Thailand is mainly popular among backpackers but it’s a destination great for all sorts of travelers. It has almost 20 million visitors every year, making it one of Southeast Asia’s most popular destination.
It’s a little hard to break down the diversity of the place, but for sure, there is plenty to see and do. No matter what your interests are (food, architecture, history, outdoors, romantic destinations, etc.), I’m positive that Thailand has something to offer for you.
Here are 5 helpful things you should know before you travel to Thailand.
1 The climate is sometimes bipolar.
It’s a general rule that you check the climate of your travel destination because it helps you plan your activities and your pack list.
Thailand has three main seasons – hot (around March to May), rainy (around May to October), and cool (around November to February). However, it may be different depending on which region you are in.
The three seasons applies mostly on the northern region, while the southern region only has rainy and hot season. Knowing this should help you decide when the best time to visit is.
Among all seasons, the rainy season is the most unpredictable. You might have days where it’s very sunny in the morning that rain seems very unlikely.
However, you should still bring a rain jacket or extra layers because the weather can change so quickly (thus, the term “bipolar”). So, before you start the day, get a full day forecast. A weather app like Accuweather is very helpful.
For me, the best time to visit is during the cool season because the temperatures are the most pleasant. However, on some occasions, it can still go up to around 30 degrees Celsius.
If you don’t like the heat, avoid summer or hot season because temperatures can go up to 35 degrees Celsius. But it’s not so bad in the beach or countryside as it is in the city.
2 Local food is great, but be cautious.
Yes, Thailand is often defined by its amazing food and yes, you should try them. But as with anything, be cautious. What you should be cautious about are the menus that don’t have English translations or pictures.
With millions of tourist flocking each year, the local establishments already know what visitors often ask about. Most reliable places purposely put English descriptions or pictures of their food for their foreign visitors.
3 That pretty girl at the bar may not be a girl.
If you don’t already know, there are plenty of “katoeys” or ladyboys (transexuals, cross-dressers, transvestites) in Thailand, especially in Bangkok. They run many dancing shows and cabarets in the city.
But even if you don’t go to these things, you’re still likely to meet a ladyboy, whether it’s on the street or a more personal encounter. Sometimes, it is impossible to tell them apart from the ladies.
Ladyboys are already a big part of the culture and even the travel experience. They are treated well and not looked down on. However, there are some ladyboys who are particularly after foreign men.
So if you are a guy and you don’t want to have an awkward encounter with a ladyboy, be careful and keep an eye out for some signs.
4 Thais are generally conservative
Over the years, flesh flaunting has become more widely accepted. This is mostly in the city and appropriate settings like the beach or pool.
However, in a more public setting, try to dress more modestly, especially in temples, rural regions, wats and palaces.
Forgetful or ignorant tourists are often the ones who suffer from flaunting too much skin. They won’t be able to enter certain places if you don’t meet their dress code. It’s either that or you have to buy a cover at their store which is usually overpriced.
5 Some fees are different for tourists.
Many museums, temples, parks and other attractions have fees or charges that are more expensive than what locals pay. They don’t always show on the website, but it’s good to be aware.
It’s also good to know so you don’t end up paying more than what you should. This is particularly useful for transportation charges because some drivers might try to take advantage of ignorant tourists.
Overall, Thailand is a great place to visit no matter what kind of traveler you are. I hope this helps you as you make your way there. These are just some things that might help you especially if you are a first time visitor.
If you have questions or concerns, feel free to use the comment section. I’ll answer as soon as I can, the best way I can.