5 Things Every Traveller Should Know Before Visiting Thailand
Bucket List Worthy Travel Hacks
Thailand welcomed 32.59 million foreign visitors in 2016. While that means good things for the country’s tourism industry and its economy, it also means a lot of people are entering the Land of Smiles without truly understanding its customs. Possessing a basic knowledge of the Kingdom’s culture and what to expect when you arrive will help you be a responsible tourist in a land that feels so different from Australia.
1. Skip the Animal Tourism
It may be enticing to hop aboard a saddle on an elephant’s back or take a photo with a trained monkey, but it’s important to forego these activities for more responsible ones. The animals used for these activities — like visiting tiger temples and elephant trekking — are typically neglected and treated poorly. Scratch these activities off your bucket list right now, and research more responsible places to see Thailand’s wildlife, like the Elephant Nature Park rescue and rehabilitation center.
2. Pocket Some Toilet Paper
This tip won’t benefit anyone but you, but you’ll be happy you’re prepared in a pinch. Most public restrooms in Thailand are not equipped with toilet paper, and if they are, you’ll have to scrounge up a couple baht to buy some. Make your daily travels easier and more comfortable by carrying a wad of TP in your bag at all times.
3. Bring Your Haggling Skills, But Don’t Go Overboard
Does the initial price of those Thai fisherman pants sound a little high? That’s because it is. Haggling is expected at Thailand’s many markets, small shops and street stalls. The best method for haggling is to find the price you want to pay and offer less. Be clear when you’ve reached the price you pay and always keep the interaction polite, fun and friendly. Don’t spend all of your time and energy fighting to get the lowest possible price. Just pay what you think is fair and continue shopping.
4. Be Polite
Thai people are the definition of polite. They don’t like confrontation, and it’s not socially acceptable for Thai people to lash out when they don’t get their way. Things often move slowly in the Land of Smiles, so don’t overreact and always pack your patience and sense of humor.
5. Some Deals Are Too Good to be True
You’ll quickly realize that the Thai people are some of the most friendly and hospitable in the world, but that doesn’t mean the country is void of scammers. Beware of ultra cheap tuk tuk or taxi fares that include a couple of “stops” along the way. These low fares often mean you’ll be taken to stores and restaurants where the driver receives a commission. Watch for pickpockets in busy marketplaces and don’t fall for any deal that sounds too good to be true.