10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to Thailand

Traveling to Thailand for the first time?

Thailand is adventurous, welcoming and a foodie lovers paradise.

From the idyllic beaches in the south, to the elephant sanctuaries and cuisine in the north, Thailand has a little something for everybody.

So, it’s no surprise why millions of visitors flock to Thailand every year.

Did you know Bangkok’s real name? It’s the longest name in the world! But for real…

Try saying this!…

 “KrungThepMahaNakhonAmonRattanakosinMahintharaAyutthayaMahadilokPhop NoppharatRatchathaniBuriromUdomRatchaniwetMahasathanAmonPhimanAwatan SathitSakkathattiyaWitsanuKamprasit” 

The country, while on the smaller size, really packs a big punch. There was so much to do, explore and learn during my time there.

Let this list be your guide before you go on your trip to Thailand!

Pah Thai and Tom Yum Kung prepared at the Thai Farm Cooking School outside of Chiang Mai

1. Food Service: Food orders for the entire party are not served together. Appetizers are not necessarily served before the main course. Sometimes, but not always.

2. BumGuns: Thailands sewage system is not very good and you can’t deposit toilet paper in the toilets. Instead, you throw it in a small waste basket besides the toilet.

3. Overpacking: Don’t overpack: clothes are really cheap in Thailand and you can get away with wearing the same thing a couple of times. Laundry is available at most hotels and hostels or do laundry yourself in the bathroom sink. If you decide to wash things in the sink. The humidity and intensity of the sun will dry them out in a half of day if left outside or on a balcony

TukTuk drivers are eager for your business in Thailand. They can be found all over cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai

4. Grab & TukTuks: if you can’t safely operate a scooter, use Grab or a TukTuk. Grab is basically Uber, download the app before you head off to Thailand. Set a price with a TukTuk driver before you agree to the ride.

5. Not Having enough cash, aka Baht: you need lots of baht as most restaurants, shops, and places of business do not accept credit cards. If they do, they charge a 3-4% fee.

Traveler Tip: Restaurants, Hotels and shops charge you a 7% VAT. VAT is Value-added tax on consumption goods and services

6. Pollution: is terrible in Chiang Mai and even worse in Bangkok! I understand why the Thai people have been wearing masks for years when they walk, drive or scooter around. A few days walking around without a mask and you’ll start to feel it in your nose and chest. It’s really bad, bring masks and wear them outside.

7. Shopping: The shopping is absolutely endless in Bangkok. Shopping mall after shopping plaza, after night market after street stalls. I think you could spend weeks in Bangkok just shopping

8. Mosquito Rackets: These are a thing and are glorious and hilarious to watch Thais use them. I don’t know why I find this fascinating but it’s mostly likely because I’ve never seen them before and the snap of the wrist and the crackle of the net when a mosquito is hit is so satisfying lol

common grounds coffee in Koh Phangan, Thailand

9. Motorbikes & Scooters: Forget renting a car, and if you can operate a motorcycle, rent a scooter instead. You can rent a scooter for about $5USD per day. $5! Scooters can zip in and out of traffic, hardly use any gas and are super affordable. Use them to buzz around town.

10. SIM card: I dont care what service provider you have, elect to get a SIM card for your time in Thailand. IDAC was our preferred choice and it didn’t let us down once. The 4G service is faster than my home wi-fi in the states, it’s kind of crazy the efficiency and speed of the network.

Book Your Trip Now!

Below are my favorite companies I use time and time again when I book my travel. 

  • Rakuten – Get the Best Coupons & Promo Codes at places like Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline and many more. Sign Up for a Free Account with Rakuten to Save Today!
  • Chase Travel Portal – If you have a Chase account, this is by far the best way to book travel and earn miles/points while doing so. If you don’t have a Chase account, I highly suggest getting the best travel rewards credit card in the Chase Sapphire Prefered
  • CapitalOne Travel – In my opinion, the second best travel rewards credit card. Use the CapitalOne travel portal to book airfare, hotels and rental cars using your points & miles.
  • HomeStay – Homestay is a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors share a residence with a local of the city to which they are traveling.
  • SkyScanner – Skyscanner is a great flight search engine which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
  • Booking.com – Booking probably has the widest selection of budget accommodation in the world. In our studies, they constantly found the cheapest rooms. I also like their easy-to-use interface and no-money-down policy.
  • RocketMiles – Book hotels on Rocketmiles and earn thousands of miles and points per night on every booking. Or, earn gift cards for your favorite purchases.
  • Selina Hostel – This is the best hostel accommodation in the world. Their unique CoLive stays, artwork and location are the best. Not to mention, they are a great value travel brand!

For companies, check out my favorite travel companies section that includes even more of my favorite travel companies that will help you value travel!

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