For many people, Thailand is the perfect gateway to traveling around Asia.
Not only is Bangkok a major hub for international flights, and not only is the country ideally situated as a jumping-off point for exploring further afield, but it’s also extremely well set up to cater to tourists and travelers, even those with very little experience of doing so.
Use an eSIM to stay connected
The internet makes life so much easier in so many ways. From looking up places to eat to booking your next hotel to figuring out directions to both, it’s a lifesaver. Staying connected while backpacking can sometimes be tricky – but not with a Thailand eSIM.
These fancy little pieces of tech can be purchased before you depart, activated by scanning a QR code, and used for the entirety of your time away to ensure you have easy access to a local network without breaking the bank.
Just check your cell phone is compatible before you go.
A smile is key to getting out of scrapes
Thailand isn’t known as the “Land of Smiles” for nothing. Pretty much everywhere you go, you’ll see locals grinning from ear to ear as they go about their daily business, seemingly content with their lives regardless of their station in life.
And living in this paradise, who wouldn’t be? It’s also contagious and, if language barriers are making things tricky, a smile can often defuse situations or win people over to your side. 9 times out of 10, the person will immediately smile back at you.
Having said that, English is understood well in most places in the country.
Add spice afterward
You might think you’re an old pro at handling the heat in dishes – but when it comes to Thai cuisine in Thailand itself, think again.
Spice levels are an altogether different proposition in this country and what might be comfortable for the locals will almost certainly have you feeling like an arsonist has gone to town on your tastebuds.
If in doubt, always ask for no spice whatsoever. Then you can simply take advantage of the chili sauces which are invariably found on all dinner tables (even in the most modest of establishments) to adjust to your preference.
Cash is king
It’s certainly a good idea to source a bank that does not charge for withdrawals or overseas transactions for its debit and credit cards, since you’ll save a packet in unnecessary fees. Having said that, you should always carry cash in Thailand.
Certain hotels and restaurants are accepting cards with more and more regularity, but generally speaking, cash is king. What’s more, one US dollar was worth roughly 35 Thai baht, so you can feel extra rich as you roll around town with a fat wad of banknotes.
Shoes off at the door
Whether you’re visiting a Buddhist temple, a tourist agency, or a café, it’s simply good manners to take your shoes off at the door. While this custom might seem a little unusual at first, it’s actually quite intuitive once you get used to it.
After all, why would you want to drag mud and muck from the outdoors into these beautifully pristine indoor environments? For that reason, wear flip-flops or sandals at all times, since taking off shoes and socks is far more of a chore than kicking off that kind of footwear.
Different traffic rules apply
Asia has a reputation for chaotic traffic and in some senses, it’s certainly a deserved one. However, if you spend any length of time in Thailand, you’ll come to realize that there is a good degree of order to the chaos.
The vast majority of road traffic is made up of motorbikes and scooters, which weave in and out of each other (and cars!) with ease. If on foot, step onto crosswalks with confidence and keep a steady pace as you traverse the road – the drivers will simply adjust their route around you.
It’s no surprise that Thailand received almost 40 million visitors in 2019 (prior to the coronavirus pandemic) – and its popularity is picking up once more. Follow these tips in Thailand and you can’t help but have an amazing time.