Do's and Do Not's for Thailand travelers

in #travellast year

Just some general tips to help your stay run a bit more smoothly and also to prevent you from looking like a knob-end. I have over 10 years of experience in this country and a lot of my wisdom comes from doing precisely these situations the wrong way.


Do! Take off your shoes (sometimes)

Generally speaking, Thais don't wear shoes indoors and if you are entering someone's house you should definitely respect this. However, I have over my many years of living here seen tourists taking off their shoes literally every time they enter anything. You do not need to take your shoes off to go into 7-11 or a shopping mall.


When in doubt ask... most places that are visited by tourists will have a sign indicating if you are meant to take off your footwear. Abide by this.

Do NOT! Attempt to interact with stray dogs

Thailand and especially Bangkok, has a rather massive problem with stray (and even feral) dogs.

I have seen this happen time-and-time-again; a tourist thinks that Fido is lost and in need of attention / love and then Fido bites said person.


I know you feel bad for them and so do I. However, this is a fantastic method of having a rabies scare and the sequence of shots you will need to undergo as a preventative measure should you get bit by a street dog will definitely ruin your vacation.

This doesn't mean you need to shoo dogs away if you are in a market eatery or something. These dogs are used to human interaction and are allowed there because they are friendly and live off the scraps from the tables. It's best to just leave them alone. There are many ways to donate your time to helping these animals in many private shelters all around the Kingdom, should you feel compelled to help.

DO! Ride on a tuk-tuk.... but be careful

No trip to Thailand would be complete without the obligatory ride on their iconic taxis. However, you need to be aware of a few things and I learned the hard way on all of these things.


Generally speaking tuk-tuks are going to be more expensive than taxis, especially for tourists. If where you are trying to go isn't too far away ask the guy how much to go there and ALWAYS negotiate the price before hand. In some places the prices are now marked and there is a queue of sorts - this makes it much simpler.

Important Note: There is not such thing as a 20-50 Baht "tour of the city" in a tuk-tuk. It doesn't exist. Sure they will take you to some shoddy local temple and do a drive by on a market or something ... but the real destination is going to be a gem shop or an out-of-the-way tailor where the high-pressure salespeople specialize in getting you to buy something.

Much like the rest of the world: If it sounds to good to be true, that's because it isn't true.

DO! Install the Grab app before arriving

A few years ago Grab purchased Uber and now is the only taxi app available in Thailand. This makes getting around significantly easier because you don't need to be able to speak to the driver at all to get to where you are going. There is also no negotiating. If my driver is really good and the car is cool and he doesn't drive like a lunatic, I will normally tip like 20B or something small like that. It is appreciated.

Do NOT! Buy any "fine gems" while you are here

It really amazes me that people are still conned by this age-old scam because it is extremely well-known to be a hoax. Unless you are a gemologist (and even if you are) this is not the right place to be picking up expensive precious stones. Once again, if it sounds too good to be true... it's because it isn't true.


This scam has evolved in recent years and now foreigners are involved in it. They will join travelers at a bar and help to con people pretending to "have found a hidden secret way to make money." Don't be a fool!

DO! try loads of street food

This applies even if you don't know what it is. If you end up not liking it the cost of $1 or so is probably something that fits into your budget and who knows? It might end up being something you really like.

source = me

A rice noodle dish with boiled pigs blood sounds disgusting right? Well one day i decided to leave my comfort zone and it is now one of my favorite dishes. Street food is everywhere in this country and I truly believe that in many ways the stuff served inside of restaurants pale in comparison. You will have to sit on a rather uncomfortable plastic chair but that's the tradeoff!

Do NOT! bring a bunch of stuff with you

Honestly, you really shouldn't even be bringing a backpack with you unless you plan on going trekking somewhere. If the only places you are going are major tourist destination cities, a backpack is totally impractical. Just use your rolling suitcase and really, even if you are staying for a month or more, this is more than enough gear for your trip.

I'm going to Asia for 3 weeks, I think i'll bring everything I own!

You can have your laundry done for you with next day service just about anywhere in this country and it costs very little. Also, clothing is extremely cheap here, especially at street stalls.

Forget about bringing the following items:

  • Multiple pairs of jeans
  • any heavy cotton t-shirts that you have acquired in countries where it is occasionally cold.
  • multiple pairs of shoes (one pair of trainers and some flippy-floppies is more than enough)
  • Boots of any sort or other camping supplies (seriously, what sort of adventure do you really think you are going on?)
  • jackets (you know it is sometimes painfully hot here, right?)
  • excessive toiletries (contrary to popular belief Thailand actually does have soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, etc)
  • any sort of musical instrument

My own family members did not heed my advice on this and they ended up leaving 75% of the stuff the brought with them in my house for the entire trip. It's only going to complicate things if you do bring it, trust me on this.

DO! learn a few Thai phrases

I think just "hello" and "thank you" are enough and it is definitely appreciated.

Hello and Goodbye = "Sawat dee Kha / Krap"
Thank you = "Khap Khun Kha / Krap"

The Kha and Krap are polite additives that you put on the end of anything you say. "Kha" is for women and "Krap" is for men. This is referring to what sex the speaker is... not who they are talking to.

you can also "Wai" people you meet like Ronald is doing above... keeping in mind that you do not need to do this to everyone you ever see... such as the staff of McDonalds

Generally speaking, I find Thailand to be significantly safer than most western countries so don't get the wrong idea. The scams I have listed above exist in all countries in some form or another so don't think I am bagging on Thailand...

Mostly you don't need to be on your guard all the time but just remember to always get the price of things before you engage in them and remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch..... and you'll be fine!


So interesting!! I adore such info about other countries! thank you!

What is 7-11?
Is street food of good quality? Safe?

thy don't have 7-11 in Russia? wow. 7-11 is a global chain on mini-marts. They are friggin everywhere in Thailand. No matter where you are, you are probably less than a km from a 7-11 here. :)

Street food is safe. Mostly because almost all of it is cooked at extreme temperatures really fast. If you were going to be worried about anything related to food poisoning it would come from the cutlery at these places. I have been food poisoned twice since living here and neither were from street food.

I dunno, everyone is different i guess.

no 7-11 in Russia, at least in my city. What does these numbers mean?:)
Here street food isn't the best because it's cooked of low quality products.

7-11's name comes from a long time ago, when 7-11 first opened many years ago they were open from 7AM until 11PM.

Just common sense really. I try and travel light wherever I go and if needed will buy the local stuff. The pigs blood dish sounds terrible and I think it would take me time to try that. You have had to be open to try things as you have lived there for a while and I bet you nothing shocks your taste buds.

Black pudding sounds terrible if you read the recipe, just a few bites got me almost addicted. I ended up having it 2-3 times a week for breakfast while in UK. Now I really miss it.

I have resisted it so far, but funny enough like my steaks rare so blood doesn't scare me. I will try a blood pudding sausage and see.

I thought the same thing about the soup by my friend was adamant that i just give it a try. I did give it a try and now i seek this dish out. That pic was from today after a bike ride :)

The good thing is the whole animal is consumed and nothing wasted. How is the running going. Are you still doing the Harriers thing?

i stopped doing that because i was trying to step off the booze a bit. There is no such thing with those guys. I still run and bicycle and continue to lose weight and what not but i just don't do it in a group anymore. Socially this is bad for me, but as far as really anything else is concerned i think it is an improvement.

I understand totally. I saw it as more of a social with a bit of running and could imagine it was like a running party. I would say long term you made the right decision as you used to drink enough without going to find it by joining some running group.

exactly. They still bug me about my non-attendance every couple of weeks. I had a good run of like 20 weeks in a row but in my mind, what is the point of all that exercise if you immediately get to work on a raging hangover for the following day?

haha, now i run significantly more, just in my massive neighborhood but only about 3-5km each time. Did you ever get started on a fitness regime? I remember you mentioning you were thinking of starting.

Honestly I am doing enough exercise at work currently and get home late. I have lost loads of weight already with the tell tale signs like your watch being loose on the wrist. I think I am down around 8 Kg's already.

I had a nice read.
Khap khun krap

These are some pretty cool tips and I'm sure many people going to Steemfest will find it handy :)

Grab app was one of the top tips for sure! My husband @philippekiene and I are expats who live in Cambodia and the apps Grab and Pass App are the key to not being short-changed by the tuk tuk drivers.

Grab is one of my favorite uses for a smart phone. IT really is a game changer as far as getting around (and not getting ripped of too) is concerned.

touch everyone on the head!!

Lol....yeah I forgot thatone

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Okay.. You have my interest on one of the items NOT to bring with when visiting Thailand.. "any sort of musical instrument." hmmmm.. I feel like you may be able to fork off onto a whole other post on this topic. My mind is wandering and thinking either a lot of people bring guitars, or you've seen a tuba strapped to someones back! haha.. I would think the humidity there would spell disaster for instruments just being carried around by tourists. interesting indeed!!

I have always wanted to go to Thailand. Khap Khun Kha

Very good tips. I usually travel light, sometimes way to light but hey, I'd rather be walking around quickly instead of dragging myself like a turtle. 😂

The first time i went backpacking many years ago i learned a valuable lesson when i ended up actually throwing out about half the stuff I brought with me. Years later, i wold travel to Nepal to traverse terrain where having a backpack actually was necessary, and even though i was going to be away from civilization for 3 weeks i only brought 5kg of stuff with me.... and even some of that small amount of gear ended up being unnecessary.

This is definitely perfect for people who are attending Steemfest!

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This was a really awesome post! I am going to resteem it as I have your past posts. Even though I can't make it to Steem Fest, I know there are a lot of people I follow and that follow me who are going. This could be really valuable info for them!