Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thailand Travel Tips

As I have mentioned in some previous posts, I went on vacation in May, to Thailand. Before leaving and while there I learned many things and picked up some tips and advice on how to travel around in that part of the world.

The total time I spent away was 16 days, including travel time, so there really wasn't much time.

We spent a few days in the capital, Bangkok, then headed south to the islands. I would love to go back some day and see the north of Thailand, but there just wasn't enough time on this trip to see everything.

Our vacation did not go smoothly the entire time. We did have fun, but there were times we wished we were elsewhere.

After all our adventures and misadventures in Thailand I figured putting together a tips and advice post would be helpful to anyone considering traveling in South East Asia.

1. It's hot in Thailand!

You don't need much, bring shorts, t-shirts and many bathing suits. A good pair of walking sandals, such as Birkenstocks will suffice. Forget the maxi dresses and skirts, way too hot for those two, a couple short and flawy dresses are perfect for going out at night. 

2. Avoid using taxis

There are many ways to get around in Thailand, and many of them are much cheaper and just as easy to use as a taxi. Tuktuks are a great and fun way to get around within a city or island. Going longer distances, using a bus or a train is just as easy and, in my opinion, a lot more fun than a taxi. If you absolutely must use a taxi, make sure they put on the meter, it will cost you less. 

3.  Haggle, haggle, haggle!

The way you purchase many items and services in Thailand is by negotiating the price with the vendor. If you don't haggle, you'll end up paying way too much. Expect the initial price of some things to sound overtly high, that's because there is then room to haggle and get the price lower where both the seller and buyer are happy with the sale. 

4. Don't go on touristy elephant treks, do your research!

Elephants are Thailands most loved animals. They have been part of the labour force for centuries and now a booming tourist industry. Unfortunately, there are many places where elephants are merely used for tourists' entertainment and are not treated the best. Attractions such as elephant rides or treks are often the worst place to see and interact with elephants. There are many sanctuaries as well as national parks where elephants have room to roam, are taken care of and they don't have to work from dawn 'til dusk in unfavourable circumstances. Make sure you give your money to a worthy elephant keeper and not a tourist trap.

5. Avoid dehydration!

Thailand, being a very hot and humid country, makes it hard on tourists. It can be very easy to get sick there. The food can be a shock to the system, the heat can be hard to handle, the long days visiting in the hot sun, it can all take its toll on the body. I was advised by my doctor before going to bring some electrolyte packets to take if I ever start feeling unwell. Let me tell you, those electrolytes work wonders. Taking a pack in half a bottle of water makes you feel instantly better. Drinking lots and lots of water is also very important in such a high heat.

Those are just a few tips and some advice for anyone planning to travel to Thailand.

Remember to never leave your personal belongings unattended, no matter how safe and comfortable you feel.


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