Me and a friend have just decided to go to Thailand on 25th July. Neither of us have been before so pretty clueless on what we need to do before we go and what we need to take. Any advice on packing, jabs and where to visit would be very helpful. Thanks.
Small cheap flashlight. (Bring it on the plane too, in case you drop something.)
Extra prescription glasses if needed.
Hat to keep the sun off your face and rain off your glasses.
Medical prescriptions in case you need replacement meds.
Photocopy the info page in your passport - put those copies in different pieces of luggage. This will help you with your embassy if you lose your passport.
Choose your plane seats ahead of time, don't wait until you arrive at the airport and get the lesser liked, leftover seats.
Don't put any valuables in your checked in bag for planes, bus travel, train travel - keep them with you at your seat.
Sign up for the frequent flyer program, this is a chance to add a lot of miles to your account real fast. Get a silver card and you get onto the plane in the first rush - all the overhead bins are available then. With a silver card you get a better selection of seating too!
Depending on your budget, if your hotel has a security box - USE IT! Put your valuables in that safety box, don't leave the safety box key out in plain site. If you get ripped off in a hotel it may not be the hotel staff, could be your fellow traveller in the next room.
Also, don't take a lot of valuables with you, if you will really cry over something that comes up lost or stolen - leave it at home!
You won't need a laptop in Thailand, there are plenty of cheap internet shops available all over. Figure one baht per minute or less is average.
Wait until you arrive at the airport in Bangkok to change your money over, you will get a better rate than back home.. Excess Thai baht can be changed back into your home money when you leave Also get small bills for paying taxi cabs and street vendors, 500 baht notes may be too high for them to cash.
You can save info on the internet such as, flight itineraries, flight e-ticket reference numbers, important stuff you need to recall, etc. Simply save that info in an e-mail to your self. Any personal stuff you want to save on the internet - make sure that it is not in an account that everyone knows your password to. (You can change passwords pretty easy.)
'Karazyal' covered most of your concerns. I would add just a few things. Depending on what time you arrive, take either the 'A-2' airport bus or a taxi to the Khao San Road(KSR) area of BKK. Plenty of cheap accommodation/restaurants here. It is the backpacker ghetto area. For newbies, it is a great place to network with other BPers on where to go and what to see. Have a notebook with you to use as a daily diary and a place to jot down info on beaches, hotels & guesthouses, restaurants, bus schedules, etc. Decide on what you want to see and start planning. BKK has 3-4 days worth of sights and day trips before you head out. Buy an undergarmet pouch to hide your passport, money, travel checks, etc. KSR has plenty of things for you to buy very cheaply.
You will probably want to see Koh Phangan & Koh Samui, but also consider the Krabi area, esp. Railey Beach. Spectacular scenery, clear warm water for swimming & diving, many islands offshore to daytrip. See if you can get 4-6 others to join in and hire a boatman to take you island hopping. A great experience that you will remember long after you come home. A helpful website for BKK is; 'bangkokbob.net' Many good tips on getting around BKK and what to do/don't do. Have a great trip.
thnaks for the advice, so excited bout going away now!
I've posted this a couple of times but you might find it useful.....
Well whatever your motives here’s thirty things to think about…
1. Bring a cell phone “unblocked” and buy a Thai SIM card for it on arrival..
2. e.g. - International calls to UK are about 8baht per min…
3. Don’t bother with Travellers checks in any currency…they are to much hassle
4. Bring ATM and/or credit cards.
5. Very little cash – you tend to get a better rate of exchange here than any home country. Just enough to get you out of the airport to somewhere nice for the first night
6. Very few clothes – they are so cheap here and you’ll only bring stuff that is too warm.
7. Very little luggage – this makes you more mobile if you need to be and less vulnerable to taxi touts and undesirable men….
8. Before you go home you can buy any extra luggage (cheap) to take souvenirs etc.
9. There are baggage storage facilities at Bkk airport…
10. Mozzie spray – especially if you have the stuff from Oz.
11. Good quality sun-cream – especially the stuff in Oz.
12. Get some travel insurance – hospitals/medicine is cheap but why pay?
13. Check out a few “jabs” – don’t bother with the malaria ones – too heavy!
14. Internet access is everywhere – even on the beach…
15. Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible…
16. Western (“farang”) food is extremely likely to give you food poisoning – fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet…
17. Use common safety sense – it is easy to relax too much here…when it comes to petty crime the rate is certainly lower than in places like the UK…but every country has its share of con-men and psychopaths…..
18. Get a phrase book – lonely planet is good as is their guide to Thailand (better than the rough guide)….
19. Make a friend on the plane and safe money on a taxi to your hotel when you arrive in Bkk. Check out the ways of getting out of Bkk airport.
20. Avoid spending your first night or few days in Bkk – go there at the end of your stay –its better once you’ve acclimatiz3ed, and the airport is about 45 min from the centre.
21. Don’t be afraid to go to Pattaya – it is the sex capital of Thailand but they don’t jump out at single women and has good, cheap hotels, shopping and food. Not a bad place to start off for Koh Chang, Koh Samet or Cambodia.
22. Remember Thailand is more than beaches – there are beautiful cities, national parks, forests and lakes up North – your guide book will help you there…
23. Bring an international driving licence – although most national ones are accepted by motorbike and car hire companies and anyone else who wants to hire you something….
24. check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals.
25. Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important.
26. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon.
27. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed.
28. Check out table manners – Thais tend to eat from communal dishes in the centre of the table – don’t pour everything onto your own plate!
29. Don’t knock the royal family – even in jest.
30. Don’t point your feet at people – the body is seen as hierarchical and the feet are the lowest part and should not be waved about (this is like a “fingers up” sign.