Thailand is known for being one of the easiest countries to travel around in Asia, but despite being a hassle-free tropical paradise, as in every place around the world, there are a few things everyone should know before they visit Thailand.
Here are our top tips for making the most of your trip.
Jump into / Table of Contents
- Show respect for the king and Royal Family
- Respect Culture and Religion
- Weather in Thailand
- Check Visa Requirements
- Pack For Hot, Humid Weather
- Stomach Bugs and Food Hygiene
- medical help
- Convenience stores and markets
- Cash, Cards and ATMs
- Dress respectfully
- Electricity and Power Outages
- Wifi and cell service
- Apps and Websites to use in Thailand
- Great family holiday destination
Show respect for the king and Royal Family
Thailand is a Kingdom and monarchy is taken very seriously here. You’ll find posters, monuments, and emblems with the king’s face on them. Disrespecting the King and the Royal family is a criminal offence here.
The same applies to Thai money, try not to step on it and keep it nice and tidy at all times and don’t forget to stop and stand up for a minute during the 8 am and 6 pm national anthem in public places.
Respect Culture and Religion
The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism. About 95% of Thai describe themselves as Buddhists and this religion is deeply rooted in their everyday lives.
You will see many temples across the country and many little shrines in front of houses and businesses. It is really lovely to see monks walking on the streets and witness how local people support their religion by donating food.
Some things to remember – take off your shoes when entering people’s houses, and temples and cover your shoulders, upper arms and knees. Also, never point your feet towards any Buddhist image (or monk), and don’t touch Buddha statues on the head. It would also be respectful to give way to monks when walking on footpaths, not to sit next to them on public transport. And lastly, it would be extremely inappropriate for women to touch a monk or their belongings.
Weather in Thailand
In general, there are two main seasons in Thailand – the high season (or dry season) which starts in November and lasts until June, and the low season (or wet/monsoon season) which is from June to October.
One thing that’s interesting about visiting the islands in the south is that the wet season there differs. The islands in the Andaman sea (like Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and all other thousands of them) has the rainiest weather during August and September, while the Gulf of Thailand islands (Koh Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Koh Tao) sees the most rain during October and November and is one of the greatest places to visit from January to June.
Although the lowest flight, accommodation and tour prices are during the low/monsoon season which starts in July and lasts until September/October, planning your holiday at this time should be taken with some precaution.
During June and July, you will get quite a few sunny days with short and heavy downpours in the afternoon and evening, but moving forward it changes to nonstop pouring for days which affects the island’s accessibility and boat schedules due to choppy waters and strong winds.
You might see many resorts and hotels closing during August, September and October, meaning that it limits your options for accommodation. As an example, it is really hard to find where to stay in Koh Lanta as many businesses close during the monsoon period.
Check Visa Requirements
Check if you need a visa before travelling to Thailand.
The visa requirements are different for many countries; some nationalities can get Visa Exemption and do not need visas for a stay less than 30 days, some nationalities can get their Visa On Arrival when they arrive at the airport, and some nationalities must apply for a tourist visa (or other visas) in advance.
Check this website for visa requirements for your country to make sure you are allowed to enter Thailand!
Thailand is a tourist-oriented country so you will see that menus in restaurants, shopping malls, and even the road signs are written in English. Locals are used to travellers and a lot of them do speak English, especially in touristy places.
Although, you will see that in more local shops, small restaurants or other spots in rural areas it is a bit more difficult to communicate. But fear not, local people are really friendly and will go to great lengths to try to help you as much as they can.
Also, these days it is pretty easy to communicate having Google Translate (if you have a SIM with data). I usually have it ready wherever I go to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
And another thing – it would be polite to learn how to say thank you (kop khun krap/ka) and hello (sah-wah-dee krap/ka) even though they will speak with you in English.
Pack For Hot, Humid Weather
The weather in Thailand is hot and humid throughout the year. So when packing for your travels here, unless you are in higher altitudes where the temperature drops a bit, pack plenty of lightweight, loose and breathable warm-weather clothes.
Stomach Bugs and Food Hygiene
This is a topic that everyone has a different opinion on due to different experiences, but stomach bugs are a great deal while travelling in Southeast Asia and Thailand is not an exception.
Believe me, it is not great to catch a stomach bug, and I believe that no matter how careful you might be, you can still catch it, but here are some general things to remember to minimise the risk:
– Tap water is a no-no, even if the government says it is safe to drink. It is safe when you boil it for soup or coffee, but not for brushing your teeth and drinking. Bottled water is cheap and easily accessible in every corner shop or cafe. I think the food hygiene is good, I ate plenty of street food there and had no problems.
– Street food is amazing, don’t be afraid of street food and small local restaurants, just go to the ones you see many locals enjoying their food. They know the good spots and the good food.
– Always wipe the cutlery and wet plates with tissue.
– Be cautious of ice, unwashed or unpeeled fruit and uncooked vegetables.
In case of an emergency in Thailand, help is always available. Public and private hospitals and clinics are in all bigger towns and islands, even the Western Standard ones, and the medical staff is pretty good overall.
I will just remind you to have travel insurance to help you with medical expenses as the cost of treatment can add up sometimes… I always use Safety Wing when I’m travelling, it is very affordable and their customer support is super kind, helpful and quick to respond.
When visiting Thailand don’t forget to take a high SPF sunscreen. Sun in Thailand even if not visible it stings pretty hard. Sunscreens here can cost a fortune, so it’s better to bring them from your country.
Convenience stores and markets
There are many 24-hour working convenience stores across Thailand, so you will find everything you might need for your holiday here – from face masks to underwear. 7-eleven, the most popular store is probably in every city or island that you will visit and it is great for buying snacks, drinks and all the little things.
Another great option is to visit Night Markets. I would say that they are a part of Thai culture, as they are everywhere and attracts not only tourists but locals too. You will find many affordable traditional street food options as well as Western cuisine, clothes, shoes and souvenirs.
Cash, Cards and ATMs
There are a few places that accept cards, like upscale bars and restaurants, but most of the places are still running on cash. Especially the little clothing or souvenir shops or street food stalls or beach bars, so it’s better to have it when travelling around.
But fear not if you run out of cash, there are plenty of ATMs across Thailand. If in doubt – look for 7-Eleven, there’s usually one next to it.
And if you need to exchange money, there are many points where you can exchange money. Just check the course online to get the best deals and be cautious when exchanging. And if you’re in Suvarnabhumi airport, I heard that Super Rich has the best currency exchange course.
Although locals are used to tourists and western beach culture, it’s considered inappropriate to wear beachwear anywhere else than the beach.
Also, don’t forget to cover your shoulders and knees before entering temples and other religious objects. Many places have signs to dress respectfully and don’t allow you to enter if you’re not following the requirements. I usually carry a sarong or shirt or lose trousers with me if I know that I will visit religious objects. Sometimes they also offer complimentary sarongs for tourists to cover up.
I would say that Thailand is a pretty safe country for female solo travellers and families.
But, of course, you always need to take general precautions wherever you travel.
Pickpocketing and petty theft are still a daily thing here, so always keep your valuables close to you and learn a lesson from me not to leave money in your backpack on an overnight bus journey.
Watch out for Ladyboys scams, where a few of them approach you and while one distracts you with its beauty or interesting conversation, another one gracefully empties your bags and pockets.
I think it’s common sense, but avoid walking during the night in an unfamiliar area. Or at least try to find a travel buddy if you know you will need or want to go somewhere at night, although touristy areas are pretty safe in that sense.
Also, you don’t need expensive jewellery while you’re on a beach holiday, so keep them at home, safe in your drawer. But if you bring it – keep it locked in a safe or locker to not attract more attention than you want.
I would say that Thailand is a pretty safe country, I never felt threatened or unsafe in other ways, but as in any other country, common sense and vigilance are needed at all times.
Electricity and Power Outages
Wherever you go in Thailand you will experience random power outages, but they are not that common nowadays. Living in one place for two months we’ve gone through 3-4 power outages, which is not that much I would say.
The electrical outlets in Koh Samui feature two round prongs, fitting most European and Asian appliances as well as the flat prongs of the USA and Japan. The standard voltage is 220 volts.
Wifi and cell service
Many hotels, cafes and restaurants have WiFi and they are sharing the password with their customers. And it’s usually fast with some exceptions…
If you need to stay connected while on the road, then consider buying a local Sim card with mobile data. At 7-Eleven you can get unlimited plans for a whole month for as cheap as 150 baht (~4 Eur / ~4,30 Usd), just don’t forget to take a passport with you when buying it!
I had a really good connection everywhere I’ve been in Thailand. Just while cruising on the sea around remote islands or being in the middle of Khao Sok National Park the cell service was a bit harder to get.
Apps and Websites to use in Thailand
Travelling in Thailand is even easier now because a lot of things can be booked and ordered online. So here are a few apps and websites to use that will make your holiday easy and smooth:
–Grab App and Bolt App – hassle-free transportation booking platform. You won’t have you haggle with local taxi drivers and will stay safe getting from one point to another.
–Foodpanda and Grab App – ordering food online has never been easier. It is for those days or nights when you don’t feel like going out. Prices are a bit higher than in Night markets but are a great option for quick takeout.
–Booking.com, HotelsCombined, Agoda – great apps and websites for hotels, hostels and resorts. Do check all of them for better deals.
–12go.asia – for booking bus, train, ferry and combined tickets.
–AirAsia – for domestic and international flights.
Great family holiday destination
Thailand is a fantastic destination for families. There are so many beautiful resorts and hotels where kids can play, beaches where everyone can run around and other activities that are family-friendly. Yes, I know there is a whole wild and naughty nightlife side there, but can always avoid those few streets.
Wandering what you can do after Koh Phi Phi? Have a look at Koh Samui Travel Guide, Koh Phi Phi Travel Guide, Complete Guide to Pattaya, Top Things to do in Bangkok and Two Week India Itinerary!
Thank you very much for reading the whole Thailand Travel Tips Article!
If you’ve already visited Thailand, it would be amazing to hear travel tips and recommendations from you in the comments.
If you haven’t been there yet, please don’t hesitate to ask us if you have any questions. We are here to help!
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This Travel Planner has 34 pages to help you smoothly organise different aspects of your upcoming adventure.
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