Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand has a stunning terrain, delicious food, and pleasant locals. In Thailand, you can go to a bustling city like Bangkok, hike a mountain, immerse yourself in a jungle, or bask in the sun. In addition to its jaw-dropping beauty; Thailand also has world-famous local cuisine. On top of all that; the people in Thailand are the nicest—it’s called “the land of smiles!”
Learn about my experience of meditating in Thailand for 2 days. You will also learn about various ways to do the same in Thailand in various locations & budget levels.
Top Thailand Travel Tips to Know Before You Go
Language in Thailand
Thai is the most commonly spoken language in Thailand. Many locals speak English in touristy cities such as Bangkok and Chiangmai.
When to Visit Thailand
The best time to visit Thailand is from November to April; when the climate is dry. Burning Season takes place in Chiangmai from February to early April. Burning Season is a time of year when farmers burn their crops in anticipation of the new season. It’s advised to stay away from the city during this time, as the weather is often very smoggy.
Currency in Thailand
The currency in Thailand is the Thai Bhat. Most established places accept credit cards for payment. The local shops, taxis and other transportation will usually only accept cash. ATMs are available all over the country.
Transportation in Thailand
The tuk-tuk is the most common method of transportation in Thailand. A tuk-tuk is a 3-wheeled vehicle and operates as a taxi would. Cabs are available for long trips. Scooters can be rented if you’d like to save money and drive around on your own. In some cities, a method of transportation called a Songthaew is available. A Songthaew is a large bus that heads in one direction and picks up passengers along the way for a small fee. Always be sure to negotiate the fee in advance when hiring a driver in Thailand (for tuk tuk’s, cabs & scooters) to avoid having to pay more when you reach your destination.
How to Say Thank You
In Thailand, the locals say thank you (Khup kun ka) while bowing and holding their hands together in prayer. You’ll see this a lot and the locals will appreciate it if you do it back.
Don't Ride the Elephants!
You’ll see elephants that are being advertised as a photo-op on the side of the road in Thailand. Don’t ride them or support their owners. Their owners abuse them to generate money from tourists who don’t know better.
Instead, support an elephant sanctuary. Elephant sanctuaries rescue elephants and take care of them. Elephant sanctuaries provide tourists with an opportunity to spend a day with their elephants in an environment that doesn’t harm them.
What to Pack for a Trip to Thailand
Here’s are a few things to bring to Thailand that you might not have already thought of!
- Power Adaptor: The power sockets are type A, B, C, F and O. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. American plugs work in Thailand—but you’ll need a power converter in most cases to avoid overheating.
- Refillable Water Bottle: It’s not safe to drink the tap water in Thailand. There’s also a lot of plastic waste in Thailand. Bringing a refillable water bottle can help cut down on your costs and help the environment a little.
- Mosquito Repellant: There are lots of mosquitos in Thailand. Bring repellant. If you don’t bring any in advance then you can purchase this in Thailand.
Things to Do in Thailand
Thailand is a geographically diverse country with many different types of terrains, and things to do. Here’s a list of some of the best things to do in Thailand:
- Go to the Thai Islands!: Thailand has hundreds of islands. Each with unique landscapes and stunning rock formations. It would be impossible to see them all during one trip but any that you select to visit will be nice. You can visit a big, famous island; like Phucket or Koh Samui. Or, you can hunker down on a more tranquil island; like Kolanta. Island hopping is easy in Thailand. You may want to make a larger Island your home base and visit a new surrounding island each day.
- Spend a few days in a city: There are many cities in Thailand; all with dizzying traffic, great food, and nightlife. Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. Most flights from the west stop in Bangkok, so it’s an easy place to include in your itinerary. Chiangmai is another city in Thailand worth a visit. Many expats live in Chiangmai because it provides the luxuries that a big city can provide but is not as hectic.
- Visit the temples!: There are over 40,000 temples in Thailand. Each temple has a unique identity. The temples are intricately designed and provide a sense of spiritual wonderment.
- Go on a Buddhist Meditation Retreat: A monk will speak to you about Buddhism for part of the retreat. You’ll also spend some time in meditation and self-reflection. Retreats vary per city, but you can usually find a 1-day retreat (ideal if you have a tight itinerary) or a 2-3 day retreat. I went on the 3-day retreat and recommend it. No previous meditation experience necessary.
- Experience a lady-boy show: This is an experience like no other. Every city in Thailand offers these shows. They consist of approx. 2 hours of over-the-top dancing, singing, and straight-up fun.
- Do some adventurous eating: Thailand is a great place to expand your food repertoire. You can find things such as scorpion on a stick in the local markets. Don’t worry – the locals remove the poison before serving it 😉
- Go on a hike: Hiking is a great way to explore Thailand’s mountainous and jungle terrain. They also provide you with great views and perspective of the country that you otherwise won’t get to see.
Fast Facts About Thailand
- There are over 40,000 temples in Thailand.
- More than 90% of Thai locals practice Buddhism.
- Bangkok Thailand is one of the world’s hottest cities.
- Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice.
- Muay Thai boxing is Thailand’s national sport.
- Thailand has some funny rules. It’s illegal to step on Thai currency, drive shirtless or leave the house without underwear on!
- The head is considered to be sacred in Thailand. You should never touch a Thai person’s head. When you meet someone in Thailand; you can show respect for them by bowing your head.
- Thailand is the home of the elephant; over 5,000 live there.
- Bangkok’s official name is LONG, it’s: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
- Thailand loves its King and shows great respect for the monarchy. In fact, when I went to the movie theatre during the King’s birthday, they played a 5-minute video in advance of the movie to honor him!
Budget Suggestions for a Trip to Thailand
Here is a sample budget re: what it might cost for certain items during a trip to Thailand. Costs will fluctuate based on the season that you visit or city that you go to. For reference, this budget is based on costs for a trip to Chiang Mai Thailand in November.
$5 - $15/Night (Hostel Dorm)
$15 - $50/Night
(AirBNB, Mid-Range Hotel, or Private Hostel Room)
$65 - $200/Night
$1 - $7/pp/meal
$15 - $30/pp/meal
$45 - $100+/pp/meal
$1 - $3
$8 - $12
(Imported Drinks & Cocktails)
$4/day (Scooter Rental)
$1/way (Songthaew) or $2 - $5/way (Tuk Tuk)
$10 - $20/hr
(Private Taxi Organized in Advance)
The cost will vary depending on distance & exact location.
Explore Thailand Virtually From home
With COVID-19 and the change that the travel landscape has recently seen, I decided to make some virtual resources available for those who want to satisfy their wanderlust and explore Thailand from home. If you have a trip to Thailand planned; then these can serve as great tools for getting amped for your trip!