Things to Know Before Traveling to Thailand: When preparing for an upcoming trip, it’s easy to get caught up in closing work responsibilities, buying travel necessities, compiling a packing list, and arranging responsibilities for your home, pets, kids, and more. The chaos of working until the last minute can be overwhelming, and it always seems like there’s one activity after another until you’re rushing to catch your flight.
If you don’t have time to read a Thailand travel book, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in a similar situation, exhausted and mentally drained after a long day of work or travel. Fortunately, this guide on 8 things to know before traveling to Thailand and Thailand Packing List can help you be more prepared for your trip.
Hello, and Thank You
For women: Hello is Sawasdee ka, and thank you is Khob khun ka
For men: Hello is Sawasdee krab, and thank you is Khob khun krab
Learning how to greet someone and say thank you is mission-critical in any country. It is a universal sign of respect to show you have made some effort to learn the native tongue (no matter how poor your pronunciation might seem). Thai people are very nice and more than happy to converse with you! Don’t be shy to ask someone how to properly pronounce a term if you are having trouble.
$300 usd or ~10,500 ฿ (baht) per Week
This is a solid range of cash to have for the average person traveling to Thailand on vacation. Note that this amount does not include accommodations or special activity excursions (such as a speed boat tour, scuba diving experience, etc.). The average traveler typically eats at mid-range restaurants and street food stalls and enjoys snacks, juices, coffees, and high-end dining establishments once or twice.
They usually rely on taxis, tuk-tuks, and public transportation and may opt for a few Thai massages. If you prefer to spend less, it’s possible to stick to street food and public transportation. If you prefer to spend less, it is highly attainable by sticking to street food and public transportation. It’s relatively easy to find ATMs and use credit cards in major cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai. If you feel that your cash is running low, consider paying for larger meals by using a credit card that does not have international fees.
Note: Traveling by tuk-tuk is a great way to explore the sights, smells, and feelings of the city with a group. Be sure to agree upon a price with the driver before heading off for the ride.
How much should a ride from Suvarnabhumi (BKK) airport cost?
Hailing a cab at a major international airport can make you look disheveled after a long flight, and as a taxi driver, it’s common to try and get some extra profit from travelers. It’s important to agree upon a price upfront and ask for the driver to use the meter to avoid being overcharged.
Paying toll fares out of pocket is also recommended. If the driver isn’t willing to negotiate, it’s always possible to find another taxi; the ride could be as cheap as 450 ฿ from the airport. Ask for the driver to use the meter. Tell them you’ll pay the toll fares, etc., out of pocket. If the person isn’t willing to negotiate, you can always find another taxi.
What kind of food should I absolutely try?
- Spicy cockle salad and other papaya salad variations
- Morning glory with crispy pork
- Fresh watermelon or passion fruit juice
- Mangosteens and longan fruits
- Mango sticky rice (with bonus points if you try durian)
How to flush an eastern-style toilet?
If you have any intention of traveling outside of the major city center or eating local street food, there is a good chance you will encounter an Eastern-style, or “squat” toilet. This rings true of many other places in South East Asia. For the ladies, this certainly takes some getting used to– as the name implies, you need to finagle your body into a squatting position.
Feels awkward but totally doable. In these situations, there is almost always a bucket of water nearby with a large cup or bowl in it. The proper way to flush the toilet is to scoop a large cupful of water into the toilet vessel, so the water pressure pushes your business down. Toilet paper is also fairly common in modern establishments, but be sure to bring some for the moments you might be off the beaten path.
How can I stay connected to the internet?
Beyond accessing WiFi in hotels and modern establishments, you can stay connected by supplying your own signal. We suggest renting a mobile hotspot device through SkyRoam or Tep Wireless before your trip. You can also buy a data sim card for your phone at any local 7-11 store or kiosks at the mall or airport. Be sure to run on airplane mode only to avoid roaming charges.
Tipping in Thailand is not customary, although it may be a gray area due to the increase in tourism. In certain areas, people (especially tourists) may tip larger amounts more frequently. You should expect to give a small tip of 30~50 ฿ for any help or services offered, such as massages, hotel porters, tour guides, and waiters.
When dining out, it is acceptable to round up the bill or leave roughly 10% for exceptional service. Make sure to give a tip directly to the person helping you, as it is unclear whether the restaurant manager splits tips with their employees. Taxi drivers negotiate their own rates and typically round up. You can tip extra if you have had a great experience, but this is not mandatory.
Cover your shoulders and knees at the wat
Undoubtedly, Thailand has an impressive collection of Buddhist temples (also known as wats). In fact, there are over 40,000 wats spread throughout the entire country. It is important to note that you must cover your knees and shoulders out of respect when visiting these sites. Major wats may have wraps that women can borrow to cover themselves; however, it’s best to BYOW (bring your own wrap) if possible.
Tuck a lightweight scarf or button-up shirt into your daily bag in case you serendipitously visit the temple. We recommend dressing for the day by having at least one region covered, so you only have to worry about one area. Maxi dresses and long skirts are great choices.
Thailand is an incredible country with exceptional street food, colorful events, and astonishing temples. We do not doubt that you’ll ease right into a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle as soon as you arrive. We encourage you to follow your curiosity– take a walk down the winding alley of street vendors, eat food where other Thai people eat (even if the sign is not in English), and ask questions to uncover stories from the people you meet along the way. We’d love to hear about your experience in Thailand, too! Do you find this country as captivating as we do?