I’ve been to Thailand twice now & it’s definitely one of my favorite countries in Southeast Asia for the budget traveler. I have had so many friends ask me about tips for Thailand that I felt I needed to do a blog post. Here are my top 10 tips for traveling Thailand!
1. CASH IS KING!
Always have a sufficient amount of cash on you, especially smaller bills than 1000 Thai Baht (which is equivalent to around 30USD). I found that ATMs typically give you 1000s, which is too big of a bill for normal taxi rides, street foods & small vendors. Try and get change for 500 and 100 THB. Some places do accept credit cards like malls, fancy restaurants, & stores.
2. MAKE SURE TAXI METERS ARE ON!
I found a lot of taxi drivers tend to be on the shady side if you are a tourist/foreigner. Instead of turning on the meter, they will say a price like 500 baht & get you to agree, when the ride is usually around 300 baht. In the touristy areas, taxi drivers will kick you out of taxis when you ask them to turn on the meters, since they know they can just jip another unsuspecting tourist easily. There is a hot-line where you can report taxi drivers who do this, the sign is at the airport in the taxi area. I took a picture of it & when a driver would refuse to turn on the meter, I would show them the pic.
3. POCKET WIFI & POWER BANK
WIFI is a lifesaver in foreign countries. Rent one at whichever airport you land at for the duration of your trip. Most have a reservation system online you can do prior to your trip, and you can simply pick it up once you land. Always have a fully charged power bank for your pocket wifi & your phone (you will be out & about most of the day so there will be no outlets readily available)
4. GOOGLE MAPS
Always have Google Maps on when taking a taxi or tuk tuk, drivers tend to take longer ways in order to charge you more. Also, it’s super handy when you’re searching for restaurants or your next landmark!
5. MASSAGE EVERYDAY!
Do I need to say more? 1 hour full body Thai massages on average are around $8. You can definitely find cheaper or more expensive depending on the area (more expensive in touristy areas) Super nice spas range around $15. After a long tiring day of sight seeing, massages are the best!
6. PACK LITTLE & SHOP FOR THE REST
I have a bad habit of packing way too much clothes when I travel & I have come to realize I end up not wearing more than half of it. I always end up shopping & buying more clothes that are more fitting of the weather & country I am in. Everything is quite cheap in Thailand so you can easily buy a whole new wardrobe if need be! Plus, you don’t want to overpack so you can leave space for all the souvenirs & extra shopping! 🙂
7. NEGOTIATE & BARTER
Don’t do this in a fancy mall or stores that have set prices. Negotiate and barter when you’re out on the streets or at a outdoor market shopping for souvenirs & clothes. Try 1/3 of what they’re telling you and then settle around half. Another little tip is negotiate tour prices as well, this was something I did not know about. I found that we paid double of what some other tourists on our tour paid!
8. EAT STREET FOODS
The BF & I found street food & small local restaurants to be the yummiest! Cheap, authentic & delicious. We checked out some highly rated restaurants like Thipsamai (known to be the best pad thai) & we were pretty disappointed. Overpriced, crowded with tourists, and taste was mediocre. My general rule is EAT WHERE THE LOCALS EAT 🙂
9. GRAB & UBER VS TAXIS
Download the app Grab! It’s like Uber but only in Southeast Asia! I found Grab to be cheaper than Uber most of the time. Just open both apps & do a quick price estimation to your destination. Also, I feel more comfortable with these apps versus taxis because you know exactly how much it’s going to cost & there’s no shady business. Another plus is that the driver will tend to know some English! I use taxis when I don’t have the time to wait around because hailing a taxi takes less than 30 seconds.
10. WET WIPES & MEDICINE
Always carry tissues & wet wipes everywhere you go! Public restrooms tend to not have toilet paper or you have to pay for a couple of pieces. Street stalls rarely have tissue for you! I always carry around Immodium or Pepto Bismal pills just in case any of the foreign food doesn’t sit well. The BF & I found that taking Align Probiotic pills daily during the duration of our trip helped tremendously in eating any foreign foods. The probiotic pills are a must have in our travel bag!
These are my top tips & I hope it helps you on your trip to Thailand! Feel free to comment below if you have any tips I have missed or if you want to say Hello 🙂