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We absolutely love Thailand – its people, the sights, and of course, the food! Every town, city or island you visit will lead you to new adventures and you will never come back the same. If you’ve never been to Thailand, here are a few helpful tips we’ve learned during our travels!

Walks along the beach in Ao Nang
1. Thai currency is called baht ATMs are easily accessible all over Thailand. When writing this post, $1USD converts to about 30 baht/THB. Lunch and dinners  typically ranges from 80-150 baht for dishes like pad thai or curry, depending on where you are. For example, islands like Koh Tao are more expensive when compared to Old Town in Koh Lanta which is less touristy. Whether you’re traveling in luxury or on a backpackers budget like we are, the exchange rate is quite nice and you can get a lot for your money.

Pro tip: Make sure to download the XE Currency app and have it handy during your trip. We use it all the time and it doesn’t require internet access for conversion rates.

2. You’ll be driving on the left side of the road 
If you plan on renting a motorbike during your trip, make sure you exercise extreme caution and don’t forget to wear a helmet. If you’re traveling for a long period of time, you should definitely consider purchasing travel insurance as well. World Nomads and Safety Wing are good options.

Renting a motorbike is fairly easy in Thailand. Not pictured: my dorky helmet!

3. Bug repellent is necessary
Foreigners will get bitten by mosquitos, gnats, and ants ALL the time so expect a bug bite or three. Plan to pack your own or if you forget, you can purchase bug spray from any local convenience store or the closest 7 Eleven (they’re seriously everywhere!). They sell them for cheap and smell good too!

4. Dress appropriately when visiting temples or religious places
This tip is mainly toward female travelers. Make sure to have something to cover your shoulders and knees when entering any temples or sacred areas. It is highly disrespectful to show too much skin in these areas. Some temples will give you a wrap for your legs or shoulders, but not all temples will offer them, so be prepared or you will be denied from entering.

5. Haggle when you can
You should always try to knock down the prices of souvenirs, clothing or any touristy items. If not, walk away and try the next stop. We think it’s always worth it to haggle!

6. Learn a few Thai words
The two main phrases you should be comfortable saying all the time is ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’. When you say either of these words, you should also put your palms together and bow your head gently.

Hello: Sa-wa-di-ka (for women) / Sa-wa-di-kup (for men)
Thank you:Kap-Koon-Ka (for women) / Kap-Koon-Kup (for men)

7. Eat like a local
If you’ve had Thai dishes before then you know how amazing it is! But it’s also great to try new dishes you’re not familiar with. Our favorites are massaman curry, penang curry, anything with morning glory, and sticky rice with mango for dessert! Also, try the local beer brands, Chang and Singha!

Duck for dinner! Taken at 95 Duck in Koh Tao.

8. Get used to taking off your shoes/sandals
When entering someone’s home, temples, and small stores, make sure to take off your shoes or sandals. You’ll know when there’s a pile of shoes and sandals in the entryway.

9. You don’t need to tip (unless you want to!)
Tipping is not necessary in Thailand but if you feel like you received excellent service or if you’re feeling extra generous, you can give anywhere from 30-100 baht which converts to about $1-3USD. It’s not the amount that counts but the gesture. They will be so appreciative!

10. Always be cautious of a potential petty scam
Thai people are the nicest people you will ever meet. They are always willing to help you, no matter what. However, there will be moments when someone will try to get more money off of you or try to take it out of your pockets! With that being said, always be super cautious. If you’re booking a service, make sure to get a receipt. Unsure of a situation? Ask more questions or find someone who can properly translate.

11. Avoid animal tourism
Please make sure to not go to attractions where you can “ride an elephant” or “play with a tiger”. Don’t do it for the ‘gram. These animals are being drugged or severely abused for your perfect picture. Please do some research and make sure you go to an ethical and reputable animal sanctuary where the animals are treated properly and help end animal tourism.

Sunsets in Thailand aren't too bad either. Taken in Sairee Beach in Koh Tao.
Above all, Thailand is an amazing destination and has SO much to offer. Travel safe and enjoy Thailand!
Disclaimer: We have no financial incentive to promote lodging or any other services. This recommendation comes solely from personal experience.


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