Every country has its own beauty and culture. Thailand is no different. One ought to know their customs and traditions and the sentiments and behavior of people before planning a trip.
Thailand is famous for its hospitality. Not only the availability of lots of cheap and luxury hotels, and a thriving tourist culture, but you will be welcomed with cheerful faces all across. No wonder it is aptly called, ‘The Land of Smiles’. But it is always important to remember and conduct ourselves in a way where you do not hurt their beliefs and friendliness.
Here I have compiled a list of things which I’ve learned while planning the trip and on my 14-day stay in Thailand.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO THAILAND
- Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and the Thai people adores their King. They have entered a new chapter in history as His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn acceded to the throne on December 1, 2016, after the passing of his much-revered father, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest reigning monarch. The people mourns his death and we were overwhelmed to see hundreds inside the Grand Palace paying homage and to see the body of the late monarch in a coffin. The cremation is set to happen anytime during or after the one-year long mourning period.
- That said, never talk about their King and never step on a Thai Bhat. The currency has the King’s face and as you know, they are extremely fond of him.
- Thai means ‘free‘. It means that Thailand was the only South East Asian country that was never colonized.
- Bangkok was only a temporary capital after the Burmese launched an attack on Ayutthaya. Ten years down the lane, Bangkok was officially named the Capital of Thailand.
- The longest place name in the world, Bangkok’s full name is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
- You can always find people with a smile on their face. It is difficult to converse with someone and ask for directions, for many cannot speak English. But the smile indicates that they are always ready to help. Do not make it complicated. Thai people are simple. For eg. if you want to ask for directions to go to Simon Cabaret, ask “How can I go to Simon Cabaret?” or “How?Simon Cabaret?” and not “How am I supposed to go?” and the likes. You’ll mostly be given a long stare.
- There are about 1400 Islands in Thailand of which many have been the prime locations for Hollywood and Bollywood movies.
- The sea life is abundant. So, be ready for that adrenaline rush after doing different adventure stunts like Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Deep Sea Diving, Scuba Diving, Sea Walk, Snorkelling, Canoeing etc.
- Take a Thai Sim card as soon as you land at the Bangkok airport. There are many packages with 7-14 days validity, specially made for tourists. You get free wi-fi almost everywhere, be it the hotels, restaurants or a local shop.
- You needn’t worry about where to buy your necessities – be it grabbing a bite before heading out to explore the city, your phone recharge, wine or beer, medicines or toileteries. A standard supermarket function in the length and breadth of the country called 7-Eleven. These aren’t those boring convenience stores, but a blessing to all the tourists. There are about 8000 of these shops and hence you’ll always spot one in your vicinity. You’ll get bread and butter, ham, sandwiches, burgers, ice creams, beers, snacks, fries, coffee, ready noodles, oh! You name it! You’ll get it here. Similar to 7-Eleven you can also find Family Mart.
- Chang and Singha Beers are the most popular amongst the Thai people and tourists alike. They are available as cheap as 50 Baht and are sold throughout Thailand in pubs, clubs, restaurants, karaoke joints and 7-Elevens.
- There’s more than just Pad Thai! You’ll be surprised to find different yummilicious dishes including Green Curry, Massaman Curry, Mango sticky rice, Pineapple fried rice and Fried Icecreams. There is no shortage of delicious Thai food and trust me it is not really hard to find vegetarian food as well. Yes, you might get occasional stares when you ask for vegetarian food. You can also find delicious fruits on the streets including mangoes, Durian fruit, and pineapple.
- It is easier to move around for you can use the taxis, tuk-tuks, ferries, sky trains including BTS and MRT.
- About 95% of Thai people are Buddhists. Do not ever touch a monk. Do not sit pointing your legs at someone as the consider the feet as the dirtiest part of the body. Do not touch the head of someone as it is considered holy.
- Always carry a packet of tissues. ALWAYS. Most of the public toilets do not store them and at some places, you’ll be surprised to find no toilet hose or bidet or ‘bum gun’ as many tourists affectionately call it. So yes. ALWAYS.
… to be continued
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STAY TUNED AS I WILL BE TALKING IN DETAIL ABOUT SOME OF THE EXOTIC ISLANDS AND SHOPPING, AND OTHER ATTRACTIONS THAILAND HAS TO OFFER.
I am writing all about Thailand this April for the A to Z Challenge 2017. Thanks for all the love you’ve showered on this space! You can also check out my food blog for A to Z Indian Dishes to Die For.