Thailand…..what can I say? It’s one of my favourite countries in the world to travel to. There are so many contrasts from the malls of Bangkok to the beaches of Phuket and the temples of Chiang Mai….Thailand really does have it all. I also find Thailand to be a great country to travel to alone. In my opinion, it’s a country that is safe and affordable with lots of opportunities to socialise – the perfect place to go solo. But let’s face it, there are always things that you wish you’d known before you go! Here are my top tips on travelling in Thailand – five things I wish I’d known before jetting off!
1. Don’t flush loo roll down the loo!
When I landed in Bangkok I made the BIG mistake of flushing loo roll down the toilet. When I turned round it had not gone down and was starting to fill up with water. A Thai woman pointed to me shouting ‘She! She!’ If only someone had told me before I went that Thai sewage systems are not built for flushing tissue or toilet paper. But in Thailand, they do have the ‘BUM GUN!’ With this handheld bidet, there is no real need for a loo roll at all! Or maybe just a couple of squares to dry (but not wipe!!!)
2. Don’t feed the monkeys!
Now, even though they may look cute, Thai monkeys can be aggressive and even more worrying they can carry rabies. If you are anywhere near the Lop Buri Monkey temple or any of the other Thai destinations where you can find monkeys, hide ALL your food and drinks (yep – they like coke too!) And tuck in anything dangly (no keyring on bags – ‘Monkey like!’) If you have anything that is tempting they will swamp you – even back you into a corner where you may find it difficult to get out. Personally, I extended my selfie stick for extra protection! I did not hit any of them with it, but the guards do – the monkeys know it hurts! So a stick is like some kind of sacred shield! Beware of the monkeys!
3. Remove your shoes at temple steps
If like me, you are eager to visit the local temples you will need to follow the rules to show respect. Cover your shoulders – girls don’t have boobs hanging out and legs on display. Men should avoid vest tops and shorts. Take a pair of easy-to-remove sandals that you can leave at the temple steps (although not necessarily flip-flops as there is a lot of walking). Walking sandals with one buckle would be ideal.
4. Buy a Thai SIM card
– it’s easy and cheap to get a SIM card in Thailand. If you are there for anywhere between 2-4 weeks (most go for a month to make the most of the 30-day visa) then it is worth it. You can use the data to navigate and use the phone to call hotels. Then swap it back for your usual one when your time there is done.
5. Pack a decent water bottle
– the weather can be insanely hot, especially in the summer months. I was in Thailand in December and remember feeling extremely feint at Wat Arun. I wish I’d taken a decent water bottle such as the Water to Go active bottle which has an inbuilt filter. This can give you clean and safe drinking water wherever you are in Thailand and beyond.
About the Author:
Amy is a travel writer and blogger with templeseeker.com. She has an MA in South Asian Studies from Manchester University and specialises in cultural and religious travel. Amy writes extensively about Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.