ESSENTIAL TRAVEL TIPS FOR VACATIONING IN THAILAND
Thailand is a hot destination, thanks to its gorgeous beaches, delicious Thai cuisine, sparkling temples, and most of all, the laid-back attitude of the Thai people.
There are lots of travel guides and travel blogs about visiting Thailand, and the general consensus is… Thailand is one of the most beautiful and exciting places to visit.
Our Top Thailand Travel Tips
- Thailand is a cash-based society, so carrying cash is a very good idea. Credit cards are accepted in nice restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and the like; but other than that, you will need cold hard cash to pay for most anything else.
- The currency is the Thai baht. ATM’s are in many places, especially in the major cities. Most machines will take credit cards – just be aware that many of them will charge a fee.
- Be aware of scams. Many large tourist destinations have scammers waiting to take advantage of unsavvy tourists. With Thai people’s laid-back and friendly nature, it is easy to be drawn into a false sense of security. Just keep your guard up, use common sense, and have a healthy sense of skepticism.
- With a country as exciting as Thailand, it’s easy to neglect your overall health. Make sure you stay hydrated, and regularly apply sunscreen. During the wet season, mosquitoes can be a problem, so don’t forget the bug spray and wear breathable, long sleeve shirts and pants.
- Slow down, and do as the locals do, just relax! Leave plenty of time for all activities, and don’t try and cram everything you want to do in your trip. If you are visiting Thailand for about two weeks, it’s best to focus on just the north or south of the country. If you are staying longer, than you have more room to plan more activities.
- Hone your negotiating skills! You will definitely want to visit at least one lively market in Thailand. Immerse yourself in the culture and do a bit of haggling for that item you really want. Even when taking transportation such as a tuk tuk, the price is always up for negotiation. Having decent haggling skills can get you good deals on tours and even accommodation.
- Bring a sweater or two. Yes, Thailand is a tropical destination with lots of warm weather. Because of that, the Thai people love their air-conditioning indoors, and as such, places like hotels and shopping malls can get quite chilly. Consider bringing a cardigan that you can throw on and take off easily.
- Wear very comfortable, slip-on shoes. This is convenient when you enter temples, homes and other public spaces where taking off your shoes is required. If you are hiking, however, do wear a pair of sturdy boots or trainers. Flip flops are only really worn on the beaches.
- Explore all of the wonderful Thai food. Bursting with flavor, indulge in mouth-watering dishes with herbs such as lemongrass and kaffir lime. Seek out some of the more nondescript restaurants, and incredible street food is plentiful. A good tip is to get in the longest line, as you know it will be good!
- Beer in Thailand is some of the best in all of the East, and come in varying strengths. Also, try the local whiskey, either Mekhong or Sangthip. Coconut water straight from the shell is also a must-try.
- Indulge in a Thai massage. The Thai people really know what they’re doing with respect to relaxing the body with therapeutic massage. There are massage parlors all around, but do your research to find the best ones near where you are staying.
When to Go to Thailand?
To get the most out of your visit to Thailand, the best time to visit is during the cool dry season, between November and early April.
This is when the tourism industry thrives and you will meet lots of fellow travelers, if you decide to go on group tours.
But the climate varies throughout the country and you will not have a bad experience weather-wise any time of year.
To the south, the climate differs somewhat between east and west coasts.
In the west, there are more favorable conditions during winter – if you like diving and snorkeling, this is the best time to go, as conditions are optimal.
On the east coast, the weather is pleasant all year round.
The rainfall is lowest here in January and February, with the highest rainfall occurring around November.
Explore Places to Visit in Thailand
Bangkok is by far the most popular tourist destination in Thailand.
Thai food is everywhere – all around the world.
But to experience it in the homeland of Bangkok is beyond delicious.
Most any Thai restaurant, from the finest establishments to the street food vendors, will serve it fresh.
Thai food incorporates five different flavors in their dishes – spicy, salty, sweet, sour and bitter.
From Thai rice noodles, to skewers of grilled meat to delectable desserts, there is something for everyone.
However, if I were to make a recommendation, Blue Elephant will not do you wrong.
Their chefs use the freshest ingredients for a traditional Thai meal that you will remember for a long time.
All of Thailand In One Little Museum
Just outside the city limits is the Ancient City – Muang Boran.
An open-air museum, the displays contain replicas of palaces, temples and the ancient settlements of Old Thailand – from early recorded history to today.
Hop on a tram and take a slow journey through the ages.
At a whopping 300 acres, it claims itself to be the largest private outdoor museum in the world, and it’s easy to see why!
The museum is divided into four sections, and boasts architectural designs depicting the country’s art and culture.
It is located about an hour’s drive from Bangkok city center; it is a popular tourist attraction and makes for a fantastic day trip.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Beat the summer heat in the recently-opened ICONSIAM shopping mall, which opened in November 2018.
With everything from high-end boutiques to casual shopping stores, it caters to all tastes and budgets.
The spacious mall also features an indoor floating market.
The lower level offers some really great Thai street food, with coconut ice creams, a selection of handicrafts and cultural performances.
It’s a great way to take a refreshing break from the shopping on the upper floors.
Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, most people get there by taking the ferry.
The fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down.
There are bars to suit every taste, restaurants open until late at night, and river cruises complete with incredible views.
The Vertigo & Moon rooftop bar at the Banyon Tree Hotel is the perfect place to spend a summer evening.
Watch the sun set with a tasty drink in hand – a great place for friends or couples.
Or take a dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya River.
Enjoy the scenery as you leisurely drift along the water and witness stunning temples and monasteries.
Sumptuous Thai food, soothing music and live entertainment round out the evening.
Located on the west coast of Thailand, Phuket typically enjoys warm weather all year round.
Here are the top things to do in Phuket.
Grab your swimsuit, shades and a beach bag – and let’s go!
Explore the Beaches
Cherng Talay caters to a bit more upscale clientele, with its high-end resorts of the Laguna Complex.
This is a good place to rent a villa or apartment, and you will find many expats here.
The area has a relaxed vibe, with great international restaurants, beach clubs and bars.
On Singh Beach, if you can, rent a motorbike or car, as there is lots to explore.
The elusive Laem Singh Beach has steep steps in order to reach it, making it a very quiet beach and somewhat private.
Some fantastic snorkeling can be had here.
Go Island Hopping
Ko Phi Phi is a cluster of six islands.
The best islands are the most visited, which are Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Lee.
The latter is uninhabited and known for the very picturesque Maya Bay (featured in the movie, ‘The Beach’).
Phang Nga Bay National Park is located to the northeast and James Bond island is nearby (featured in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’).
The area consists of about 100 islands and day tours are available, as this is a very popular area.
Ko Hung is an uninhabited paradise located in Phang Nga Bay.
With soft white sand and incredible views of limestone cliffs along emerald waters, this is the perfect spot to relax and do some snorkeling in the gentle waves.
You can book a tour here, as well.
Visiting any of these makes a great day trip from Phuket.
Just remember to take it slowly and not try to visit them all at once!
Visit Magnificent Temples
Big Buddha, situated on a mountain top, is awe-inspiring.
The looming temple can be seen from most locales around the southern part of the island.
The view from the top is the most impressive, however, there are also some magnificent viewpoints as you make your way up the mountain.
Wat Chalong is a recognizable symbol of Thailand and a shining example of a traditional temple.
The largest in Phuket, it is ornately decorated with stunning colors and many images of Buddha from Thai mythology.
At the northern end is Phuket Bay, where you will find some lively places to hang out after the sun goes down.
Patong, in the middle of the island, has a main strip called Soi Bangla, with a colorful selection of discos, beer bars and go-go bars.
And then there are the night markets!
For the shopaholics, delight in a wide array of handmade crafts, clothes and souvenirs to tempt your pocketbook.
Respect the Culture
While many people here speak English, if you really want to get immersed in the culture, learn a bit of the Thai language.
It will score you points with the locals, to be sure!
Also, consider translation apps for your smart phone, so you can learn new Thai phrases on the go.
Additionally, you will have a far richer experience if you respect Thai culture.
Things such as removing your shoes before entering a private home, not being loud and boisterous, or not showing public displays of affection are the norm.
The Thai people are very stoic, yet laid-back in their demeanor.
A common phrase is mai bpen rai, which translates to “no worries,” or “no problem.”
Adopt this philosophy and you will blend in fine.
The predominant religion in Thailand is Buddhism, with Hindu practices and a few Chinese beliefs influencing local beliefs somewhat.
When visiting a temple, follow all guidelines, such as removing shoes and wearing modest clothing that covers the shoulders and knees.
Pride of country is very much a part of the Thai psyche.
The national flag proudly flies in many places, and is raised and lowered daily while playing the national anthem.
It is not uncommon for people to stand and pause until the song is finished.
A visit to Thailand should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Start planning your journey to this most magnificent of countries today!
Do you have any additional travel tips for Thailand? If you do, comment below!
If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to help you plan your trip to Thailand, check out The Ultimate Guide to Trip Planning.
Always make sure your vacation is a life changing experience with Brillini Travels.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed, or simply do not have the time to plan your trip to Thailand, why not let us help you? We will create the perfect bespoke itinerary just for you!