According to Skift, Bangkok is the second most popular global destination behind London. That means more travelers go to Bangkok than Paris, New York, Rome and Tokyo! Over 16 million people travel to Thailand each year, but this can be a difficult trip if you don’t plan in advance. Here are our 10 tips to make your Bangkok trip absolute success!
Don’t fear the food – Thailand is a hotbed for food tourism so don’t be afraid to get out there and try something new. Much Thai cuisine is available from food carts which can be fantastic but also poses a potential health hazard. The Centers for Disease control do not recommend eating street food, but, if you are going to be sure to take extra care; only eat from vendors that are busy with locals and serve food that you can tell is well cooked.
But, watch where you eat! – Not all locations in Thailand are food-friendly zones. The transportation system is a no-food and drink zone. This policy makes for a nice and clean trip but can impede snacking on the go. Be sure to finish whatever you are eating before using public transportation.
Water World – Water is something to be very concerned about in Thailand. You should not drink tap water and should avoid ice cubes as well. Your best bet is to only drink liquids that come from a bottle, like water and soda. Getting sick on your trip will ruin your fun fast, and going to the hospital could turn your trip into a nightmare.
Move like a local – The best ways to get around are the subway and skytrain. Clean, fast, and inexpensive, these modes of transport are by far the safest you’ll run across. That being said, taking a tuk-tuk is a once in a lifetime experience, but, be very careful, as scamming is common.
Beware the scams – You name it, and there is a scam for it. There are a lot of smooth talkers, fake police, fake curators; basically a scam for everything can be found in Thailand. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to do some pre-trip research so you know what is normal and isn’t. For example, the Grand Palace is almost always open. Don’t let some guy in a suit a few blocks away fool you.
Take organized tours – Organized tours can help avoid these types of problems. If you have a reputable guide and are going in a large group, it is going to be harder for you to get scammed. While pickpocketing and other issues can still be problems, being part of a group is one of the safest ways to stay safe and keep you money in your own hands.
Dress to impress – Though Thailand is hot and humid, it still has a fairly conservative culture in terms of dress, especially if you are going to the Grand Palace and Vinamek. Shorts are not allowed. Taking a sarong can help if you feel the need to wear shorts. You will need shoes and shirts with at least short sleeves. Long sleeve shirts must be rolled down. In the rest of the country modest shorts and sandals are generally okay.
Map it out – Planning out your trip with maps and a little bit of Google Earth research can be extremely helpful. Not only will you, hopefully, avoid scams, but this research will give you a good idea of how to navigate through Bangkok’s often confusing streets. Another good tip is to have your hotel write down its name for you, so you can show it to a taxi driver if needed. It is almost guaranteed that you will not be able to pronounce the name, but your taxi driver will know exactly where to go if you show him/her.
Don’t forget your ID – The Thai people can get pretty finicky about IDs. You may be 40, but that doesn’t mean anything to them. Take a photocopy of your passport with you, not the real thing. If you need the copy to prove your age, you have it, but this practice will help you keep your actual passport from being taken.
Don’t be afraid to haggle – This may well be the most fun tip on this list. We are all used to prices being fixed, but for taxies or tuk-tuks you can barter on the price. Just be sure to not pay until you are safely at your destination, and be sure to be kind. Becoming angry isn’t going to help your case, even if someone is trying to fool you. In a game of angry tourist versus Thai citizen, angry tourist always loses.
For any health questions regarding trips to Thailand, or anywhere in the world, feel free to contact Passport Health travel health specialists, and, remember, always travel safe!