9 things to know before traveling to Thailand
Thailand is a bucket list destination for a lot of people. The promise of great weather, delicious food, and beautiful sights draw lots of tourists to Thailand. We know how overwhelming planning a trip can be; there is so much to consider! If you are traveling to Thailand, there are a few things you should know before you leave. We have already told you about our 12 tips for traveling in Thailand, which are all good things to know about the country once you are there. But some things you should sort out beforehand, so these are our practical tips for traveling to Thailand:
1. Currency and ATM
The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht. The value fluctuates but is usually at around 35 baht to 1 euro. You can look up the current exchange rate here. Although some places might accept US Dollars, it is best to withdraw local currency from the ATM at arrival. There are usually plenty around, as well as money exchange offices. Some ATM´s charge higher fees than others, so it is worth asking your bank about your cheapest option.
2. Visa and passport
Luckily, traveling to Thailand is pretty easy for most nationalities. Most westerners can get a free tourist visa on arrival in Thailand for 30 days. This means that you don´t need to apply for one beforehand, but get one at your arrival airport or a land border. If you want to stay for more than 30 days or want to work in Thailand, you will need to apply for the appropriate visa. Always check if you need to get a visa because you don´t want to be turned away at the border. Overstaying your visa will cost you 500 Baht per day. Your passport also needs to be valid for at least six months after your arrival date.
3. Best time to travel to Thailand
Thailand is beautiful year round, but some seasons are more comfortable than others. Generally speaking, the best time to travel to Thailand is from October to February. That´s when the weather is coolest and driest. Thailand is a big country with different climates, so read more specific information about the best time to visit Thailand here.
While some people travel to Thailand without any vaccinations, most doctors do recommend getting them. Depending on where, when, and how long you are traveling to Thailand. Recommended vaccines for Thailand are Tetanus, Diphtheria, Measles, Hepatitis A & B, and Rabies. Always check with your doctor if you need vaccinations or medication before you travel to Thailand.
5. Insect repellent
Thankfully, Thailand is not a malaria hotspot. But there is always a risk. The mosquitos in Thailand can also carry the Dengue Fever virus. Dengue mosquitos tend to be out during the day, and malaria mosquitos at night. So be sure to bring or buy insect repellent when you are traveling to Thailand.
Thailand is a sunny country with great weather, except during the monsoon season. Chances are, you will want to go out during the day to see temples, lie on the beach or trek in the jungle. Always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30. The Thai sun is strong, and a nasty sunburn can ruin your vacation.
7. SIM cards for tourists
WiFi is abundant in big cities and tourist hotspots, but not so much in the countryside. If you want to stay connected with the people back home and send them jealousy inducing pictures of your trip to Thailand, you can use a local SIM card. Several carriers have specific SIM cards for tourists.
Make sure your phone is unlocked if you want to use a local SIM card!
8. Transportation in Thailand
Because of the large numbers of tourists that visit Thailand every year, getting around is pretty easy. For long distances, there are night buses, trains, and domestic flights. National and budget airlines offer flights throughout Southeast Asia. The long-distance bus and train network is pretty good in Thailand. The easiest way to book transportation is usually through your accommodation or at the bus/train station. Online booking isn’t always available, but when it is, you can use 12go.asia or bus online ticket.
For short distances within cities, go for a tuk-tuk or use Grab, the Southeast Asian version of Uber. You can also rent a motorbike, which is great for sightseeing and exploring the countryside. Motorbikes are a fun and easy way to get around, and they usually don’t cost more than 5 euro a day. Be careful, though! Always wear a helmet and appropriate footwear and be careful in the crazy Thai traffic, is not suggested for Bangkok. Also, make sure everything on the bike works before you rent it and take pictures of any damage, so you don’t get scammed.
9. Thai food
One of the main reasons to visit Thailand is the food. Thai cuisine has conquered the world with it’s bright, vibrant flavors. From tasty fresh fruit to spicy curries, Thai food is flavorful and affordable. That’s why you should never waste your money on an all-inclusive meal package. Instead, explore all the strange, delicious street food and let us advise you about the best places to eat.