“We travel, not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”
For my 21st birthday I decided to trade in the classic Cape Town bash for a few stamps on my passport. Thailand has always been on my bucket list and for me to have ticked that off is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Instead of a laid-back vacation I asked if we could do an island hopper package in which I was fortunate enough to explore the islands of Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi as well as Koh Poda, Koh Ghai (better known as Chicken Island), Koh Tub and Koh Mor.
I have seen most of what this beautiful island has to offer and have made my fair share of memories. Due to this, I have gained quite a bit of knowledge and do’s and don’ts regarding this beautiful country. If you’re looking for more general information or simply just doing some research for your next trip, you’ve come to the right place!
Capital of Thailand: Bangkok (I was unable to explore Bangkok as this was not part of my package but if you are able to go then I would suggest doing your shopping for luxury items such as make-up, clothing and other things here as these are not available in the local areas. I did not do my homework and I was dying to go to a Sephora!)
Currency & Exchange Rate: Thai Baht. This was extremely friendly in terms of the South African Rand which is always a bonus. I would HIGHLY recommend not exchanging your currency at the airport but rather within the city as I have found that you lose out so much more at the airport.
Visa: A visa is not required for stays shorter than 30 days. Only a passport is needed.
Electricity/Plugs: Thailand uses 220V AC electricity. Power outlets most commonly feature two-prong round or flat sockets. Take note South Africans as our 3 point plugs are of no use here and due to the fact that I did not have an adapter, I did not have a blowdryer.
Weather: November to February is the popular tourist season and summer in Thailand. This might be unpleasant if you do not like busy tourist seasons and the beaches tend to be a lot fuller. March to April is hot as well. May to October is Monsoon season and it tends to rain, however when I went it was July and it was so nice and only rained once or twice late afternoon towards the night so it did not put a damper on my holiday at all.
Language: The main language spoken is Thai although most people do understand English.
Greeting: Traditionally, you would greet a woman by saying “Saswasdeeka” which is pronounced sa-wah-dee-kah and you would greet men by saying “Saswasdeekrap” pronounced sa-wah-dee-crup. It is of extreme importance that the difference is heard in pronunciation as men find it disrespectful if you greet them with the woman’s greeting. A greeting is usually accompanied by “The Wai” which is the traditional greeting gesture which consists of a slight bow with both palms pressed slightly together similar to a prayer stance.
Thank You: Manners are of extreme importance. The same rules apply with the difference between men and women. To say thank you to a woman you would say “Kap kun ka” which is pronounced khap-coon-caah and to say thank you to a man you would say “Kap kun krap” pronounced khap-coon-crup
Country Income: The main source of income for Thailand is tourism, secondly fishing and thirdly cashew farming.
Keep Calm: Losing your temper in public or displaying negative emotions in public is frowned upon in the Thai culture.
Respect: This has been mentioned before but I cannot stress this enough. The Thai culture pays respect in a hierarchical fashion which means that respect is first paid to the elders. The higher the social status of someone, the more respected they are.
Cover Up: As a sign of respect, always cover yourself when going to holy places. This includes covering the legs and shoulders. No cleavage.
Feet: Your feet are considered to be the lowest part of your body and the least clean. You should never point with your feet or have your feet higher than someones head. It is therefore extremely common in the Thai culture to remove your shoes before entering someones home. I went to a nail salon and was asked to leave my shoes outside as well as in the temples
Photography: Always ask before taking photos of someone.
Table Manners: Fork to be held in the left hand and spoon in the right. Only pour drinks when the cup is less than half full.
Monks: Never touch a monk or sit next to him.
I still have my hotel reviews which should go up. Would you like a blog posts with things to do in Thailand?