Thailand is a truly incredible country – a place almost every traveller falls in love with. With its incredible beauty and wonderful people, it is easy to see why. The beaches on the islands of the Andaman Sea are among the most beautiful anywhere in the world and the buzz of the cities and towns, allied with a rich culture make this a destination that has something for everyone.
But before you set off for the kingdom, here are a few handy tips that are worth paying attention to.
Respect the culture in Thailand
Thailand is a country where, at times and in the right places, almost anything goes. And yet if you disrespect the royal family or behave badly at sites of religious or historical importance you can quickly find yourself in the hands of the Thai police and that is not a place that anyone wants to be.
So, if you are travelling to Thailand please respect the culture. If you are trying to negotiate with someone try not to raise your voice, it will not be seen as a sign of authority but as behaviour that is disrespectful and rude, and you will lose any bargaining position you had. Show kindness to local people and they will reflect it back to you.
It is a country where people smile at you and you should try and smile back – it goes a long way when you need help of any kind.
Do not touch a Thai person on the head. The head is seen as the most holy place on the body and the feet are the least holy so behave accordingly and you should be fine.
And finally, if you do get into a taxi or a tuk-tuk respect any images of the royal family or Buddha, if you don’t you will be thrown out pretty quickly.
Be on your guard for scams
In the more lively parts of Thailand, such as the Khao San Road in Bangkok, and Patong in Phuket, it can feel like everyone is trying to pull a scam of one kind or another. Most Thai people have no ill will towards you at all; in fact, they are glad you are in the country and spending more to support the economy.
But, as with anywhere, there are always some people who will try to rip you off. So, the basic rules are as follows – don’t trust random strangers who approach you in the street. The likelihood is they have targeted you for a reason. Always agree a price before getting in a tuk-tuk and when you get into a taxi make sure the meter is being used before you set off.
Keep your belongings close to you at all times, and don’t leave your passport in hostels or dorm rooms if you want it to be there when you get back. Keep your money and key documents around your neck in a zipped pouch if you can.
It is also worth remembering that travel insurance is mandatory in Thailand so you will have to book it before you leave and should be covered if you are a victim of a scam.
Learn some Thai words
Learning even a few Thai words can make a huge difference when you’re on the road. Most people won’t, quite frankly, and so if you make the effort you will stand out as someone who is respecting Thailand and the people there. It is worth it, we promise.
So, start with two very simple ones and build on that foundation as you travel around. The first word to learn is thank you, of course. “Khop Khun”. And the second is “Sawatdii”, which means hello. It really is that simple. You will find that by learning a few more Thai phrases you will increase the chances of goodwill coming your way.
Eat on the street
In Thailand the street markets are a fantastic way to eat high-quality food for incredibly cheap prices. You will find them all over the country and they are definitely worth trusting because the food is so fresh.
Of course, you will need to take precautions to avoid tummy bugs. So, make sure you wash your hands before and after eating, don’t drink the tap water, and you should be just fine. Enjoy.