Thailand was the second country I visited during a year of solo travel. I absolutely loved it and had such a good time, but of course there were lots of things I learned along the way. I hope you enjoy my tips for travelling in Thailand and find them helpful if you’re planning on heading there too.
1. Check if you need a visa. There are lots of different visas for Thailand for various lengths of time depending on whether you arrive by plane or by land border. Do some research to find out which is right for you.
2. Get your vaccinations and check a malaria map. Visit your doctor and find out what vaccines you need. If you leave or enter Thailand by land border, you might need to take antimalarial medication.
3. Take the train from the airport. I was really impressed with the Bangkok underground and Skytrain networks. They are cheap, efficient and air conditioned. I got a taxi from the airport to my hotel, which wasn’t too expensive but the train would have been cheaper.
4. Get to tourist attractions early. I arrived at the Grand Palace late morning and it was heaving with people.
5. Don’t take taxis near the tourist areas. You will be overcharged if you get a taxi near the tourist hot spots. Walking to the nearest stop on the underground or Skytrain is a much cheaper option.
6. Be careful of scams at tourist sights. A common one is being approached by someone who tells you the attraction is closed until later in the day and then offers you a boat tour to come back when the attraction is open. A couple of my friends fell for this one.
7. Cover up at temples. You can get away with wearing less clothing in Thailand compared with some other countries, but there are still times when you should dress respectfully.
8. Remember to take your shoes off. If you see a pile of shoes outside a restaurant or tourist attraction, take yours off too.
9. Don’t get in a taxi without a meter. I made this mistake once – by the time I noticed there was no meter the taxi had already started moving so I figured I’d just go with it. When I got to my destination, the driver deliberately drove past the entrance so I wouldn’t be near anyone that could help. He then proceeded to shout very loudly at me when I wouldn’t give him the money, held on to my bag and tried to drive off when I had one leg out of the car. After much shouting from both of us I managed to get out of there paying much less than he wanted, but still more than I should have. I was fine, but very shaken and I could have easily avoided this situation if I’d been more alert.
10. Be patient. I found the public transportation generally very good in Thailand. However, the process of boarding boats between the Thai islands could be quite stressful with long queues, lots of hanging around and waiting for bags to be off-loaded. Anticipate that it might take a while and be patient.
11. Stick to beer. You might find yourself drinking homemade alcohol if you order spirits, so be careful. Beer is a safer option, and Asian beers are delicious!
12. Avoid skin lightening skincare products. Skin lightening products are common in South-East Asia so make sure you read the labels of moisturiser or sun tan lotion before you buy.
13. Get used to bartering. I’m terrible at it and always feel guilty, but it’s part of the experience so just go with it.
14. Be careful with travel tattoos. If you’re going to get one, pick wisely. When a tattoo shop has a sign saying ‘don’t worry, we change our needles every time’ it really makes you wonder…
15. Avoid Kao San Road. This is the place to be for young backpackers, but I really have no idea why this place is popular. The bars and music are terrible and there are creepy guys everywhere trying to sell you tickets to horrendous shows. Bangkok is a really cool city with much, much better nightlife than this.
Is there any advice you wish you’d been given before travelling? If you have any other great tips, please share in the comments. If you’d like to share this post on Pinterest, feel free to use the picture below. xx