- Travel with a backpack, leave your big suitcase at home
- Don’t stress over ferry tickets
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash
- Taxis in Bangkok: never trust a ride without a meter on
- Rely on booking.com for your hotel reservations
- Sensitive tummy? Bring a box of travel probiotics
- Try street food
- Be careful with your allergies / intolerances
- Don’t forget your anti-mosquito paraphernalia
- Prefer swimming with elephants VS riding them
- Do not stay in Bangkok or Phuket to do day-trips
- Do not travel to Thailand in February]
After traveling around Thailand several times, here would be my best tips for you…
1- Travel with a backpack, leave your big suitcase at home
If you’re not thinking of staying in the same city for the entire duration of your trip (which I would recommend), then go to amazon.com right now and get a 60-liter hiking backpack (my advice: get one that has a zipper in the middle, it will be easier for you to get your stuff out without creating a mess every night). You will be so happy to have your backpack when you see all of the other people struggling on the sand with their suitcase to get in/off the speedboat (If you’re going to Krabi for example, you won’t be able to avoid it). Besides the practical side of the backpack, just know that you won’t have to carry it so much because the Thai people who work in the hotel you’re going to will most likely come pick you up at the pier and carry it for you – just make sure you inform them of your time of arrival.
2 – Don’t stress over ferry tickets
I’m the kind of person who likes to be super organized and I was tempted to book my ferry tickets prior to my arrival – while I was booking all the different hotels. Well, after going there several times, I just realised that it was not necessary at all. Ferries travel frequently from one island to another so you just need to arrive at the pier in advance if you want to avoid the lines, or you can book it online the night before (directferries allows you to compare the different prices/ferry companies you can travel with).
3 – Don’t carry large amounts of cash
You will be amazed to see that you have more ATMs around Thai cities than bakeries around Paris. As a result, don’t stress about the idea that you could get stuck in the middle of a street without seeing any. You’ll probably just have to turn around to face one.
My advice: never get more than 10 000 THB from the ATM – only if you have a safe in your hotel room. Also, if you intend to go to the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan like I did… well… watch your bag even more. I was being careful but I still got robbed without even realising it.
4 – Taxis in Bangkok: never trust a ride without a meter on
If you decide to visit Bangkok, you will have to take a taxi at some point. Always ask the driver if he can put the meter on. If he doesn’t want to, then get the following taxi, even it that means waiting for another one or two, or just accept the fact that you will get ripped off if you are not willing to wait.
5 – Rely on booking.com for your hotel reservations
I made all of my reservations via the app when I was traveling around Thailand and I could not be more grateful for the quality of their service. If you encounter any problem with the hygiene or anything else, like cancelling last minute, booking.com will know how to handle the situation so you don’t waste money. Just make sure you’re booking a room that has a free cancellation fee.
6 – Sensitive tummy? Bring a box of travel probiotics
If you didn’t grow up in Maghreb, an Indian or Asia country, chances are your stomach might be more sensitive to spices and exotic food. As far as I’m concerned, I was born and raised in France and these little pills helped me feel amazing during each of my trip. A box of these pills is definitely a must-have item in your bag when you travel to Eastern countries (or should I say, any country where the food isn’t the one you’re accustomed to).
7 – Try street food
This point follows the previous one. If you’re armed with probiotics, don’t feel scared to try food from a food truck that is in the middle of the street. Why? Because the food is SO much better than the food you can find in the resorts you’ll stay in and is also 10 times cheaper… From my experience, the best typical Thai dishes I tried when I traveled around Thailand were from little street trucks. I was very skeptical at first, but I’m so happy I gave it a chance.
8 – Be careful with your allergies / intolerances
Thai people communicate in English but it doesn’t mean that they understand all you say… and it will be frustrating for you, trust me. If you’re allergic to peanuts for example, be extremely cautious when you tell the waiters because they will say “yes” or “no” for whatever sentence you make. If you want to avoid trouble (and pain), make sure you connect to the restaurant wifi, use Google Translate and show them your screen (your best tool in Thailand to be understood by waiters!).
9 – Don’t forget your anti-mosquito paraphernalia
If like me, mosquitos are fond of your skin… believe me, mosquito repellents, plugs and soothing creams will be your best bets. Don’t forget to bring a full kit in your backpack, it will save you from scratching yourself all day long and ruin your stay.
10 – Prefer swimming with elephants VS riding them
Animal welfare groups suggest avoiding elephant rides completely… Which is tough because interacting with elephants is something a lot of people want to do when they go to Thailand, including myself. To be honest, I tried it once but I would probably never do it again because it pained me to see how Thai people were treating them… using picks to make them walk forward in the jungle. The elephants looked sad and mistreated. If I had to do it again, I would probably choose to swim with them, which looked a lot more fun for them, but also for the tourists doing it.
11- Do not stay in Bangkok or Phuket to do day-trips
This is literally the worst idea you could have if you decide to go to Thailand… I experienced it for 4 days and I think it was the worst part of my stay there. You will have to wake up at 5.30am every day to be able to catch a shuttle full of uneducated and loud people and drive for hours to a place that will be SO packed you won’t even enjoy it. Plus, you will pay a lot more than if you just went there and stayed in the area for a bit. For me, these 4 days were unfortunately wasted…
12 – Do not travel to Thailand in February
February falls during the Chinese new year, which means that all the heavenly / empty beaches will turn into a human tide. I can’t retrieve the videos I posted in my insta stories unfortunately, but all my friends agreed to comment it looked like hell. You were not even able to walk on the beach without bumping into someone. February is definitely a “no-no”.
What about you? What would be your travel tips for traveling in Thailand?
If you want to know what my top 6 best places to visit in Thailand are, click on the link!