HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR VISITING THE LAND OF SMILES!
DON’T EVER POINT
DON’T TOUCH ANYONE’S HEAD
NO FEET TOWARDS ANYONE , ESPECIALLY MONKS / BUDDHAS, DON’T PROP FEET UP
DRESS MODEST, COVER SHOULDERS & LEGS IN TEMPLES ( MEN & WOMEN )
DON’T BE LOUD
NEVER DISRESPECT THE KING OR STEP ON MONEY
WOMEN SHOULD NEVER TOUCH A MONK
DON’T “LOSE FACE” ( REMAIN CALM & SMILE - YOU WILL PROBABLY GET WHAT YOU WANT)
LEARN TO USE THE “WAI” OTHERWISE JUST SMILE & NOD
COVER YOUR FACE WITH MASK IF SICK ( MY FAVORITE! )
DURIAN FRUIT NOT ALLOWED IN HOTELS / INDOORS
KING JUST DIED IN 2016 THIS IS A VERY SENSITIVE SUBJECT
DON'T DRINK THE TAP WATER. BOTTLE WATER ONLY. ( FOR HEALTH REASONS. NOT ETIQUETTE. )
SHOES ALWAYS REMOVE YOUR SHOES WHEN ENTERING A TEMPLE OR SOMEONES HOME. SOME RESTAURANTS MAY REQUIRE THIS ALSO.
TAXIS / TUK TUKS WHEN HAILING A TAXI, KEEP YOUR HAND OUT HORIZONTAL WITH FINGERS FACING DOWN TOWARDS THE GROUND. HOLDING YOUR HANDS WITH FINGERS UP OR POINTING IS CONSIDERED VERY RUDE. NEVER WHISTLE.
NOT EXPECTED ( LIKE IN USA ) BUT APPRECIATED
HOTELS 20 THB ( LESS THAN $1 )FOR LUGGAGE CARRIER OR HOUSEKEEPING
RESTAURANTS, CUSTOMARY TO LEAVE ANY LOOSE CHANGE IN COINS AS A TIP
BUT MOST HOTELS & RESTAURANTS ALREADY INCLUDE A 10% SERVICE CHARGE ON YOUR BILL. IT IS SHARED AMONG THE EMPLOYEES.
IN VERY HIGH END RESTAURANT WITH EXCELLENT SERVICE 5% - 10% TIP IS APPRECIATED.
FOR TAXIS JUST ROUND UP THE FARE ( example - Fare is $4.65 - just give $5 )
KEEP IN MIND MASSAGE LADIES WORK FOR PENNIES SO A LITTLE EXTRA GOES A LONG WAY FOR THEM.
MAKE SURE TAXIS TURN ON THEIR METER SO THEY CAN’T SCAM YOU. IF THEY TELL YOU A PLACE IS CLOSED “ AND YOU SHOULD GO SOMEWHERE ELSE “- JUST FIND ANOTHER DRIVER.THEY ARE PROBABLY TRYING TO SCAM YOU.
NEVER GIVE YOUR PASSPORT OVER AS A DEPOSIT FOR JET SKIS OR MOTORBIKES. THIS IS A SCAM AS WELL.
HOW TO “HAGGLE” WHEN SHOPPING
IF THERE IS A FIXED, INDIVIDUAL PRICE TAG , IT IS PROBABLY NOT A BARGAINING PLACE.
IF HAGGLEING - CUT PRICE IN HALF, THEN MEET SOMEWHERE COMFORTABLE IN THE MIDDLE.
SMOKING / VAPES / DRONESIN FEBRUARY 2018 NEW LAWS PASSED : NO SMOKING ON PUBLIC BEACHES, AS A RULE OF THUMB FOR ALL AIRPORTS, VAPES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN CHECKED LUGGAGE ( THEY MUST BE IN YOUR CARRY ON IN A SEPARATE BAGGIE ) THERE ARE MIXED REVIEWS ABOUT VAPES BEING ALLOWED IN THAILAND / NO VAPING IN PUBLIC WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY A FINE , NO DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY WITHOUT REGISTERING & GETTING A CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL. NOTHING TOO SERIOUS BUT PLEASE JUST ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE LAWS FOR ANY COUNTRY YOU VISIT BY READING UP ONLINE. RENTING MOTORBIKES ( VERY COMMON IN PHUKET BUT NOT SUGGESTED AS THE ROADS ARE VERY DANGEROUS ) YOU NEED AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS LICENSE. THOUGH NOT ENFORCED VERY OFTEN - IT’S STILL THE LAW.
Photo Courtesy: freisdays.com
HOW TO DRESS
When visiting temples - shoulders, belly & legs must be completely covered ( for men & women)
At beaches - regular bikinis / beach wear is fine but have a cover up handy for going into hotel lobby , restaurants, shops etc
Out & about in Bangkok or Phuket - normal stuff you’d wear - shorts & tank top etc is fine as long as it’s not skimpy.
Remember it’s really hot so wear light materials that breathe.
You take your shoes off a lot in Thailand ( all temples, some restaurants so bring mostly sandals that are comfy & not SUPER expensive since you leave them out in Public)
As a rule of thumb in Bangkok & Phuket - dress “nice.” It is said on a lot of travel boards that the quality of service you get in hotels , restaurants, etc will depend on how you dress . Thais judge by appearance & it is a sign of respect to be dressed nice (as opposed to beach bum / tourist)
Some roof top bars in Bangkok will have a dress code.
Here is a sign from one of the temples showing what is not appropriate when going inside a sacred place:
HOW TO USE YOUR PHONE
There are 2 ways you can choose to use your phone while in Thailand.
Option 1 : Switch the settings on your phone to “data roaming - OFF” and just use your phone whenever you are connected to WiFi. Hotels, cafes, shops will almost always have WiFi. Use the WhatsApp app to text freely with friends & family. We did this on our last trip and it was fine.
Option 2 : Purchase a SIM card with unlimited data so you can use your phone anywhere & everywhere. It’s easier than it sounds. You basically find a kiosk at the airport, mall or 7-11 and have the employees set it up for you. This option is suggested for those that might want to access SnapChat, Instagram , etc when on the go. I also suggest this method in case of emergencies. I will be doing this upon arrival at the airport - just to get it out of the way.
Sim Chips, Smartphones, iPhones and Tablets in Thailand ( Source: TripAdvisor Forum User: Hollywoood ) Thailand is one of the easiest and cheapest places in the world to buy a sim card and a voice/data package for your mobile device. Below is a general outline of how to use your mobile device in Thailand.
1)Your device must be sim-unlocked. In order for you to use a Thai sim, your device must be unlocked. A device is “locked” when it can be used with only one carrier (the company you bought it from), and is “unlocked” when you can put any sim card in the device and it will work. Also, your device must use a sim card (this seems obvious, but if your device only works on CDMA networks and not GSM networks, it will not work in Thailand). Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessarily easy to have your device unlocked in Thailand. It is recommended to unlock your device prior to your arrival in Thailand. Visit Verizon ( or whomever your carrier is and just ask them to unlock your phone for travel. Some newer/ high end phones may already come unlocked.)
2)Choose Service Provider. There are three major carriers in Thailand: (i) AIS (www.ais.co.th/); (ii) DTAC/Happy (www.happy.co.th/home_en.php); and (iii) True Move (www.truemove.com/en). Each company has some benefits and drawbacks over the others, but generally AIS and DTAC have the best coverage, and True often has the best pricing for its packages. Around the urban areas 3G coverage is quite good, while in the more rural areas you will likely only find the slower Edge network. 4G is currently not available in Thailand (with the exception of some very limited trial areas around Bangkok). If you are going to be in the major tourist areas, it really does not make much difference which company you choose.
3) Buy a Sim. The easiest way to buy a sim card and set up your device is to go to a service booth/store for either DTAC, AIS or True. A list of such booths/stores is available on each company’s website. If you are arriving at Suvarnbhumi Airport (BKK/Bangkok Airport), the easiest way to purchase a sim is to visit the booths at the airport located on the 2nd floor of the arrivals hall, near door 7. All three companies have booths at the airport that are open 24 hours a day. The representatives at the booths speak great English and will be able to sell you a sim and set it up with whatever data and voice package you decide to buy. The representative will also put the sim into your device for you and make sure all the settings in your phone are correct. In about 5 minutes (depending on how busy it is), you will have a fully functioning device with a your own Thai number. If you are not arriving at BKK and/or are not able to find a company booth/store, every 7-11 in the country carries sim cards for all three companies, and you can also purchase “top up credit” at the 7-11’s. If you do purchase the sim by yourself, make sure you set up a data package as well, otherwise you will use up your top-up credit extremely fast (there will be a customer service number included the sim card you buy, so simply call customer service and ask them to set up the package you want). Try to save the information that comes with your sim, because it will include your Thai phone number, instructions on how to top up, and the customer service numbers. All of the companies carry micro-sims and nano-sims.
4) Packages/Prices. For the sim card itself, expect to pay anywhere from free (they often hand out free sims at the airport) to about 100 Baht. The more expensive the sim, the more minutes/credit it will include (so getting a “free sim” does not really save you anything since you will have to purchase top-up credit anyways). Once you have the sim, you will have to add “top-up credit” to the sim so that you can make phone calls and/or buy 3G data packages. Each company offers different packages based on your needs. It is typically better to purchase a volume-based data package (instead of a time-based data package), because that way you can leave your device connected to the internet without using all of your minutes. Prices for volume-based data packages are roughly 1 Baht per mb (with it becoming cheaper the more mb’s you buy). Better yet are unlimited data packages, which cost roughly 45 Baht/day, 200 Baht/week or 500 Baht/month. Depending on how many calls you think you will make, you should also buy some extra top-up minutes to use for calls and SMS. To add the package, make sure you have added enough top-up credit to purchase the package, then call the corresponding code number to purchase the packages (see the links below to find out the different codes for each company). For example, to add DTAC’s unlimited data for a month for 399 baht, you would buy 400 baht of top-up for your sim, then dial *104*21*9#. If you ever need to buy more credit/minutes, simply visit the nearest 7-11 and ask for your company’s “top up”, and you will be provided with a code and instructions (in English) on how to top up/refill your sim. If you purchase the sim at the airport or other service center, the representative will also set up the package for you.
5) Using your device. Your device will work exactly the same in Thailand as it does in your home country, except that you will have a Thai phone number. This means that you will notice no difference when using e-mail, Facebook, web browser, etc. However, SMS and calls will be different because you have a Thai number now. ( Get WhatsApp for texting! )
Calls within Thailand cost 1 Baht/minute, and when calling outside of Thailand, each company has a special code that gives you reduced rates (about 3-5 Baht/minute to most countries). The special “cheap calling” codes are: DTAC - 004; AIS - 005; True - 006. To use the code, instead of dialing the international access code (001 or “+”), just enter 004, 005 or 006 (depending on your carrier) before dialing the country code. For example, to call the USA, dial 004-1-(area code)-(number). To have people out of the country call you in Thailand (incoming calls are free on your phone), have them dial +66-(your NINE digit Thai phone number). Note that that for people to call you, they must use your 9 digit number, so if your Thai number begins with a Zero followed by Nine numbers, omit the Zero. An international SMS costs 5 Baht to send.
Many hotels these days are equipped with American & European Outlets but you should always be prepared when traveling. For charging things like phones & iPads, you will need an adapter to fit into Asian plugs. We purchased this Apple Travel Kit. It is a great investment because it has plugs for various countries so you can use for future travels. If you don't use Apple, just get something similar from your provider. You can find many kinds of adapters on Amazon for cheap as well.
Appliances get a little trickier. Hair Dryers are provided in the hotels so you won't need to bring one.
For appliances like shavers, flat irons and curling wands; you will need a converter ( in addition to an adapter.)
To be honest, I have gone through three converters. They all survived the Middle East & many other places. They all burnt out in Asia. Asia uses higher voltage. Read up on what type of converters you might need here :
Thailand is often considered more modern than the USA. In the areas we will be in , you will be able to buy pretty much anything so don't over pack. Here are some suggestions on essentials.
A photocopy of your passport to carry when out and about as I.D. ( keep original passport in hotel safe along with your other valuables. )
Make sure your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your entry date into Thailand. Always check online for any updates to passport & visa policies. There is no visa needed ( for US citizens ) for this specific retreat. If you hold other citizenship, please check visa policies for your country.
Prescriptions along with original bottles & doctors note
Camera, chargers, adapters
Light weight yoga mat ( expensive ones are usually too heavy for travel. Stick with one from Giam, Target, TJ Maxx that you don't mind getting dirty or leaving behind.) Most of the time you can carry your mat on the plane without it counting as a carry on. It will become your best friend for stretches / naps during airport layovers.
Entertainment for your flight Books, Kindle, NetFlix Movies on iPad, notebooks to write in, healthy snacks, neck pillow. Whatever makes you happy - plan out your long haul entertainment.
A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY AND LOCALS ARE VERY APPRECIATIVE WHEN YOU MAKE THE ATTEMPT TO LEARN SOME COMMON PHRASES. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOWNLOADING THE "SPEAK THAI" APP OR ANY OTHER THAI LANGUAGE APP AND BRUSHING UP ON THE BASICS. ( THIS WILL ALSO GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO DO ON THAT LONG INBOUND FLIGHT ! )
The first thing you need to know is that the Thai language changes a bit depending on whether the speaker is a man or a woman. The addition of the word Krup or "khrap" (male speaker) and Kah (female speaker) to the end of the word makes what is being said "polite".
For example :
Sawatdee (khrap/kah) Hello Khob Khun (khrap/kah) Thank you
Along with greeting someone you may want to ask them how they are: Sabai dii mai? ( khrap/kah ) How are you? Sabai dii khrap/ka (I am fine thank you) or ‘mai sabai khrap/ka’ (not well).
HERE ARE SOME WORDS TO GET YOU STARTED:
mai pen rai - never mind (handy all purpose phrase to express the Thai go-with-the-flow attitude) pood Thai mai daiI can not speak Thai.
kow jai mai do you understand?
mai kow jai I do not understand
nee Tao Rai? How much?
pang mak very expensive
lot noi dai mai can you give a little discount
sanaam bin Airport
hong naam toilet
nit noi small - not much - a little bit
mai phet not spicey please
arroy! means " the food is delicious"
narak! means "so cute!"
Hope you find this page helpful! Be sure to check in on our Private FaceBook Group for more info, live Q& As, videos and fun posts all about Thailand! Email or text me anytime with questions.