Thailand ranks as one of the top countries to visit, often landing in the number one spot.

Thailand is in the South East Asia region.  Chances are you have heard of the Golden Triangle. This is where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet.  It is often a tourist destination that is worth visiting if you are traveling to several surrounding countries.

Customs and culture:

Home to more than 50 million people, Thailand’s religion is mostly Buddhism and the language spoken is often Thai, but many Thai do speak English.

Being a Buddhist country, there are several customs and mannerisms to observe while visiting the country. It is not appropriate for women to be uncovered. Showing shoulders, stomachs, and anything above the knee is considered disrespectful to their customs and beliefs.  Pants or shorts longer than the knee for men are acceptable.

Shoes should completely cover the soles of the feet. Showing your soles is a sign of disrespect. Please be aware of these customs and pay attention to signs.

Take your shoes off when entering a temple. You will usually see a pile of shoes indicating what you should do.

Use hushed voices inside the temples. There will always be people that carry on with their own customs in another country, but that does not mean you should do the same. Blend in as much as possible.

If you would like to take a picture of an indigenous person, ask permission and give them 10B or 20B for their picture.

Hold deep respect for the beliefs of people while you are visiting their country. Even if you views are different, please respect the customs of others.  You are visiting their home.

Location:

Thailand is about as big as France is and the four regions contained in Thailand include:

  • The North region which has the most mountains is home to several popular temples. The highly visited Chieng Mai is found here.  This area is home to many tea plantations.  You will also find a Chinese influence in this area as many Chinese groups migrated here.  The temperatures can be the most extreme here.
  • The North East region is a dry, plateau region and is not a tourist destination.
  • Central Thailand is home to the Chao Phraya River and is surrounded by fertile ground with plenty of vegetation.  This area is famous because this is where the Capital Bangkok can be found.
  • The Southern region is known for the beautiful beaches and tropical setting.

Weather in the regions:

The rainy season hits Thailand from June to October.  November to February is usually cool, while March to May heats up and can be extremely hot.  The Northern regions are known to have the most extreme temperatures during the seasons.  Make sure you pack accordingly if you are visiting these regions during different times of the year.

Currency and cost:

The currency of Thailand is the Thai baht [1 USD around 32 Baht].  While some places do accept credit cards, most everything will need to be paid for in cash so make sure you are equipped with Thai baht.

The markets and street food vendors often need smaller bills when shopping, while larger restaurants can handle larger bills.

Tours and entrance fees are paid in cash.

The areas of Chiang Mai, Lampang, and Sukhothai are more expensive than other areas.  Being in the heart of tourist areas is quite expensive.

Food can range from street food being very cheap to fine dining being very expensive.  Wine is generally more expensive in Thailand than what most people are used to, so keep that in mind if ordering wine for dinner.

The entrance fees to tourist places can range from 20B to 250B depending on the attraction.  There are many people that budget well and can see Thailand on $20-$30 a day.  Backpackers can typically get by on $10 a day.  On the other hand, if you want a Western experience with those comforts, you could pay as much as $200-$300 per day. It depends on what your needs are while visiting Thailand.

Vaccinations:

Some people choose to bring Malaria pills but not take them unless they are visiting the border regions of Thailand.

All routine vaccinations should be up to date, but no specific vaccine is required to enter Thailand.  There are recommend vaccinations to consider. The option of vaccinations is completely up to you.

2 injections containing:

  • Hepitatis A and Typhoid are given in the arm
  • Hep B is the second injection given in the arm

Make sure you take or purchase mosquito spray to help prevent Dengue Fever.  Wear it during the day and night.

Driving in Thailand:

When renting a car or other transportation:

  • You are required to have your driver’s license on you at all times.
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Helmets are a law for the driver and passenger

Car. If you renting a car, most rental places ask for your current and unexpired driver’s license from the country you are from, including your passport.

The law does require that you have an international driver’s license/permit but this is rarely enforced.  This option is up to you and can be obtained in your home country for a fee before you travel.

Motos, scooters and Mopeds.  All you need here is cash.  They really don’t ask for identification in most places.

The law states that you must have an International drivers license/permit that is valid for motorcycle use.

Safety

There are not any immediate warnings about traveling to Thailand.  It is always a good idea to check with the Embassy for whatever country you are traveling to so you know safety risks and hazards.

Like all countries, you should always pay attention to your surroundings.  Petty crimes against tourists are common and are usually used just to get more money out of the unsuspecting tourist.

Use common sense.  Avoid areas where it is desolate or isolated, including beaches.

Use only metered taxis and be careful of using tuk tuks.

Carry only a copy of your passport and keep your actual passport in a safe place. The same goes for money. Only take the bills you need and leave the rest in a secured place if possible. Never give your passport to anyone.

Avoid traveling with valuables.

Keep your bags, purse, and backpacks closed and close to your body at all times.  Keep extra money in a hidden pocket in your clothes.

If you are dressing up, take a button down shirt to throw over your clothes when coming home at night. Thai men can be aggressive and women may receive unwanted attention.

Use caution if you must use an ATM. Do not expose the amount of money you just took out and make sure you research the ATM online for fraud issues prior to using it if possible.

Do not get angry and yell. You are in another country. Keep as low of a profile as possible.

Always carry yourself with confidence, even if you are uncomfortable or do not speak the language.  Your demeanor often speaks louder than words.

Do not do drugs or handle drugs in any way while you are in Thailand.  Yes, the Thai prisons are just as bad as you have heard.

Avoid walking at night alone if possible.  If you feel uneasy in an area, get out or avoid it altogether.

Know where the Embassy for your country is and have their numbers on hand.