please forgive the cliche waffle you are about to read i cant help it ,im a virgin traveller! i know most of what im about to ask, the answers will be obvious and the problems not so prolemous?!! im planning to go to thailand in november (i know its a while yet but im a worrier so 9 months seems like tomorrow) ive asked all of my 'friends' but no one seems so desperate to escape from normality and embark on an adventure as much as me,so i will be going on my own.(tho i think i will need someone else just to make me do it,like having someone to go to the gym with to give you motivation) im planning on saving about a £600 for flight. i would like to go to thailand and come home at some point but what i do in between i would like to keep open is there a ticket i can buy to thailand and back with no return date or would i have to buy a return ticket and change the return date when i do in fact return is that possible??where is the best place to ask about this and buy the ticket from.im taking about £3,000 wonga! for about 2- 3 months is that enough? once i get to thailand does anyone have any suggestions on the first place i should go and stay and what would be the best way of planning my trip (things to see first,places to avoid,where to sleep,what islands to go to first) i dont mean to sound like a div but if i can get enough info from people who have been there done that it will help me alot and hopefully build up my confidence to actually go through with it. last but not least please dont shout at me....will i meet people easily. thanks for your time bye. ricky .b (billy no mates)
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 9, 2007, at 12:44 PM by bolton81 ]
You will be fine, I recommend NOT planning your trip to much, if you start deciding where and when to go to places and start booking stuff then you will regret it.
I'm traveling Thailand alone right now. You are going to have much more money than you will need. I have spent about $800 USD in the last month. It is unbelievably cheap here. This is including alcohol, lodging, buses, boats, food (the whole deal).
You will meet people in Bangkok, it's impossible not to. There are more travelers than Thais off of Koh San Rd. I've met people and traveled with them, and I have also been on my own. It's all very easy to figure out. Don't worry about it to much and make sure you follow through on your trip. I find sometimes it is better to travel alone than with a friend.
No worries you will be fine. Thailand is one of the easiest countries to travel in. Just use common sense as you would in your home town.
You might want to learn a little Thai at the learning Thai Web Site. You will gain a lot of respect from the Thai people if you just try to speak a little of their language.
Also check out the "Welcome to Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai" on line magazine. Lots of information about Thai culture, food, travel tips, interesting places in and around north Thailand and do's and don'ts.
Randy and Ning
I'll ditto the others. Relax. You have plenty of money. Actually, 3000 pounds is more than I would spend in 10 months in Thailand. So you can stay in pretty nice places, travel all you want, and drink your face off for that much money.
I think at this point you have two tasks:
1. Figure out where you want to go. The best way to do this is to head to a bookstor and start reading travel guides. Lonely Planet is my favorite, but there's lots of others to choose from. They will give you all the basic info that you need.
2. Get your flight organized. If you don't know where to start then head to an STA or Flight Center and they will lay down all your options and prices.
After you have these things done you can start with the rest of the planning, such as vaccinations (start this a couple months before), what to pack etc... Looking for accomidation and where exactly you want to go can be planned in the days before you leave, or even when you arrive.
Get a tourist visa before you go! Otherwise you'll be doing a visa run every 30 days.....
Here are 50 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 5 - 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. Bring 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. Street food is usually safe (and delicious!), check for numbers of customers and general looks of the stall.
19. Western (“farang”) food is much more 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.
20. Always carry a pack of tissues - they don’t supply free tissues in most loos!
21. Drink bottled water - not tap water. Even consider not brushing your teeth with tap water.
22. Ice is usually safe in drinks and for anything else.
23. 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…..
24. Get a phrase book – lonely planet is good as is their guide to Thailand (better than the rough guide)….
25. The new airport is now open (for how long!!?!?)...this is about 30 min nearer Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard. Taxi fare about 105 to 1300 baht to Pattaya (1.5hr)
26. If you’re travelling further than Bkk, make a friend on the plane and save money on a taxi to your destination. This requires caution and common sense; it is most useful if you’re going further e.g. Pattaya.
27. 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 Phuket and several other destinations or get a bus or taxi to Pattaya, Koh Samet. Etc.
28. 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.
29. Remember Thailand is more than beaches – there are beautiful cities, national parks, forests and lakes up North – your guide book will help you there…
30. 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….you may not be insured without an IDL!
31. 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.
32. If you are stopped by the police, it is advisable to have 200 baht handy as you may be required to pay an on the spot “fine”; it is inadvisable to get out your wallet and display a large amount of cash or the “fine” might increase.
33. Public transport is cheap. Planes, Trains, Buses, Minibuses, Taxis, from town to town.
34. If you’re in a minibus or taxi, tell the driver you’ll tip him if he keeps the speed below 90/100 kmph! National speed limit is 90kph (120 on motorways)
35. Around Bkk try to use meter taxis with the meter on...it’ll be cheaper than the tuk-tuks.
36. Take a tuk-tuk once for the experience then use meter taxis.
37. Don’t let the drivers take you out of your way...they’ll try to take you to some store where they get commission.
38. Most medicines (including antibiotics) can be bought over the counter without prescription and are cheap.
39. A pharmacist will give you what he considers right for your symptoms but you get just as easily see a doctor at a local clinic for a couple of hundred baht. They usually speak a little English.
40. Hospitals are usually pretty good but beware of the more expensive ones giving you unnecessary treatment when they find out you have insurance.
41. There are very few proper ambulances in Thailand. If you do require one the chances are you’ll be chucked in the back of a “rescue” pickup truck by scantly trained staff.
42. Check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals.
43. Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important.
44. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon.
45. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed.
46. 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!
47. Don’t knock the royal family – even in jest.
48. 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.
49. 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.
50. Remember, this is the Land of Smiles and you will find everything goes much better when you have a smile on your face - whatever the situation
your post should be made a sticky!! it is the best overall advice I have ever seen for the newbie visiting Thailand. well Done, Hope you don't mind if i copy and use it for others..
I'll eventually post it on the wall at Soi1guesthouse. ( a bangkok hostel) as they have great resourses for new travelers in S.E.Asia.
It's so easy to travel alone in Thailand (Male/female) on your trip you will meet many other solo travelers and will find a long term or short term travel companion easy. Don't pack too much. and be aware of the currency ,(as said above) it can be confusing at first and costly.
Lots of good advice, but can I introduce you to full stops and Capital letters?
I know I'm a bit 'anal' about it, but they don't half make posts easier to read!
Here's a few to be getting on with
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 11, 2007, at 3:40 AM by stevieh ]
and despite the fact that you have SOOO much money to spend in Thailand... try to stay in hostels instead of hotels... (obviously if you dont have issues with shared rooms ... ) and i guarantee you will meet lots and lots of ppl .... turst me on this one ...
Cheers and have a safe trip ...
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 11, 2007, at 4:34 AM by rola_jutt ]
(is the grammer and spelling ok this time)
haha.. stevieh is a good teacher and bolton is a good student ...