What You Need to Know Before Visiting Thailand
Thailand is located in Southeast Asia Country bordering Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Thailand has coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. You can find almost everything in Thailand, the greenest jungles, crystal blue waters, and the tastiest foods.
In general, you should take this into consideration:
- Thailand has a tropical climate, i.e, it can be very humid.
- The South gets substantially more rain compared to the North.
- The rainy season is between May and November, and this includes the monsoon season, so when it rains, it rains a lot.
- May and June are the hottest months and should be avoided if you don’t handle heat too well.
Millions of people flock to Thailand each year, and the number of annual visitors is continuing to grow. Having a basic knowledge of what to expect before you arrive in the Kingdom will be helpful both for you and for the local people you meet along the way. Here are few things to know before you arrive.
Learn a Few Phrases Before You Go
Big cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok have a lot of locals who speak English, so when tourists make the effort to learn a few Thai words anyway, they gain more respect as a visitor.
"Sawadi Kaa" for females, and "Sawadi Krap" for males - This is the Thai greeting for hello and goodbye, and is accompanied by the "Wai" gesture. Also note that adding "Kaa" or "Krap" to any sentence in Thai makes the sentence more polite.
"Kapkhun Kaa" for females, and "Kapkhun Krap" for males - This means thank you, and it is also often accompanied by the "Wai" gesture.
"Chuai berd meter dai mai Kaa/Krap?" - "Could you turn on the meter?"
"Gep dthang noi" - Check please.
"Mai ao" - This verbatim means "I'm not getting that," but can generally be used to deny an interest in purchasing anything.
"Krungthep" - This is the word for Bangkok in Thai. Many people mistakenly assume Bangkok is a Thai word. It's not, and knowing the real word can come in handy.
And lastly, when bargaining at a market it helps to learn how to say a few prices in Thai. As an alternative, to help you barter, say the price in English but add "dai mai kaa/krap?" to the end. This will simply communicate "Can we make it this price instead?" Don't forget to keep a friendly attitude and smile as you bargain. All of these tips will help you come across as polite and can help you knock down the price by the general 10%.
You Know More Thai Than You Think
The Thai language has adopted many words and phrases from English, and some phrases from other languages, too. They call those words "Tap Sap". So, if you learn tap sap, you'll know a lot of Thai words that an English speaker already knows (they're similar to English, but with odd pronunciations).
Here are some examples: guest house, hotel, computer, taxi, disco, clinic, same – or as they say, same same. Many useful Thai words are repeats or couplets, similar to the "same same".
If you're getting a massage that's too deep, you can say "bao bao" which means go easier, or "softly softly". The Thai word for often is boi boi, which sounds like boy boy.
Do Not Purchase Buddha Statues
They are everywhere and you'll be tempted to bring a Buddha home but to bring a Buddha image out of the country is illegal (unless you have a license) so instead stick to buying elephant statues like the rest of us.
Keep Your Feet Down
In Thai culture, the head is the most sacred and important part of the body. The feet are considered to be dirty. Pointing your feet at someone is the equivalent of the middle finger. Still, you will see backpackers with their feet up in a Tuk Tuk, or resting their feet up on a chair in a restaurant. This is considered awful manners in Thailand. Put your feet up on a beach hammock only.
Do Not Feed The Monkeys
You’ll come across plenty of monkey-filled beaches in Thailand. These animals are cute, clever, and are definitely cool to see up close. That does not mean you should feed them. Feeding the monkeys means they become less able to find food on their own, making them vulnerable in the wild. It also means that they’ll associate people with food. It’s not uncommon to see monkeys steal bags, clothing, and more from tourists in hopes of finding food. These monkeys become less cute when they are tearing your purse apart. Remember these are wild animals. Monkeys bite, and unless you had your rabies shot and there’s a hospital nearby, an enjoyable experience could quickly turn into something very dangerous.
There Are a Lot of Soi Dogs (street dogs)
There are about 300,000 strays roaming the streets of Thailand’s capital city alone. While the exact number of soi dogs (street dogs) is unclear, one thing remains certain: you’re going to run into at least a handful of them while visiting Thailand. Lesions, fleas, rashes: these are just some of the conditions that street dogs are suffering from. Caring locals provide food and water for these animals, but many are still neglected. Help out when you can, but also be vigilant.
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