All the countries in Southeast Asia are tourism hotspots. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the world, with a series of delights awaiting you. Thailand is amongst the most popular countries in this region, seeing scores of travelers flock there every year. It’s popular for a reason; there are so many things to do and so many beautiful sights to enjoy!
Are you thinking about visiting this fantastic country? Before you plan anything, read this short guide to understand a few key things about traveling in Thailand:
Be wary of the wildlife
This country is full of exquisite animals that tourists can interact with. Many monkeys will litter the streets and beaches, coming up to travelers and looking for food. While these monkeys can seem cute and cheeky, it’s not a good idea to feed them. This will leave you with a horde of monkeys following you everywhere you go! Plus, when they know you have food, they’ll become more aggressive in demanding it. The best course of action is to admire the monkeys from afar and keep your food to yourself.
Secondly, Thailand has multiple animal activities that you can take part in. Some of the most common include elephant sanctuaries or other wildlife reserves. Unfortunately, a lot of animal tourism in Thailand is unethical. While it seems like the animals are well-treated, the reality is that they aren’t. The problem is that people in Thailand understand that animal tourism is a big hit, so they go out of their way to create opportunities for the public to interact with animals. Most of the time, it’s done to the detriment of the animal. However, you will still find many ethical animal tourism spots around the country, so do your research before you book an experience.
Respect the religion
Thailand is a very religious country that takes Buddhism seriously. This is partially reflected in all of the Buddhist temples you see around the region. Also, you’ll note lots of statues of Buddha and other works of art in his likeness. Obviously, you have to be respectful of the local beliefs, regardless of your own ones. If you aren’t religious, that’s fine, but don’t go around Thailand acting naive and improper.
This is common sense, but it’s actually necessary to point out due to the laws in Thailand. In some areas, it is illegal to speak out against Buddhism or make jokes about the Buddha. People have been arrested for doing stupid poses by statues or for saying blasphemous things in temples. Your best course of action is to be respectful and keep your mouth shut. That shouldn’t be hard to do; just respect the local culture and follow what the Thai people do. This is a good rule to follow; copy the locals as they know how to act with dignity and respect.
Be prepared to stay for a while
Some destinations are ideal for a short stay or a weekend getaway. Thailand isn’t one of these places. While you could stay there for a few days, it would do the country a disservice. Part of Thailand’s lure is that it offers something from top to bottom, coast to coast. There are so many places to visit and so many things to do in this magnificent country. Bangkok alone deserves at least a week or two of your time – and that’s not even including the other cities or islands!
There’s a reason that most people come to Thailand on a gap year; it’s the perfect place to spend a month or more. You can genuinely stay there for over a month without getting bored and having new experiences every day. Naturally, this can get quite expensive – particularly if you book a hotel for that time. Instead, it’s smart to find apartments for rent as they offer better value for money. Hostels are also a good idea, though you may need to jump around from one to another. With an apartment, you have a solid and safe base to return to after a day of exploring the country.
Toilet paper is a rarity
Who wants to think about toilet paper when planning a trip? Well, you’ll be surprised at how important it is in Thailand. Or, more accurately, how unimportant it is to the locals. You see, in this part of the world, toilets are different from what you’re used to. Many toilets in Thailand are holes in the ground that you squat over and do your business. If you’re lucky, they provide toilet paper, but there’s a hose to clean yourself most of the time. Yes, this sounds crazy to someone in the Western world, but it’s normal over here. In fact, it’s actually better for you to squat down, but there’s no need to get into that!
Sure, hotels and other holiday accommodation spots will supply toilet paper for you. Still, if you’re out and need to go to the toilet, you’ll struggle to find toilet paper anywhere. So, bring your own in your luggage and keep a few sheets on you at all times. If you don’t need it, that’s fine. But, you’ll be delighted that you brought it if you do find yourself in a toilet paper-less situation!
Tuk Tuk is the best form of transport
If you need to get around a busy city, the Tuk Tuk is your best form of transport. It’s like a mini taxi, but with the ability to get through tight spaces and weave through traffic. A Tuk Tuk is a lot cheaper than a proper taxi, and much safer as well. Plus, it’s one of the things you must do before you leave Thailand; travel in a Tuk Tuk at least once!
It’s crucial to know these things before you plan a trip to this part of the world. Thailand is a phenomenal country, but it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. If you spend most of your holidays in the West, this will be a big culture shock. Still, keep these things in mind when preparing for your trip!