With lush jungles, pristine islands, stunning beaches, colorful culture, amazing cuisine and cheap cost of living, it’s not a surprise why Thailand remains one of the most visited destinations in Asia Pacific. The country is a favorite for many honeymooners, backpackers, and tourists from all over the globe.
If you’re planning to visit, here are a few tips to ensure you’ll have an enjoyable and smooth-sailing trip to Thailand.
Before booking your flight, research and learn more about the Kingdom’s entry requirements on their Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months and proof that you have sufficient funds for your trip. Foreigners entering Thailand also need an onward or return ticket is it via air, sea or land travel. This serves as a guarantee that you will not be staying in the country later than the approved visa duration, which is usually 30 days. The country allows citizens from specific countries to enter without acquiring a visa as long as you’re staying for tourism purpose and not longer than 30 days.
Travellers who are arriving in Thailand must fill out Form No. 211 or Passenger Declaration Form and submit it to the Customs officer. Among the items that are prohibited are counterfeit goods, obscene publications, narcotics and protected wildlife. For a full list, visit the Thai customs website.
Baht is the official Thai currency. Take note that it is better to exchange your foreign currency in banks and authorized money changers. If you’re staying in major tourist spots, major credit cards are widely accepted.
Live like a local – One of the easiest ways to save money while travelling in a new place is to go local. Opting for the local transport and taking buses, train and songthaews (shared taxis) can save you a lot. Eating out in Western restaurants and buying foreign food comes at a great expense because of the import fees. The Thais love to eat and you will find awesome places to eat even late at night.
Buy alcohol in supermarket – A night out drinking can get expensive really quick. Your wallet will thank you if you choose to buy your beer at the local supermarket or convenience stores. It will cost you a third of what you pay in bars. If you want to have a nice time drinking outside, take advantage of the happy hour where you can enjoy discounts and 2 for 1 specials.
Learn how to haggle – Bargaining is part of the shopping experience in Thailand. Feel free to ask sellers for a reasonable discount especially in popular shopping areas such as Silom, Chatuchak Market, and Khao San Road. Take your time looking around to compare prices so you can get a good bargain. Buying more can also help get you a better deal.
Laundry – Your weekly laundry expenses can add up. All you need is a place to wash your clothes and a pack of detergent.
Accommodation – There is a long list of affordable accommodation in Thailand since it’s a popular destination for young travellers and backpackers. You can stay in guesthouses, hostels or book through Airbnb.
Avoid scams – Tourists are easy prey for scammers. Before travelling, read up on other people’s experience of getting robbed or scammed in the area you’re planning to travel. When taking a taxi, make sure that the driver runs the meter. Before saying yes to a service, agree on a price first.
Whether you’re staying in a new country for a week or a month, having insurance gives you that sense of security. Thailand is an amazing place for new adventures and it’s hard to enjoy those if you are not covered by an insurance that matches your requirements.
Only drink bottled or sterilized water. If you’re buying bottled water, you’ll save more by getting the bigger bottles. If you have a sensitive stomach or if you have allergies, you may want to avoid sidewalk eateries. Although the food is affordable, tasty and tempting, there is no assurance of the hygienic standard of food preparation. A service charge is usually already reflected in the bill. Tipping servers is not required but always appreciated.
Knowing a thing or two about the customs of the country you’re visiting always helps.
• Take note that the kingdom is a largely Buddhist country and images of Buddha are held sacred. Any sacrilegious act is punishable by law and it does not exempt foreign tourists.
• The Thais revere the Royal Family. Any display of disrespect such as hurling insults or threats towards the monarchy is an offence.
• When entering the temple or a local’s home, you are expected to remove your shoes.
• As we’re sure, you pack clothes based on your itinerary and activities while travelling. If you plan on visiting the many exquisite temples in Thailand, make sure to have modest clothing. You cannot enter the premises if you are wearing shorts, mini skirts or any other revealing garb.
• Treat monks with utmost respect wherever and whenever you encounter them.
We hope these tips will help you have a better experience in Thailand. If you are keen on visiting, working with a travel consultant can be helpful especially in getting good deals from suppliers. Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] or calling +44 (0) 7484 703 647 for booking and enquiries.
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Charles is a world traveler having lived in 44 states and 11 countries and traveled to dozens more. He and his wife spend time between London, Ireland, Canada, and the Philippines.