There is a lot more to see in Thailand than the busy streets of Bangkok and its quirky culture of food stalls and party scenes.
You will be overwhelmed by the fact that there are more towns outside the city that offers different textures of travel for your adventure-seeking soul. It would be hard for you to decide where to begin.
The best thing about Thailand is that it is friendly enough for first-time travelers, so you do not need to be intimidated. Just get on straight with what kind of trip you want, and you are all set.
To start the planning, here are eight tips on what to consider when traveling to the land of smiles.
Plan Your Trip Early
Plane tickets going to the other side of the globe can be exorbitant. But with the right timing on your planning, you can get tickets as low as the price of a trip going to another state.
Early planning means you can book cheaper tickets, cheaper hotel rooms, and you can even avail of some tour promos. What you can do right now is to set a date when you would like to visit Thailand, and then all else will follow after.
Check the Weather
It does not snow in Thailand, so leave your heavy jackets at home. However, they have three official seasons— hot, cool, and wet.
The hot season runs from March through June. But the best time to visit is during the cool and dry season, which is from November to April. But mind the pricing, peak seasons may mean higher cost.
If you want to scrimp on your budget, you can always choose to go during the monsoon season. Just do not forget to bring some rain jackets and an umbrella.
Map Out Your Destination
People sometimes overlook the fact that other than Bangkok, Thailand has a lot more gems to offer. You can add Chiang Mai on your list if you are after more natural scenery. It is also home to one of the largest elephant sanctuaries in the world.
If you are looking for some time in the sun and the ocean, Thailand’s southern region has some of the most pristine beaches in the country, and they are absolutely stunning. Phuket is a good option, but if you ask me, the less crowded Krabi is where I will head to.
Pack Clothes for Temple Visits
In Thailand, locals mostly practice Buddhism and Hinduism. So do not be surprised if you see temples line up the main roads and side streets. It is a close look at their culture and the country’s rich history.
As a sign of respect for their culture, make sure to fill your suitcase with a few wide-legged pants, long-sleeved shirts or scarves to cover your skin.
The temples are hands down beautiful but are warned, lines can belong, and it can be too crowded. But if you really want to take a look inside and if you are fortunate, meet some Buddhist monks praying in the temple, be patient during the long lines.
Pay Attention to Tricks and Scams
It is not surprising to learn of tricks and scams across tourist destinations anywhere in the world. Thailand is not spared from it.
Be mindful of tuk-tuk drivers who lures you into believing that the temples you want to visit are closed during that day and that they will bring you instead to a nearby shopping store which they could have been getting commissions from.
Pack Light and Leave Space for Shopping
Thailand is a haven for shopaholics. If you are in for some bargaining, head on over to Chatuchak Market for some real haggling. They have a variety of goodies from clothes to traditional trinkets.
There is also the Siam Paragon for some high-end shopping experience. So if you do not want to have a hard time zipping up your suitcase, pack light, and leave enough space for your shopping items.
Try the Street Food
They say that to really immerse yourself in a country’s culture, and you need to try their street food at least.
The challenge, however, is if you are willing to munch on scorpions and worms that you can find along the streets. Now, one thing that you should also remember when you find street food is that they charge a dollar if you will not buy but take a photo with it.
If you are not the type to try the exotic ones, you can also find some of the best mango sticky rice and a plate of pad thai along the streets.
Respect the Thai Culture
If you are just a mere visitor in a foreign place, it is customary to follow their traditions and rules so as not to come off as disrespectful of their culture.
In Thailand, avoid touching the head of a Thai person so as not to offend them. They consider the head to be the most sacred part of the body.
Pointing with your feet towards a person, an image of Buddha or their king is also considered to be disrespectful. Avoid it at all costs.
Thailand is a beautiful country to explore. It is not called the “Land of Smiles” for nothing. Take note of all these tips, and you will surely have a ton of a good time if you cannot help but air out your delight, just lower down your voice and tone down your excitement, especially when inside the temples.