Travel Tips for Thailand
Bring an open mind and a sense of humour. Don’t come with too many preconceived ideas about what Thailand is like, as media and friends’ experiences have a habit of distorting reality. Here are a few tips for Thailand to get your started, if you want more advice check out these useful Thailand tips from gapper Lucy Hayhurst too.
- If you’re sticking to major cities and tourist areas, don’t worry too much about under-packing; you can get hold of any essentials you’ve forgotten.
- Don’t drink tap water. Just don’t do it. A day in bed/the bathroom, versus a day kayaking through mangrove swamps with wild monkeys eating pineapple out of your hand? You decide.
- Keep a close eye on your possessions – a moneybelt is essential.
- If travelling in a tuk tuk, put your bag in between your legs, with an arm through the strap – people on motorbikes will try to drive up and grab your bag.
- Thailand has a lot of unimaginable poverty, and the temptation of a nice camera, a few hundred pounds and a state-of-the-art iPod to sell can be great.
- Do try authentic Thai cuisine! There’s a great restaurant on the Sukhumvit 11, off the Sukhumvit road, in Bangkok complete with rice served in banana leaves with garlands of flowers, tables where you sit cross legged, and eat really good food.
- Make an effort to learn a few words of Thai. The people are so friendly, and are delighted when you try to speak their language and don’t just act like a stereotypical tourist! Get your hostel or hotel to write down their address/instructions of how to get there in Thai. It will save you so much hassle when climbing into a taxi.
- Don’t be afraid to try any method of transport, but make sure you cling on tight! Thai driving is crazy! Driving the wrong way down a street, on the pavement and reversing down an expressway were just some of the experiences we ‘enjoyed’! Motorbike taxis, tuk tuks, normal taxis, and trucks where you sit on benches and hang off the back are all easy ways of travelling around. Have fun! Despite some negative publicity, Thailand has so much to offer backpackers.
- Be careful, don’t trust people too fully, but at the same time remember that most people are not out to hurt you! Thais are, on the whole, friendly, very funny and genuine people, so make the effort to get to know them and you’ll fall in love with Thailand too!
Visas for Thailand
Check with your embassy or consulate before you go, but generally…
Countries/territories that do not require a visa for stay up to 90 days: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and South Korea.
Countries/territories that do not require a visa for stay up to 30 days: (30 days when entering by air; by land border only 14 days)- Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
Countries/territories that do not require a visa for stay up to 14 days or others: Cambodia, Ukraine.
If you overstay your visa you’ll be fined 500 baht per day. It’s easy to avoid overstaying by doing a visa run to a neighbouring country overland or via a cheap flight.
Money in Thailand
The currency of Thailand is the baht (THB, ฿), written in Thai as บาทor บ. ATM s can be found in all cities and large towns, and international withdrawals are not a problem. More remote areas (including smaller islands) don’t have banks or ATMs, so cash or traveller’s checks are essential. The shopping in Thailand is cheap and plentiful – you’ll have a great time.
Languages in Thailand
The official language of Thailand is Thai ( ภาษาไทย), with different dialects being spoken across the country.
English is compulsory in most schools and widely spoken in the larger cities, although in rural areas a little Thai will come in handy.
Gapper Adam Lunn has written an awesome guide to Thailand – take a look to find out more.