The big moment is approaching; you have almost everything ready and you are looking for the best travel tips for Thailand to make this great adventure a perfect ten out of ten. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
At IATI, we adore this country. We have visited it countless times, and thanks to our experience, we will provide you with practical information for travelling to Thailand that will make your journey much easier. From beaches and wildlife to jungles and temples, there are incredible sights to see. We assure you that with these travel tips for Thailand, you will be able to make the most of them.
Know the country’s entry requirements
Firstly, let’s start our list of travel tips for Thailand with the country’s entry requirements. Under normal circumstances, entering Thailand has never been too complicated. If you had a valid passport for at least six months after your arrival, you would receive a visa on arrival, allowing you to stay for 30 days. Of course, this all depends on your country of residence so make sure you confirm everything with the relevant authorities.
Health and Vaccinations
Another travel tip for Thailand is about health and vacines. In most countries, there are no mandatory vaccinations for travellers. However, travellers coming from countries where yellow fever is considered endemic will need to provide proof of vaccination against this disease through the international vaccination card.
Although vaccinations are not mandatory, it is always advisable to seek a traveller’s consultation to determine the recommended vaccinations for Thailand. These may include vaccines for hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, and tetanus. If you plan to get vaccinated, keep in mind that some vaccines require two doses administered several days apart, so it is important to receive them well in advance—don’t leave it until the last minute.
Thailand’s major cities, such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, have excellent hospitals and medical centers. However, healthcare costs can be quite high, running into thousands of euros for tourists, so it is strongly advised to have travel insurance for Thailand.
For this destination, IATI Backpacker (click here if your country of residence is within the European Union; click here if your country of residence is not part of the European Union) insurance is highly recommended. It provides access to the best specialists in the country without any out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, it covers theft, diving/snorkelling/trekking accidents, luggage problems, flight incidents, and various other situations, including repatriation.
Don’t take any chances while in Thailand and secure the insurance designed for this amazing destination now!
Be cautious when renting a motorbike in Thailand
This travel tip to Thailand is extremely important, so don’t overlook it if you plan on driving in the country.
Renting a motorbike to explore areas like Koh Tao or cities like Chiang Mai is a common and recommended practice. However, before you proceed, there are two crucial aspects to consider: legal requirements and potential scams.
Firstly, the legal issue. Many tourists possess an international driving permit with the B license stamp, assuming it covers motorbike usage. However, it is not valid for motorbikes in Thailand, and if you are stopped by the Thai police for any reason, you may face fines. While this may not happen frequently, it’s essential to keep it in mind. Please note that this restriction depends from country to country.
Now, let’s address a recurring scam that occurs in certain areas. There have been instances where motorbike rental companies request your passport as a deposit. Never comply with this request! Firstly, it is not a legal requirement, even if you see it being done in many places. Secondly, it can be used against you. After you return the bike, they may claim that it has dents or scratches that were not present before, and they will demand exorbitant amounts of money for repairs. If you refuse to pay, they may withhold your passport. Therefore, one of the essential travel tips for Thailand is to never surrender your passport as a deposit. Whenever you rent a motorbike, always capture a video of the bike to have evidence of its condition. This way, you can protect yourself from false damage accusations for which you are not responsible.
You don’t need to carry a large amount of cash
In the past, one of the major concerns before embarking on an adventure like this was “How much money should I bring?” However, that is no longer the case. The traditional process of going to the bank weeks in advance to exchange currency for the country you’re visiting is now outdated, thanks to the following travel tip for Thailand.
There are now several bank cards available that are not only free but also have no fees for withdrawing money abroad. This means that as soon as you arrive, you can withdraw cash directly from ATMs at the airport, eliminating the need to carry a significant amount of cash with you. These cards typically have a monthly withdrawal limit for free transactions. This travel tip for Thailand will save you a substantial amount of money!
Get a Thai SIM card for internet access in the country
In addition to avoiding excessive fees when withdrawing money from banks in Thailand, you also don’t want to spend a fortune on internet usage. Having internet access is essential for checking your accounts, sharing trip photos with family and friends, booking accommodations and transportation, and using maps.
While there are companies that offer data cards that can be delivered to your home in advance, allowing you to get online as soon as you arrive, we advise you that it is much cheaper to purchase a Thai SIM card upon arrival. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and you will need to research different companies and tariff options. However, in reality, the cost is significantly lower, and the amount of data available is much greater compared to the first option.
Take into account the climate
Considering the weather in Thailand is crucial, whether you have fixed travel dates or are determining the best time to visit. While the climate can vary depending on the region you’re in (being in Koh Lanta is different from being in Pai), we can distinguish between the following seasons:
- Hot season: March to May. During this time, both temperature and humidity increase.
- Rainy season: May to October. Yes, you read it right—the rainy season in Thailand coincides with the summer months when many people take their holidays. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your trip will be completely rainy! While there may be occasional rainy days, it doesn’t rain all day long. You might experience heavy showers, but the sun can quickly return within minutes. Additionally, rainfall is not evenly distributed throughout the country, and it’s relatively easy to predict where it will rain.
- High season: November to February. This is our favourite season, and we highly recommend travelling to Thailand during this time if it fits your budget. The temperatures are more pleasant, and the chances of rain are very low.
By considering the climate, you can better plan and prepare for your trip to Thailand.
Avoid participating in activities involving animals
Regrettably, Thailand is a country where various irresponsible activities involving animals are commonly offered. Rather than a mere travel tip, this is a sincere request: Please refrain from participating in such activities. Behind activities like taking photos with chained parrots, monkeys, bats, or lizards; riding elephants; posing with drugged tigers; or feeding fish, there is immense suffering and cruelty. Neither the photo nor the experience is worth supporting the pain inflicted upon these animals. As a responsible tourist, please make a conscious choice to avoid engaging in such activities.
Inform yourself about the country before planning your itinerary
The journey begins from the moment you start thinking about it. Creating your itinerary is a crucial part of your trip, as it sets the foundation for your entire adventure. So take your time and enjoy this process as well.
You have probably heard about hundreds of places, but you don’t want to cover everything in a single trip. Remember, less is more. It’s better to truly enjoy a few places rather than rushing to see everything and spending half of your trip on buses, trains, or planes.
Next, delve into our articles about Thailand. Read, compare, decide what you want for your trip, and conduct thorough research. Don’t get swayed solely by Instagram photos; instead, study each destination carefully.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments so that we can assist you.
Learn a few Thai phrases
Here’s a travel tip that can enhance your experience not only in Thailand but in any country: learn a few words in the local language, and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of smiles. We’re not suggesting that you become fluent in Thai before your trip, but if you memorize some common expressions, you’ll be able to connect with the locals and foster closer relationships with them:
(If you’re a man, you’ll need to change “Ka” to “Krap”.)
- Thank you: Kop Kung Ka
- Greeting (hello, good morning, good evening): Sabadee Ka
- What is your name?: Kun Chai Arai Ka
- Ask for the bill: Check Bin Ka
- Can you put the meter on?: Chai Miter Dai Mai
- How much is it?: Tao Rai
- No spicy: Mai Pet
- I don’t eat meat (I’m vegetarian): Mang Sa Wee Rat
By learning these basic phrases, you’ll be able to navigate everyday situations with greater ease and show respect for the local culture. The effort to communicate in Thai will be appreciated by the Thai people you encounter during your journey.
Other tips for travelling to Thailand
In addition to the previously mentioned tips, here are some additional suggestions that will also be valuable during your trip:
- Respect the Thai royal family: The Thai royal family is considered sacred by law. It is strictly prohibited and can result in fines and imprisonment to mock or belittle them. Avoid taking humorous or disrespectful photos next to posters or images of the monarchs.
- Show respect for Buddhism: Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist country, so it’s important to show respect for Buddhist images and temples. When visiting temples, dress appropriately by avoiding strapless clothes, shorts, and revealing necklines. Furthermore, refrain from touching Buddha’s head or turning your back on Buddha images, as these actions are considered disrespectful.
- Be cautious while shopping: In cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, there are large shopping centers known for selling counterfeit goods. Keep this in mind when shopping. While purchasing a fake T-shirt as a souvenir may have minimal consequences, buying counterfeit electronic gadgets can lead to unpleasant surprises in terms of quality and functionality.
Other travel tips for Thailand
- Electricity: In Thailand, different types of sockets are used, so you’ll likely need an adapter to charge your devices. Make sure to bring the appropriate adapters to ensure you can easily plug in your electronics.
- Transportation: Getting around Thailand is convenient, thanks to its efficient network of trains, buses, ferries, and planes. Taxis are also a common mode of transportation, and we recommend downloading the Grab app, which is the Asian equivalent of Uber. Using this app provides the added benefit of GPS-controlled journeys and ensures that you won’t have to haggle or deal with overcharging for your rides.
- Gastronomy: Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in Thailand’s diverse and delicious cuisine. While Pad Thai is a popular dish, there is so much more to explore. We suggest trying other delicacies such as Kai Pad, Pad Krapau, Pad Siuw, and the delightful Mango Rice Stick. Thailand offers a culinary adventure that will satisfy your taste buds.
We believe that these tips will greatly enhance your trip to Thailand, enabling you to fully enjoy this adventure.