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Questions about Thailand travel!

Travel Forums Asia Questions about Thailand travel!

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1. Posted by Jadearth (Budding Member 36 posts) 10y

Hello Everyone,

I know a lot of people post threads like this saying "Im going to thailand in a few weeks, what should I know!?!?!" I've read all of them and have found them very useful, but my mom and I have a few specific questions. We're going next month!

- What is the best way to handle your money for a whole month?
We've heard only to pack a days use of bahts, but finding a bank every other day seems frustrating...

- What's the best way to go from Phitsonulock to Kanchanaburi?

- Can you continue traveling by train anywhere it stops? or do certain trains only go so far?

- Since you can't pack any creams on planes, where is a good place in Bangkok where you can buy familiar items (neosporin, toothpaste, mosquito repellent)

- About the metered taxis....everyone says "take the metered taxis" how do you know which taxis are metered?

- oh! and I would also like to know how to pronounce certain words like Chiang Mai, Sukothail, Kanchanaburi, Knoa Sok, or Khoa San?

and one more thing! it seems like it might be hard to communicate to people, are there any words you would recommend us learning?

thank you everyone!

2. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 10y

I'll try and answer a couple of your questions....
Money....there are banks, ATMs and exchanges literally everywhere in Thailand so you won't find it a hassle going to the bank. Muggings and street crime is lower than in most Western towns but on the increase in the more touristy areas. I guess the more you carry the more you stand to lose.

As for getting to Kanchanaburi - you cab bus it or maybe train it (sleeper?). You might be able to fly down to Bkk and then out to Kanchanaburi. Hiring a driver and minibus or car sounds extravagant but it costs about 2000 to 3000 baht per day.

As for creams - Boots the UK pharmacy have many outlets here, mostly in the big shopping malls - BIG C, or Tesco’s etc.
The Thais love their pharmacies and they are everywhere, I'm sure they will sell you what you need anyway.

You can buy mozzie spray here - with DEET!

You can tell a meter taxi by the sign on the roof that says "TAXI METER"!?!

Don't worry too much about pronunciation...it varies from region to region. Thais don't hear a difference between "R" and "L" (Lemlant Hotel = Rembrandt) and sometimes leave it out all together. At the end of a word "L" often becomes "N" - "bin" = "bill".
Words you might find useful...
If you are female - end any sentence or phrase with "Kaah" - Male with "Khrap" (or "Khap")
Mai Ao Khrap/Kah (My ow) = I don't want - if said with a smile this usually gets rid of any unwanted hawkers etc.
Kawp Khun Kaah/Khrap = thank you....
Mae pen Rai = never mind, no problem etc etc
Sawatdee Kaah/Khrap = Hello good-bye.
Tone and stress are totally different in Thai - raising your tone at the end to make it a question does not work in Thai they just use the word "mai" at the end of the sentence.

GET a phrase-book! Lonely planet is a good one

English in some rudimentary form is spoken in most tourist towns - don't expect an in depth explanation though. Keep your requests simple and straight forward. I've seen people get in such a mess and entirely their own fault by asking multiple questions and changing their mind in mid-sentence.....you'll lose the listener completely but to admit they don't understand is to lose face so they just smile politely and bring you what they think you might have asked for.
When ordering food be prepared from time to time to get something that in no way was what you asked for.....sending it back can just create more confusion...anyway it's a nice way of discovering different food etc.

and finally my check list...

Here are 40 things to think about when visiting Thailand…

1. Bring a cell phone “unblocked” and buy a Thai SIM card for it on arrival, they’re cheap (apprx. 250 baht) and include some credit already on them

2. e.g. - International calls to UK are about 8baht per min…

3. Don’t rely just on Travellers checks in any currency…they are too much hassle - I have witnessed a friend being refused.

4. Bring ATM and/or credit cards. - check fees and tell your bank your are going abroad.

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 - avoid carrying large amounts of cash...you’ll lose it when drunk or get it nicked.

6. Beware! - The 1000 baht note looks very similar to a 20baht note. You might give an overlarge tip!

7. Very few clothes – they are so cheap here and you’ll only bring stuff that is too warm.

8. Very little luggage – this makes you more mobile if you need to be and less vulnerable to taxi touts and undesirable men….

9. Before you go home you can buy any extra luggage (cheap) to take souvenirs etc.

10. There are baggage storage facilities at Bkk airport…and elsewhere - hotels etc.

11. Mozzie spray – especially if you have the stuff from Oz. Anything with DEET. You can get “OFF” here.

12. Good quality sun-cream – especially if you have the stuff from Oz. Something that stays on in water, you’ll burn your shoulders in the pool.

13. Get some travel insurance – hospitals/medicine is cheap but why pay? Trailfinders is good.

14. Check out a few “jabs” – don’t bother with the malaria ones – too heavy! You can get tetanus or rabies here if you’re bitten by a dog - it’s cheap.

15. Internet access is everywhere – even on the beach… you can get all your photos copied to CD

16. If you have a lap-top you can connect it (broadband) at most cafes.

17. Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible…

18. Western (“farang”) food is extremely likely to give you food poisoning – fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet…beware of Western Fast Food outlets and hotel buffets - food that has been out for over an hour or so. Thailand is not used to fridges/chill-serve etc.

19. 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…..

20. Get a phrase book – lonely planet is good as is their guide to Thailand (better than the rough guide)….

21. 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. This requires caution and common sense; it is most useful if you’re going further e.g. Pattaya.

22. If you can, avoid spending your first night or few days in Bkk – go there at the end of your stay –its better once you’ve acclimatized, and the airport is about 45 min from the centre. You can fly straight on to Samui and several other destinations or get a bus or taxi to Pattaya, Koh Samet. Etc.

23. Remember the new airport will open at the end of September...this is about 30 min nearer Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard.

24. 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.

25. Remember Thailand is more than beaches – there are beautiful cities, national parks, forests and lakes up North – your guide book will help you there…

26. 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….

27. In Thailand they drive on the left - cars are Right-hand-drive. However driving is really only for the experienced. Be especially careful on a motorbike - Samui has the highest accident rate in Thailand.

28. Public transport is cheap. Planes, Trains, Buses, Minibuses, Taxis, from town to town.

29. If you’re in a minibus or taxi tell the driver you’ll tip him if he keeps the speed below 90/100 kmph!

30. Around Bkk try to use meter taxi with the meter on...it’ll be cheaper than the tuk-tuks.

31. Take a tuk-tuk once for the experience then use meter taxis.

32. Don’t let the drivers take you out of your way...they’ll try to take you to some store where they get commission

33. Check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals.

34. Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important.

35. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon.

36. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed.

37. 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!

38. Don’t knock the royal family – even in jest.

39. 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.

40. It’s not necessary to “Wai” people - the Thai greeting - as you’ll probably get it wrong. If they Wai you, you might wai back.

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 6, 2006 7:07 PM by wildfk ]

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello Henna Jade
I will do my best to answer your questions.

- What is the best way to handle your money for a whole month?
We've heard only to pack a days use of bahts, but finding a bank every other day seems frustrating...
I see no problem with changing a weeks worth of money, at a time. If u have already worked out you budget, u can even change more. The only problem is, the more u change the more cash u will be carrying and have to take care of. But violent muggings are rare, in Thailand. I think the important thing, about changing a lot of money is, that u dont take the whole lot out everytime u want to pay for something. U would risk looking like a loud tourist with too much money. Put a days worth, in your purse, and keep the rest in a money holder, under your clothes.

- What's the best way to go from Phitsonulock to Kanchanaburi?
I dont know that one.
But my personal preference for getting around Thailand is train. There is lots to see out the windows
I am going to look for information about how to get from Phit.... to Kanch... with different forms of transport and i will then post it in this thread.

- Can you continue traveling by train anywhere it stops? or do certain trains only go so far?
U can get out, in any town the train stops. Then get another ticket, and continue travelling along that train line.
There are 4 train routes, which originate in Bangkok. U can follow those, as far as they go, but would have to go back to Bangkok, to get on a different one.

- Since you can't pack any creams on planes, where is a good place in Bangkok where you can buy familiar items (neosporin, toothpaste, mosquito repellent)
When i am going, i am going to pack my sun cream, mosquito repellant, etc, tightly in a tubberware tub and check it in. I think it would be too much of a risk, to leave it until u are in Thailand, to buy these things. I dont know if they would be up to the standards we are used to, in the West. U cant take the creams etc on the plane as hand luggage, but u are allowed to check them in.

- About the metered taxis....everyone says "take the metered taxis" how do you know which taxis are metered?
I will look this up, for u.

- oh! and I would also like to know how to pronounce certain words like Chiang Mai, Sukothail, Kanchanaburi, Knoa Sok, or Khoa San?
Personally, i find it difficult to say things in foreign languages. What i do, is ask a Thai person, who speaks English, to write them in Thai, for me. Hotel people and waiters in Bangkok will often know enough english, so u can ask this. If u have more confidence with trying to speak Thai, then u could bring a phrase book to Thailand. Those usually have instructions, about how to pronounce.

4. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

- What's the best way to go from Phitsonulock to Kanchanaburi?
By train.
U can either go to one of these, on one train line. Then go back to Bangkok, and get on the other train line.
Another option if u go to Kanchanaburi frist, then u could get a bus to Ayuthaya. This is on the trainline to Phit....

Mel

5. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

How to get to Phitsanulok
U can fly from Bangkok, or get a bus.
There is no easy direct way u can get from Phit.... to Kan...

Mel

6. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Metered taxis
They will have signs on top reading meter taxi. Apparently, they sometimes dont switch on the meter, so u might have to ask them to do this.

7. Posted by chris1 (Budding Member 42 posts) 10y

Mel great information.

Just out of interest where did you find out the info on trains in Thailand ? is there a website where you can find out all this infodrmation.

8. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello Chris
I got the information in the South East Asia, on a shoe String book.
Mel

9. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello

Here is a website for train time tables, in English

www.railway.co.th

Mel

10. Posted by chris1 (Budding Member 42 posts) 10y

Thanks for the website Mel, it looks good I will be having a closer look at it when I am planning my trip.