When you’re travelling, it can be all too easy—and expensive—to get caught unawares. Thailand is a relatively safe country for tourists, but anywhere can be dangerous and many tourists come ill prepared for Thailand’s climate. This is particularly true of those who travel during the rainy season, which is often the best time to get great deals on a Thailand trip.
Follow these steps to make sure that you’ll enjoy every moment in Thailand:
1. Know exactly what you want out of the trip before you go
Thailand has many different things to offer. It has some of the world’s most exciting cities, most beautiful beaches, and most fascinating history. There are dozens of incredible sights to see and even more activities to participate in. And of course you also need at least a little bit of time to relax between stops on your tour.
Once you know your top priorities, search for a tour based around some of the key sights. Often these tours are a great way to see many different things for a reasonable price.
2. Research the culture and people
Thailand has a strong culture with many rules of courtesy, even in the most tourist-filled parts. If you want to delve deeper than the Thailand usually presented to tourists you’ll need to understand at least a few of them. You don’t have to spend dozens of hours researching their culture before you arrive, but at the bare minimum you should read Do’s & Don’ts in Thailand and the Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook.
It should be noted that the culture in Thailand varies greatly based on where you are. Common tourist destinations such as Phuket and Bangkok are used to western tourists. They won’t notice as much if you dress in revealing western clothes or break basic Thai rules of courtesy.
3. And sun protection & bug spray
You know what can be even more dangerous than Thailand’s sudden bouts of torrential downpour? Thailand’s sun, especially on the body of a tourist from a northern country. Bring sunscreen and a wide brim sun hat to protect yourself. Wear them religiously.
During Thailand’s rainy season it doesn’t rain, it pours. Make sure you have a 100% waterproof jacket with you. It should also be lightweight and breathable, as Thailand rain can get quite steamy. An adjustable hood can help protect your face when the rain gets really heavy.
In most of Thailand’s bigger cities you won’t be at risk for malaria, but there will be more bugs than you’re used to. Mosquitoes also come with several other risks, so it’s always best to be cautious. And if you’re going to leave the major cities, you’ll need the most powerful bug spray you can get your hands on—malaria is a real risk in rural Thailand.
4. Eat the street food
Street food is everywhere in Thailand. It’s safe, delicious, and incredibly affordable. You’ll spend at least three times as much to eat any western food while you’re in Thailand, so enjoy the local cuisine.
5. Watch out for scams
There are many wonderful local businesses, artisans and jewelers you can purchase things from, but there are also plenty of scammers looking to prey on wealthy tourists. This is particularly true in places like Phuket and Bangkok, where there’s a large and steady stream of people to scam. You can easily find several lists of common tourist scams in Thailand (and around the world) online. Research these before you go and always be ready for them.
If you’re particularly worried about scammers you may want to do everything through an established touring company.