Thailand Top Ten Travel Tips
By Krabi Konnect
Personal Safety: Thailand is a relatively safe place to travel. The people are mostly friendly and helpful. You may have seen highly publicized reports of problems but if you compare them to those you read every day on your own local papers the number of occurrences are small. Take the same safety precautions that you would at home and you will be safer in Thailand than at home.
Thailand is not like home: You have decided to travel to experience new things. Thailand culture is not the same as other cultures. They are more relaxed and easy going and when things go wrong they tend to say don’t worry too much. It is one of the great things about Thailand that they don’t sweat the details. When things go wrong take a deep breath and watch how they find a way to get around a problem. If you want things to be like they are back home don’t travel, stay home.
Currency: Work out what your currency is worth in Thai baht before you come. 100 baht is not a lot of money and think how quickly you would spend 1,000 baht back home. Most Thai people earn an average of $300 per month. They are poor and just trying to make a living to feed and educate their families. Yet look at the smiles on their faces and how happy they are despite how little they have and also how they love to have a fun time. This is one of the truly attractive things about the Thai culture. Don’t embarrass yourself by haggling over a few hundred baht when that means so much to them and so little to you. Haggle for the fun and then tip them more than they wanted and watch how big their smile is when the deal is done.
Telephone: International roaming charges are expensive. But a local SIM card for your smart or dumb phone. If it is locked consider buying a cheap phone and taking it back home as a spare. DTAC allows you to dial overseas numbers using the 004 prefix and you will be charged really low rates. 12call has the same option with a different prefix.
Road Crossings: Thailand does have marked crossing areas. They do not mean that cars will stop for you. You have to make sure it is safe to cross the roads even at these marked crossings.
Water: Don’t drink the tap water or even clean your teeth with it. Bottle water is everywhere. The ice is fine as it is made from properly treated water.
Health Insurance: Don’t leave home without it. The health care system for those with insurance is world class. For minor illnesses there are a myriad of pharmacies who will give you all types of medicines to treat your symptoms. It will be unusual if you do not experience some minor illnesses which can mostly be caused by change in diet. Food poisoning is rare. If you do get sick don’t tough it out go to the pharmacy and get something so you can get the most out of your holiday.
Foreign Travelers Paranoia Syndrome: Every experienced traveler has had this. You will start to show symptoms when things go wrong you are tired and hot, and the people you are dealing with don’t fluently speak your language. You immediately assume you are being ripped off and start to become aggressive and loud. Take a deep breath and put it into perspective. If the taxi driver has charged you too much or you have had to pay a bit extra for something, convert it into your home currency and you will see it is not worth the aggravation it is causing you. Most times nothing untoward is going on they are trying to help you but you can’t understand what they are saying.
Sex travel destination? Yes if you are travelling to Patong, Pattaya and other well publicised places. Thai culture is actually quite conservative but very accepting and is nothing like the perceptions most people have as a result of media coverage. For example every major city in Australia has the same facilities but we don’t assume the whole country is like Kings Cross. The same should be said about Thailand.
Foreign Currency: The best way to get money out is at the many ATMS. They do charge a flat fee so always draw out a minimum of 10,000 baht per go.
These tips have been written by Phil Raby who is an Australian expat living in Krabi Province for the past 12 years. He has a Thai wife and family who own and run www.mayabaytours.com. These tips are based on personal experiences. Follow them and you will get the most of your trip to this incredibly beautiful country and culture.