Obviously, I love to travel, so I have a whole lotta love for a whole lotta places.
Thailand tops that list.
Between the temples, tigers, elephants, food, and festivities, it’s a one-stop shop for culture, adventure, and fun.
I am sure you’ve seen one too many elephant and tiger selfies on your Instagram feed, and kind-of-sort-of know that one person from uni that courageously moved to Thailand to teach English. A Southeast Asia series seems to be the new “EuroTrip,” and you’re jumping on the bandwagon for a glorious adventure. It’s going to be everything you expected and more.
Give yourself a couple weeks to sample of one of my favorite destinations in the world. Here’s a few tips from a gal who has spent some proper time in the Land of Thailand and reached out to every Brit and Oz who had been to Thailand for real-life tips.
1. Don’t take the train.
Anywhere in the world, but especially in Thailand, if you cannot afford a flight, opt for a clean, air-conditioned charter bus that translates into a guaranteed seat and stops every four hours. Trains sell more tickets than they do seats, jerk every few minutes with their frequent stops, are boiling hot with complimentary dirt flying in through the windows to stick to your glistening face, and of course are an easy medium for theft.
2. Ferries do sell out during peak times, as does accommodation.
I know winging it sounds amazing, but you won’t feel so fly when you’re stranded or homeless. Google peak times to confirm that you can wing it.
3. Some places have a minimum night stay. Take it and book it, even if you aren’t staying the entire time.
For the cost of a few dollars, you’ll have a secure location in the given area. Transportation overseas isn’t always easy. You don’t want to be on another island or in a nearby town and stuck. Usually, if there is a minimum stay, you should actually stay that long anyway because there are that many great things to do there ;)
4. Thailand is not as “cheap” as you would think.
Yes, if you are going to backpack, stay in bungalows, only eat street food, live like a local, and skip all tourist attractions, Thailand can be ridiculously affordable.
But guess what? You’re on holiday so you’ll likely be off on some adventures and having a few drinks. Furthermore, a lot of Thailand’s locations aren’t off-the-beaten path, which means they are going to charge you like a tourist. If you’re American, where the cost of living is relatively low compared to, say, Australia or Europe, it will seem even less cheap for dining, drinks, and activities ($20 for a casual sit down meal, $10 drinks at the bar, etc). You’ll end up altering between Thai “nice” and “back-packer.”
That being said, accommodation can be very cheap or very expensive, depending on how you choose to live.
Unless you can hang like a total backpacker and are down to eat Pad Thai three times a day, be fiscally prepared to have a comfortable time.
5. Go to the Full Moon Party – – Plan your trip around making it happen.
Stay for five nights. Don’t go all the way to Koh Phangan for only one night of the Full Moon Party. There is so much more to it.
6. Invest your time outside of Bangkok.
Personally, I prefer beaches and tropical jungles to a concrete jungle. To each their own. This city in particular wasn’t for me.
7. Spend at least five days in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
I’d argue that there is nothing like these places in the world. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are what gives a trip to Thailand character.
8. Get a SIM card for data at the airport.
That way you can use Google Translate, XE Currency, and Google any costs that sound like a rip off.
Chances are it is a rip off, so bargain.
9. Pre-game? Pre-Drinks? Buy drinks at 7-Eleven.
Thai people love their 7-Elevens…that and “Friends” re-runs.
10. Do the touristy things. Stop being above “tourist.”
Yes, you can be a “traveler” and enjoy ziplining through the jungle, receiving hugs from elephants, cuddling tigers, getting Thai massages, and exploring temples.
It’s part of the fun, and you don’t have to justify it to anyone.
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