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.
WE HAVE BEEN TO THAILAND MANY TIMES AND NEVER EXPERIENCED A FEELING OF BEING SCAMMED. JUST BE AWARE AND ALERT AS YOU WOULD BACK HOME.
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.
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 FaceBook, 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. Expect to pay between $35-65 USD for unlimited data, SIM cards are unbelievably cheap in Thailand!
Option 3 : Set up an International Data Plan with your cell phone service provider. Daily rates will vary depending on your carrier.
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.)
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.