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Thailand forum

20 things to think about when visiy#ting Thailand

Posted by khunwilko on 30/5/2007 at 14:35

Here are 20 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 - e.g. - International calls to UK are about 5 - 8baht per min…

2. Money - Bring ATM and/or credit cards. - check fees and tell your bank your are going abroad. - Take Travellers cheques only as back-up. Bring very little cash (Baht) – you tend to get a better rate of exchange here than any home country. Just enough to get you out of the airport.

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

4. 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.

5. 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 (broadband) at most cafes.

6. 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 – 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.

7. Always carry a pack of tissues - they don’t supply free tissues in most loos!

8. 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.

9. 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 Spain etc…but every country has its share of con-men and psychopaths…..

10. 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.

11. 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! 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.

12. 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 kmph! National speed limit is 90kph (120 on motorways)

13. 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 store where they get commission.

14. Medical - 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. Most 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 get just as easily see a doctor at a local clinic for a couple of hundred baht. They usually speak a little English.

15. 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.

16. 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!

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

18. 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. Never take a shoe off and wave it at someone – this could lead to violence.

19. 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.

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

#1 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by somtam2000 on 1/6/2007 at 14:09 admin

Thanks for the post khun wilko -- lots of great advice in there.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by ChangFai on 1/6/2007 at 14:56

Yes , BUT why the anti-travellers cheque advice ?

I might be out of touch,BUT,I get T.C.'s here in the UK free of commission,then I get a better rate at the banks in Thailand .

Add in,better security for T.C.'s over cash and cards , then I cant understand why they are only good for "back up".

#3 ChangFai has been a member since 10/4/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 139

Posted by GussieG on 1/6/2007 at 15:56

Do you really get a better rate for TCs than cash? Also, although buying TCs in the UK can be commission free, the initial exchange rate tends to be worse to account for this - the banks need to make their money from somewhere.

#4 GussieG has been a member since 9/9/2006. Posts: 24

Posted by khunwilko on 1/6/2007 at 15:57

Traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly safe and a good way of carrying your money around with you if you feel the need to do this. It is the secure nature that makes them good for back-up.....e.g. if your cards are lost or stolen.
However I have witnessed a friend being turned down when he tried to cash Sterling TCs. There is of course the choice of currency (& bank)...US dollars? If you are in another country that means effectively changing your money twice. In baht? Even in TCs you won't get as good a rate as in Thailand itself. In sterling? Some people don't want that...Euros maybe.
The other problem is they aren't as convenient as ATMs or even using a card in an exchange as every time you have to take out the amount or multiples thereof that your TCs are made out in. This can mean taking out rather large sums of money and I don't like carrying too much cash...I used to for a living and it's just too easy to loose track of it.
If the banks or exchanges are closed...late at night, public holidays etc or just a long queue you end up cashless
I can use my cards in shops, restaurants banks, ATMs exchanges gas/petrol stations etc etc and take out just what I want; no more no less....
The rate you get depends on how you use the card....to buy money or withdraw directly from your bank....remember your TCs are bought at a fixed rate (if you buy foreign) and this may go up or down later whist on holiday.
So all in all I think so long as you are set up with your bank TCs are the easiest way to go...BTW some banks in UK don't charge anything for using ATMs abroad!

#5 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by khunwilko on 1/6/2007 at 16:16

Actually it always seems to me that people spend far too much time worrying about a few cents here and there on exchange rates between Tcs and cash....the big difference is beteen home and Thailand. Just addup all your spending monet and compare how much you might save...then factor in all the time you've queued to change your TCs and think was it worth it?

#6 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by ChangFai on 2/6/2007 at 00:50

I hear you all , and you make some valid points .

I spend 6 months of the year in Thailand , and absolutely DONT want a Thai Bank account .

So I buy Sterling Travellers Cheques,fom the TSB here in Scotland . There is 0% commission on this . The TSB are the only bank I know that still does this . Other Banks will give you dollars free but charge 1% for sterling.

At the moment I prefer Sterling but there has been times in the past to take a gamble on the dollar.

Todays rates show 0.8baht higher exchange rate for travellers cheques , which I have all the time in the world to wait for :-)
[I am Scottish ! ]

I back this up with a credit card in credit , and a little cash .

Works for me
ChangFai

#7 ChangFai has been a member since 10/4/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 139

Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 2/6/2007 at 16:03

Why DONT you wnat a Thai bank account???

Is there something I have missed about foreigners with a Thai Bank account?

#8 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464
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Posted by ChangFai on 3/6/2007 at 00:22

Too many horror stories .

Can manage without one easily , plus I was the only one among my friends that didnt lose out when the baht devalued in 1997 .

#9 ChangFai has been a member since 10/4/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 139

Posted by khunwilko on 3/6/2007 at 08:58

I have a couple of bank A/Cs in Thailand and find them extremely useful and quite efficient too. I also am benefiting from the stronger baht.

#10 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 4/6/2007 at 23:54

I have a bank account over there too. Thats what worried me! lol

:)

#11 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464
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Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 4/6/2007 at 23:58

I have a bank account over there too. Thats what worried me! lol

:)

#12 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464
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Posted by khunwilko on 13/6/2007 at 17:52

I've had bank A/Cs in Thailand now for over 5 years with ne'er so much as a glitch. transferred fund from overseas got a Visa card etc etc......

#13 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by khunwilko on 13/6/2007 at 17:53

I've had bank A/Cs in Thailand now for over 5 years with ne'er so much as a glitch. transferred fund from overseas got a Visa card etc etc......

#14 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by khunwilko on 13/6/2007 at 18:07

I've had bank A/Cs in Thailand now for over 5 years with ne'er so much as a glitch. transferred fund from overseas got a Visa card etc etc......

#15 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560


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