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Know Before You Go: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting Thailand

If you’re from the states like me, visiting a foreign country as far away as Asia can feel a little overwhelming as you begin to plan. So if you’re planning on visiting Thailand soon, here are 10 quick tips to make your vacation easier.

1.Take cash out

Lucky for people from the states, the exchange rate for the dollar to the Thai baht is almost 1:33. That being said, many places in thailand only except cash (food stands, tuk tuks, bars etc.) so it’s important you keep cash on you at all times!

2. Tipping

Tipping isn’t necessary in most situations, nor is it expected unless we’re talking about a private tour guide or occasionally rounding up a taxi fair. If you do feel like tipping at restaurants and bars, leaving the change from your bill is totally acceptable.

3. Transportation

Depending on where you’re staying in Thailand, you will have a few different ways to get around. The most popular being renting scooters or taking Tuk Tuks. Other options might include ferries and speed boats in the islands, or busses if you are going long distances. From what I saw in Phuket, I would not reccomend renting a scooter unless you feel extremely comfortable driving one. There aren’t too many street signs or lights in southern Thailand and people drive kind of crazy. If you’re just trying to go short distances, tuk tuks are definitely the way to go.

4. People really ARE that nice!

Don’t be surprised if people come up to talk to you or ask if you need help finding something. The Thai people are genuinely some of the nicest people I have ever met, and they really do seem to love all the tourists their country brings in.

5. Try all the tropical fruits

Southeast Asia is not only home to some of the best Thai food and curries I’ve ever had in my life, but also some of the best tropical fruit. You can find dragon fruit, lychee, jackfruit, guava and passionfruit everywhere just to name a few of my favorites! Not only that, they don’t come with the expensive prices they have in the U.S. for being imported fruits.

6. Eat your vitamins

I never understood why my mom was so obsessed with making me take vitamins as a kid until now. Traveling is going to make you sick. You need to prepare for that, but if you can prevent it that’s even better. One way to keep from getting sick on vacations is to take plenty of vitamins. My go-to’s are Zinc, Elderberry and Charcoal pills. When I’m at home I try to take these whenever I feel like I might be getting sick, or when something’s in the air, but when I travel I take them every day meticulously.

7. Coverup when visiting Temples

The buddhist temples in Thailand are beautiful, and have become a very popular tourist attraction, but we need to remember that this is a sacred place for many Thai people, and visitors alike. It’s not uncommon to be turned away if you aren’t dressed appropriately when visiting the temples. It’s understandable to be wearing light clothing because of the heat, but if you don’t want to wear pants or a modest shirt all day, I suggest bringing a kimono for your shoulders and a light sarong to wrap around your waist if you are in shorts.

8. Book in advance

During peak season, it’s important to book certain activities in advance. Specifically ones such as elephant sanctuaries that may not be as common as boat tours, etc.

9. Do your research on animal “sanctuaries”

Speaking of elephant sanctuaries, make sure you do your research before you book one. Thailand is home to hundreds of animal tourism spots, but only a few are really considered to be ethical. Familiarize yourself with these, and make sure you aren’t giving your money to people who are only using it to abuse and neglect these animals more! In Phuket the only elephant sanctuary I could find that was truly ethical was Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. If you want to learn more about it you can click here to watch one of their videos. I’m focusing on elephants because this is the activity we chose to do, but the same goes for tiger encounters, monkey handlers you can find on the beach, and more.

10. Don’t drink the water (ice is fine)

This goes without saying in most foreign countries, but do not drink their tap water. Just because the people who live there drink it does not mean your stomach will be able to handle it. Apparently the ice is fine though, because there are plenty of ice factories that make ice with purified water. Businesses will buy from them rather than waste time making their own 99% of the time.

 

I hope you find some of these helpful before you visit this beautiful country! What are your best travel tips for visiting Thailand?

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