Thailand is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Thailand has beautiful beaches, friendly people, exotic culture, tropical climate and delicious food.
However, before visiting Thailand, there’re a few things that tourists need to know. Especially, if this is your first time to this country.
Here are some things you should know before visiting Thailand!
Traffic is very crazy in Bangkok, scooters are everywhere, people driving against traffic are everywhere and no one cares about driving against traffic. Vehicles might come from wrong directions. Scooters and cars might not stop at red light, you should be careful when crossing or driving through a street.
If you have no experience driving a car or riding a scooter, than you should avoid driving in Bangok. The best way for you is to take a metered taxi or use the public transportation. And for new drivers and riders, it’s best to drive and ride in small town and island where traffic is low.
2 The weather is too hot
Most of people come to Thailand for the tropical climate. But from 11 AM to 4 PM temperature can be around 34-36°C (93-97°F). At night drops to 30°C (867°F). That's normal in Thailand, at least from March till August. In Winter, which lasts from December to February the temperature is around 28-32°C (82-89°F). Tropics means also high humidity.
April and March are the hottest months in Thailand, like seriously hot. You’ll sweat all the time outside. Come to Thailand in March or April only if you like hot weather. Put on some sun lotion, wear sunglasses and wear clothes that are comfortable.
3 Be respectful of the culture
In Thailand, 94% of Thais are Buddhists. Don’t do anything that doesn’t look respectable to their religion. Especially in temples, you must dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees. Avoid dressing like you are going to a night party.
Do respect monks - the monks you’ll encounter across Thailand are deeply religious people and should be shown reverence. Do not never pass anything directly to them — put the head down in front of them instead. If you’re a woman, you should never touch a monk. In fact, women are not supposed to stand close to a monk. If you’re a woman, You should leave a distance when a monk is in front of you.
4 Avoid using non-Metered taxi
Taxis are everywhere in Bangkok and can be a comfortable way to get around in the city. However, if you get into a taxi without meter it will cost you more money, likely you’re paying at least 2 times or 3 times more than a metered taxi.
Avoid the taxis lined up in front of tourist attractions. It’s likely they’re the non-metered taxi and they’ll charge you whatever they want. It’s better to walk a little bit to get away from the attraction and wave down a taxi on the roads passing by.
5 Motorbike rental scams
Renting a motorbike is a great way to explore the cities in Thailand. Especially, outside of Bangkok. But there’re things you should watch out for. When renting a motorbike usually the owner will probably ask for a cash deposit and might ask for your passport too. But when you bring the motorbike back to the shop the owner might point out to the marks and say “The bike has many marks around it” which you think look nothing different and they’ll take out the cash deposit out of the envelope and put it in their safe.
Thus, before leaving a rental shop, please check that they’re not scratched or damaged and take a photograph around the motorbike. If you see some scratches on it — ask the owner to make a note of it. Also check the brakes, lights and its overall condition. This way will keep you safe from scams, you can’t be held responsible for any damage that occurred before.
6 The temples is closed scams
There’re scams everywhere in Thailand. A common scam in Bangkok goes like this: a stranger approaches you and tell you that popular tourist attractions, like Grand Palace or Wat Pho have been closed for various reason and offer you a tuk tuk tour instead.
These scammers can look and talk convincingly, wear formal shirt with tourist police tags. They will be around the tourist attractions. You can avoid them by ignoring them as you will end up in either a gem store or a tailor shop to things you don’t want to see and buy. So, always check the opening hours before visiting any attraction.
7 Rainy season
Rainy season starts in April and May and lasts till October in Bangkok and till November in south of Thailand. The rainiest months are definitely September and October. Most days are rainy, although usually rain last for an hour or 2 hours, it can rain for 3 or 7 hours. Sometimes for a few days in a raw. In south of Thailand more. Thai rains are very strong! At few times per year the rain is so intense that after 1 hour of rain there is 20 cm(8 inches) of water on a street!
That’s why coming to Thailand in September and October is not advised. Best time to visit Thailand is January - February.
8 Food sharing in Thai culture
Dinning in Thailand will be different from what you might be used to. Thai people like to order many dishes and place them in the middle of the table. Friends or family sit around with a dish of rice and eat by sharing food.
Thai people love sharing food. Sometimes when you’re dining with Thai people, everyone will agree on a selection of meals to share and everyone will share the food that they have ordered. It’s like a mini buffet. I think it’s awesome because you can try many different Thai dishes.
9 Thailand has world’s biggest water fight
Thai water festival called “Songkran festival” is the beginning of the Thai New Year. It takes place in April every year from the 13th to 15th. It’s a massive festival which is celebrated all over Thailand. Everyone will splash water to each other on the streets by using buckets, water guns and anything else. Some people also mix powder with water and put it on strangers.
Songkran is not all about water splashing, every has parties like music events, foam parties and many more that you can enjoy during Thai New Year’s festival.
If you are heading to Thailand in April, be ready to get wet and have fun time. Everywhere you’re not safe from getting wet unless you have locked yourself in a hotel.
10 Street food you shouldn’t miss
Street food is a part of everyday life in Thailand. You can easily see on the street everywhere. There’s no better way to experience Thai food than eating from street stalls. But why you shouldn’t miss!! Here are some reasons — Thai street food are very cheap, you can get a $1 meal almost anywhere on the street. In some place it’s even less! And it’s delicious — it could be something as simple like Padthai. Eating street food has many benefits to you, it’s generally safe you can see what’s being cooked and it’s fresh.
Most of Thai people don’t have kitchen at home! Every day they just eat outside. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. That’s why there is always small restaurant on every corner of the street. Even in a small village with 8 houses. Very often food is sold from a small push cart or a trolley with plastic chairs around. It’s called ‘Street food’.
Where to find street food in Bangkok — as I’ve said, street food is all over Bangkok, but there is popular spot where will find an especially large amount of food to try. And this’s a place that you should check out.
Chinatown — known to locals as “Yaowarat” this is the place where you can find some real Thai food and Chinese food in Bangkok at quite reasonable price. The best time to go there is at night, all of the street food vendors come out and you’ll have many food options for your dinner.
Note: Avoid coming here on Monday because street vendors are not allowed to operate and hence many of them won’t be around.
Things you might like to read as well: Bangkok: 7 ways to get around on a budget