Planning a future trip to Thailand? Here are some things you need to know:
Get a visa* and travel insurance
Thailand is visa-free for 64 countries and territories. The length of stay ranges from 14 to 90 days depending on where you’re from. If you want to make your stay longer, you just have to pay additional fees.
However, the embassy requires some foreign nationals to apply for a visa on arrival, like people from Taiwan or Mexico. And for many other countries, like most of Africa, you need to apply for a visa in advance. So make sure to check whether you need one or not at all.
Getting travel insurance, while not necessary, is also highly recommended. This protects you from any medical expenses, problems with your baggage and airline of choice, and any other travel issues you might encounter.
Compute for expenses
Seasoned travellers know that it’s good practice to check for possible expenses in their destination. Travel expert Joanna Horanin notes that the country is relatively inexpensive, and you can get by for a month at 500 USD (2,179 MYR).
Accommodation prices vary depending on where you’re staying, and Bangkok, the capital, has higher rates than beach towns like Phuket.
Food, however, is cheaper in cities compared to islands as there are more options available. Even then, local dishes on the pricier side are about 40-50 THB, or 5.47-6.84 MYR.
When in the city, your main mode of transportation will be the BTS, or the train. Ticket costs range from 15 to 52 THB (2-7 MYR). Do note that the traffic can be slow-moving, which is why most tourists choose to ride the train, motorbikes, the ferry, or go on foot.
Pick a city
Each region of Thailand can be very different from one another. ExpatBets’ feature on the best places in Thailand highlights how you can choose to live in the city or the countryside and never miss out on the authentic Thai culture and lifestyle.
Chiang Mai, for instance, has a very relaxed vibe while still being quite modern. There are many digital nomads passing through and enjoying the northern city’s outdoor activities.
For island-dwellers, you’ll enjoy Krabi in the west coast of Southern Thailand. The limestone cliffs and white-sand beaches are simply amazing.
Regardless of the kind of traveller you are, visiting Bangkok is a must. It’s filled with colour, adventure, and the best — and cheapest — food you can find. There are areas that are always busy, like the vibrant Chinatown, and quieter neighbourhoods like Sathorn.
Learn common phrases
People in commercial areas speak English, but in general, Thai people have a very low proficiency according to official reports. Though it’s not necessary to be fluent, you do need to remember a few key phrases in Thai, especially if you’re going to more remote areas.
Here are a few examples:
•Hello – Sawadee ka/khrup
•Yes – Chai
•No – Mai
•Thank you – Khop khun ka/khrup
• Excuse me/Sorry – Khor thoad ka/khrup
Be wary of Tuk-tuks
Tuk-tuks are a form of urban transport in Thailand and part of the country’s rich history. That’s why tourists are excited to hop into one and take lots of pictures.
In recent years, however, these small taxis have become a tourist trap. The Thaiger warns against extremely low prices because drivers might scam you. They can bring you to the wrong location and claim it was a misunderstanding, while still asking you for payment. Or they might not clarify if the rate is per person or for the entire trip. To avoid this, you can ride the bus or better yet, take a ride-hailing service if you need to travel somewhere far. They’re regulated and are not likely to scam you out of several hundred baht.
Hopefully, these tips can help you in your upcoming Thailand adventure. Until then, sit tight and stay inspired!