My top tips and the rules of surviving in Thailand. Thailand is known for their not particularly nice prisons and very strict rules. As it was my families first time there, there was a lot of rules we had to read up on before travelling out there. As their religion is mostly Buddhism there are rules we have to abide by when visiting their temples and religious places. So I’ve put together the best rules and tips you should follow for when you want to travel to Thailand. Of course the travel books will include tips etc for travelling to Thailand but as we’ve learnt, some of them aren’t exactly up to date. Whereas I am talking from experience and much more recently.
GREETINGS & LEARNING THE LINGO
As many languages are, learning Thai can take quite a few practices and learning their masculine and feminine rules. It’s a bit like the Spanish language but at the same time slightly different. As with Spanish you say the masculine or feminine at the end of every word but with Thai you say it at the end of whatever phrase you are saying.
If you are a man you say Krab at the end and if you are a women you say Ka at the end of what you are saying.
Hello – Sa-Wad-Dee + Krab/Ka
Thank You – Khop-Khun + Krab/Ka
Bye – La-Kon + Krab/Ka
Good – Dee + Krab/Ka
These are a few of the basics we used but you can use more if you’d like. Thai people use very basic English when talking to Westerners. So always try to simplify what you want to say to them, to help them understand what you’re trying to say. Most Thai people are lucky enough to go to school or university, especially if their family is quite wealthy, but there are a small number who haven’t been as lucky to get a good education.
Thai people are very welcoming, grateful and smiley people – that’s why Thailand is called ‘The Land of Smiles’. When saying Hello or Thank you it’s best to place your hands together in a praying like position to your chest and smile. Depending on how rich you are and how high you are on the hierarchy depends on where you place your hands, if you are a monk or Buddha your hands will be on your forehead, if you are poor your hands will be in front of your tummy.
NO SHOUTING/SWEARING OR POINTING
Having spent only two and half weeks in Thailand, was definitely long enough to learn that Thai people are incredibly calm and never seem to raise their voices at anything – even if there are motorbikes and cars swerving in front of them on the roads. They never get road rage! Shouting and swearing can be seen as offensive to Thai people. Pointing with your finger or feet is also seen as rude, gesturing with an open hand is always much nicer. The feet are seen as the lowest and the dirtiest part of your body. Never show the soles of your feet and always leave your shoes outside when visiting temples or peoples homes, never point your feet directly at any Buddha or religious statue.
WHEN VISITING TEMPLES
When visiting Thai temples and religious places there are quite a few rules that you need to abide by. Temples are holy and religious places so following the rules is a must. When dressing to visit temples you must always cover your shoulders, not have any cleavage showing, have trousers/skirt on that covers the knees and always wear shoes that cover your feet. It’s best to carry a thin scarf or kimono in your bag to cover your shoulders, as it’s also really hot in Thailand so wearing something thick will cause you to overheat. When you visit a temple, you have to leave your shoes outside with the others. Never point your feet towards a monk, Buddha or religious statue and never show your feet soles. There are plenty of notice boards around temples that let you know how to dress but it’s also best to know before hand as well, especially if you don’t know you’re visiting one.
AVOID SCAMS & WHEN TO KNOW IF THERE IS ONE
Before we left for Thailand we read up on the number of scams that are going around so we know when to look out for one. Don’t accept any of these scams…
1. Outside the temples if anyone tells you the temple is closed – ignore them. They are trying to draw you away so they can charge you a fortune for their own tour of something completely different. They know who are tourists and which people to target. We didn’t fall for this as there was announcements coming from the main temple in Bangkok but a guy did try to trick us.
2. If anyone outside temples tells you off for your trousers or clothing, they will charge you a fortune as well to wear their trousers they offer you. If you suddenly come across a temple and want to visit and aren’t wearing the appropriate clothing, there are people inside the temple who are legit who either offer you trousers or thin scarves to wear to cover up for free.
3. If anyone approaches you asking if you want a taxi, who don’t look legit – ignore them. They will make up a price that may sound good but it’s actually much more than what legit taxis charge. Legit taxis are always run by the meter and always have ID on display in their taxis. The same as Tuk tuks, they all have to have ID on display. Also there are taxi scammers that drive to their base to tell you your hotel is closed even when it isn’t and then they try to find you another hotel that will be even more expensive, if that happens to you disagree with them and get out before they charge you for the journey. These are very rare though!
4. If you visit any beaches, and a Thai person puts an animal on your shoulder – most are typically iguanas, monkeys or lemurs they will charge you once you have your photo taken with one. It is illegal to own wild animals as pets and charge to take photos of them. There is a famous road in Phuket called Bangla Road which is where the animal scammers are known to be.
There are probably many other scams that are going around, just use Google as that will be your best friend but these are the ones I have come across personally on my travels.
Most people say it’s best to buy a cheap Thai sim card and there are loads advertised in the airports, which you can buy if you need one. But honestly there is WiFi in every restaurant and hotel, you don’t really need one. Just ask one of the waiters for the password and they will happily give it to you.
If you would like to know anything else about visiting Thailand, feel free to leave your questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you.