Here is what you need to know before you go to Thailand. We made some mistakes or oversights before our trip to Thailand. We want to make sure you don’t make the same ones. Here are the things we learned the hard way (maybe not that hard).
Do no bring any electrical items that will not convert to 220v. Most outlets in Thailand will accommodate US plugs but do not let this fool you. If it does not convert to 220v you will be blow the circuit like we did on our very first night here. We are thankful for a gracious Airbnb host who came out that night to flip the switch with their keys. You can purchase a simple adapter/converter to cover your bases.
Don’t Over Pack
Do not over pack! I repeat, bring very little with you. Nearly everything is cheaper here! You can get toiletries and clothing for less than you can imagine. You’ll be glad you did not overpack.
Bring or buy a cover up or light jacket to cover up when you visit the temples. Many are very strict about the dress code. You can buy or pay to borrow a cover up at the temples. It’s better to bring your own and avoid the lines to buy/borrow. It’s best to carry one with you at all times, you never know when you will run into a wat (temple). You’ll be prepared to pop in for a visit.
WARNING: TMI- Ladies, you can’t get tampons in Thailand! They have plenty of pad choices but if you are a tampon girl, bring your own. I’m sure my checked bag was a scene for my four month supply, lol. I know this doesn’t seem very important for what you need to know before you go to Thailand but I’m glad I prepared for it. You wouldn’t expect this one for what you need to know before you go to Thailand.
King is Sacred
No matter what you think, you should NEVER like NEVER say anything derogatory about the king. He is adored and revered. It’s not like in the US where people poke fun (and then some) at the presidents. This is a big deal. Do not take Nike’s advice in this case just don’t do it. Read more about it on this blog post.
Beer or Water
The most popular brands of beer also make drinking water. If you ask for a “Singha” or “Chang” be sure to specify if you want beer or water. I was surprised to receive water when I was expecting a beer at a restaurant. The water is good too but if you want beer, it’s not so good, lol!
I come from the land of MARTA (Atlanta). I am smart enough not to use the mode of transportation at certain times due to safety concerns. This is not the case in Thailand. The BTS/MRT is the cheapest, most convenient and safe way to get around the city. It’s very clean, they have very strict rules that are followed by all passengers. The maps are in English and Thai as are the announcements. Security guards (unnecessary) roam the platforms keeping passengers from boarding to late and assist disabled passengers. We bought 15 rides at a time to save on fees. It’s a very pleasant ride.
You will some women who seem very attractive, their makeup is better than yours and they are dressed very well. Many of these are actually “ladyboys”. I was very surprised to see this but I was also impressed with the styling prowess of the “ladyboys”. This is the term they use here in Thailand, so I do not mean any offense when I use that term. I won’t lie, I was not prepared for this one.
Yes, the people are “that” nice. I was born in NYC and raised in big cities. I am very skeptical of anyone being nice, I think they are either trying to patronize me or rob me. Don’t judge me, it is what it is. If you are like me, this is good to know before you go to Thailand. More times than I can count, strangers approached us with a very helpful tip for accomplishing what we were doing in a better way. I think after 3 months, I am finally used to it. I no longer glare at them or walk away as I had done in the first few weeks here.
You will need to have your passport to buy high ticket items. We tried to buy SIM cards our first day in Bangkok and could not complete the transaction because we did not have our passport and visas. We had to walk back to our condo and come back to the cell phone store to complete our purchase. They took our photos and made a copy of our passports before completing the transaction.
You will be censored from online content. Access to certain websites will be restricted and even some friends posts on Facebook. It took me a week to realize I was being censored. Although it’s a fairly free country the governing heads deem it necessary to censor certain information in the country. Sometimes the info is being censored from the other end.
Be sure to set up online billpay for any bills you need to pay while you are out of the country. AT&T for example would not even let us open their website. We had to cancel our Hulu account via email because we could not use it in Thailand (no worries, we can still use Prime and Netflix). Pandora was not available in Thailand. Our family in the US that we could trust with our log ins had to set up billpay for us.
What You Need to Know Before You Go to Thailand
Although our mistakes were not costly, it would have been very helpful to know these things before we came to Thailand. The most surprising one for me was the censorship. When we were in Hong Kong, we were censored but I did not expect it in Thailand. Were you surprised by these? Let’s hope these help you on your trip to Thailand.