Personally, when I travel Thailand, I like to stay in larger cities and take buses through the farmlands and jungle. It's a gorgeous country, and the people can be some of the kindest folks you'll ever meet. The only problem with Thailand, like any other tourist destination, is where ever there's a sucker, theirs a scammer waiting for his next payday.
Here're a few tidbits for a young male traveling Thailand:
- Make Friend's that are locals - They'll help you save money and check out unique sites.
- She doesn't love you - It seems like everyone I know who has visited Thailand leaves with a Girlfriend, I am not saying all Thai women are gold diggers, but it is well known that many people in Thailand are out for a green card. Just be cautious.
- Most rental vehicles have a catch 22 - Make sure you take photos of all rental vehicles you purchase + I wouldn't suggest EVER renting a Jet Ski.
- Never give out your passport - It sounds silly, but plenty of people do, once you do; you've lost a huge bargaining chip, and you are at the mercy of the individual who holds it.
- Stretch your cash, Eat from the Streets - I love Thai food and some of the best Thai food is found on the streets of Thailand for a very low price!
- Get INSURANCE - Travel insurance seems to cross everyone's mind before they hit the road but few people get it, trust me, it pays for itself. You might just get food poisoning or even worse something more serious may happen. Whatever it may be, I can promise you it will cost thousands for treatment. Travel Insurance is dirt cheap for someone at your age.
I have a few more tips on my blog, mostly geared towards women but it all still pertains to men.
Safety Tips For Solo Travelers
Hope I helped, stay safe!
[ Edit: Edited on 09-Feb-2016, at 16:19 by Brice_The_Tramp ]
The previous posters all make good points. Of particular note is Brice The Tramp's recommendation: "Never give out your passport -- It sounds silly, but plenty people do, once you do; you've lost a huge bargaining chip, and you are at the mercy of the individual who holds it."
That refers to people you meet on the street, sometimes posing as police. You give them your passport; and they hold it for ransom. They tried this on me in Nairobi. But I knew better, declining to give up my passport; and asking that they accompany me to the nearest police station. They walked away.
Sometimes, handing over passport and other documents is an invitation to handing over a bribe to an official, particularly if you want to get them back expeditiously to get on your way. This happens in West Africa and other places, particularly when passing through checkpoints. Experienced travelers know to make photocopies of their passport -- or photocopies of "la liste" if traveling with others -- to hand to the authorities. "La liste" should include vital information contained in passports, plus date of entry into the country, profession and visa number (if available). At checkpoints, you pass out a copy; the officials may look to see who's inside the vehicle; and wave you on. If you don't have a copy of "la liste," they may ask to see passports and other documents. At some places, they will have to record the data by hand. This is a hassle; and an invitation to paying a bribe, that you don't want.
Much has been said about scams and other unpleasantness by locals (most are friendly, kind and helpful). But you should be aware that fellow travelers also could cause some grief. A fellow American robbed me in Izmir, Turkey, many years ago. And I remember the American woman in Kolkata who asked to share the cost of a ride to the train station. When we arrived, she said she had no money. "No problem," I said. "C'est la vie!" When traveling, it helps to take it all in stride. Be positive; and travel can be an amazing experience.
One travel tip for Bangkok: Go to the food court on the fifth floor of the Terminal 21 shopping center (BTS Skytrain to Asok station) for good cheap eats. When I'm in Bangkok, I'm often there.
[ Edit: Edited on 09-Feb-2016, at 18:03 by berner256 ]
Wow great guys! I have learned alot and i'll definetely keep the passport safe and wont give it to strangers! Your blog helped me out alot Brice! Thought that i'll get to my hotel just pronouncing it to the taxi driver haha! but boy was i naive, i'll print out the adress and all the stuff necesarry just in case! I'll be staying in a cheap hotel but is it easy to just befriend other people and get to know them? I would have preferred travelling with someone else but can manage alone ( atleast I think so ) . what about getting tours and stuff like that? Are there people outside with booth's where i just register to the different activities or do i have to research up on that and contact them?? What about wifi and simcards? My simcard will probably not work there so i'll have to buy a sim card there. Would be awesome walking around taking snaps. I will most likely struggle alot finding the right directions, getting lost, speaking with strangers but will do my best! and if i rent a bike or scooter, I should first take a picture of the condition everything yeah ? I know im very naive and might be too kind thinking about what others think. All these tips are really helping, thanks alot! Thanks alot of reminding me of travel insurance ! got it done yesterday but was worth it! Lols, my parents are all against it, no support at all! Great that we have the internett :D Btw, how much cash should i take out?? Was thinking of not using the credit card at all, i use a regular visa card. Thought that when i arrive at the airport i'll take out about 1900 Bacht or something the currency is called. that should be enough? Are there atm's most of the places? The bungie jumping activity costs 2000 bacht, so yeah, will need some cash. Should i bring along a rain jacket? I know the weather there is quite warm but just in case? Or just buy a jacket there? I was so stupid that i already booked a hotel for 14 days, yeah very stupid. I will most likely change hotel after 4-5 days when I am done in Chiang Mai and move to Pai or any other place. Do i simply say that I wish to book out when am done there?
[ Edit: Edited on 09-Feb-2016, at 22:00 by ray672 ]
You won't have any problems using your debit card at ATMs in Thailand. Credit cards also are accepted in many places. But you must notify your bank in Norway before you go that you intend to use them there. Otherwise, the transactions aren't likely to go through. Also, know how much you intend to withdraw when you use an ATM. Don't put the card into the machine and stand there trying to figure how much to take out. If you delay, the machine could "eat" your card; and retrieving it might be difficult, if not impossible. I know from past experience. It also helps to carry some currency. Try to bring euros or U.S. dollars; they are readily exchangeable.
Withdrawing 1,900 baht seems a small amount. Since you're going to be there two weeks, 5,000 baht would seem more reasonable as an initial withdrawal. Don't worry too much about the exchange rate, unless you're going to be spending a lot of money, or staying there a long time. For reference, check this Web site: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/. Currently, there are roughly 35 THB to the U.S. dollar; 40 THB to the euro; and 4 THB to the Norwegian krone.
You might check with your hotel or booking agency to change your room reservation in advance. There might be a fee. But if you've prepaid, and you can't, then you'll just have you adjust. Thailand has a lot of tourists, so it's easy to buy tours. There are lots of options. In Bangkok, public transportation is easy and inexpensive. There are several online tools that will tell you how to get from place to place using public transit. I've used them.
You might not need a rain jacket. Buy a cheap umbrella there. It's perfect for using in hot, humid climes.
Don't buy a SIM card, unless you plan to make lots of calls and/or use lots of data in the short time you're there. WiFi is widely available; and your hotel or hostel likely will have it. So there will be no problem communicating with family and friends back home.
You'll find that most people are friendly and willing to help. Just ask. It helps to smile, too!
You'll learn the ins and outs of travel soon enough. You'll discover a lot; and learn a lot. It's a great experience. Happy trails!
Thanks alot guys! This helped alot! I am ready for this adventure now thank god i asked tips because i didnt know 80 % of the stuff you guys mentioned haha! I would most likely make atleast one of the mistakes you guys mentioned. Again, thanks alot! 9 days remaining!
You're welcome. Remember, we all make mistakes; and hopefully we learn from them. Have fun!
Keep your passport dry! When you are in a situation where you might get wet keep your passport in a plastic sandwich bag or similar pouch. Some tourists have their passports in a little pouch with a cord that you can attach to a belt loop or pin inside a side pocket.
(Many years ago I had a job that involved a lot of international flying - more than once I found passports in the aisle on a plane and on the walkway. Also I witnessed panic stricken tourists who "misplaced" their passports at airports.)
I make (reduced) photocopies of my itinerary showing flight times and flight numbers. I keep a copy with my passport. There are clear plastic passport protectors you can check out online or travel section in a store. I have used them for probably 20 years.
You can save "need to remember" information in email form. I do this with my itineraries, hotel confirmations and other stuff I don't want to forget. Don't use an email address that other people know your password! In Thailand there are many internet shops where you can use their computers for cheap money. They usually have printers too. Do NOT accidentally save any password numbers when using a rental computer. Clear your history when done!
(Nowadays I never travel without my little computer. That computer is password protected too in case I am careless and it is stolen. All of my bank accounts and private information are NOT open and need a password. Why make it easy for a thief to access personal data!)
In Thailand many cheap hotels and guest houses have safety boxes or safe. Safety boxes may be in the lobby.
Proper planning prevents piss poor performance!
A friend of mine sent me this article, illustrating why it's important to protect and respect your passport:
Just follow some basic guidelines.
Be your own best counsel; if it doesn't feel right, don't do it.
Carry good identification, in more than one place.
Keep to open and public places, especially at night.
Exude confidence and walk purposefully.
Avoid appearing like a tourist. Ditch the Disney T-shirt and don't walk around with your face in a guidebook.
Don't draw attention to yourself by wearing flashy clothes or jewelry.
Lie a little. When asking directions, don't let on that you are alone: "Can you direct me to the museum? I have to meet a friend."
Check your maps and transportation schedules before leaving your hotel/train/rental car/tourist office. A solo traveler poring over maps can be a mark for unsavory types.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member at home, and stay in touch regularly via phone, text, video chat or email.
lol! haha, no i'll keep the passport safe, secure and dry at all times and wont lose it for sure, after being reminded of it so many times on the forum. Those basic guidelines were great! will make sure to remember those. How do you guys go forward to the random activites?? Like when i arrive at the hotel and exit it, do i simply walk around, see some stickers or advertisements for trekking and other stuff like that? maybe the hotel knows something? probably a stupid question, but better to be safe