10 Things to Know about Thailand
Updated: Oct 6, 2018
Thailand is a beautiful country to travel through with amazing beaches, cheap food and breathtaking sites. However, there are just a few things to remember to travel comfortably.
1. Time Efficiency
Low on Time in Bangkok? Snag an hour boat tour for about 800 baht. That's only about $25 USD to see most of the temples in Bangkok. They are even careful to slow down when you are passing them so you can get tons of pictures. About half way through a floating market comes to you with snacks and any souvenirs you might like, I even haggled for a cheaper elephant figurine, lol. At the end of the tour they drop you at the largest temples to get a good walk around. Arguably you could get in all the temples in half a day, not even.
2. Public Restroom Costs
Mostly everywhere you go, you have to pay for the public restroom. It's pretty cheap like 10 baht ( about .30 USD), but for me its the principal of paying to relieve my natural bodily function. But alas, you gotta do what you gotta do and many a bahts were spent to stay regular. Quick tip: just be sure to keep smaller bahts ( I call them baby bahts) on you for an easy pay and go.
3. Sit vs. Squat
Depending on where you are in Thailand (big city vs. small town), the ration of sitting toilets to squat toilets changes. Sitting toilets are those devices typically found in the west where you are pretty much sitting on a porcelain chair to answer nature's call. Squat toilets are pretty much openings in the ground that require you to stand in a wide stance and drop your pelvis all the way down to the floor while keeping your chest lifted. The amount of space created in the pelvic muscle and bones is quite different from being seated. Be prepared for which device awaits you but remember that both end in the same result.
4. Toilet Paper
The first time I walked into a Thai restroom, I went straight in and headed to the stall assuming I'd find everything I needed. Once in the stall and midway through my routine I noticed the absence of any toilet paper what so ever. Luckily I always keep tissues on me so I was good, but upon leaving I was determined to solve the mystery. Low and behold at the entrance of the restroom was a lone toilet paper dispenser. I was meant to grab what I needed and take care of business. I never forgot this very small yet importance piece again.
Food in Thailand is amazing, such great variety and good quality, however be aware of meal portions. I found the typical meal sizes to be quite small especially in relationship to the American diet. Europeans would fare well though as far as portions. Many times I ended up getting a complementary dish like veggie rolls or mango and sticky rice to really wrap up the meal.
6. How cheap is it!?
The thing about cheap countries is you see a price you figure it's nothing so you quickly pull out the local currency. This leads to eating all the time, a cab ride to a boat tour, the actual boat tour, oh wait and the foot massage before that. And this is all before dinner. Three days into your vacay you've already spent 250 American... not that that happened to me or anything. I say all this to say: be aware of your spending. It can be easy to go for everything because it all in actuality is cheap compared to your currency but it alllll adds up.
7. Driving on the Left
Be careful when walking across streets because all the cars, cabs, motorcycles, etc drives on the left. So look the opposite way when making any moves across traffic. I recommend just crossing right next to or behind the locals. They are more familiar with the way in which traffic moves of lack there of and unless they have a death wish that particular day, you should be just fine. Its never failed me. Just always stay alert!
8. Don't drink the water
Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious but please don't drink the tap water. The sanitation system in other countries, especially developing countries, often don't live up to the standards of the developed world. There are little creatures that would Ms. Frizzle ya, and take their magic (germy) school bus all up and through you. It can often lead to all types of illness and disease. In Phuket, a friend and I got excited about reallly cheap local smoothies and enjoyed them in the evening, and was hated them the next morning. Luckily it was just the runs that ran out pretty quickly but you never know. So DON'T DO IT!
9. Most Speak English
We never had any issues traveling around and being english speakers. It's the privilege of being an anglophone. Typically the locals know just enough English to get the point across. So don't bring out any weirdly obscure Scrabble words, just say what you want or need and it'll be all good. I suggest picking up some of the language too to help in figuring things out.
10. Visit at least 2 different types of Thai Cities
We visited 4 Thai cities in one week. Now although I don't recommend that at all, I'd say visit a solid 2 cities with different vibes. Bangkok had a Thai big city feel, Khao Sok was pure nature with a National Park as it's main attraction, Ao Nang was a very touristy beach city and Phuket pretty much the same. But I'll say that after visiting all of them, I have a really good understanding of Thailand.