Updated: Jul 1
Whether you've already bought you plane ticket to Thailand or you are just daydreaming about visiting, check out the below tips & tricks to visiting this amazingly dynamic country.
When To Go:
Thailand has 3 seasons - hot summer, rainy season, and "winter".
Summer Season (March to July) - The weather is literally unbearably hot. This is also the most popular time to go because most people are available to travel during this window (spring breaks, summer vacation, etc). You'll find the cheapest flights during this time frame (specifically April and September).
Rainy Season (July to October) - The weather begins to cool down during this time frame, but you'll be caught in numerous monsoons throughout your trip.
"Winter" Season (November to February) - This is the BEST time to go to Thailand. This is as "cool" as it will get in Thailand (although it will still be in the 90s) and is often slightly less humid during the winter months.
What to Pack:
Check out my detailed blog post about what to pack here! Some highlights are listed below!
Temple Clothing: All visitors must be dressed modestly in Thai temples. This includes shoulders covered, knees covered, and cleavage covered. Most temples allow you to drape a shaw/scarf around your shoulders but the Golden Palace is the most strict regarding dress code. (Don't fret if you forget to pack it, or don't have enough, there are so many street markets with clothing options that are temple friendly - just keep in mind that sizing might be limited).
Walking Shoes: You'll find yourself walking miles in the big cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Plan to wear comfortable walking shoes (that you can remove when in temples).
Sunscreen: This country is almost always HOT with the sun shinning bright. The sunscreen in Thailand usually has whitening chemicals in it so plan to bring some from home. I suggest a strong SPF because of how close you will be to the equator.
Bug Spray: While you won't need malaria pills for Thailand, you do need a lot of bug spray. Cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai aren't too bad for bugs, but places like Phuket, Kanchanburi, and Erwan Waterfalls are filled with little knats and mosquitos. I prefer the Bug Repellant Wristbands (instead of Bug Spray).
Power Adaptor: Most hotels have multifunctional power adaptors that allow for American and/or Thai outlets to be used. However, always better to be prepared for the few outlets that are strictly Thai outlets.
Beach Towel: I found this to be the most needed item in Thailand. A lot of the activities were in water (swimming with elephants, swimming in the Erwan waterfalls, exploring the Phuket Islands, and jumping in the River Kwai). You may even want a towel just to dry off after walking around in the humidity all day!
Rain Jacket and/or Umbrella: Rainy season in Thailand can be intense. Pack your essentials for humid rainy weather.
Before you go to any part of Asia, talk to your doctor about possible vaccines you may need. When I went to Thailand, my doctor recommended a Hepatitis A shot and a Typhoid Shot. Most insurances will cover Hep A but Typhoid is typically not covered and ranges in price from $75-$150. Malaria Pills are not required for Thailand, but are needed for many other regions of Asia. It's also a good idea to bring travelers diarrhea medicine as a precaution!
Thai Baht (THB) is the only currency accepted in Thailand. It is currently $1 USD to 32 THB. Check out the most up to date conversion here. Credit cards are not widely accepted (taxis, tuk tuks, street food, markets, etc) so plan to have baht available or have an ATM card on hand. There were frequent ATMs located throughout Thailand, particularly in the larger cities.
MISC Wanderlust with Lisa Tips:
The water in Thailand is not safe to drink or brush your teeth with. Luckily, bottled water is very cheap (under $0.50USD) and hotels usually provide complimentary water bottles in each room.
10% Tip is customary on good service (restaurants, tours, massage, etc)
Massage Parlors are everywhere in Thailand! Their services range from Thai Massages, Foot Massages, Classic Oil Massages, and more! The prices are SO cheap so take advantage of this (daily, in my opinion). Thailand values massuests at the same level they value doctors.
Motorcycles are incredibly dangerous for tourists to rent. The roads are busy and you can easily get runover or injured if you are not used to the quick paced, hectic driving techniques of local Thai drivers.
The Thai Islands are far more expensive than mainland.
Most bathrooms we visited were Western, however, you need to bring your own toilet paper!
As a female, I found Thailand to be a lot safer than I imagined. However, don't let your guard down as there is still an underlaying sex trafficking scene going on.
Street Food is surprisingly safe to eat and incredibly cheap. Use your judgement when buying street food (if it looks like it's been sitting out all day, skip it).
Thai locals eat the same food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don't be surprised when you find fried rice and vegetables for every hotel breakfast buffet.
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