Travelling to Thailand is definitely an exciting experience. It has everything you could want from a tropical paradise: sandy beaches, waterfalls, amazing street food and magnificent temples. Although its pleasant sunny climate is what adds to its appeal, it sometimes starts to rain unexpectedly. While carrying an umbrella around it’s a good idea, don’t ruin a good pair of shoes (it can get pretty dirty. Even in big cities). So be sure to pack these amazing waterproof boots too.
Thailand is a beautiful country, no doubt, but what makes it really great is its friendly and cheerful people. No wonder it’s known as the “Land of Smiles”. You can always be sure of a warm welcome. However, there are seven key things to know before embarking on a trip to this tropical paradise. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law simply because you’re not informed.
1. Respect royalty
I put this first on the list because Thais have great respect for their king and the royal family. Be careful not to offend, mock, or say negative things about the royal family. Thais won’t take it kindly. They worship their king and see him as a father figure and a symbol of morality.
In addition, the national anthem is played daily in all public places, radio stations and television stations at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At this point, you should stop any activity you are doing and be vigilant.
2. Learn about Thai customs
Show respect for local customs and culture; it’s probably going to go a long way. For starters, it’s not appropriate for you to touch a person’s head. The head is considered sacred and a place where the soul rests.
Speaking of the sacred, when you enter a temple, you must first take off your shoes. Women should wear clothing that covers their knees and elbows when visiting Buddhist temples. Finally, do not point your feet at others or images in the temple. According to Buddhists, feet are the dirtiest part of the body and it is disrespectful to point them out to anyone.
3. Tuk-tuks are not always cheap
When you first look at these automatic rickshaws, you’ll assume they’re a cheap means of transportation. However, the price of a tuk-tuk trip can cost twice the amount of a taxi. So be careful with the tuk-tuk you get on. Set a price before your journey begins. Even then, it’s something you should try at least once.
4. Beware of good deals
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. While most Thais are friendly and honest, when you are in a particularly touristic place, you will surely encounter a scammer or two. Do your due diligence on the sites you want to visit and make sure they are open for business. A taxi driver may lie to you that a certain site is closed and offer to take it to another so that you can charge a commission.
5. Your English can be difficult to understand
While you may have difficulty understanding your English from time to time, you will have no difficulty being understood. The good thing is, if they detect that you didn’t understand what they said, they’ll help you until they’re sure you understand. You’ll also find fewer communication problems in big cities. Although, in some remote places, some locals do not speak English at all. Consider learning some basic phrases beforehand. That always helps make traveling anywhere in that language an easier problem.
6. Thais are fast
People here don’t walk; they walk briskly and expect you to do the same. Aside, the workers here are also super fast. When you eat, don’t be surprised if you sort something and get it in a minute. This standard applies on the streets, people usually expect you to be fast and not waste time. Even when you talk.
7. Thailand has a variable climate throughout the year.
The climate here changes from time to time, which raises the question of when you should visit Thailand. Most people agree that the best time to visit is during the cool and dry seasons. This falls anywhere between November and March. The rainy season falls between May and November.
Also, keep in mind that a tropical climate means it can be very humid. The other thing is that the south gets more rain. If you are one of those people who wants to visit a country during the hottest months, then be a holiday in May or June.