Thailand is a wonderful country and after years of traveling and many places visited it’s still one of my favorite locations in the world.
Thailand is all about tropical Islands, delicious food, and amazing culture but there are also some other practical aspects you should consider before booking your ticket.
Whenever I’m headed to a new country I find it very important to know its customs and usages just to avoid unpleasant situations and to respect local people and their traditions as much as possible.
Here are 9 things you have to know before going to Thailand.
Things to know before going to Thailand
The official language in Thailand is Thai.
Luckily many people, especially in Bangkok and all the main touristic locations, speak English which makes the communication much easier.
People in Thailand appreciate greatly when tourists try to speak Thai so it’s a good idea to learn some basic phrases beforehand.
Here are some of the most useful ones:
- Thank you – kob khun ka (when pronounced by a woman) and kob khun khap (when pronounced by a man)
- Hello – sawatdee ka (for women) and sawatdee khap (for men)
- My name is – rao cheu (for women) and pom cheu (for men)
- How are you – sa bai dee mai
- Yes- Chai
- No – Mai Chai
The currency in Thailand is Thai Baht but credit cards are accepted in most places as well.
It’s always good to have a little bit of cash on you however so make sure to bring some with you or cash out at the airport.
Taxi drivers, for example, don’t usually accept credit cards so be prepared.
Depending on your bank there will be a commission applied when withdrawing the money.
3. Power Plugs and Sockets
The standard voltage in Thailand is 220V.
The electrical socket there will work fine for the travelers from the U.S, Asia, and Europe while everybody else should bring a travel adaptor or ask for assistance in the hotel/resort they are staying at.
In Thailand they drive on the left-hand lane while the driver sits on the right – it’s very important to remember this and stay focused in order to avoid accidents.
If you’re planning to rent a scooter or a car while visiting Thailand makes sure to bring an International Driving Permit with you.
In the recent years, more controls have been introduced so remember to always wear a helmet or put a seatbelt, respect the limits and never drive after drinking alcohol.
In most touristic locations in Thailand such as Bangkok there is a very heavy traffic all the time so drive slowly and stay focused.
5. Electronic cigarette
Electronic cigarettes are strictly forbidden by law in Thailand.
If you use them you risk very high fines and up to ten 10 years of prison.
Simply stay away from them to avoid any unpleasant situations.
6. Health Insurance
It is absolutely essential to buy a good health insurance before your trip to Thailand.
Sure, it is very unlikely (and let’s hope so) you will actually need to use it but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
In an event of an accident or an illness, you will be grateful to receive the best private medical assistance possible.
If you don’t own a health insurance Thai hospitals might simply not admit you and that will put your health at a huge risk – one which is definitely not worth taking.
7. Dress Code
It’s very important to dress in a respectful and appropriate way when visiting Thai temples and all the other places of worship.
Wear long pants and cover your shoulders and always take your shoes off before entering.
If you don’t respect those rules you simply won’t be allowed to enter a temple and will be asked to leave by one of the many guards.
For going around in cities and Islands just use common sense like you would back home, you don’t need to hide under layers of clothes but at the same time avoid nudity.
Public toilets in Thailand might be a bit different compared to what you are used to in your own country.
First of all, if toilet paper is provided there will probably be a sign saying not to flush it down but to throw it in a bin.
Secondly, toilet paper might actually not be there and be replaced with a water hose.
Sometimes you could come across the good old squat toilets as well but they are becoming more of a rarity these days.
However, if you are staying in a 5-star hotel or shopping at one of the amazing shopping malls in Bangkok you will find the ultra modern and advanced toilets like the on the picture below.
No matter what type of toilets you will find during your trip to Thailand the good thing is, most of the time they are kept clean and well-maintained and that’s the most important aspect.
Drinking tap water isn’t advisable while you’re in Thailand. Make sure to have your own bottle of good-quality water with you all the time.
I also tend to avoid ice cubes in my drinks, whenever it’s possible I just ask the waiter to not add it.
This might not be essential but I noticed I stopped feeling queasy during my trips to Thailand since I started doing that.