Thailand has been a traveler’s top choice for decades. From gorgeous beaches to a welcoming and exotic culture, there is plenty to love about this destination. As you prepare to travel, keep in mind the cultural expectations that will influence your trip. Here’s all you need to know while traveling in Thailand.
Thai is the national language and consists of two major dialects: Central Thai and Southern Thai. Northern Thai is a language spoken by natives in the northern provinces that were once part of the kingdom of Lan Na. English is a widely spoken language in Thailand as well.
You may wish to carry a sarong with you to cover up your waist or shoulders when you are near places of worship and rural areas. Dressing modestly is an essential part of Thai culture so remember to stay covered. Many locals dress in silk and lightweight fabrics to keep cool while remaining covered in long sleeves. Flip-flops are a completely excepted footwear option given the etiquette of taking your shoes off before entering places of worship.
When you’re eating, be like the locals and use a spoon as your utensil of choice. In most places, you will dine with a fork and a spoon. The fork is used to guide the food onto the spoon gently. You are not to stab any meat or veggies using the fork. Don’t use your left hand to put food in your mouth as it is seen as unclean. Do be patient as slow food service is expected at most restaurants. It is unlikely that everyone’s food will come out at the same time.
Thailand has some of the most congested traffic in the world, and accidents occur frequently. Be sure to take a ride in a tuk-tuk at least once to get the true Thai experience. Just make sure you can agree on a price with the driver before your ride starts. If you are limited on time, rely on flights to travel. Trains are also a quick way to get around, as are first-class sleeper buses. You can also use GrabTaxi, a ride-sharing service like Uber.
Be sure that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months prior to leaving your home state. If your passport expires over the upcoming few months or weeks, Customs may refuse to let you in. Be sure to take a compatible adapter with you. In Thailand, you can find plug types A, B, and C.
Although it can be pricey in general, Thailand offers five-star hotel stays at relatively affordable rates for most middle-class Americans. Backpacker hostels go for $8 to $25 per night. If you can pay more, pay around $50-$80 for a hotel with amenities. For luxurious hotels, pay between $100-$300 per night. Popular areas are Chiang Mai, a busy city, and Phuket, a beachy area with attractions.
It is illegal to bring a Buddha statue home with you. Buying a Buddha image and taking it outside of Thailand is illegal without a license. Most buy elephant statues instead. You will see Buddha statues for sale everywhere, so this law can be confusing for tourists.
As a tropical country, Thailand is hot and humid and experiences both rainy and dry seasons. The best time to visit Thailand is between November and the start of April, during the cooler season. Average temperatures go between 84 and 97 degrees. The cheapest flights are available in September.
Avoid Full Moon parties in Ko Pha-ngan. Although it can be fun to socialize, these parties can get out of control and are best avoided by tourists who are unfamiliar with them. Avoid Khao San Road, as it has a negative reputation for being too touristy and run-down.
Most land in Thailand rests at an average elevation of about 942 feet above sea level. The highest peak reaches an altitude of 8415 feet above sea level.
The official currency of Thailand is Thailand Baht. One Thai Baht is equal to 0.031 USD.
There are many things to experience while visiting Thailand. From tropical beaches, authentic cuisine, and festivals, there is never a dull moment. Go with the flow and follow these suggestions for a successful trip.