Thailand has become easily one of the most loved destinations on the planet. It’s a country filled with tropical beauty, fiery delights, and wonderful people. There is much to discover in this southeast Asian country, but having a real awareness of the culture, weather, and other relevant travel tips is an important bank of knowledge to have before you travel. Follow these essential tips and tricks and you’ll be guaranteed to have a good time in Thailand.
Whether you’re interested in relaxing on the beach all day or backpacking through it’s caves and jungles, this list will help get you thinking about what to expect, what to do, and what to prepare for.
Food Prices and Spices
Extremely affordable, spicy hot, and a delectable fruit that smells like a dumpster.
You don’t need a deep pocket to spend money on good food in this country. Grab a meal from a street cart and you’re only shedding a dollar or two. Although you could grocery shop in Thailand while you’re there, the cuisine is so cheap that it’s hardly worth it.
If you have a spicy palette, you’ll feel right at home in Thailand. Though you can find non-spicy food made especially for the tourists, the real delights can be found in the authentic spicy hot meals that the locals love to enjoy. Whatever city you’re in, be sure to ask the natives where to get a real Thai food experience.
You’ll find plenty of fruit to snack on in Thailand, including one especially stinky but popular fruit. It’s called a durian fruit and it’s so smelly that bringing it on a public bus is actually illegal. Bad smells aside, it’s actually really tasty and used to release anxiety in the body temporarily. Like caffeine, it has properties in it that stimulate and create a kind of mind-body high. Worth trying if you can get over the smell!
Prepare for the Weather
From November to March, Thailand is typically at it’s finest. It’s not too hot or sticky. In the northern part of the country, it’s actually cool. You’ll need a sweater and jeans to be comfortable during those months. This is also when Thailand is most packed with tourists. Especially around the Western holidays (Christmas and New Years).
Rainy season comes along from July to October. It isn’t constantly raining, but when it rains it pours. September and October are especially filled with rain. The downpours of rain typically happen at night or late afternoon and may only last an hour or so depending on what part of the country you’re in. It’s still hot and humid during this time. Don’t bother with a rain jacket as you’ll be uncomfortably sweaty. Bring a small umbrella with you to protect from the rain or find a bungalow to hide in as it passes. If some episodes of heavy rain doesn’t bother you, it can be worth visiting during this time. The country is much less populated and prices on hotel rooms drop.
Getting Around on Transit
The bus system in Thailand, called Baw Khaw Saw or sometimes BKS, is an affordable and easy way to travel on the main land. It’s fairly reliable, government-run, and can be found in every major town. You’ll be able to purchase these tickets online or in person. A 3-hour bus ride will likely only cost you 5 dollars. For longer trips, expect the bus to make a few stops for food and smoke breaks. They also have toilets on board and seats that recline. If you wanted to save some money, you could take the night bus and try to get some shut eye as you are brought to your next destination.
Some Street Smarts
No matter how hard you try to blend in, you will always stick out as a tourist in Thailand. It’s good to be aware of some of the scams you might be susceptible to on the streets. As a whole, Thailand is a wonderful country filled with welcoming and funny individuals. However, every country has some people just out to make a buck. There are a few more popular tricks that someone may try to pull over on you:
Anytime someone comes up to you unprompted and starts giving you advice–no matter how friendly they sound–be skeptical. Many times that this happens it will turn into a situation where they demand a tip from you for offering their helpful information. If you don’t give in, you don’t have to experience this awkward encounter. It may feel weird at first to brush them away, but it’s not something you want to fall for.
Politely ignore anyone on the street trying to tell you that a temple is closed because it’s a national holiday. It’s not true. And it’s most likely them trying to redirect you to their store to buy things.
Don’t fall for shady tours. These so-called ‘tours’ may appear official because someone is wearing a bus driver uniform, but any tour advertising quick sales and all that talk is good to be way of. The tours are commissioned by various shops around town that bring tourists straight to them and bypass all the actually interesting attractions of the city.
Finally, don’t fall for those taxi drivers selling you a flat rate fee for your ride.
Only ride in taxis offering a minute rate. Otherwise, you may end up paying four times as much for a ride across town.
About the Author
Ella, Content Manager for trekbible, is a writer and content specialist with a predilection for learning and exploring new places and cultures around the world. With family scattered throughout the U.S. and South Korea, she loves to see cross-cultural influences around the world. Her favorite thing to do on her travels is to taste the local cuisine of each destination.