Everything you need to know before visiting Thailand

Well hello to you my reader chums! Thailand is a beautiful country that should be on everyone's bucket list to see at least once in their lifetime. Its crazy capital city, beautifully-crafted temples, picture-perfect islands and some of the friendliest locals you'll ever meet are a few reasons to visit.

Everything to know before visiting Thailand


Thailand is wonderful in so many different ways but before you visit, here are a few things you need to know.

Traffic is crazy 

Everything to know before visiting Thailand

I don't think anything prepared me for the crazy traffic Thailand had. There were millions upon millions of motorbikes with a combination of tuk-tuks, cars, coaches, lorries and every other vehicle on the road. What surprised me the most was the number of motorbikes, pollution and how dangerous the driving was out there. If you're going to hire a motorbike, be very wary especially if you're in the bigger cities. On the islands, traffic has a more slow pace so it's safer to hire one there. Alternatively, tuk-tuks are their version of a cheap taxi and you can usually haggle a price with the driver. Or, Grab is the app to download out there, as it's their version of Uber, and depending on which area you're in determines the Grab price. For example, in Chiang Mai Grab's were really cheap but I found them to be much more expensive in Phuket.

It's a very hot climate

Thailand is undoubtedly hot all year round and has a dry and rainy season. The dry season is from November to February and rainy season is June to October. The dry season is the hottest time to go with temperatures reaching 40 degrees and more, and usually the busiest time for tourists to visit. The rainy season is still hot but rain is more prominent which will naturally make the air cooler.

Everything to know before visiting Thailand

As it is so hot, it's really important to stay protected from the sun and that means suncream, a hat, SPF lip balm and bug spray.

Everything is super cheap

The real cost when travelling to Thailand is the flights. Once you arrive there, everything is dirt cheap. You can get dinner for the equivalent of a pound, and accommodation, taxis and excursions for very low prices. You can really do the trip on a very low budget, especially if you stay in dorm hostels and eat street food.

The currency 

In Thailand, their currency is Thai Baht. £1 is around 40 Thai Baht, and although the exchange rate can go up and down, it's best to figure money out with that ratio in mind. When you add things up out there, you'll realize how insanely cheap things are! You can change up Thai Baht before you leave home, at the airport or take it out at an ATM - there are loads around.

Visas

Something you need to check before you go is visas. If you're from the UK, you get a free entry without a visa up to 30 days but if it's anything longer than that, then you'll need to get a tourist visa. My boyfriend and I were there for 5 weeks so we had to apply for a tourist visa which was around £35 each. Always check as you don't want to be queuing up on arrival to buy one!

The country is very touristy

One thing that really surprised me about Thailand was just how touristy it really was. The majority of the country was westernised with its food scene and there are hundreds of tourists centres available wherever you travel in the country. There you can book tours, excursions, plane tickets, boat tickets and more.

Although the level of tourism does take away the authenticity appeal of Thailand, you still can't help but fall in love with the beautiful country, its locals and sights.

Choose the right animal sanctuaries


Everything to know before visiting Thailand

As Thailand is so heavy in tourism, they try to make a lot of money off wild animals such as elephants, tigers and monkey as often tourists haven't come close to them before - and therefore would pay for an encounter. However, there are a lot of companies in Thailand that abuse animals in some way in order to put on certain shows and tours. If you do want to visit an elephant sanctuary, for instance, I wrote all about how to choose the right elephant sanctuary.

Don't expect the food to be served at the same time

Everything to know before visiting Thailand

In local family restaurants and cheap eateries, don't expect your food to come out together if you're dining with someone else. As traditional Thai food is all cooked fresh, in smaller eateries, they usually cook meals one by one.

Family restaurants are the norm

A lot of restaurants will be run by Thai families and those on the cheaper end will often have families on duty the whole time - and their kids too. You'll see toddlers running around, mothers nursing their children and babies sleeping. Smaller restaurants feel like you're dining in a family home and it's strange to get used to at first but very comforting and authentic.

Carry your own tissues and sanitizer 

Public toilets in Thailand are completely different to what we have back in the UK. Picture dingy beach public toilets but worse. Quite often, public toilets in Thailand don't have toilet paper or hand wash that it's important to carry your own if you want to stay clean. Also, in some public places, you'll come across a squat toilet which is literally a hole in the ground.

Take probiotics and stomach relief medicine

Restaurants and vendors in Thailand don't have the same health and safety regulations than we do in the UK and Europe that often it's not prepared in the cleanest fashion. As this is the case, your stomach won't be prepared for this bacteria and could result in you getting ill. To prepare your stomach, take probiotics a few weeks before you go and whilst you're there, and if you still do get sick, ensure you have enough stomach medicine.

Experience the street food scene


Everything to know before visiting Thailand

Thailand is renowned for its street food scene. Wherever you go in the country, you'll discover street vendors selling a selection of fresh food from traditional Thai noodles dishes to pancakes. The street food scene is the best way to eat cheaply when in Thailand and taste authentic flavours. However, do be wary of which stall you're eating from, as some stalls are more hygienic than others.

Insects and lizards are common

Thailand is a hot country so you'll need to get used to bugs and lizards outside and in your hotel room - especially if it's cheaper accommodation. Invest in bug spray or for a longer period of time travelling, the anti-mosquito bracelets.

Jabs 

Before you head to Thailand, you'll need to check with your Dr what jabs you may require. My Dr gave me Hepatitis A and Typhoid, and my boyfriend also got the Meningitis vaccine. It all depends on what you've already had - but it's better to be safe than sorry. You don't want to get very ill that far away from home!

Be respectful


Everything to know before visiting Thailand

Thailand is the land of smiles but it's also home to plenty of different temples. If you decide to go temple hopping (which you 100% should), be respectful and dress appropriately. That means covering your shoulders and knees and more often than not, taking off your shoes. As a sign of etiquette, you should always take off your shoes when being asked. This could be outside a local home, restaurant or shop.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you visiting Thailand?

Thank you for reading <3


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