Are you one of the millions planning to visit Thailand for the first time this year? If so, there are a few things you should know before getting onto the plane. Whether you’re staying in one of the thailand vacation rentals next to the beach or backpacking in hostels, the following points apply to every traveller. So, keep reading to find out how to have an excellent trip and how to avoid the common scams.
You’ll See Lots of Monkeys
For some, seeing wild monkey can be a thrilling experience. Snapping photographs of the small primates sitting in the trees or on the electricity cable is a highlight of some tourists trip. But, on the other hand, the monkeys have a reputation for being mischievous. If you’re sitting on the beach and monkeys live in the nearby jungle, it’s not advisable to leave your belongings unattended. Go for a dip in the sea and return to find they have taken your bag. It happens more often than you might think. The monkeys will try their hardest to get their hands on food, and they’re notorious for snatching things out of hands.
Dress Codes for Religious Buildings
Thailand has thousands of temples dotted around the country. Bangkok alone is a hotspot for opulent temples and pagodas, which are major tourist attractions. Head into the countryside and find dozens along the side of the road as well as the ruins of centuries-old ones in Thailand’s ancient cities. But what many tourists sometimes forget is that visitors need to dress modestly to enter. What this means is that you shouldn’t wear shorts, skirts or singlets. If you don’t meet the dress code, you won’t be allowed in. Remember to pack long sleeves and long pants if you want to visit the temples.
Taking Off Your Shoes
Tourists visiting Thailand for the first time are often surprised when they’re required to remove their shoes to enter temples, some buildings or someone’s house. This is standard practice in the country and everyone, including foreigners, are required to take off their shoes. Most places have a rack outside to store them. But at the same time, it’s not always safe to leave your $200 pair of trainers outside in full view of everyone walking past. If you’re not planning to walk for hours at a time, bring a pair of sandals or flip-flops which are quick and easy to slip on and off.
Watch Out for the Scams
While most locals in Thailand are warm and welcoming towards foreigners, a small number want to extract as much money as possible from them. Scams, rip-offs and overcharging are widespread, and tourists tend to be the primary targets. Be aware of the Tuk Tuks offering to take you on a city tour. Also, when a driver tells you the place you want to go is closed, they might not be telling the truth. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going, the opening times and admission fees before setting off. And always be aware of someone who is trying to be too helpful.
Go Easy on the Alcohol
Thailand has a reputation, both famous and infamous, for its nightlife. With Full Moon Parties and late night bars found in the capital and major tourist destinations along with the red light districts and go-go bars, it’s easy to have a fun night out. But not all the alcohol you see is at the same quality as back at home. Some shops fill their shelves with cheap whiskey and vodkas costing just a dollar or two. You should avoid these at all costs. Not only will they give you one of the worst hangovers of your life, but they can also be dangerous. Take care when you’re drinking on the beach or in the bars too. With such a hot climate, it’s always easy to forget just how many you’ve had!
Drive a Hard Bargain
Few places outside of malls and supermarkets have fixed prices in Thailand. Walk through the market or go souvenir shopping, and almost everything will be at the discretion of the vendor. And more likely than not, the price quoted to foreigners will be much higher than the locals. Anyone who wants to buy something should remember to bargain. If you feel the price is too high, ask for lower. Or perhaps you’re buying in bulk and want a discount, then ask. Also, it’s not a good idea to wear all your latest clothes and jewellery because if the vendor thinks you have a lot of money, they won’t offer a low price.
Make Sure You Don’t Break the Law
The laws in Thailand can be very different from what you would expect back at home. On the surface, the country might seem chaotic and lawless. But dig a little deeper, there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed at all times. Some are related to religion while others include stiff penalties for insulting the royal family. It’s not uncommon for careless tourists to fall foul of some of these laws unwittingly and then have to face the consequences which often include a hefty fine. A quick Google search should reveal some of the things to be aware of and what you should never do in Thailand.
The vast majority of tourists who visit Thailand have an unforgettable experience. Many want to return, and some even stay and live in the country as an expat. Just remember to follow our suggestions, and you’ll be one of the many who immediately starts planning their next trip back.