In some ways, Thailand is where this whole crazy blog began. While by no means my first international adventure, my time in Bangkok was the first time I truly felt outside of my comfort zone.
Traveling to Asia brought me the kind of adrenaline rush that Western Europe or the Caribbean just hadn’t given me.
While I’ve been living with a severe case of Wanderlust since the age of 12, our trip the Thailand reignited my need to travel with a vengeance. When it comes to travel, the only thing I love more than the adventure is the food.
Today I wanted to share with you a list of things you should know before going to Thailand. I was aware of some of these before we arrived in Bangkok, while others were a more of a shocking surprise once we got there.
39 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Thailand
1. Eat off your spoon, not your fork. Eating directly off a fork is considered crude; instead, use your fork to push food onto your spoon.
2. Yes, the people really are *that* nice. Don’t be surprised if strangers offer you advice or strike up a conversation with you.
3. People don’t stand in lines. This took me a few days (and many long waits for the ladies room) to figure out. Instead of queuing up, Thais form a crowd. Stand your ground, and get used to a lack of personal space in public places.
4. Take tuk-tuks during the day and taxis at night. Taxis are more comfortable, but tuk-tuks give you a better view. Both are terrifying. If you go to Patpong road at night (Bangkok’s equivalent of the Red Light District), ask your taxi to come back and pick you up at a certain time. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time fighting all the other drunk people to find a ride back to your hotel.
5. Don’t talk about the king. Seriously, not a word.
6. Gambling is only permitted on certain days (by order of the king, whom you are still not talking about, right?). Hit up the horse tracks on a pro-gambling day for an awesome experience. Prepare for lots of yelling, drunk people, and general debauchery.
7. Eat as many mangoes as you possibly can. The mangoes in Thailand are the most delicious in the world.
8. Cover up your elbows and knees when visiting temples, wats, monasteries, palaces, etc. I’d recommend bringing along a light jacket or cover-up even on days when a temple isn’t on the itinerary — you never know when you’ll stumble across a beautiful wat you’ll want to check out!
9. Many of the popular beer brands also make bottled water. If you order a “Chang” or “Singha,” the waitress will likely respond “Chang beer?” to clarify. Make it easy by ordering “Chang water” or “Singha beer” to begin with. As a side note, I’ve tried doing this in Thai restaurants back home and I just get weird looks. Go figure.
10. Don’t take a taxi driver’s word on it if they say an attraction or site is closed for the day; many times they will use this tactic to try to “suggest” other destinations which earn them a commission. If in doubt, just thank them for the information and ask another driver.
11. Use public transportation. The BTS (Subway) and MRT (Light Rail) are cheap, convenient, and fast. You can get just about anywhere using these systems and they are really easy to use. The maps make sense, the token system is efficient and simple, and the trains are kept very clean. Get a day pass to save extra money.
12. You will see some roaches. Some days I saw none, other days they were crawling over my feet while I was trying to drink a mojito. Yeah, they are a little gross, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Better than rats, am I right?
13. The best-dressed woman on any given train, boat, or sidewalk is probably a ladyboy. I say this without meaning offense to Thai women, who are absolutely gorgeous, but as a compliment to the styling prowess of ladyboys.
14. Stay in a five-star hotel. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal at a top-of-the-line hotel than in Thailand. We stayed in some fabulous hotels for around $100/night — some came with our own private infinity pools.
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