Down by the Southeastern corner of the world is a country known as the “Land of Smiles,” Thailand. Nestled along multiple archipelagos is this uniquely equal mix of their colorful and ancient culture with a buzzing urban lifestyle that continues to attract tourists and expats from around the world.
There’s a lot of natural paradises here, as well as a booming economy and flourishing industries in the country. Whether you want a relaxing nature trip or an exciting city adventure, Thailand should certainly be in your travel wish list.
As with any other country, however, you can get into trouble here if you’re not careful. Thailand’s culture and way of life are specific, and if you’re not able to adapt, then you might have a difficult time staying there.
Furthermore, the country has its fair share of scammers ready to pounce on unsuspecting tourists. Here, we’ll share some of the best Thailand travel tips for the adventurous backpacker.
Respect Their Royalty
Similarly to other countries with reigning monarchies, Thailand is extremely particular when it comes to their royals, In fact, when King Bhumibol Adulyadej, their longest-reigning monarch for 66 years, passed away in 2016, the country was in mourning for over two years.
Almost all Thais, both in the country and in foreign lands, were grief-stricken by the loss. During those years, many tourists and foreign expats in Thailand were advised not to behave rudely during that solemn period.
To this day, there are fines, penalties, and even the risk of imprisonment if people were found to be disrespectful to the king and his royal family. When you travel, a wise travel tip for Thailand is to always treat any location in tribute to the monarchs with the utmost respect.
Bring Spare Clothing that Covers your Body
Thailand is a tropical country which means you’re going to have to pack some light clothing to stay cool. Subsequently, among their many famous tourist spots are their beautiful temples, like Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Suthat, among many others.
In these temples, you’re not allowed to show too much skin as it goes against the beliefs of Buddhism, the religion that these temples are built for. When you go there wearing mini skirts, short shorts, and sleeveless tops, they’ll either give you robes to cover yourself up or even bar you from entering at all.
A good travel tip for backpacking in Thailand is to always leave space for a few layers of clothing. It saves a lot from embarrassing moments when visiting such temples.
Be Careful when Eating Street Food
Part of what makes Thailand exciting is their exotic cuisine. Full of spice and flavor, both their street food and fine dining have dishes that you must try when visiting the country. As adventurous as you want to be, however, your stomach might not be able to keep up.
Particularly when it comes to their street food, you have to be extremely careful of what you put inside your body. Often, these cheap places along the road might be using ingredients that aren’t fresh nor clean.
Examine an establishment thoroughly before deciding to eat there. A good Thailand travel tip is to see if many expats go there, and if they do, then there’s a high chance that the place is clean enough and the food is alright.
Beware of Scammers
As with any other country, particularly within the more urban areas, Thailand has its fair share of scammers. These people will offer you services that will be substantially more expensive than the normal price range.
Such scams include tuk-tuk drivers taking to various temples at more than double the price of the ride, tricking you to go into shady red light district establishments and letting you spend thousands of Bahts, and many more.
Expert scammers already have ideal types of tourists in mind, and if you fit their standards, you’re doubly in trouble. Before even stepping foot in Thailand, research online what the usual scams are and how to spot them makes for a smart travel tip for backpacking in Thailand.
Try the TukTuk
Even though many tuk-tuk drivers can be scammers, that shouldn’t dissuade you from riding one anyway. If you really want the full “Land of Smiles” experience, a good Thailand travel tip is to ride a tuk-tuk! Tuk-tuks are small pedicabs that are unique to this country.
Not only are they adorable and one-of-a-kind, but they’re open-air which makes them cool to ride even on a hot day. They also don’t cost as much (but beware of tuk-tuk scams), especially if your destination isn’t that far.
Tuk-tuk drivers are also usually friendly and can understand a bit of English. A trip to Thailand isn’t complete without a tuk-tuk ride!
Riding motorcycles is also a popular mode of transportation in Thailand. While the tuk-tuk is more common, they can still get you stuck in traffic. Motorcycles, on the other hand, can help you slide through any rush hour with ease.
There are a lot of establishments that let you rent them for the day or even for the whole duration of your trip. Also, the country has a number of transportation apps that include motorcycle rides.
They’re fun, fast, and easy. If you’re going to be late in going to a specific place, a motorcycle ride is a way to go!
Always Be Polite
Thailand isn’t just called the “Land of Smiles” for nothing. Thais are incredibly polite people, especially to tourists. They smile, speak carefully when there are language barriers, and bow as a sign of respect.
When going to Southeast Asia, a must-follow travel tip for Thailand is to be as polite as the natives. Know common polite phrases in Thai such as “Sawadee Ka” (Hello) and “Kob Khun Krab/Kob Khun Kah” (Thank you), among many others.
When they bow to you, bow to them as well. And finally, never forget to smile back to any smiling faces you see on your trip. A good attitude as well as being polite goes a long way, especially in Thailand.
Thailand is an Asian paradise you shouldn’t miss when you’re traveling. If it’s not part of your bucket list, it should be! There are no other places quite like it, and if you follow this list of good Thailand travel tips, your trip will be a whole lot better!