Travel tips

To easily answer all your travel questions, we've gathered the best Thailand travel tips in one very long list: 181 tips, facts, truths and recommendations for Thailand.

Start with when to visit Thailand and where to go, then discover tips for travel costs and budgeting, and exactly what to expect from Thailand's climate. Get suggestions for visiting Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, and northern Thailand (and plan some really unusual things to do).

 
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181 Thailand travel tips

Have questions about getting around, Thai etiquette, wildlife, staying safe and what to pack? They're all answered below. Plus – learn how to find the best food, shopping and accommodation in Thailand. Ready your clicking fingers! Here come one hundred eighty-one opportunities to open-in-new-tab.

 
 

When to visit?

1. How to get low season rates?

"May, June and September are a great time of year to find good villa rates on Koh Samui. This is low season for many villas but – unlike rainy season in October, November and part of December – you're likely to enjoy good weather and lots of sun." – The Pool on the Hill

2. Different rainy seasons

"Rainy season comes to Phuket in September-October. On Koh Samui it’s usually late October, November and part of December." – Koh Samui Sunset

3. Thailand's Festivals

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"Festivals of Note: Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai in the late fall is remarkable. Bo Sang Umbrella Festival, Chiang Mai (January). The Chiang Mai Flower Festival (February). Songkran Water Festival (April), Hua Hin Jazz Festival (June), Vegetarian Festival, Phuket & Bangkok (September/October)" – A Little Adrift

4. Diving in Koh Tao

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"So when is it best to visit Koh Tao? In January the dive season starts, and conditions steadily start to prove. If you want to see a whale shark, you have a better chance from March to April. In May and June the wind conditions may decide what sites you can dive but it is still a good time to go. The best visibility is from July-September, where it can get to around 30 metres." – Greta's Travels

 

Where to go

5. Thailand with kids

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"If you want the kiddie infrastructure you’d find in Orlando, you won’t find it on Samui – it’s a much more low-key island with old-fashioned, make-sand-castles kids’ entertainment. For massive family resorts in Thailand, with all the stuff, look to Phuket or Pattaya."  – Koh Samui Sunset

6. Thailand in ≤ 10 days

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"If you have 10 days in Thailand or less, I’d recommend picking two islands – any more and you’ll be rushing from island to island taking overcrowded catamarans and won’t leave enough time to relax." – Sher She Goes

 

Costs & budgeting

7. Avoid extra transport costs

"While making your budget and reviewing rates, also keep your villa’s location in mind: if you need to take a twenty-minute taxi every time you want to buy more sunscreen, your transport costs could be significant." – The Pool on the Hill

8. Sunscreen

"Sunscreen on Koh Samui costs between 150-300% more for the same bottle than on Amazon. There’s much less selection, too: not much for sensitive skin and next-to-nothing that’s cruelty-free. Bring lots, and bring it from home!" – Koh Samui Sunset

9. Rainy day perks

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"[S]ince it was wet season everything was considerably cheaper, travelling somewhere in low season can be a great way to save money if you don’t mind a little rain!" – Greta's Travels

10. Alcohol prices

"Imported liquor, wine, and beer are actually just as pricey as back home, if not a little more because of import taxes." – Tieland to Thailand

11. Entrance fees

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"Entrance Fees: average $5/person. Some sites are free while others, like the Grand Palace in Bangkok, will cost 400 THB ($12). If you visit Ayutthaya expect to pay around 50 THB ($1.25) for each temple you enter." – Goats on the Road

12. Tuk-tuks

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"Anytime you get into a tuk-tuk before you even begin to move negotiate your price. If anyone starts to tell you things are closed, just move on. It is a scam." – Travel Where to Next

13. Bank service fees

"Baht is the only currency accepted in Thailand (no US dollars), so check your bank’s international service fees before departure." – Koh Samui Sunset

14. Backpacker budget

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"Once you are on the ground (so excluding flights), backpackers seem to universally average about USD $30 a day, this is both as solo and couple travelers." – A Little Adrift

15. Ethical expenditure

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"We as tourists and consumers have the power to choose where we spend our money, and businesses adapt to what people want (and where the money goes). By making educated, and smarter choices we can all help to make a change in [the elephant tourism] industry, and prevent future abuse to elephants." – Erin Elizabeth

16. Cash

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"Cash is the preferred method of payment in Thailand, especially if you plan on using local transportation and eating street food.  But many of the shops and restaurants prefer cash too.  So always keep cash handy." – Peanuts or Pretzels

 

Thailand's climate

17. Avoiding sun damage

"The Thai sunshine can do serious damage to your skin in minutes flat. Come prepared with a high SPF sunscreen that can handle water (whether the pool or perspiration)." – Koh Samui Sunset

18. Saving your sole(s)

"Ever had to run across a beach of burning hot sand? As Koh Samui is so close to the equator, the sun here can turn inanimate objects into scorching torture devices. As such, The Pool on the Hill’s pool deck (and entry foyer) uses a light coloured sandstone – it doesn’t absorb heat, so your bare feet stay as cool as possible." – The Pool on the Hill

19. No overscheduling

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"Thailand is HOT. Don't schedule too much in one day." – Travel Where to Next

20. Prickly heat

"Since switching to green/natural sunscreens (and wearing a lot of linen) I’ve never experienced prickly heat since – no matter how hot and humid." – Koh Samui Sunset

21. Bike trip training

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"At a minimum, you should be up to riding the max daily distance in training, but distance is not the only factor. You should also be training for the weather. Thailand is a hot, humid tropical country." – Coleman Concierge

22. Rain in Khao Sok National Park

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"The tricky thing about Khao Sok is that it is in the middle of the Thailand peninsula so the weather on both coasts effects the area. It is typical for it to rain a little bit every day (it is the rainforest after all), but it won't be down pouring for hours." – Two Wandering Soles

23. BYO-electrolytes

"If you’re not used to hot weather, you might find electrolyte tabs useful if you start to feel a little ‘wilty’ (a non-medical term used here by a non-doctor)." – Koh Samui Sunset

Secret Villa Perk

Keep your cool: At The Pool on the Hill, you'll find tons of shade throughout the house as well as air-conditioning and ceiling fans in every room. Remote controls mean you can choose your perfect temperature ... without getting out of bed.
 

Bangkok

24. Best Bangkok guide book

"If we had to choose just one Bangkok travel guide, it would be the Nancy Chandler Map of Bangkok. It’s quirky and tremendously detailed – perfected over 27 editions and counting." – Koh Samui Sunset

25. BTS air-conditioning

"The trains are modern and comfortable, but be warned, it can get pretty chilly on the BTS. While you’re sweating outside, you might be shivering once you board the Skytrain." – Wandering World

26. Thai fruit buffet

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"Baiyoke Sky Hotel – the tallest building in Thailand – the 18th floor fruit buffet is fun and quirky and a great way to sample the cornucopia of exotic Thai fruit on offer. For 350 Baht, stuff your face in as much fresh fruit as you like, including durian, mangosteen, mangoes, dragon fruit, longan, papaya, rambutans, coconut, pineapple, watermelon, tamarind, guava, etc." – Mostly Amelie

27. The Grand Palace

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"Be advised: this place can get busy. I mean really really busy and crowded. Your best option to avoid the crowds is to go in the early morning." – Carrie Lippert

28. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

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"Joining a tour that departs early is a smart idea because the market gets really busy the later in the morning it gets. It’s best to arrive as early as possible before the place gets too crazy." – Travels and Treats

29. Bangkok dress code

"What should women wear in Bangkok? Rather than baring all your bits, conjure Reese Witherspoon on an August day in Georgia." – Koh Samui Sunset

30. Sirocco Bar

"Make reservations the day before so you’re not squished in the bar area where it is shoulder to shoulder and you cannot take any good pictures." – The Fernweh Wolf

31. Yoga in Bangkok

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"Busy Bangkok probably isn’t the first place you’d think of when it comes to getting on your yoga mat, but its craziness is the perfect reason to reconnect with your practice. While the country’s capital doesn’t quite offer the serene yoga spaces you’ll find elsewhere, the city does boast some excellent studios." – Yogi Approved

32. Bangkok malls

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"Siam Paragon, MBK Center and Siam Center – Go shopping or just wander through these massive malls. They are all next to each other and this is an area where you’ll see a lot of young and hip Thai people. It’s so fun to people watch in this area. Plus, these malls are really nice and air conditioned!" – Traveling Spud

33. Biking day-trip

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"If you are looking to escape [Bangkok] in hopes of getting some fresh air, Bang Krachao is the island to visit. Local bike tours have sprung up throughout the island, and tourists can also rent a bike for about $1 for the entire day to explore it via raised wooden paths that weave throughout." – The Culture Trip

34. Tuk-tuk night tour

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"Somehow I ended up in the disco tuk-tuk with a driver that blared out his music at full volume along with twinkling disco lights in the back. It was surreal, but a totally awesome way to enjoy the city." – Rosalilium

35. Sunset river cruise

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"Our favourite thing to do in Bangkok is take a river cruise at sunset and have dinner out here as the lights come on. It’s just a magical experience being out on the river. The craziness of Bangkok subsides for a few hours and you can sit back and take in the majestic city and the amazing buildings." – Vibrant Life Thailand

36. Bangkok rooftop bars

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"No matter what you do, do not leave Bangkok without a rooftop drink at sunset. And thankfully, there are numerous options to choose from! We decided on and loved Red Sky Bar, located in the Centra Grand Hotel on the 55th floor super close to Siam and Central World.  We greatly appreciated that there was no strict dress code, as I heard others will turn you down if you aren’t dressed to their standards." – A Passion and a Passport

37. Avoiding the crowds

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"We decided to go to Taling Chan Floating Market as it's a quick cab ride from Bangkok, and it's less touristy than the most famous markets like Damnoen Saduak Floating Market." – Ann Chovie

38. Airport Rail Link

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"The City Link (or Airport Rail Link, they can’t seem to decide on the name) takes you from  Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai Station in 30 minutes. Buy a token from one of the ticket machines for 45 baht per person (~ $1.44 ~ €1.15) one way." – Wandering World

39. Chatuchak Weekend Market

"Because the Chatuchak is so big in size (over 15,000 stalls) it is divided into sections to help you better find what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to beat the crowds (which I suggest you do) plan to come early." – Carrie Lippert

40. Street food tour

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"The bowl of noodles we ate on this food tour is a prime example of exactly why I knew joining A Chef’s Tour was a great idea. This small back-alley noodle spot is one that I never would have found on my own, not in a million years." – Travels and Treats

41. Financial district

"Surprisingly, we found Bangkok‘s financial district fascinating! The people, the huge buildings, the monorail… We loved our stay there and even overstayed 2 more nights to rest a bit." – CoupleRTW

42. Wat Arun

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"Be warned–these steps are actually super steep, and even though I don’t consider myself to be particularly scared of heights, I was actually super anxious during the climb down!" – The Wandering Blonde

 

Food in Thailand

43. Vegan food in Thailand

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"The concept of veganism, or "jay" (เจ), has been around for hundreds of years in Thailand and is connected with Buddhist spiritual practices." – The Nomadic Vegan

44. Opening hours

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"Many smaller places in Thailand use Facebook as their “website” and have varying degrees of information on them that isn’t always accurate. If you’re looking at what time places open or close, don’t immediately assume that the times in this list or on Facebook are 100% correct. Times in Thailand aren’t usually strictly adhered to and a cafe’s opening times listed on Facebook, or even on the cafe door, aren’t always correct." – Paper Planes Blog

45. Boat noodles

"You must try boat noodles when you visit Ayutthaya. They're literally made on a boat!" – Ann Chovie

46. Coconuts

"[Koh] Samui is known to produce the best coconuts in Thailand so you’ll want to add a fresh coconut to your daily routine – they’re incredible. Coconut jam should earn a worthy place in your souvenir stash, too." – Koh Samui Sunset

47. Dairy Queen

We visited Dairy Queen, where we had a take on a Thai dessert favorite of Mango and Sticky Rice [reinvented as a DQ Blizzard]" – The Places We Live

48. TripAdvisor

"Don’t head to TripAdvisor looking for the best restaurants, the list is wrong. We found that the bigger restaurants with more marketing budgets have an advantage." – Getting Stamped

49. Nutella pancakes

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"Make sure to try a Nutella and banana roti from a street vendor!" – The Wandering Blonde

50. MSG in a salt shaker

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"Learn the difference between salt, sugar, and MSG. If you ever sit down at a table at a Thai restaurant or food stall and reach for the salt in the condiment container – stop. Those white crystals aren’t salt. If you see white crystals, it’s either one of two things: sugar or MSG. MSG is somewhat sparkly. It’s also shaped like a hexagonal tube, so the grains will be a little longer than they are wide. On the flip side, sugar and salt are dull and cubic." – Tieland to Thailand

51. Iced tea and smoothies

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"One thing you definitely shouldn’t miss out on are iced Thai tea and freshly made smoothies. You can get those everwhere and should do so, too because they are always slightly different." – Travel on the Brain

52. Chiang Mai coffee

"The region falls within the “bean belt” and coffee beans grow in the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai, often farmed by hill tribe villages. Combine the readily accessible beans with a growing town that’s home to four major universities, a large number of longterm expats and digital nomads who can’t work without their caffeine and cafes, and you get a lot of cafe options." – Paper Planes Blog

53. Dessert cafés

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"Thailand is home to the cutest dessert cafes. If you love cute coffee and dessert culture, Thailand is the place to go!" – Ann Chovie

54. Jackfruit

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"One of the biggest fruits in the world, since one jackfruit can grow to a length of 90 cm, a width of 50 cm and a weight of 35 kg. It is defined as the largest fruit, borne on the Earth with 250 fruits on one tree during the season." – Nomad is Beautiful

55. Four-dollar dinner

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"Before you go, you ALWAYS hear people say that they ate for like $4 and that included beers. I kept thinking to myself, how do I find these places? Will it be hard? Am I going to be the only one to not find these locations? NO! They are everywhere!" – 33 and Free

56. Cabbages and Condoms

"A Thai restaurant and social enterprise that serves up tasty food whilst raising money for vital safe sex projects with the aim to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and prevent the spread of the disease. It was a quirky restaurant with an outdoor terrace area covered in fairy lights, tables covered in condoms, and even full size figurines made out of condoms. The food was nice and it was all for a good cause!" – Rosalilium

57. Sugar

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"Sugar is added to virtually everything in Thailand." – Downshiftology

58. Thai breakfast

"While you can easily find eggs and toast, Thais don’t tend to eat dishes considered ‘breakfast foods’ in the West. Often breakfast will be made up of foods they’ll eat at any time of day. Moo bing (barbequed pork on a stick) with sticky rice can be an after-school snack or, just as likely, breakfast on the go." – Paper Planes Blog

 

Shopping

59. Buddha souvenirs

"Though you’ll find Buddha statues for sale pretty much everywhere, neither statues nor images of Buddha can (legally) be taken out of Thailand." – Koh Samui Sunset

60. "How much?"

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"When asking the price of an item ask in Thai (learn the phrase). At this point the stall owner will either get out a calculator or tell you how much. If you are able to tell him the price you want to pay in Thai then you have a much higher chance of getting the rate reduced." – The Travel Manuel

61. Excess baggage

"Hoping to leave [Thailand] with lots of goodies? A foldable duffel bag is easy to store in your main piece of luggage as an eleventh hour ‘just-in-case’." – Koh Samui Sunset

62. Party supplies on steroids

"Not all the paper goods are handmade [at Chatuchak Market], but the selection is still bar none. Imagine your favorite party supply shop on steroids and then multiply it by ten neighboring stalls." – Souvenir Finder

63. Platinum shopping mall

"Dive into the crazy world that is Platinum. You can find all kinds of clothes and accessories for prices around $3! It gets really busy and overwhelming, but you can also haggle down prices." – Travel on the Brain

64. Thai phrasebook

"Many Thai shopkeepers speak good English, but a Thai phrasebook might help when your requests or colour preferences get a little random" – Koh Samui Sunset

65. Bangkok shopping

"You can find virtually anything here. Some of the weirdest things I’ve seen being sold were: Gothic-themed underwear, “iPhones” running Android OS, Android devices running iOS, Live chickens, Live scorpions..." – Geeky Explorer

66. SIM cards

"Buying a SIM card is simple. If you fly into Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi airport, all three cell companies have booths beside each other in the arrival hall. They all offer pretty much the same tourist-focused packages, which are aimed mainly at those spending a week or less in the country." – Too Many Adapters

67. Shoe shopping

"If your feet are bigger than ‘Thai size’ (U.S. 9 or Euro 39/40 for women, and slightly larger for men), you’ll struggle to find shoes that fit in Thailand." – Koh Samui Sunset

68. MBK shopping mall

"Who is it for: Budget-conscious travellers looking for a twist on the normal western brands. What to buy here: Thai-branded clothes at decent prices. Good for electronics too." – Geeky Explorer

69. 7-Eleven

"In Thailand, 7-Elevens are like Starbucks. There is literally one every 20 feet." – Travel with Tarah

70. Ko Kret

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"Ko Kret is about 15 kilometers north of central Bangkok. [I]t also has a great weekend market, which is less touristy and offers visitors a wide array of fresh flowers, unique food, and souvenirs to browse. The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m." – The Culture Trip

71. Terminal 21

"Terminal 21 makes it to my list simply for the unique factor. Each floor is designed keeping different city markets across the world in mind. So every floor has its own unique city theme – Paris, Rome, Caribbean, Tokyo, London, Istanbul and San Francisco. Even the toilet interiors are done keeping the floor theme in mind." – Wander With Jo

72. Chang Chui Market (Bangkok)

"Some of the items on sale are made of re-purposed materials – like a clock constructed of elephant dung. I wanted it so very much, but would never, ever get it through Australian customs." – Birdgehls

73. Central World

"The skywalk has exits for the major hotels in the area as well as the Erawan Shrine. If you are short on time, use this skywalk as a way to see the shrine en route as well!" – Creative Travel Guide

74. Chatuchak entry and exit

"Make note of where you enter the market. Find any landmarks, exit number, shops, etc. to be able to use the market map and get back to where you need to be. The market is that big!" – The Globetrotting Teacher

75. Mid-shopping massage

"Sometimes I have stopped halfway through my shopping [at Chatuchak Market] to get a 30 minute foot massage at the many massage shops in the market." – Rosalilium

76. Maeklong Railway Market

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"Otherwise known as the ‘umbrella pulldown’ market, goods and food items are physically dragged from the tracks in order to make room for the train barreling forward. The train passes about eight times a day, and each and every time vendors are forced to once again bring in their items to allow it to pass." – The Culture Trip

 

Unusual things to do

77. Dine in a treetop pod

"For all the eco-conscious and luxe travelers who love to take their holiday with a touch of sustainability, I’d highly recommend dining among the trees at Soneva Kiri in Koh Kood, Thailand’s fourth largest island. By no means a cheap trip, dining in a tree pod that is perched on a forest canopy is a complete luxury experience." – Anita Hendrieka

78. World's creepiest museum

"There’s a museum in Thailand with the preserved remains of a man who ate seven children." – Koh Samui Sunset

79. Hiking to see a Rafflesia flower

"Blooming only from December to March, the Rafflesia flower is one of the largest flowers in the world, growing up to one meter wide. This hike is lead by a guide into the national park (300 baht per day). The tour includes transportation to the start of the trail and an English speaking guide." – Two Wandering Soles

80. Bioluminescence

"Try the Hong by Starlight tour with John Gray Sea Canoe’s, which sweeps around Phang Nga bay taking in secluded beaches, secret cave systems and a late-night splash in bioluminescent waters." – Jetsetter

81. Condom Museum

"The Condom Museum, located in Nonthaburi, has all the information visitors will ever need to know about condoms. From what they are made of to how to put them on, visitors of this museum will leave as connoisseurs of condoms, if you will. The overall theme of the museum is to raise awareness about safe sex, as condom usage is often viewed in a negative way in Thailand." – The Culture Trip

82. Monitor lizards

"Get some fresh air and sunshine at [Bangkok's] Lumpini Park. Here, you can take a stroll around the lake, try to spot some monitor lizards." – The Wandering Blonde

83. Chiang Mai Ginger Farm

"We’d highly recommend a trip to the Ginger Farm (no matter your age). You can learn about rice planting traditions, meet a buffalo named Sticky Rice, and even get a chance to plant some of the rice in the mud (don’t worry, outfits will be provided." – How Far From Home

84. Rock-climbing

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"Railay’s rock climbing scene is legendary, with over 500 routes of limestone walls overlooking crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches." – Sher She Goes

85. WWII history in Kanchanaburi

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"The biggest attraction is The Death Railway, constructed during WWII with a story of one of the worst examples of human tragedies. The famous book and movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai, was based on it." – Anita Hendrieka

86. Wakeboarding

"About an hour and thirty minutes outside of Bangkok you will find Otzki Wake Camp, the ultimate water arena to put your wakeboarding skills to the test. All skill levels are welcome."  – The Culture Trip

87. Insect restaurant

"Insects in the Backyard describes itself as “Thailand’s first edible insect fine dining experience”. It’s been said that bugs will firmly cement themselves as a food of the future and the restaurant aims to make them more accessible to sceptical diners." – Birdgehls

88. Cat Cafe

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"In Bangkok, not far from our hotel, there is a cat cafe. That’s right, a cafe – a place where you drink coffee and eat cake – but filled with cats – real. live. CATS!" – Rosalilium

 

Transport in Thailand

89. Travel insurance

"Koh Samui has a crazy-high accident rate for its most common form of tourist-transport: scooters and motorbikes (and, as such, we recommended car rental over scooters). No matter what – no matter when you come, where you stay, or what you hope to do while on Samui – make sure you come with quality travel insurance." – Koh Samui Sunset

90. Day passes

"Local public buses cost around 10 THB while taking the Metro or Skytrain in Bangkok starts at 15 THB per station. If you plan on using the Metro a lot, a day pass might be your best option." – Money We Have

91. Car rental rates

"A local, independent car rental shop will often quote a per-day price. If you’re renting for longer than 2-3 days, try to negotiate a better rate (especially in low season)." – Koh Samui Sunset

92. Grab Taxi

"Use Grab Taxi to get around major towns. Grab Taxi is a successful ridesharing app that can be found in many of Thailand’s major cities including Bangkok and Chiang Mai." – Tieland to Thailand

93. "Excuse me"

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"Whether riding the sky train or island hopping by boat, you are going to step on some toes – both literally and figuratively. Be prepared for these scenarios: learn how to say, “excuse me”." – The Culture Trip

94. Phuket to Koh Samui by ferry

"Done the right way, you can get from [Phuket to Koh Samui] in under 5 hours, done the wrong way it can be a journey of 11 hours or more…. Put simply: Pay a few extra bucks (approx. $6 extra) for the convenience, safety, and comfort, and get to Koh Samui in a timely fashion." – Local Nomads

95. Ayutthaya by bike

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"Once you're in Ayutthaya, renting a bike is a fun way to go from site to site. There are so many temples and ruins to see!" – Ann Chovie

96. Drive on the left

"You drive on the left in Thailand, as in the UK. (And you can turn left on a red light.)" – Koh Samui Sunset

97. Party of Five

"On any given day in Thailand, you will see a mom, dad, newborn baby, and two other little tikes on one little motorbike." – Travel with Tarah

98. Bangkok to Koh Phangan

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"To avoid the hassle of booking separate tickets for each individual leg of the journey, we came across Lomprayah bus and ferry company, and you can book a combined bus and ferry ticket online." – Worldly Nomads

99. Tuk-tuk scams

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"When getting [in a tuk-tuk] you must negotiate the price in advance AND make sure you strongly assert NO STOPS or else you will end up at their brothers cousins friends fiancés fathers factory outlet." – Contented Traveller

100. Bus schedules

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"Bus schedules are more like guidelines. Just going with the flow and staying flexible is a must!" – Miles of Smiles

101. Scooter prices

"As of 2017 scooters prices on [Koh Phangan] are 250 Baht a day.... If you rent for more than 4 days you can barter and get a much better deal, for instance, I managed to get mine for 150 a day." – Nomader How Far

102. Walking in Thai heat

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"Google Maps says it’s a 15-minute walk, which isn’t so bad for us because we love walking, right? WRONG. [It took us 30 minutes] .... Why? Because we had to stop every few minutes to cool down in the shade." – enSquaredAired

103. Songthaews

"What’s a songthaew? (Pronounced, “song-tao”, also spelled songtaeo, songtaw, songtao, etc). Koh Samui’s songthaews are, more or less, its version of public transport. Rather than a bus, a songthaew is a pick-up truck with a converted bed." – Koh Samui Sunset

104. Budget airlines

"Budget airlines often have extra fees for seat selection, checked baggage, and so on. Always read the rules carefully before you book your flight so you are not surprised by extra fees at the airport." – A Little Adrift

105. Road rules

"I didn’t find anyone aggressive or pushy on the road. Some Thai drivers like to overtake in places that I wouldn’t, but just be aware and slow down to let them pass. The biggest thing to watch out for is the motorbikes." – World Travel Family

106. Easy directions

"What we ended up doing was taking the business cards from the hostels or restaurants we liked and wanted to go back to so when we needed to ask for help or ask a Tuk Tuk to get us home they knew exactly where we wanted to go." – Travel Lust Blog

 

Wildlife in Thailand

107. Don't void your insurance

"Putting yourself/your family in voluntary proximity to an elephant – no matter how humanely it’s treated … or how lovingly you feed it … or how noble your intentions – might void your travel insurance." – Koh Samui Sunset

108. Gibbons

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"[G]ibbons were introduced to the rainforest by the zipline company as part of a conservation effort. The two older gibbons were found locked inside of a cage on the side of the road. The company’s founders rehabilitated the gibbons and reintroduced them into the jungle, where they gave birth to two sprightly offspring. They are the first gibbons to live wild in Chiang Mai for decades. The company employs someone to watch for poachers and look after the gibbons, which explains how they got that carrot." – Chantae

109. Elephants

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"Though we view elephants as gentle souls with ear-to-ear grins, the reality is they are wild animals that do not naturally allow humans to ride their backs. Elephants don't respond to the will of humans by default, nor do they voluntarily trek in hot temperatures with people strapped to them. The way that an elephant is coerced to become submissive is in fact horrific." – Thrifty Nomads

110. Oriental Pied Hornbills

"Koh Yao Yai is known for its wildlife, in particular the Oriental Pied Hornbill birds. These colourful creatures are distinguished by their yellow beak. They feed mainly on berries, figs and live mainly in tree canopies. One of the best places to spot them is at Paradise Koh Yao Yai." – Luxury Columnist

111. Flying with dogs

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"The Elephant Nature Park is constantly finding new homes around the world for its 300+ dogs. If you're flying home from Chiang Mai to the US, Europe or Canada, you can be a “flight volunteer” by simply checking in one of the dogs at the airport, so it can continue onwards to its new home!" – Thrifty Nomads

112. Tigers kill people

"Few insurance companies are going to cover you for handling, let alone taking selfies with, a tiger. Friendly reminder: Tigers kill people." – Koh Samui Sunset

 

Thai etiquette

113. Thai temple dress code

"When visiting Thai temples, both men and women should wear clothing that falls below the knee and covers shoulders (as a minimum)." – Koh Samui Sunset

114. Tipping

"It is not common to tip street food vendors if you do tip they likely are confused and try to return what they see as an overpayment." – Getting Stamped

115. Lose the shoes

"Before you enter a room, would you mind slipping off your shoes? It’s Thai custom to remove shoes or sandals before going inside a home, as feet are considered dirty. As such, we ask you to slip your shoes off outside the kitchen/living room, your bedroom or the downstairs sala. You’ll see that staff and housekeeping does likewise – it’s just common Thai courtesy all around." – The Pool on the Hill

116. No politics

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"The political situation in Thailand is very complex. For tourists, it’s best to steer clear of political discussions." – A Little Adrift

117. Smile!

"Don’t forget to have a big smile while you are talking. It is pretty much a non-verbal custom to be smiling in Thai Language." – Bangkok Bits

118. Thai cutlery

"Thai food is eaten with a spoon and fork, you eat with the spoon on the right hand and the fork on the left. You use the fork to push the food on the spoon and use the spoon to take the food to the mouth." – CoupleRTW

119. Topless sunbathing

"Topless sunbathing is taboo in Thailand." – Koh Samui Sunset

120. Feet etiquette

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"Be sure you never point your feet towards anyone especially a Buddha statue or a monk. This is seen as incredibly disrespectful!" – Miles of Smiles

121. "Bow Wow" clothing

"Our tour guide suggested we avoid wearing “Bow Wow” clothing (when you bow, the people say ‘wow’)." – Joanna E

 

Accommodation

122. Stretch your budget

"To stretch your budget in the manner of a 1970s backpacker, just add a scooter or songthaew ride to your beach commute." – Koh Samui Sunset

123. Hillside vs beachfront

"Hillside villas in Thailand can mean better breezes, greater privacy and fewer mosquitoes than beach-front villas." - The Pool on the Hill

124. Weekends on Koh Lipe

"Weekends typically are busy all year on Koh Lipe, as local Thai and Malaysian tourists flock to the island for a weekend getaway. [R]eservations are highly recommended on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, especially if they fall on a national holiday." – Getting Stamped

125. Thai villa layout

"Unlike in Western homes, where the kitchen/living areas are downstairs and the bedrooms are upstairs, Thai villas are often a few small buildings in a walled compound or garden – sometimes on a few levels." - The Pool on the Hill

126. Honeymooning

"If you’re going to Thailand for your honeymoon, or even for an anniversary, write it when you make your reservation! The Thais make amazing flower decorations that will warm your heart the second you walk into the room. Sometimes, besides the decorations, they give you a souvenir from the hotel, a fruit platter and even a cake." – Hedonistit

127. Sunsets or sunrises?

"Examine the photos of your accommodation and double-check those sunsets! Unless you’re a morning person, make sure that the sunset views are definitely sunsets (not sunrises!)." – The Pool on the Hill

128. Hotels for kids

"If you know your kids come with cannonballing frenzy (and associated decibels), note that a number of Koh Samui resorts have a choice of pools for guest use: a family pool, and an adult pool." – Koh Samui Sunset

129. Unheated pools

"The pool is not heated. This is typical for hotels and villas throughout Thailand. What does this mean if you’re a wimp? After rain, or in cooler periods (often Nov/Dec/Jan) you might find it too cool for your tastes. On the other hand, at its warmest, we’ve recorded the pool temperature above 30°C (86°F). That's right around bath temperature." - The Pool on the Hill

130. Double-check your dates

"Before booking your villa, be sure to double-check your dates against your flights. Make sure you’ve accounted for the international date line if you’re crossing it, and/or night flights with next-day arrival." – The Pool on the Hill

131. Romantic Tip

"Ask the reception to organize a Thai bath on your private jacuzzi, order some wine and enjoy the bubbly bath." – Love and Road

132. What’s a sala?

"Somewhere you definitely want to spend lazy days. A sala is a Thai word for an outdoor room, small building or platform – covered with a roof to provide shade. Our sala sits poolside and is big enough for a family meal, enjoying sunset cocktails or a memorable Monopoly game." – The Pool on the Hill

 

Islands and beaches

133. Koh Phi Phi

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"Phi Phi Island, as it’s often called is actually 2 islands, Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh." – Luxury Columnist

134. Koh Samui

"Though it’s a small island, Koh Samui is easy to access directly from many international airports including Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. You can also catch a short connecting flight from Bangkok nearly every hour." –  The Pool on the Hill

135. Krabi

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"One of only three fossil beaches worldwide, Fossil Shell Beach in Krabi is a fascinating place. Despite its man-made appearance, its a natural phenomenon that’s 40 million years old." – Luxury Columnist

136. Beaches vs your phone

"Beach days are one thing, watching your phone fall into the pool is quite another. Come prepared with a waterproof phone case." – Koh Samui Sunset

137. Swimming safety

"When visiting beaches, be sure to swim where there are other beachgoers and swim at your own risk, as most Thai beaches do not have a lifeguard present." – Peanuts or Pretzels

138. Island hopping

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"It is important to be careful when you are island hopping, as the ferries between each island may be inexpensive, but they don’t always have the best safety record. Ensure that you have a look at the ferry to check there are sufficient lifeboats and that it isn’t too crowded before boarding, and if you have any doubts, it may be best to go with another ferry company." – The Blonde Abroad

139. Beach bags

"Don't bring anything other than a towel to the beach with you or bring a waterproof pouch with your valuables and take it with you in the water." – Fener Adventures

 

Packing for Thailand

140. Pack linen

"Pack linen for Thailand over any other fabric. Light rayon or cotton (or thin silks on cooler days) are great, but can feel sticky in heavier fabrics." – Koh Samui Sunset

141. Thai-sized clothes

"Prepare to not fit into most of the local clothes. But calm down, it’s not that you are fat. The sizes of clothes in Asia and in Thailand in particular are much smaller than the western standards!" – Geeky Explorer

142. The best sunscreen

"For Thailand, or anywhere in the tropics, you’re so close to the equator you really want to use a high SPF – I don’t go below SPF 30. If it’s extra hot and you’ll likely be sweating, stick with the SPF primer as it has no tint." – Koh Samui Sunset

143. Laundry

"Laundry is incredibly cheap and surprisingly well done. They do it by the kilo, so make sure when you give them your clothes they are dry. Our pile weighed probably four pounds and it was around $4. Dry and folded!" – 33 and Free

144. Mosquito repellent

"Sharing a bottle between 2 people, a 100ml bottle of mosquito repellent lasts about 10 days." – Koh Samui Sunset

145. Fewer shoes

"I brought about 6 or 7 pairs of shoes, and should have only brought two: one pair of flip flops for the beach and boats and one pair of converse for scooters or long walks." – Design Love Fest

146. The perfect shoes

"Crocs are THE perfect shoe for Thailand’s shoes on/off culture." – Koh Samui Sunset

147. Wet wipes

"Always carry wet wipes. Wet wipes double as toilet paper and hand soap. You’ll never know when you stumble into a restroom that lacks both. It happens more regularly than you’d think, often in the worst possible situation!" – Tieland to Thailand

148. Sun safety

"Guess how far Thailand is from the equator? Not many degrees. An enormous sun-hat and quality sunglasses (100% UVA/UVB blocking) are non-negotiable." – Koh Samui Sunset

149. Elephant sanctuaries

"Your day (or overnight stay!) at ENP is going to be hot, sweaty, dirty, wet, dusty, and amazing and memorable. The biggest tip I can give is to bring clothes, shoes, and bags that you don’t mind getting dirty. This isn’t the time to show off that new designer handbag or fancy sandals! You’ll also be doing quite a bit of walking, so dress for comfort, not fashion." – Adri En Route

150. Zip-lining outfit

"Long pants to avoid uncomfortable pinching and bunching – diaper butt is unfortunately inevitable. Don’t forget sunscreen,  tight shoes, and a camera with strap." – Chantae

 

Thailand with kids

151. Sun safety

"Koh Samui is a mere 660 miles from the equator – plan to keep your kids occupied in the shade for at least a few hours a day." – Koh Samui Sunset

152. Kids' gifts

"Chatuchak Market is a great place to stock up on little gifts for your favorite kids back home– especially if they love elephants." – Souvenir Finder

153. KidZania

"If there was one place we HAD to visit in Bangkok, it was KidZania, and we are so glad we did. If you are looking for the best Bangkok kids’ attraction, then we think this is it. The kids had the chance to put out fires as firemen, become police people, dentists, perform an endoscopy, bottle coca cola, learn to be pilots, sushi chefs, make hamburgers at McDonalds and serve other kids at a 7/11." – Where's Sharon

 

Thai language

154. Who speaks Thai?

"Over 60 million people speak Thai (six times more than speak Swedish)." – Koh Samui Sunset

155. Learn to count

"Learn the Thai numbering system before you get there – it is really easy. Once you know 1 – 20 you basically know everything. Learn the word for ‘hundred’ and ‘thousand’ too." – The Travel Manuel

156. Sa Wat Dee (Hello)

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"Greet anyone and everyone who crosses your path. You will most likely butcher the word initially, but Thais will readily assist you with pronunciation, and this simple greeting will certainly help you as you continue your travels." – The Culture Trip

157. No conjugation

"Verbs aren’t conjugated in Thai. Instead, the sentence gives context to the tense. (E.g. the words ‘yesterday’ or ‘tomorrow’ would indicate past or future tense)." – Koh Samui Sunset

158. Korb khun (thank you)

"You should be saying this everywhere, from buying food to asking for directions. Thai culture put a lot of emphasis on politeness and humility, so it would make sense that in Thai language, you should learn to smile and say ‘Thank you’ in all occasions." – Bangkok Bits

 

Northern Thailand

159. Mountain climate

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"The northern mountains of Thailand can actually get refreshingly chilly at night during the cool season.  So if you heading in that direction, bring warmer clothes for the nights." – Peanuts or Pretzels

160. Chiang Mai

"[Chiang Mai] is called the “Rose of the North” and it’s the heart of Lanna Thai culture. There are a range of foods present, both traditional Northern Thai food as well as Issan, and cuisine from neighboring Burma." – A Little Adrift

161. Chiang Mai to Pai

"The road up to Pai [from Chiang Mai] is known for crazy cafes and lookout points. There’s one that’s decorated in all strawberries and another decorated in a full-on witch theme. Try to stop at some if you can!" – Traveling Spud

162. Coffee Tour

"Apart from indulging yourselves in the hotel, go for a trekking and coffee tasting tour, we did it and loved!" – Love and Road

163. Doi Inthanon National Park

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"Grab your camera and binoculars because you’re heading to the highest point in Thailand. Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand, rises 2,565 meters above sea level and is located in Chiang Mai in Doi Inthanon National Park." – Road Affair

164. Blue temple

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"This is probably the most unique and colourful temple we’ve seen in Thailand so far. It is not a big and monumental temple, but a quieter and more peaceful one. And blue. Blue, blue, blue. Blue is the dominant colour here, making it different to the other Wats in Northern Thailand." – Backpacker Story

165. Yi Peng Festival

"Honestly, I don’t know if there is a writer alive who could bring justice to that moment with words. While writing this post I went back and watched a bunch of crappy cell phone videos I took — nothing worth sharing here — but they brought me back, and so they brought me to tears." – Alex in Wanderland

 

Health & Safety

166. Tap water

"Generally speaking, tap water is fine for brushing your teeth or washing dishes, but you don’t want to drink it directly." – Paper Planes Blog

Secret Villa Perk

At The Pool on the Hill you'll enjoy drinking water straight from the tap – no need for bottles! Water to the dishwasher, kitchen and bathroom taps, showers, baths, sinks and toilets passes through three filters and an ultra-violet sanitiser on its way to you. Your drinking water and ice-maker has a further four steps of filtration. (And just wait 'til you see the pool!)

167. Mosquito protection

"Absolutely the best trick in the book – put mosquito protection ‘up your sleeve’! All three of the mosquito-repelling bracelets and wristbands pictured are totally natural, and DEET-free."  – Koh Samui Sunset

168. Vaccinations

"You aren’t required to have any [vaccinations] to enter the country, but we decided to be safe [and got three]: tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid. i hadn’t gotten shots in over 10 years, so i figured it was a good time to do that anyways." – Design Love Fest

169. Travel insurance

"Travel insurance won’t *technically* keep you safe, but there’s nothing you need more in this category than good travel insurance that keeps you as un-dead, and un-bankrupt as possible." – Koh Samui Sunset

 

Itinerary tips

170. Flight recovery

"Whenever we take a long flight, and in this case, over 18+ hours, I think it’s best to start the trip on a low-key note, as to not overwhelm ourselves (and our poor tired bodies) right away." – A Passion and a Passport

171. Day one

"Take this as a rest day and get to feel the place out. I wouldn’t recommend seeing any major attractions since travel days are exhausting; save that for when you’re well rested and had some food that didn’t come out of a package." – The Fernweh Wolf

172. Free day

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"I always plan at least one “free day” when I’m visiting a city for the first time. It’s nice to have a day like this at the end of your trip, so that you have the chance to go back and re-visit anything that you wished you could have spent more time at the first time around." – The Wandering Blonde

 

Thai history

173. Never colonized

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"Thailand remains the only Southeast Asian country never colonized, so it’s a distinct and interesting contrast to the French-influenced Laos and the British-influenced Burma." – A Little Adrift

174. Old Town Phuket

"Old Town is a really cool area. I love the Sino-Portuguese architecture there. It’s a definite gem of Phuket. If you go on the weekend at night, there’s a night market with lots of snacks and things to buy." – RTW Girl

175. Ayutthaya

"Unless you really dislike culture travel or you don’t like temples, I encourage you to stay in Ayutthaya for a few nights." – enSquaredAired

 

Don't forget...

176. Sunscreen

"Expect sunscreen to cost about 150-200% more on Koh Samui than at home (depending whether you’re looking in a pharmacy or a hotel gift shop). Sunscreen is expensive in Thailand – they know you need it – and selection can be limited." – Koh Samui Sunset

177. Travel insurance

"Before you get near an animal in Thailand – even a cute beach dog – make sure you have travel insurance." – Koh Samui Sunset

178. Check your change

"A common scam at provision shops or minimarts in tourist areas is to give your change as if you have given them a 500 baht note instead of a 1000 baht note. Many tourists are not familiar with the Thai baht and do not notice that their change is incorrect. Always check your change and the money that you give to the cashier." – Bernard the Traveller

179. No white shoes

"Avoid white shoes as dusty Thai roads will dirty them in seconds flat." – Koh Samui Sunset

180. Thai voltage

"Thailand uses 220 volts, 50 Hz. If your home country uses 110 volts (U.S. & Canada), note that many items such as laptops, Kindles, cameras and mobiles are dual-voltage and will work in Thailand (220v)." – Koh Samui Sunset

181. Cancellation coverage

"Don't forget to buy trip cancellation insurance: Crucially, check the cancellation policies of your hotel or villa booking and make sure to buy travel insurance with cancellation coverage. World Nomads and Travel Guard are popular policy providers (though neither covers ‘changing your mind’!)." –  The Pool on the Hill

 

*Pin for later

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