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, as we did.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
One thing that was really new to me, was to see many trucks on the road using Natural gas (LPG).
To see a stack of gas cylinders behind the drivers cabin is like seeing a truck with a potential rocket launcher. I hate to think of things that can go wrong when a truck overturns and some of these cylinders at 150 atmospheric pressure loose an end.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Road Trip
AVOID LADYBOYS AFTER TOO MANY DRINKS
I have met more than one tourist who has ended up with a ladyboy by mistake so if you decide to have a night at the red light district try not to drink too much and learn how to recognise the third gender. Some of the ladyboys are outstanding beauties, even better looking than many of the local ladies which you may see in cabarets, bars or on the street. Ladyboys are locally known as katoeys, cross-dresser, transvestite and are so feminine it becomes extremely difficult to tell the difference. They are well integrated in to Thai life and are not looked down upon, so here are a few points that you may find helpful.
Check the way she/he walks, moves their body, flicks their hair, as katoeys incline to be more excessive than the real girls.
Some kateoys have big breasts and are happy for you to check them out so they appreciate their financial investment.
Many kateoys don't ear bras, but nearly all girls do, so this would be a sign that you are about to make a mistake.
Check out the elbows as men's elbows tend to be more square.
Ladyboys tend to dress more extravagantly than a girl, by using lots of make-up, glitter and feathers.
Some of the ladyboys have their adam's apple surgically removed but if you spot one you are about to take a walk on the wild side.
One of the most difficult things would be to imitate a female's voice, so if the pitch is higher than a man's voice you may get the feeling that it is not natural.
Thai girls are not usually tall but many ladyboys are much taller than they should be.
Even if the guy has had a sex change the original I D will still say it is a "HE"
Guess this guy did not know the difference
http://www.rappler.com/nation/71859-us-embassy-transgender-murder-olongapoAdd to your Trip Planner
As sited on wikitravel.org
Beware of all offers of gems and (supposedly) precious stones. These sophisticated & highly professional "special discount" scams, often involving promises of high resale value back home at a supposedly huge profit, sometimes even employ foreigners to act as satisfied customers.
Beware of tuk-tuk drivers offering all-day tours for prices as low as 10 baht. You may be taken on a full-day tour but you will only end up visiting one gem & souvenir shop after another. The driver gets a commission if you buy something and gas coupons even if you don't.
Insist on the meter for taxis, and agree on a price in advance for tuk-tuks. If they refuse, or quote silly prices, just walk out and get a different one, they're rarely in short supply.
Be highly skeptical of anyone telling you that your intended destination is currently closed (including skytrain and subway stations), or offering discount admissions. Temples are almost always free (the main exceptions are Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho) & open just about every day of the year. Anyone telling you otherwise is most likely out to scam you.
There is no such thing as a Lucky Buddha or Lucky Buddha day! Touts are out to trick you into getting a tuk-tuk to visit several souvenir shops or a gem scam shop.
At popular tourist sites, if an English-speaking Thai approaches you out of the blue and strikes up a conversation, be wary, they are almost certainly selling something. If they ask you if it's your first time in Thailand, it's probably best to answer 'no' and walk away.
Beware of private bus companies offering direct trips from Bangkok to other cities with VIP buses. There are a lot of scams performed by some private bus companies. The so-called direct VIP trips may end up changing three or four uncomfortable minibuses to the destination, the 10-11 hours trip may be 17-18 hours. Try to book public BKS buses from the main bus terminals.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Additional Do's and Don't
Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety, as well as the safety for your belongings.
Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended.
Be sure that all your valuables (money, jewelry, and airline tickets) are properly protected from loss.
Drop your garbage into a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration strictly enforcing law in an effort to keep the city clean and healthy. The fine will be imposed on a person who spits, discards cigarette stubs or drops rubbish in public areas.
Do not get yourself involved with drugs. Penalties for drug offences are very severe in Thailand.
Do not support any manner of wild animal abuse. Never purchase any products or souvenirs made from wild animals including reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards, turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.
Visitors needing assistance relating to safety, unethical practices, or other matters, please call the Tourist Police at Tel: 1155.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Don't shake hands and no PDA!
Thai people don't normally shake hands when they greet one another. But, instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.
The head, is the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and TRY NOT TO POINT YOUR FEET at people or an object. It is considered very rude.
Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Respect Royal Family and Religion
Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.
Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire. It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, BUT NOT INSIDE the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.
Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect.
Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it. Wow!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
Mosquitos, Bug Repellent
According to Eyewitness Travel Guide for Thailand, Seven (7) of the 410 types of mosquitos in Thailand carry malaria. The odds seem pretty slim you would come in contact with one of those mosquitos! But, I don't think I'll take my chances. There are several specific products that are used as bug repellent such as Deet, Bugband and Herbal Armor. But, the product I will take with me on this trip will be Avon's Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion (Deet Free). A two for one product and it's not repulsive to put on, sounds good to me!
Vaccinations are not required by visitors to Thailand unless coming from or passing through a designated contaminated area according to www.tourismthailand.org/travel-information/
See LA Times article on bug repellents:
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
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.Add to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
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 waterAdd to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
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