Traveling to Thailand may be a big adventure in an unknown world. Thailand is a beautiful destination with a lot of advantages: accommodation and food is cheap, food is delicious, touristic sites are amazing, and you can travel from Bangkok to the beach (Phuket) in only one hour by plane.
One of the most beautiful things about traveling to Thailand is the culture. You will not visit historical sites but will visit temples in the middle of a congregation adoring Buddha. This living and real spiritualism will change the way you see your world and even your life.
Read my tips to take the most of your trip in this paradisiacal country.
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Step 1: VISA Is Required
It doesn’t matter from which country you are traveling to Thailand, you will need a Visa, so plan ahead. The VISA is inexpensive and the printing is fast (for me it was around one week; check specifics in Thailand’s embassy in your country). This VISA will only be valid for a three-month period and one entry in the country.
Step 2: Contract Cab Services and Tours in Advance
After arriving in the airport you should go to your hotel by a private cab service. My suggestion is to book your cab (the travel agency can do it for you) or you can also use international cab companies (mobile application services). NEVER take a cab from the street.
For tours you can book them also in advance or while arriving in the hotel. This is the best way to take advantage of the time (tours are around 40 dollars per person).
Step 3: Respect Temples
Many tours will be in temples, you need to show respect. You should be silent, wear appropriately and never point your feet to Buddha. Many Thai people will come inside the temple to adore; this is normal. You can take pictures in some places with respect.
Step 4: Cover Your Legs and Shoulders
Wearing appropriately includes covering your legs and shoulders for both men and women. If the climate is very hot you can take in your backpack a pair of light trousers / long skirt that you can wear over your clothing.
Step 5: Bring a Pair of Socks in Your Backpack
Another rule is to enter temples without shoes so plan to take off your shoes several times. So do not wear the most expensive shoes neither those difficult to remove. A suggestion is to keep a pair of socks in your backpack if you are wearing sandals (for hygiene).
Step 6: Eat With the Spoon
Thai people consider eating with the fork inappropriate. It is like eating with the knife in America. You can use your fork to manage your food into the spoon but the only cutlery that can go into your mouth is a spoon.
Step 7: Bargaining Is Acceptable
While buying in the street keep in mind that bargaining is acceptable. Many vendors will show high prices because in the end, if you bargain, you can get half of the original price. It is also common that if you do not accept the original price the vendor himself will start making a lower proposal to start the bargain. Do not worry about the language; numbers are international so you will communicate with a calculator ;). Ensure you have enough Thailand Bahts with you in case some street sellers have no credit card paying option.
Step 8: No Kissing in Public, Only Holding Hands
Showing affection in public is not appropriate in Thai culture. You should only hold hands and reserve hugging and kissing in privacy.
Step 9: Do Not Touch Anyone's Head
In Thai culture the head is the highest part of the body (literally and spiritually) so it is unrespectful to touch anybody’s head even in a friendly way.
Step 10: Enjoy
Thai culture is fascinating. Follow these simple rules and enjoy the beautiful places and the warm-hearted Thai people that you will meet. Do not forget to try delicious Thai food: Pad Thai, Green Papaya salad, Sticky rice with mango… Go to a roof top in the city at night and enjoy the beautiful view.