Exploring Thailand - A few helpful tips for those exploring Thailand and the beautiful islands of the Andaman Sea
Thailand is an epic destination, this is place is beautiful, the people here are extremely friendly and the islands of the Andaman sea are something out of a travelers dream. When it's cold stateside many people plan trips to Thailand so I thought I would put together some travel tips and thoughts before you head to this region of the world for the first time. Have a quick read at this post to arm yourself with some extra knowldge...
Doing research goes hand in hand with traveling - it's so important to research places you are visiting before just making a fool out of yourself. Especially if you've never visit Thailand before I really recommend reading far more that just this post - to begin my top ten tips for visiting Thailand safely and efficiently:
1. Utilize the taxi bus and the taxi boat - there are many interesting ways to get around these islands and regions, it's important to do it safely and cost-effectively if you only have so much saved for your Thailand trip.
2. Know the exchange rate off the top of your head - after just googling the exchange rate I know that 35TB = $1 so doing some quick math before you bargain with a taxi driver can really help out: 70TB = $2 ... 180TB = $5 ... ~350TB = $10 ... if you're good at quick math you'll be able to tell if the driver is giving you a deal or trying to rip you off. Keep this in mind: most Thais don't TIP however when we did have an exception meal we did leave a little extra for service and to show our appreciation for the amazing meal.
3. The people in Thailand are really nice - speaking of ripping people off always keep your eyes out for this. We found the people in Thailand to be some of the kindest, sweetest people in the entire world. However, you must always be aware of scam, theft (keep your belongings/passports, expensive items locked in safes) and vendors trying to rip you off. I remember laying on the beach on the Phi Phi island and some younger man approached with a monkey, set in on me, next thing I know (after taking a photo with it) they are asking us for money we weren't looking for a show at all. Just learn to politely say no and enjoy the beaches. Use this tip as a point of caution, we never encountered a single incident during our month spent in Thailand - the land of many smiles.
4. Learn some local phrases, sometimes this can go a really long way. We went a restaurant where they gave us a little cheat-sheet with some Thai phrases on it, everywhere we travel to we try our best to learn common courtesies to be able to thank people and show politeness. Don't be that ignorant traveler expecting everyone to speak English
5. Night Bazaar (night time street markets) are quite amazing - we highly recommend checking out the local markets wherever you travel to. We found this amazing night bazaar during our time in Chang Mai, Thailand - you can read about it here on Lonely Planet. Try some local Thai street food, purchase a few souvenirs for your friends + family and experience markets with deep traditions.
6. Please drink both of the following items for me while your visiting Thailand: Singha beer and Tiger.
7. Please enjoy the following two dishes for me while your visiting Thailand: Massaman curry and Thai Banana Pancakes (those street stands tend to have the best Thai pancake).
8. Grab a bandana or thin scarf for those tuk-tuk, taxi bus rides: the pollution in certain cities (Bangkok) of Thailand can really bother your immune system and really throw off an entire vacation. Throw a few extra bandanas/thin face scarf to cover your nose and mouth during open vehicle rides; you can thank me later for this tip.
9. Be adventurous on your Thai trip - we tried and did a number of activities outside our comfort zones during our month spent traveling Thailand. To name a few: getting tattoos on Koh Phi Phi, partying and watching the fire spinning on Phi Phi island and renting a motorbike to explore Big Buddha in Phuket, Thailand. It's great to step outside your typical travel itinerary and get after some adventure
10. Relax and watch a beautiful sunset while you enjoy a cold drink on the beautiful beaches of Thailand. This isn't exactly a tip but a suggestion as this place is so beautiful don't take it for granted but instead soak in each and every moment - especially the beautiful Thai sun setting against the Andaman sea
Thanks for reading... until next time! ~MYT
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