Thailand is one of the friendliest countries to visit but like all countries around world it has its only little quirks and some interesting customs.
But it’s important to be prepared, you’ll get the most out of it by learning all you can before you arrive and learning from my experiences visiting Thailand.
Here are some Bangkok Thailand travel tips, that I wish I knew before visiting Bangkok Thailand.
Avoid Using Taxi’s All The Time
The BTS, MRT and Airport Link stations will get you their faster and cheaper. The point of taking mass rapid transports is to shorten your travel time which is achieved mainly by not been stuck in traffic which is awful in Bangkok particularly on a Friday evening.
General rules in Bangkok to make getting around easier are.
- Try and live or stay near a station near these lines you will save a huge amount in taxi fares.
- Make sure that the taxis agree to use their meters before you step into one or you will have a nasty shock on arrival. If the driver refuses to do so, just give it a miss and get next taxi.
Be Careful If You Want To Drive
Simply driving Thailand is dangerous as it has one of the worst accident rates in the world particularly motorbike driving counts for around 80% of the 60 odd deaths a day on the roads.
This stems from the “might is right” approach to driving. Trucks and buses will assume right of way over cars and motorcycles with the pedestrian at the bottom of the highway food chain.
If you are brave enough to drive a car or moped be super cautious. And wear a helmet, if the police catch you without a helmet, it will be a 200 bht fine.
General warning: If you are caught in a minor motoring accident the police will immediately assume it’s the foreigners fault. You will be required to pay on-the-spot restitution to the other motorist and maybe some merit money to the police officer for his “assistance”.
Treat all police officers with great respect.
After Midnight You Can’t Buy Booze From Shops
After midnight you won’t be able to buy booze from shops like 7/11s or Family mart. Also you can’t buy booze from 2 PM to 5 PM.
So, do NOT insist, they won’t sell you. If you really need booze, go to a bar.
Tourist Police Have No Power
The tourist police have much less power than Thai ‘normal’ police of course. They do not carry guns, for one. And basically they ‘liaise’ with the ‘real police’ for important matters.
Of course, they are present only in touristic destinations.
- Tourist Police number is 1155.
- Thailand Emergency Services (Fire, Ambulance) numbers is 191.
In The Movie Theatre, Stand Up
Stand up, in a movie theatre, before the royal hymn starts. Many people ended up in jail for refusing to do so. Just stand up, like everyone else.
Thai Greeting – Wai
The wai is made on greeting and leaving people. It is not necessary to wai everyone. A simple rule is that you wai more deeply to someone older or of higher status than you and vice versa.
A bar girl or waitress will probably wai to you you can acknowledge their wai by bowing your head slightly. It is not necessary for you to wai them in return.
Be Patience With Thai Timekeeping
Do not expect people to be on time, unless it is a business environment. An appointment at 10:00 often means they are on their way to you at 10:00.
Learn Thai Or Have a Few Words
The tones will drive you nuts, but there are only 5. Thai language is tonal and very ‘unnatural’ to western people.
Sawasdee Krab/Kha and Khob Khun Krab/Kha with a smile will get you everywhere.
You will never understand Thailand if you can’t listen to Thais speaking their own language.
Set a Budget For Your Living Costs
Set yourself a budget for your living costs and stick to it. I actually have an app to keep tabs on what I spend.
In Thailand it is easy to get carried away with spending and then run out of money before the end of the month or holiday.
Haggle Like Crazy
Begin at going for half the price if it seems ridiculous. If negotiation seems out of place, buying multiple items can increase your negotiation power.
Get Health Insurance
MAKE SURE you have a health insurance or travel insurance covering you for all your time in thailand. Remember many insurers have exclusions and limitations such as with motorcycle rentals.
Most temporary tourist insurance policies have time limits and cannot be extended.
Stuff happens and can happen to you too.
Avoid Public Affection
Try to avoid kissing or holding hands with your girlfriend/boyfriend in public places. Also avoid shaking hands, kissing on cheeks or hugging people.
Remember the ‘wai’, low ‘wai’ for people of your ‘status-age’ and higher wai for monks and older people.
If you do not know what to do, just smile and nod a bit.
If its Imported it is EXPENSIVE
Treat imported food and alcohol as a luxury, because it is. It costs ten times as much as local food. Even American fast food like McDonalds or KFC are expensive comparing to street food or local restaurants.
Even the 7/11’s pre-prepared food isn’t bad! Seriously, if it’s late and everything is closed their frozen meals (which they’ll heat up for you) are amazingly decent and well priced.
Finally, Bangkok Thailand is a great place to visit and has a lot to offer for everyone. Like any trip, you’ll get the most out of it by learning all you can before you arrive.
And that’s it for now! I’d love if this post on useful travel tips for visiting Bangkok Thailand was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if you go.