Just in case you’re too lazy to flip through a guidebook, here’s a quick rundown of etiquette, Wifi info, cash exchange, SIM cards…and more!
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5 things to avoid:
- Don’t wear shorts or short skirts inside religious landmarks, or you’ll need to spend extra money on renting scarves onsite for coverup.
- Don’t say anything negative regarding the Thai royal family. You may be put in jail if caught.
- Don’t accidentally fund mistreatment of elephants by giving money to guides parading parading elephants in cities. Instead, find reputable organizations that rescue elephants instead.
- ALWAYS use the meter in a taxi. Not only it’s illegal for drivers to refuse, bargaining is not fun because you’ll get an inflated price anyway.
- Don’t bargain too low when you’re shopping in markets. It can come off as disrespectful or offensive.
During most months in the year, Thailand is considerably humid and tropical. In northern areas, the weather is dry between November – May, and heavy rainfalls from June – October. Southern regions encounter the most rain with 2,400 millimeters every year.
Local time is GMT plus 7.
Thailand currently offers visa-free travel to nationals of 57 countries. Check ThaiEmbassy.com for details on info regarding all kinds of visas, but here’s a quick breakdown as of Jan 2017.
Countries with 90-day visa – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Korea, and Peru.
Countries with 30 days waiver – Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Russia, and Vietnam.
Countries with 30-days exemption – Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA.
Thai or Siamese is the national language in Thailand. Here are a few words to get you through the trip:
Hello = sawadi สวัสดี
Goodbye = lagon ลาก่อน
How are you? = pen-yang-rai-bang เป็นอย่างไรบ้าง
Good = dee ดี
Excuse me/sorry = kaot-hote ขอโทษ
Please = karuna กรุณา
Thank you very much = kop-kun-mat ขอบคุณมาก
You are welcome = mye-pen-rye ไม่เป็นไร
Yes = chai ใช่
No = mye ไม่
My Name is… = chi-kon-chan-ku ชื่อของฉันคือ
What’s your name? = kun-chi-ah-rye คุณชื่ออะไร
Do you speak English? = kun-pud-fasa-angri-dye-mye คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้ไหม
I don’t understand = chan-may-kao-zai ฉันไม่เข้าใจ
Do your best to show respect for the Thai royal family and stop to pay respect during the Thai National Anthem. Avoid making any negative remarks about the king. Don’t touch monks either.
You’ll see many symbols of Thai baht: ฿ or THB. Coins come in denominations of: 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht. Exchanging cash is very easy in Thailand, and incurs ZERO commissions or fees. Don’t try to exchange money until you arrive in Thailand, the exchange rate there is always better than what you can receive in your home country.
There are plenty of ATMs throughout Thailand, and most machines will accept cards issued by any major international banks. Withdrawals will incur 150 – 180 baht local fee, in addition to your bank’s fees.
Most major credit cards are accepted in Thailand, including: Visa, MasterCard, JCB and American Express.
There’s not much tipping in Thailand and it’s not required. But a small tip is always appreciated, as anywhere else in the world. You’ll never see anyone handing their palms out expecting a tip.
Prepaid Mobile Package & SIM Card:
In Thailand, you can easily get a SIM card at the airport, a local Seven-Eleven or a mobile shop. AIS: One-2 Call has the stronger coverage. Operators offer 3G and 4G services. A 3G unlimited speeds data monthly plan is 650 – 899 Baht.
The best package is One-2-Call AIS Unlimited at 800 Baht which can last for a month.
Most hotels, bars, restaurants will offer free Wi-Fi.
Thailand uses 220 volts, 50 cycles/sec.
Don’t drink tap water in Thailand. Getting ice in your drinks is also not recommended, especially if you have a sensitive body. Stick to bottled water at all times, there are usually two free bottles inside your hotel room’s mini bar.
Photos: Wendy Hung