Thailand is a super easy country to travel in. Which is why it is so popular among backpackers and other travelers. There can be a few things to remember while traveling in Thailand, which will only make your trip that much better. I’ve put together a list of my top Thailand travel tips, and hope that they help you have an awesome holiday in Thailand.
1. Eat the street food, it really is much better than the restaurant food. Scout the area out for the food market and go get your food there. Some places around Thailand only have a night food market, although you’ll probably still find a few street vendors around during the day.
2. Don’t drink the tap water! We even used bottled water to brush our teeth. You can buy the Thai Government water brand from the most of the 7Eleven’s and Family Mart’s, it’s about half the price than other bought water.
3. Have a fruit smoothie. Every day. They are amazing, but make sure you get the ones made from real fruit, not just the syrup (although those are also pretty good).
4. Try their iced coffee, you can usually also get these from the same street vendors selling the smoothies. Otherwise, 7Eleven makes a pretty good iced coffee. In Thailand, it is just way too hot for normal coffee.
5. Visit the Temples, but realise that you may get bored of them after the first few. If spend a long time in Thailand, or South East Asia as a whole, the Temples eventually all start looking the same. So don’t overdo your Temple visits at the beginning of your trip.
6. While you are doing a Temple run though, make sure you’ve got a sarong in your bag (this is for girls). The Temples require girls to cover their legs and shoulders, so the easiest is to just keep two sarongs in your bag. Otherwise you can buy the famous Thailand elephant pants to cover up your legs.
7. Carry hand sanitizer, tissues/toilet paper, sunscreen and insect repellent with you at all times. These are definitely the Thailand essentials.
8. You aren’t required to have any vaccinations before going to Thailand, but getting the Typhoid shot isn’t a bad idea – main reason being the water situation in Thailand. Even though you’re not drinking the tap water, you don’t always know how the food is prepared. Then if you’re travelling along the north border (more north than Chiang Mai), it is a malaria area so you should look into taking Malaria pills.
9. Always try to bargain for a better price when you’re shopping in the markets. If you don’t get your price the first time, walk away and see if you can get it at the next stand (you’ll generally always find the same thing or something similar somewhere else). If you still don’t get your price, you may just be being ridiculous – try still be fair.
10. Kind of opposite tip from above, if you find something that you absolutely love and feel like you can’t live without – buy it! You might find the same thing again later at a cheaper price or you might just never find it again. If you’re in love with something, you’ll just regret not getting it the first time (I speak from experience on this).
11. If you’re backpacking for an extended trip, save your shopping sprees for the end. Especially if you’re finishing off in Bangkok, you’ll get things for much cheaper than around the islands.
12. Elephant pants are awesome. Yes, all of the tourists are wearing them. But it’s because they’re so comfy, and perfect for travelling in Thailand. Who cares if you look like everyone else.
13. Don’t hire a scooter in Bangkok – you have a death wish if you do. Rather hop into a Tuk Tuk or Taxi to get around Bangkok.
14. If you’re planning on hiring a scooter in other parts of Thailand, take a certified copy of your passport or a take your expired passport to use as a deposit. Many of the places won’t let you hire a scooter without taking your passport – and it’s pretty scary to hand it over to them.
15. Don’t over plan your trip. You’ll fall in love with some places, while others may not impress you too much. So best to keep your itinerary flexible to change if you wish.
16. Agoda.com is a great website to book all of your accommodation in Thailand. I’ve also heard that simply arriving at a hotel or hostel and requesting accommodation often ends up with you getting a better deal, but then you just never know how much missioning around you’re going to have to do – especially during the peak season.
17. Air-conditioning is so important! Seriously, rather fork up a little bit extra to get a room with air-conditioning. A fan just doesn’t quite cut it.
18. Keep cash on you. There are very few places that accept card, so you’ll be paying with cash a lot. There are usually quite a lot of ATM’s around.
19. Be weary of scams. They are around, especially in the tourist areas. We found a few scams involved with transport, it’s often hard to make sure you get the best price for bus/train/ferry tickets. If you’re taking a Tuk Tuk, always agree on the price beforehand, and if you’re taking a taxi make sure it’s using a meter (read more about transport in Thailand here).
20. Interact with the locals as much as you can. They really do live up to their name of The Kingdom of Smiles, they are the friendliest people.
21. Save the spirits, drink the local beer instead – it’s much cheaper (buy it at the 7Eleven and drink on the beach)! You can of course enjoy a bucket or two while on the islands – look out for happy hour!
22. Snorkel/scuba-dive as much as you can while on the islands. We found Koh Tao the best spot for this.
23. Learn a few basic Thai words:
- Hello – “Sawadee kup”(male)/”Sawadee ka” (female)
- Thank you – “Korp khun kup/ka”
24. If you need to choose between Phuket and Krabi – go to Krabi. While Phuket is beautiful, we found it so touristy and expensive. There’s some amazing beaches in Krabi – check out Railey Beach.
What are your top tips for travelling in Thailand?