12 Tips when traveling to Thailand
Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Between the white beaches, lush jungle, friendly people and great food: what’s not to love? If you are considering a visit to Thailand, there are a few things you should know. Like when is the best time to visit Thailand. To help you along with tips when traveling to Thailand, we have compiled a list of our top Thailand traveling tips.
1. Don’t drink the tap water
The first of our Thailand travel tips is that the tap water in Thailand is not drinking water. It is not always very clean and might contain bacteria your body isn’t used to. To avoid getting food poisoning (or something more serious), you should only drink filtered water when you travel to Thailand. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere, just make sure the top is sealed. Of course, this produces a lot of plastic waste so you could also invest in a good reusable water bottle with a filter.
2. Watch out for unethical animal attractions
Unfortunately, a lot of Thailand tourism involves unethical use of animals. Plenty of people are willing to exploit animals because tourists love them. Please don’t feed any animals, especially monkeys. And as cool as it would be to get a picture with or pet a tiger, you should know that they are heavily drugged and sedated. The biggest animal tourist attraction in Thailand are elephants. Some ethical elephant sanctuaries rescue abused animals but avoid anywhere that offers elephant rides or bathing. Riding is very bad for elephants; they are often beaten and hurt.
3. Don’t insult the king
The monarchy holds a very special position in Thailand. You will see shrines dedicated to the king in houses and shops. The king is both a cultural and spiritual leader and very important to the Thai. So much so, that it is forbidden by law to speak negatively about the monarchy and could even land you in jail. You don’t want that so this an important tip when traveling to Thailand.
4. Don’t get a Buddha tattoo
It might seem like a great idea for a souvenir to commemorate your visit to Thailand, but don’t do it. It is actually considered highly offensive to use the image of Buddha as decoration. So stay away from Buddha t-shirts as well. As the Thai say: “our culture is not your decoration.”
5. Take off your shoes
It is customary in Thailand to remove your shoes before entering houses and temples. Check if there are shoes by the door, so you know if you have to take yours off. If you forget, people will usually remind you and ask you to take your shoes off.
6. Cover up in temples
Thai culture is modest and conservative, so be respectful in the way you dress. Although shorts and tops are fine in touristic areas, walking around in swimwear is only acceptable at the beach. When visiting temples and holy sites, make sure you cover your knees and shoulders. Bring a scarf or pashmina to wrap around your shoulders when you are visiting temples during your Thailand travel.
7. Take a tuk-tuk ride
Tuk-tuks are a great way to get around and can be a lot of fun. The drivers are a little crazy sometimes but they know what they are doing. Especially in Bangkok, a lot of tuk-tuk drivers try to rip tourists off by taking them to shops, more expensive accommodations or charging a lot of money. Out top tip when traveling to Thailand is to always negotiate the price before you get on the tuk-tuk. If you find a nice tuk-tuk driver, consider hiring them to take you around as a guide, they often know a lot of good places.
If you want a more convenient way to get around during your visit to Thailand, download the Grab app. Grab is the Southeast Asian version of Uber and works the same.
8. Try traveling alone
Thailand is heaven for solo travelers. The country is very popular with tourists, so it is easy to meet other people. Thailand is safe, affordable, and there is a lot to do. Even on your own, you will never be bored in Thailand. Just enjoy the beautiful scenery and amazing food.
9. Get a local sim card
In big cities in Thailand, there is plenty of WiFi in restaurants and hotels, but in more remote areas it is harder to connect to the internet. Of course, you want to talk to your friends and family back home, send them pictures and tell them how wonderful your Thailand visit is. Luckily, there are special tourist sim cards that you can use. Just make sure your phone does not have a sim lock.
10. Never touch anyone’s head
Buddhists believe that the head is the highest and most sacred part of the human body, whereas the feet are the lowest and dirtiest. That is why it is considered very offensive to touch anyone’s head or point your bare feet at them. Respect local custom and don’t pad anyone on the head.
11. Eat off your spoon
If you are not great at eating with chopsticks, this is your chance to improve your skills. Luckily, Thai people use regular cutlery as well. But eat off your fork is bad manners, so use it to push food onto your spoon and then eat of your spoon instead.
12. Try the local dishes
Thailand has some of the best food in the world. You can find Thai restaurants all over the world, but nothing compares to authentic food in Thailand. So don’t waste your money on an all-inclusive meal package. Instead, enjoy all the amazing local dishes. And if you get tired of Thai food (we can’t imagine you would), there are plenty of great international restaurants around as well.