Left hand driving (?)
Before leaving to Thailand I considered the option of renting a car, to travel around. The first sight of the local traffic immediately forced me to give up.
Driving on the left it's tricky for us, even in a disciplined western country, but here, the permanent jamming of the main avenues and the confusion out of them, advice one single solution - no matter what your plans were, get a local driver.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
DON'T TEASE THE ELEPHANTS
While in Thailand you will probably come in to contact with elephants and possibly feed them bananas or something else. When feeding them never tease them by offering food then withdrawing it as they intend to get a bit angry.
CAREFUL OF YOUR MONEY
You cannot be too careful of your money when it comes too trusting the Guest house. My wife and i were travelling around Thailand for 2 months and i had a money belt that i wore under my clothes and kept another one for daily use. Each Sunday we transferred our weekly budget from the first one to the second. After 3 weeks i checked the money in the first one and discovered that there was over $500 missing. During the time we stayed at several GHs and sometimes left the money belt locked in the room (when we were swimming). Unfortunately we did not know which GH is responsible for the theft, but now my money never leaves my person. Yes, i know i am stupid, but we learn by our mistakes.
Be Watchful. You Drive Your Own Issues
Common sense Acommon Travel rules as to where ever you go:
#1. Don't go where you shouldn't go.
#2. Follow the rule of law in the country that you reside.
#3. Adhere to the rule of law from your home country.
#4. Respect and "pre-" read up on the culture(s).
#5. Gain some familiarity with the country's national language prior to your trip.
#6. Practice the local language with the locals.
#7. If concerned with lodging then don't do what isn't familiar to you.
#8. Eat what has been cooked.
#9. Drink bottled water that has a seal. Open it yourself.
#10. Know your coordinates (esp. North & South). Memorize the major cross-roads prior to taking your trip.
#11. Have a copy or two of your Passport in a safe place (either on you personally or in an emergency place).
#12. Go electronic (with back up paperwork) when you can.
#13. Be reluctant to share your full plans with strangers.
#14. Be flexible.
#15. How you handle "it" determines whether it'll be a good event or day or not. Understand that something weird, funny, or bad might occur.
#16. Watch your travel companions as they might just as well cause trouble by accident / unknowingly or on purpose.
#17. International travel is not a time for pranks. (Stay away from pranksters that want to travel with you)
#18. Just try to remember that "nothing" is for "free". (This goes for women too)
#17. Silently mediate as to rehearse (or re-play) plans.
#18. Always be prepared for a back-up exit plan (... where ever you are (and check for exits)).
#19. Travel with flex travel time on the front end but esp. back end of your visit. This'll reduce your frustrations if there happen to be delays.
#20. Pack light while being wise.
#21. Be nimble.
#22. If you have good judgment with befriending people (anywhere) then be social with out giving away too much information.
#23. Know your money. Where it is. How much is on you. Denominations in order. Minimize coins if possible (don't need to be heard walking around jiggling).
#24. When driving ... pay the extra for full coverage. (Take it from a guy that has had 2 separate flat tires and locked up engine all in the same trip. Can you guess where?)
#25. Walk like you know where you are going even when you get lost. The best way to not get lost again is to remember where you were when you were lost.
#26. You are not a "stick" in the mud if you choose to stay away from the "loud" crowd.
#27. Avoid traveling during the host country's elections.
#28. Be aware of political and labor union protest. Don't accidently get caught up.
#29. Never walk away from your open beverages and/or food. Once you've stepped away then pass on further consumption as to be cautious.
#30. Ladies and guys, know that you will meet lots of wonderful people plus some not so. Don't be fooled by "beauty" or a "handsome" face. Danger lurks. If you have a bad judgment of character domestically then it is not going to get any better outside of the country.
#31. If you're not considered "HOT" back home then don't be fooled when you are abroad. Money matters. It isn't really your looks.
#32. The money train gets you access but it can also generate trouble.
#33. Make certain Taxis / Limos drivers happen to be locked into the price and directions prior to departure.
#34. Know the weather conditions prior and during your trip.
#35. Read the local newspapers / journals prior to arrival. (seek to understand cultural, social, economic, etc topics of the day)Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Study Abroad
botteld water vs tap water
most of you are miguided into thinking that you cant use the water in thailand to brush your teath well you can i have been going to thailand for years and drinking the watter isnt advisable you can surly brush your teeth with it, also you can use the tap water to make your coffee also as long as u use that pot supplied in every hotel room there to make hot water
Gambling in Thailand
Any form of gambling is illegal in Thailand.....apart from the unimpressive lottery
It is one of those curious things, given Thailand's relaxed approach to many vices that both police and the law come down very hard on gamblers - if and when they can be bothered.
There were several campaigns during the world cup to eliminate gambling on the football. These tend to be spasmodic and sporadic though.
I personally wouldn't want to run the risk of being busted - however unlikely.
BTW - Most internet gambling sites are blocked by the Thai govt - along with about 40 to 150 thousand other sites!!!Related to:
- Casino and Gambling
Be careful on Thai motorbikes.
Generally speaking you are required to have an international driving license (one with a motorbike allowance for bigger than mopeds). However, they really dont check except maybe the police if you run a traffic light or are not wearing your helmet, in which case no license is just another 100 baht or so fine. The big problem is if you get in an accident. Without a proper license you will not be insured even if you get insurance, which usually isnt available for motorbikes. wear a helmet and jeans and try to drive suuuuuuper safely. its the leading cause of death of foreigners here in Thailand.
Its also a good idea to have your own padlock to put on the wheel to keep ANYONE from pushing your bike away (even those with the key for the lock they gave you) and try not to give them your passport, but a copy of your passport as collateral so you have some bargaining power in the event there is an accident.Related to:
The rainy season in Thailand starts around the middle of April and ends around the beginning of November.Most of the time it rains in the late afternoon you will see the dark clouds roll in for about an hour before hand. It will rain hard for about 30 to 45 minutes then stop and you may have some flooding, but the sun will come out and it will be hot and humid again.
It may be overcast and rainy for days if there is a storm in the area and many areas getting flooding rain especially down near Phuket. No one can give you a good answer, so it's pot luck maybe your have great weather and maybe your be rained on. That;s why it's called the low season here, you want a better chance of no rain come in Dec to Jan.
don't trust ANYONE in Thailand
the best thing to remember when you come to Thailand are that lying, deception and cheating are important parts of Thai culture. The phoney smiles and "friendly" demeanor are only present when Thais think they will get some money from you. Truth is, Thais do not like farangs for any other reason than money. I have lived here for 2 years now and I can say without question they are the most dishonest, ignorant, racist, xenophobic, anti-intellectual dirtbags I have ever met anywhere I have traveled. The so called "wealthy educated elite" in Thailand are just as untrustworthy and dishonest as people on the streets. Even more hilarious is the fact they love to claim that Thai people are "jai dee" (good hearted) which is about the furthest thing from the truth imaginable. Be on guard for EVERYONE you meet in this place.
BEWARE of BACKPACKERS travel agency
this agency is situated at Koh Phangan Island
Please avoid BACKPACKERS THAILAND Travel agency in Haad Rin (full moon party), Thailand, they charge at least double the price (for tickets, hotels, diving...) and most hotels and guesthouses we've talked to in order to change undesirable reservations have blacklisted them and no longer book through their agency. Just a heads up.
keep away from Backpakers.
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Avoid paying for a visa twice: airline transfer
this is not exactly danger/warning tip, but it is important to have this in my if you are flying to Bangkok and then catch a plane by a budget airline to continue to your other international destination. (in my case it was a flight by Air Asia to Ha Noi).
Air Asia (as well as other budget airlines) doesn't have a check-in counter inside the transfer zone of the Suvarnabhumi Airport. to check-in on an air asia flight one HAVE to go through the passport and customs control, then go through a new check in. there is no other way.
this totally not an issue is one doesn’t need a visa to enter Thailand. so you get your stamp, and go for a check-in. well, yes, you will waste 30 to 60 additional minutes, which is important if one has a narrow window between flights.
In my situation, I had to pay $30 for a visa just to enter the airport and check again for Air Asia flight to Hanoi. when I asked for a double/multiple-entry visa, I was told that they don't issue it at the airport. Should I known about the situation, I would apply for a multiple-entry Thai visa prior to leaving my home country. i thought it was totally unfair, but there was no way around it. so I ended up paying for a Thai visa twice (once to go to Hanoi and second time to enter Bangkok 3 weeks after my Vietnam, Cambodia trip).Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Ah, the everlasting Malaria debate. To let you know, you'll never stop reading conflicting information about this. You're going to have to read everything and make the decision yourself.
Basically, you have three pills to choose from (all are prophylactics, not vaccines). Doxycycline is easily the most popular, probably because it's the cheapest. Most people I traveled with throughout Africa and southeast Asia used Doxy and a lot of them got sick off of it. Some of them stopped taking them, and some of them continued to deal with their stomach concerns but it severely limited what they could eat. Doxy is also known to increase your sensitivity to the sun, which is the sole reason I never considered it.
Next you have Larium, probably the second most common choice. I took this and had no problems whatsoever. But most of the horror stories regarding side effects can be attributed to Larium. People have reported having intense nightmares, sometimes even leading to PTSD. But it's important to consider that this is very rare compared to the side effects of Doxy, even rarer than picking up malaria itself. Also, Larium is taken once weekly, as opposed to once daily.
The third is Malarone. All I know is that it's extremely expensive in the US. It would have cost me nearly $2,000 for a 4 month supply, so I didn't really research it.
Finally, there is the option of not taking anything. No prophylactic protects you from every strain of malaria and you can still get a strain that is protected. There are no guaruntess. But people do die from Malaria. A South African girl we were with in Tanzania ranted about how pointless it is to take anything. She got a horrible case of it and was in the hospital for what she described as the worse week of her life.
It's probably even more confusing for you now, but you'll unfortunately have to make a random decision and hope for the best. I will say that Larium has the highest success rate that I've seen.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Ambiguous Calling Cards
Be cautious buying telephone calling cards in Thailand. I was buying one called CAT calling card in Chiang Mai and was really happy. About 300 Baht, scratch off the panel, dial in and I used to get ages talking to UK. When the card was getting low I bought a new one and dialed a special number and transfered the balance over.
I got to Bangkok and couldn't find one, but eventually got one from 7-11. I dialed the special number to transfer my balance from the old card, then when I used it it didn't allow 008/007 dialing, 001 landline prices only. I got about four minutes until it was almost expired with just a few baht. I looked and the card is called 'CAT thai card', and it's almost identical on the outside to the cards I'd been using. Not until the packaging is open do you see it's... for something else (god knows what? Perhaps a domestic card?), but the IDD rates are landline 008 or 007 dialing not allowed, 001 premium only.
So I phoned the customer service number to complain and all the options only lead to recorded messages telling you what a great company they are.
My advice about calling cards would be, ask another traveler who's been using one locally what they would personally recommend and buy the same as they have.
political situation in Bangkok
The Thailand tourism industry is currently suffering the worst season for many years due to the political unrest in the capital, Bangkok.
Violent clashes between anti-government protesters and polcie, as well as the skirmish between Cambodian and Thai troops on the border and the ongoing instability in the South are causing tourists to stay away in droves.
Tourists should not be alarmed. The situation in Bangkok is very localized.
There is a full report on the Bangkok situation here: http://photojourn.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/thailand-tourism-in-crisis-as-protesters-die-in-bloody-bangkok/
here: http://photojourn.wordpress.com/2008/10/11/thailand-tourism-chief-believes-deadly-clashes-will-not-significantly-affect-tourism/Related to:
- Family Travel
Karaoke does not mean singing!!
Be warned that "Karaoke" is sometimes used in Thailand to mean a brothel. We discovered this when, on our last night in Bangkok, we asked a taxi driver to take us to a karaoke bar only to be taken to a brothel (despite the fact that we were three girls!). It was awful - we entered the bar expecting to find a bunch of people singing but instead found about 12 women sitting on a raised platform in the corner, occasionally being lead upstairs by sleazy male tourists. Needless to say, when we realised that they weren't about to start singing we left very quickly, but it was a really distrubing experience - those poor women.
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