing that comes to mind is the delicious Thai curry and then the white sandy beaches, turquoise blue lagoons, lush forests, stunning ancient temples and the buzzing cities of Bangkok and Chang Mai! There’s so much to see and experience in Thailand, be it lounging on the pristine beaches on one of the many beautiful Thai Islands or trekking through lush jungles or simply getting a relaxing Thai massage. Thailand has a lot to offer to travelers irrespective of their budget, but just like any other country it’ll be best if you know a few tricks and tips of the land to ensure a smooth vacation! So here are 15 tips for your first trip to Thailand

View of tuk-tuks in Bangkok’s Chinatown
Photo by Florian Wehde / Unsplash

1.     Do you need a Visa?

The amazing feeling from traveling, to be lost and to discover.
Photo by Agus Dietrich / Unsplash

Passport holders from many countries do not need a Visa to enter Thailand! So do look it up beforehand. Everyone else who needs a Visa can apply for a Thailand eVisa which is a speedy alternative to the cumbersome application processto be followed to obtain a Visa through the embassy!

2.     Keep cash in handy!

Please tag me @belart84 if you use this photo in Instagram, or post a link to my page unsplash.com/@belart84 if you use it anywhere  else 🙏🏻
Photo by Artem Beliaikin / Unsplash

We highly recommend all travellers to keep the local currency with you while you travel anywhere in Thailand. Many small local shops and stalls in markets do not accept cards and some prefer only cash! ATMs are widely available,however do make sure to carry some change with you at all times.  While withdrawing from an ATM, it is advisable to withdraw odd amounts to get smaller change. Also, keep the currency notes properly as Thai people are very particular about it!

3.     Call the weather man!

Last year we came for a short vacation in a city where these umbrella’shung above the streets in the center. It was a moving and colorful experience.
Photo by Wim van 't Einde / Unsplash

Thailand’s weather can get unpredictable at times, so do check the weather for the day before you leave especially if you have a day planned with activities such as island hopping or scuba diving which requires good weather conditions!

4.     Best time to travel?

Yaowarat
Photo by Kelvin Yup / Unsplash

Now this depends on your budget and your preferences! The country’s monsoon season starts from May and ends in October. Because it is the monsoon season, flights and hotel are available at lower than usual rates and the country wouldn’t be thronged by tourists anywhere you go! The rainfall usually lasts only a few hours so you could actually consider taking a trip in the monsoon season as well!

The summer season, which is also the high season starts in November & goes upto April. The flight rates and hotel prices shoot up drastically during the dry months and Thailand receives as high as 38 million tourists during this period!

January and February are the ideal months to visit Thailand since there is less rainfall during this time and the humidity is also low, which makes the trip all the more enjoyable.

5.     Tap water is a no-no

Photo by Mael BALLAND / Unsplash

Unlike in many other countries, it is not safe to drink the tap water in Thailand. Instead carry refillable bottles with you and fill it from your hotels or from water dispensers in the street by paying only a couple of Bahts for it!

6.     Get an international driver’s license!

Hand on steering wheel
Photo by why kei / Unsplash

Thailand has a number of beautiful paradise islands which are mostly explored on foot or on scooters! Do not forget to get an international driver’s license from your home country so that you can experience the joy of exploring the island on a scooter!

7.     Avoid riding Elephants and taking selfies with tigers!

Photo by topcools tee / Unsplash

Elephants are beautiful animals and they deserve to be treated right. Please do not ride on them as there have been many reports on how cruelly these animals are treated! Luckily, there are elephant sanctuaries in the north of Thailand that are rescuing these animals from the tourist camps and giving them a chance to lead a natural life. Do your research and visit a reputable sanctuary instead.You can go home knowing that your money has contributed to the conservation and well-being of these creatures and not towards an industry that physically and mentally torments them.

Similarly, in some temples you would find tigers with their trainers where you could pose for a picture with the tiger. These animals are neglected and mistreated so do not contribute to this atrocious act!

8. Follow the temple dress code!

Stairs leading up to the Big Golden Buddha.
Photo by Kit Suman / Unsplash

Thailand is a land of beautiful and stunning temples. Do keep in mind that you must cover your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect plus it is also the dress code for entry. Do carry a sarong or a stole with you in your bag incase you come across a temple you want to visit that wasn’t initially on your day’s itinerary! Also, please do be mindful to take off your footwear before entering a sacred place. Many temples offer facilities for storing your footwear while you visit the temple.

9. Bargaining is key.

Fruit vendor
Photo by Zoe Chen / Unsplash

Brush up on your negotiation skills to make the most of your buck! If you want to save money during your trip bring your “A” game for negotiating. In Thailand markets haggling over prices with sellers is part of the buying process. Don’t simply pay the first price given to you. Give a counter offer and bargain until you both arrive at an agreeable price.Negotiating for prices is not only done in the markets around Thailand.  You can negotiate transport fares with tuk-tuk or taxi drivers, accommodation rates or even tour prices. Don’t forget your smile when you negotiate!

10.Learn a bit of Thai!

Chinatown in Thailand
Photo by Frame Harirak / Unsplash

English is widely spoken in most of the tourist destinations in Thailand. However when it comes to communicating with locals such as tuk-tuk or taxi drivers, it would be very helpful to you and them if you learnt a few phrases in Thai such as how to ask for directions, how to ask the price of something, the correct forms of excuse me, please and thank you, and perhaps even how to say you have an allergy to certain foods or medications in case of an emergency! Also, it would perhaps be wise to ask your hotel receptionist to write down in Thai the address of places that you’ve planned to visit.

11.Avoid talking about the Royal Family.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz / Unsplash

The Thai Royal family is highly respected in the country as they played a huge role in maintaining unity and peaceful conditionsamongst the people during tough times. Because of this, any negative talk about the monarchy is prohibited. If you’re caught criticizing the monarchy, you could face some serious jail time in a Thai prison.

12.Stay alert!

Photo by Dan Freeman / Unsplash

Unfortunately, many tourists have been scammed into buying tickets of tours that don’t exist, fake jewelry, etc. Since the locals are so friendly, it is fairly easy to get conned! So if someone tries to talk you into a deal that sounds too good to be true or even a little shady, do walk away. Be particularly careful of tuk-tuk drivers who have a reputation of scamming tourists.

Also, do avoid going to isolated beaches. We know the idea of being on beaches that are almost isolated and simply enjoying the beauty around is what many of us need. But, sometimes it could be unsafe as there are chances of getting mugged. So be alert and try to avoid super uncrowded beaches.

13. Do try out the street food

Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

Thai street food is something that you must most definitely not miss out on! Not only are they super affordable, but also are super delicious! Your trip to Thailand would surely be incomplete without tasting the street food.

14.What do the Thai people consider disrespectful?

Photo by Evan Krause / Unsplash

The Thai people consider heads to be the most sacred part of the body and feet to be the least scared. Therefore, touching somebody’s head for whatever reason would be considered to be disrespectful. Also, do not point towards anything using your foot, especially in Thai street markets. Furthermore, when you’re interacting with people or paying money, do it using your right hand as left hand is what Thai people use in the bathroom!

15. Parties!

Photo by Alexander Popov / Unsplash

Thailand is known for its wild parties- Full moon parties, beach parties, jungle parties, half moon parties and what not! Many of them take place along the beachside of KohPhangan. Some of these parties are attended by near about 40,000 people from all around the world! It can be a lot of fun and will give you memories for a lifetime, but beware of pick pockets, cheap drinks and broken glass! Do wear comfortable clothing, footwear and be very careful of your belongings! Also, book your accommodation on the island beforehand as last minute accommodations will most likely not be available, especially for the full moon party in KohPhangan.

คุณหยอยถ่ายเพื่อนๆ 
และฉันถ่ายคุณหยอย
Photo by Pim Chu / Unsplash

Bonus tipFor amazing pictures of your travel in the beautiful country of Thailand, give your selfie stick a break and book your travel and vacation photographers from Travographer. Our photographers are the best at what they do and are locals; hence they’ll know all there is to know about the best locations for an incredible photo shoot! So go on and hire one of our photographers to follow you around as you create beautiful memories in Thailand!