A week or so ago I promised to share some tips about travelling in Thailand after a number of friends have been asking for advice before their own holidays. Admittedly I did get slightly distracted and this post has come a little later than expected but oh well, better late than never.
1) Don’t just go to get drunk
Whilst the night life in some parts of Thailand is incredible, if your main aim is to get drunk every night surrounded by other British tourists then you’d save a hell of a lot of money going somewhere like Magaluf instead. By all means go to a Full Moon party and have a few nights out but make sure you check out some local places in the city as well rather than spending all your time in a bar on one of the tourist infested islands. Zoe in Yellow in Chiang Mai is a big favourite. You’ve likely spent a 4 figure sum on your trip so you owe it yourself to get out there and take in the culture and amazing scenery. Go to a temple, ride an elephant, go snorkelling. You’ll really regret being hungover all day and you’ll miss a lot of the great opportunities Thailand has to offer.
2) Take an over-night train
Although domestic flights in Thailand are fairly cheap, it’s still possible to save by taking an over-night train between cities. As you board the train, you sit at tables where you’re served dinner and then, at around 9pm, the tables are converted into bunks with each passenger getting their own bed with a curtain so privacy isn’t an issue. The quality of sleep is surprisingly good and it’s a hell of a lot better than trying to sleep sat upright on a plane. Word of warning though, insects are still very much present on the trains, especially at night, so I’d definitely try and shotgun the top bunk. My friend below me woke up with a scorpion in her bed.
3) Don’t be a princess
If you’re going to go on a hill tribe trekking tour that involves living in the jungle for 3 days with all sorts of people and animals…don’t be a princess. You will have no running water, no electricity and no wifi and you’ll probably have to wear the same clothes for 3 days. Deal with it. It’s all part of the experience. Don’t constantly talk about how much you miss your phone and treat the local people as you’re own personal servants. That is a sure fire way to make yourself some enemies. Obviously I’m referring to a specific person that I encountered on holiday but it definitely applies to a lot of situations. If you’re the kind of person who needs luxury then that’s ok, stick to five star resorts, but if you want to try something new then get stuck in; you’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more.
4) Buy a Kindle/tablet
We spent a lot of time travelling during our time in Thailand and my Kindle was my saviour. I’m not usually a big reader but it was perfect to pass the time. I know a lot of people prefer to have physical books but, trust me, you won’t prefer it when you have to carry them in your backpack for a month, especially if you go in rainy season. A tablet is also useful if you want to use the internet and don’t have a smartphone, although I’d recommend taking as little expensive technology as you can.
5) Talk to people
The best thing that we did in Thailand was make friends. Because we took a tour we were pretty much forced into talking to people but it’s definitely possible in all situations. Whether you speak to tourists with the intention of joining them on their travels or just chat to locals in restaurants, you’ll learn things about the country that you never would have found out any other way,and if you’re lucky, make friends for life.
6) Go zip lining
Hands down the best thing we did in Thailand and we almost missed it because we were too hungover (see Point 1). It’s an incredible adrenaline rush and easily the best views of the city and jungle that you can get. We went with The Flying Hanuman in Phuket but there are loads of companies that do the same thing across the country, and whilst it is a little expensive, especially compared to prices of everything else in Thailand, it was definitely worth it.
Have you been to Thailand? What are your top tips?