10 quick tips to survive in Thailand
Although Thailand is an absolutely beautiful country with some of the most incredible sights and scenes on offer, there are still a few things you’ll need to know before flying out to the Asian paradise. Here are ten essential tips for you to know before jetting away.
Be aware of the traffic
Thailand holds an unfortunate statistic to its name – its roads are the second most lethal in the world. The traffic in the country is constant, busy and largely unregulated, meaning that you’ll find it to be a massive challenge trying to traverse the land in a vehicle. Stay away from the busy junctions and main roads and instead take the quieter routes. They may take longer but they pose less of a risk.
Embrace the food
Thailand’s street food is some of the best in the whole country. It’s all freshly prepared in front of you and for ridiculously cheap prices. Bangkok thrives with the best examples of street food such as noodles and curries, at prices that are usually equivalent to less than a British pound. Go ahead and try some – you’ll find some stalls could beat some restaurants in terms of taste and price!
Lost in translation
Sure, the locals would appreciate it if you knew a slight bit of the Thai language, but be aware that it isn’t easy to grasp. Tones play a massive part in speaking Thai, and so saying something in one tone could mean something completely different! And that’s not to mention the fact that the Thai alphabet consists of 44 consonants and 32 vowels. It’d be a fun challenge trying to master the art, but maybe stick to your “khob khun ka”s for now.
Although it’s not applicable if you’re bathing in the turquoise Thai waters in your swimming costume, it’s expected for you to be covered up when possible. Don’t expose your shoulders or chest when entering a temple, and always wear relatively smart clothing – smart casual will do! As long as you don’t look unkempt and exposed, you’ll fit in just fine.
Take your shoes off
When entering any temple, religious building, home or a majority of shops in Thailand, you’ll have to take your shoes off. As your feet are the furthest thing away on your body from your head (the part of your body with the highest importance) they’re considered dirty and physically and spiritually lesser. This is a shared value throughout the country, so keep it in the forefront of your mind.
Avoid making a cultural faux pas
There are a lot of different cultural values and practices that you’ll have to obey and embrace in order to fit in. Every day people will stop to hear Thailand’s national anthem, played on every TV and radio station as well as in public spaces at 8am and 6pm. It isn’t hard to miss, but respect the locals and stop with them. Also, be careful not to say anything negative about Buddhism or any religious sites, as it will cause great offence.
Learn how to haggle
Marketplaces are big and frequent in Thailand, and if you’re easy to spot as a tourist, be prepared to haggle your way through the stalls. Often enough vendors will hike up prices knowing that you’re not a local, but you can easily negotiate the cost down – even to half the original asking price if you’re good enough!
With so much to see and do throughout the country, it’s important that you take your time and savour all it has to offer. Pick the best temples to visit instead of rushing through them all, and perhaps create an itinerary that gives you an equal balance of exploring and relaxing. Thailand is full of incredible sights and historical scenes, so don’t try and fit it all in at once. Who knows – it might entice you enough to come back!
Know the local emergency numbers
With the risk of theft and bag-snatching in Thailand, you’re going to want to know the numbers to call if you find yourself in danger. 1Cover’s handy guide includes those you’ll need for all parts of the world, as the frequency of tourists having their bags taken from thieves on motorbikes has grown recently. There’s a special tourist line for you to phone if you need to, but stay vigilant and aware that there’s potential for crime.
Don’t feel overwhelmed. Thailand is a beautiful country with so much to offer – whether you desire to lose yourself in the bustle of Bangkok or retreat to the seclusion of the Phi Phi Islands, there’s something for everyone. It’s important to let yourself go and have fun, as there’s an abundance of it to be had wherever you go.