Vacation in Thailand
If you are planning a trip to Thailand or just Thailand holidays and you ask yourself: is Thailand safe to travel or what to do in Thailand, here are the best Thailand travel tips that will help you get through your Thai experience smoothly and safely.
Thailand is an amazing country, beautiful, welcoming to tourists, neat, relatively cheap.
People come to the paradise of Thailand and sometimes forget their common sense at home... Thailand does not look like a place where something bad can occur. As far as the visitors are concerned, everything looks great.
Most visits to Thailand ends safely without any special event, everything goes well. But not all visits.
I visited Thailand dozens of times, traveled in Thailand, established a business in Thailand and employed local workers. You might say that I know Thailand quite well ...
Disclaimer: In this type of writing, there are inclusions that can't be true and accurate for everyone. Every inclusion has many exceptions. The following sections are designed to mark things that you should be aware of and give them the right attention.
1. TIT - This Is Thailand
When I started a business in Thailand, one of the first tips I got was the term TIT e.g. This Is Thailand. The guy who gave me the advice told me: Remember the initials TIT, which is This Is Thailand.
In other words, Thailand is not a Western country. It can be very surprising and unpredictable and not positively.
In a Western country if you have broken any law you pretty much know what awaits you. The legal process is transparent and known in advance, the penalties are fixed by law, there is an order.
Things are not like that in Thailand.
In Thailand, if you broke the law or if you got into trouble with a Thai business or a car accident, you can't know how things will end.
They can be easily solved or they can get very complicated. You may be required to pay a very high fine, you may be not. And it could be worse than just fine payment. Need to understand this lack of clarity and to be careful.
2. King Of Thailand
Do not mess with the king! Be careful about this. Thais admire their king. According to Thai law, it is forbidden to insult the king.
An insult could be to destroy a picture of the king, to curse the king, to degrade the king in any form.
In the cinema, the anthem is played, and pictures of the king are shown before the film begins, and everyone in the cinema stands. You have to stand up too. You are their guest, respect them. Respect their king.
It's because of the cheap prices, the atmosphere of freedom and the feeling that everything is possible and available, people who do not know how to ride motorcycles, rent motorcycles (about 300 Baht per day) and start to ride.
Most of them without a permit and without helmets.
I saw the case of a young woman who got on a motorcycle, slipped immediately, got on the motorcycle again and rode it into a shop.
I had my own bad experience with a motorcycle, I slipped on the main road in Phuket. Only by a miracle, I didn’t get hurt.
It is important to understand, people are killed in motorcycle accidents in Thailand. And another important thing to understand, insurance does not cover dismal results of riding without a motorcycle license.
- vehicles are safer than the motorcycle but accidents happening with cars as well. If you don’t have a license, do not drive a car in Thailand.
In Thailand, they are driving on the left side of the road so if you can't get used to it, you should not drive.
Traffic in Bangkok is terrible. You can spend hours in taxis trying to get around in Bangkok.
It is best to use the sky train or boats in the canals to move around. It is also possible to enjoy the trip in Bangkok at the most convenient time in terms of traffic congestion although there is not much time like this ...
Definitely not recommended to use a Taxi motorcycle to travel around the city.
If the trip was successful, you saved time but because the traffic is very dangerous and the driving laws seem like a non-binding recommendation, you can also end your life on such a trip.
6. Police & Bribery
If arrested for any reason, it is not worth bribing. It might complicate matters significantly.
7. Jet Ski
Water sports are very common on the beaches and islands of Thailand. One of the most popular activities in Thailand is riding a Jet Ski.
Jet skis are operated by strong families in the islands.
Usually, the operators ask for a passport as a guarantee for renting the sea motorcycle.
One of the unpleasant practices for Jet Ski operators is to claim that you hit the Jet Ski and then ask for an astronomical compensation that can reach tens of thousands of Thai Baht (1000 Baht = 30USD).
This kind of situation will make you understand the meaning of This Is Thailand. You will have no one to talk to. Cops will not help you.
You will not be able to get your passport back without paying. The recommendation is to give up the Jet Ski activity or, alternatively, to take photos of the Jet Ski and make sure you have a proof of the Jet Ski status before you ride it. It won’t necessarily help you but better than nothing...
8. Thai's pride
Thais are very nice people, very friendly, smiling and kind, but it can be misleading.
The Thai people are pride people and their self-honor is very important to them. Usually, they won't remain indifferent to personal insult and you ask yourself, who will? but it's different in Thailand. The respond can be unpredictable. It is very undesirable to reach confrontations with them.
Even if you feel that someone full you somehow, delivered bad service, disappointed you with a trip that was not exactly as promised, just give up and continue with your life. Do not get into a confrontation.
You will not be able to win this confrontation so just keep things in the right perspective and move on.
Bargain in the markets is common, acceptable and it's part of the business. The Thais expect it. But do not be ridiculous. I've seen people who haggle for 20 minutes at 20 Baht, 40 Baht, forgetting it's less than a dollar...
Isn’t it a waste of your time?
There are places where they do not bargain.
The bargaining is mainly in the markets and in very cheap stores and not in all of them. Sometimes you can bargain with taxis or Tuk Tuk drivers who try to charge you 2-3 times of the original price.
There is no point to bargain in normal stores (not to mention fancy or brand stores). Spare your time in Thailand...
Thais are Buddhists and therefore conservatives. Surprised?
There are nearly 70 million people in Thailand. Tourists are exposed to a very small fraction of this huge population, mainly to those who are interfering with tourism or commerce.
Tourists are exposed to the huge sex industry and mistakenly think that this is Thailand and all the women in Thailand are available in this way.
A big mistake.
At the very least you have to treat them as the women in your country (assuming you come from a well-developed and progressive country ...)
11. Snakes, mosquitoes & rats
Thailand has a lot of nature, lots of jungles, rains, rivers, mountains. It is a tropical country with monsoons and tropical climate.
There are many mosquitoes in Thailand, including dangerous Zika mosquitoes. It is recommended to apply mosquito repellent regularly.
Rats - Bangkok is full of rats. If you cross an open area between buildings in bustling areas of Bangkok, you may see dozens of rats in one place. There is nothing for you to do about it but just be aware of where you eat and sleep.
In the north, there are Cobra snakes in the jungles. As a Thai tour guide once told me, the only thing to do when you see Cobra is simply to run away ... not something you want to deal with.
Can elephants write?
Can elephants sit or stand on two legs?
Can elephants dance?
Does it make sense to you? does it seems natural?
This is not the natural action for a huge animal that weighs a few tons. Elephants in Thailand undergo a brutal training to get them into a submissive, disciplined state and do strange things in order to entertain tourists.
Before you ride an elephant or pay money to see an elephant rattling with a marker on a large paper block, think for a second if you want to be part of this.
13. Street food
One of the great pleasures of the East is the street food and Thailand is one of the best places for excellent street food.
How to eat street food and survive it? I used to have strict rules in my travels in East Asia, which have been tried in the hardcore places in India, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand and these rules proved to be successful, at least for me.
Animal products - Do not eat animal products on the street. No eggs, no meat, no milk. Eggs and meat can be extremely dangerous.
Water - Drink water only from bottles.
Personal hygiene - Disinfection of hands with alcohol before and after eating
- Common sense - this can be useful in many cases :) use your common sense and judge the place. If you think it’s too dirty or you notice any suspicious issue, just give up. You don’t want to spend the next 1-3 weeks in a local hospital, recovering from indigestion. It’s not a 100% guarantee but it improves your chances significantly.
Stay away! I can write thousands of words just about this. Cannabis is available in Thailand. People can find it relatively easily. There are locals and tourists who are consuming it.
It can be extremely dangerous. A wrong decision can cost you in your life literally, it doesn’t worth it.
You can get to Thai jail, which is the last experience you want to add to your Thailand experiences collection. Things can be very unpredictable. Do not mess with it at all.
In entertainment areas in the islands and in big cities like Bangkok or Pattaya, there are endless bars, pubs and clubs. In many places, women are not women but Ladyboys. Ladyboys are men who are at some stage of transition from male to female.
They can definitely be more violent and naturally, they are stronger from women. You can see them in cabaret shows but recommended to void interaction.
16. Internal politics
Thailand experienced ups and downs in terms of political stability. In recent years there have been severe demonstrations by supporters of the regime and opponents of the regime.
Some of the demonstrations turned violent.
Once I had the opportunity to arrive in Thailand on the day of a military coup. At the airport, there were military vehicles and soldiers everywhere and there was still no sense of instability for outsiders.
For the tourists, everything was going well. You must refrain from interfering in any way with Thai domestic politics. The Thais themselves manage the internal struggles among themselves and do not involve tourists inside.
I hope I managed to cover the major things. Would love hear from you and to get your comments :)
Enjoy Thailand because it is probably the most amazing country in the world.