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Beginner Wanting to Go Thailand, Advise Would be Great.

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1. Posted by Double_Dip (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

Hello All,

I Hope you could help me getting started with my journey around the world.. I am planning on beginning with a Month in Thailand. What would be the must haves to achieve this ?? Prices of living. Accomadation??

Thanks in Advance.

2. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 5y

Cost of living is really a "how long is a piece of string?" question. I guess accommodation starts at around 150 baht and goes as high as you like.

A room with hot shower, TV and air (even pool) could set you back from 350 baht to 2000 depending on location.
Prices are highest around Dec and Jan.

Check out whether you intend to visit in the wet season when prices are lowest.

a bowl of noodles will cost between 25 and 45 baht - If you eat Western food you will pay a lot more and probably get sick.

plenty of cheap buses to get about and a limited train network. Internal flights are cheap if not very reliable.

Here are 20 things to think about when visiting Thailand…

1. Bring a mobile (cell) phone. It should be “unlocked” - this can be done either at home or in Thailand - then buy a Thai SIM card for it on arrival, they’re cheap (approx. 50 baht) or even free and depending on cost include some credit already on them. International calls to Oz/UK are about 5 - 8baht per min…Phones are cheap to buy too – and unblocked. Use the cheap rate international dialling numbers – 004, 5, 6, 7 8 9 etc.

2. Money - Bring ATM cards: - debit credit etc. - check fees and tell your bank your are going abroad. - Take Travellers cheques best for back-up. Bring very little cash (Baht) – you almost always get a better rate of exchange here than any home country. You can change money on arriving at the airport... Banks and ATMs -(keep some cash in reserve in case of flight delays/diversions etc) BEWARE - there is now a 150 baht surcharge for all foreign cards used in most ATMs!

3. Booking – there is usually no need to book rooms before you come as there is plenty of cheap accommodation. Exceptions would be in high season if you want a particular place and maybe for your first one or two nights just to get orientated.

4. Bring very few clothes – they are cheap here and you’ll only bring stuff that is too warm anyway.

5. Very little luggage – this makes you more mobile if you need to be and less vulnerable to taxi touts and undesirable men….Before you go home you can buy any extra luggage (cheap) to take souvenirs etc.

6. Internet access is everywhere – even on the beach… you can get all your photos copied to CD - If you have a lap-top you can connect it there's wi-fi in many public places cafes malls etc.)...and many hotels have wifi broadband - fees very immensely

7. Food - Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible….Street food is usually safe (and delicious!), check for numbers of customers and general looks of the stall. Western (“farang”) food is much more likely to give you food poisoning …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. - fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet!

8. Always carry a pack of tissues - they don’t supply free tissues (if there is a vending machine at all!) – learn to use a “bum-gun” !!

9. Drink bottled water - not tap water. Even consider not brushing your teeth with tap water. Ice is usually safe in drinks and for anything else.

10. Crime - 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 US/Europe etc…but every country has its share of con-men and psychopaths…..beware of fellow travellers! Don't behave like a shop window for thieves. Many Thai people legally own hand-guns.

11. Don’t be afraid to go to Pattaya – it is the tourist-sex capital of Thailand but they don’t jump out at single women and couples and it has good, cheap hotels, shopping and food. Not a bad place to start off for “All points East” - Koh Chang, Koh Samet, Khao Yai or Cambodia.

12. Bring an international driving permit – 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 IDP! 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.

13. Public transport is cheap. Planes, Trains, Buses, Minibuses, Taxis, from town to town. If you’re in a minibus or taxi, tell the driver you’ll tip him if he keeps the speed below 90/100 kph! National speed limit is 90kph (120 on motorways)

14. Around Bkk try to use meter taxis with the meter on...it’ll be cheaper than the tuk-tuks. Take a tuk-tuk once for the experience then use meter taxis. Don’t let the drivers take you out of your way...they’ll try to take you to some (relative’s) store where they get commission.

15. Medical - Firstly it is best when you can, to consult with a doctor at home who specialises in tropical medicine. - Check out a few “jabs & medications” - Hep “A” & “B” require a long course before leaving and are a pretty good idea –unless going to remote areas, most travellers don’t bother with the malarial medication – too heavy! You can get tetanus or rabies here if you’re bitten by a dog - it’s cheap. Many medicines (including antibiotics) can be bought over the counter without prescription and are cheap. A pharmacist will give you what he considers right for your symptoms but you can just as easily see a doctor at a local clinic for a couple of hundred baht. They usually speak a little English.

16. Check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals. - Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed. You may at times be expected to take off your shoes – in certain parts of Temples, entering someone's home and even the occasional shop – just keep an eye out on what others are doing – there may even be a shoe rack.Table manners – Thais tend to eat from communal dishes in the centre of the table – don’t pour everything onto your own plate!

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

18. Body language - 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). Before entering someone’s home you must take off your shoes; this also applies to some shops and businesses. - Never take a shoe off and wave it at someone – this could lead to violence.
It is also impolite to touch people on the head.
Extended arm with waving hand palm down means “come here” - palm up is considered impolite.

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

20. 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….

3. Posted by LLQ (Budding Member 37 posts) 5y

wildfk- what an insightful post!;)

Post 4 was removed by a moderator
5. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Travel Guru 542 posts) 5y

Just some advice for money matters:
The best British bank for overseas withdrawals is Nationwide, followed by Halifax.
The best prepaid card for overseas withdrawals is Carltonfx.

But whoever you use the Thai banks add 150 Baht onto your withdrawal (about £3.)

6. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 5y

I should take that advice with some care - Nationwide have just made an announcement about increasing charges or ending a subsidy.

In the end it boils down to how much you are personally willing to pay for the convenience of using an ATM.

7. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Travel Guru 542 posts) 5y

Yeah but they're still the cheapest. They used to have no charges and charge no percent, but from November they're charging 2% plus £1 per withdrawal. This is still cheaper than any other bank, however.

Check on the moneysavingexpert website to stay up-to-date on which banks offer the best deals for overseas withdrawals, but as things currently stand Nationwide are cheapest, followed by Halifax.

Another thing to watch out for which financial websites don't seem to realise is that most banks give you the tourist exchange rate on your overseas withdrawals. Nationwide, as things stand give you the interbank exchange rate, although they haven't specifically confirmed that this will continue when they introduce the changes in November. But pretty much all other banks give you the tourist exchange rate which generally amounts to an unofficial 5-10% commission.

To give a real life example, the first time I went to Thailand I got 75 Baht to the pound when I withdrew money using my Nationwide card, but when I withdrew money on my Barclays card I got 63 Baht to the pound - a massive difference. This difference was partly due to the charges Barclays make and also partly due to them using the tourist exchange rate.

However, the interbank exchange rate for Thai Baht is really low at the minute - around 47 Baht to the pound. So the cost of backpacking in Thailand is considerably higher than it was a few years ago. And on top fo that the Thai banks charge a standard 150 Baht per withdrawal and even Nationwide are soon charging 2% plus £1 (but like I said, this is still cheaper than any other UK bank). So you basically don't get as anywhere near as much for your pound as you used to.

But if it's your first time to Thailand then it'll still seem really cheap compared to the UK.

8. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Travel Guru 542 posts) 5y

Also, one final bit of financial advice ... I would definitely recommend taking two bank cards with you. The ATMs in Thailand are generally reliable, but it's always best to have a back-up account in case your first card gets eaten or lost or whatever.

9. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 5y

&5 baht to the pound?????

Someone hasn't been to Thailand for some time!

Nationwide stopped this free service outside Europe some time ago.

You will just about ALWAYS get a better exchange rate in Thailand.......

31 July 2010

Nationwide has announced it will axe fee-free use of debit cards abroad - one of the most popular benefits of its current account.

The country's biggest building society will charge both 2% commission and a £1 cash withdrawal fee on foreign transactions for its FlexAccount from 1 November 2010.

Previously all transactions within the European carried no charges and had no commission loaded against them.

This fee-free perk was also previously the case on all foreign transactions, until Nationwide scrapped this in March last year when it introduced a charge outside Europe – blaming this on a 1% charge Visa levied on transactions.

It has now completely abandoned the strategy of free overseas card use that it has previously promoted and that has led to its current account being heavily recommended, including on This is Money.

Nationwide will remove the outside Europe distinction from 1 November and levy a 2% commission charge on all transactions throughout the world, plus £1 for each cash machine withdrawal.

Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/savings-and-banking

some people open an account in Thailand. burt that would depend either on how long you are staying or how often.

Also - Check out this thread on Nationwide's charges.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1942535

in the end though, I notice people send a lot of their holiday trying to save money on exchange rates etc rather than just making the most of the time they have.

10. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 5y

BTW -
If you haven't got a Nationwide A/C - then you'll have to jump through a few hoops before you can open one. I think the minimum deposit was £100 or so.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Oct-2010, at 05:39 by wildfk ]