You’ve probably heard a lot about Thailand. In fact you’re interested enough to have come across this blog. You’ve done the right thing, there are plenty of things you need to know before going to Thailand but I’ve narrowed it down to seven since most of them are plain common sense.
Thailand, The ‘Land of Smiles’ is known for it’s warm hospitality, amazing cuisine and stunning landscapes. However, before heading off on your trip there are a few things to take into consideration.
Here are 7 things you need to know
1. The Tuktuk Drivers
The three-wheeled Tuktuk’s are Bangkok’s essential mode of transport, and in the Philippines this is also known as Tricycle but bigger. Most likely you will be approached at an amazingly low price to get you to a temple or two, (or more like a ride to their friends shops!) To enjoy a nice tuktuk ride, approach or flag one down rather than accepting an offer from the one who approaches you and negotiate a fixed price before getting in.
Just like the Philippines, Bangkok has mafia controlled beggars too. With the nature of your generosity, it can be tempting to give money to beggars on the street, especially young kids selling flowers or candy. But don’t do it. Many of these kids are victims of human trafficking gangs that cart people in and out of the city to tug on the heart strings of tourists and locals. The kids don’t see any of that cash and you will only help keep the vicious cycle going and we don’t want that.
3. Not everything is cheap in Thailand
If you want to hunt around for cheap stuff, stick to market stalls selling clothes and accessories. You’re not going to find a good bargain on luxury goods in malls like Siam Paragon. In fact, you’re probably going to pay more than you would at home due to Thailand’s high import taxes. When shopping to one of these stalls, negotiate the prices down as much as you can and get a feel for prices at different stalls before committing, you will find a better bargain, trust me. If you’re ever find yourself in a situation where you’re not comfortable, simply leave.
Taxi’s in Thailand comes in many different colours and they’re really fun to look at. But getting into one is another story. You have to always make sure drivers turn on their meters, always. This is standard practice throughout Bangkok, if they won’t, get off and find another, this is also a standard practice.
5. Indecent Proposals
I was with my travel buddy Jeza in Khao San Road looking all touristy and really exhausted from Krabi, dressed sensibly with really big bags, shopping for some stuff we could give our family and friends back home and 4-5 male foreigners approached us asking if we would hang out with them in their hotel room. Even if you stay out of the red light zones, you may find yourself getting propositioned by men, mostly foreigners like us. Or just on the receiving end of looks and winks from fellow travelers.
6. The Bag snatchers
Yes, they too like any other developing countries have these petty snatchers. Keep a firm grip on your things and always, always keep a close eye on them, you never wanna go home empty handed.
7. “The Grand Palace is Closed Today” Scam
While waiting for a transfer most likely you will be approached by a smiling Thai stranger with casual manners, asking “Where you come from?” and all the small talk to make you feel at ease, often in very good English, conversation will now lead to the guy asking you where are you going and by doing so will quickly analyze this is your first time in Thailand. And of course as a tourist you want to see one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand, the Grand Palace. They will then tell you that it is closed for the whole day for a special royal event. Instead, he will offer you to see other great temples around Bangkok on his tuk tuk for only 20 to 40 baht, and he can even be your guide to a wonderful day you will never forget. (In a way, he is right about that). If you ever encounter something like this, just politely tell them that you are going to a place nearby.&
Coming to Thailand means being aware of what to watch out for. Now if you ever find yourself (which God forbid you won’t) Note that while official assistance may be available – the 1672, 02-134-4077 or 02-356-0650 hotlines are some places to start – but don’t count on them getting you out of a tight situation.