Whenever you are traveling abroad there are important things you need to know.  From culture to currency every country is different. We have put together a list of 10 things you should know when traveling to Thailand so that you are ready to walk through customs & get that stamp.

  1. Money Stuff: If you plan on doing anything outside a resort be sure to have cash on hand.  The higher end restaurants & some adventures take credit cards, but for the most part it’s a cash only country.  You can exchange your currency for Baht at the airport or any bank. Be sure to keep small bills, especially for taking tuk tuk’s, tips & making deals in the markets.  A smart tip when traveling anywhere outside the US is to separate your cash.  If you get pulled over by police they may want everything you have.  Keep a small amount of money in a separate spot to pull out and hand that over instead of showing them your full wad.
  2. Meeting & Greeting: When being introduced or greeting someone, men say “Sawadee-kap” and women say “Sawadee-kah.” For thank you, men say “ kob kun kab” and women “kob kun ka.”
  3. Respect at the Temples: When visiting temples wear or bring something to cover your shoulders & wear pants or a dress that covers your knees. Shoes must be removed before you enter.
  4. Feet: Never point your feet at anyone or use your feet to move anything or touch anyone. Feet are regarded as unclean and symbolically (as well as physically) the lowest part of the body.
  5. Toilet Talk: This is a no flush country, trash bins next to the pot.  There’s a 50/50 chance a bathroom will even have toilet paper.  If you know you gotta go bring your own toilet paper.  TP can multi-purpose as napkins, some restaurants only give you 1 tiny one if any at all.
  6. Luggage: Pack light, you can get it all there. Buy some cheap & tropical dresses, elephant tank tops & fisherman pants there.  Bring a backpack not a suitcase, especially if you are island hopping by boat or even planes.  Depending on the island and the tide the boats may let you off ¼ mile from the shore and you have to walk through knee high water. Other times you have to walk across multiple boats to get onto the dock. People dragging bulky suitcases or high heels just don’t fit in.
  7. Pollution: In Bangkok, Chiang Mai or other large cities pollution is an issue.  Bring or buy a mask or buff .  Save yourself the headache, cover your nose & mouth starting on day 1.
  8. Travel Days: Getting around Thailand is pretty cheap & easy if you do your research.  There’s a good chance you will be taking a tuk tuk to a boat to a taxi to a plane to a taxi to a boat to a tuk tuk before reaching your next destination.  Know your timetables and figure out how long it will take to get to the ferry or airport.  Always give yourself more time.
  9. Immunizations & Bugs: Get the CDC recommended shots.  If you are prone to getting sea/car sick bring motion sickness bracelets. (LINK: These are our favorites.)   Travel by boat, especially long boats, can be very loud, bring earplugs.  Its tropical, there are bugs.  We wear bug bands, they aren’t super cool looking but they work!  Our go to all natural bug spray is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.
  10. Tipping: Give a little bit or more if you’ve got it and you loved it.  It’s not mandatory but it’s the nice thing to do.  A little bit goes a long way in this country. 15-20% is recommended.

We hope our tips help you when you travel to Thailand.  For a bucket list of what to do when you get to Thailand check out our, “The Top 20 Things to do in Thailand.” Be smart, pack light & have fun!


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