What to See & Do
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Budget travelers will save money and make their whole trip more enjoyable if they can spend their first few days in one place, acclimatizing and adapting to their new environment.Ideally, you might try sleeping off some of your jetlag in Bangkok for a day, then head out to a quiet country location to really unwind, adapt, and acculturate.A resort in the Mae Sa Valley outside Chiang Mai, or a peaceful yet wildly colorful resort near Khao Yai National Park spring to mind.Another destination close to Bangkok, and perfect for relaxing and adapting is Hua Hin.
Bring a good-sized water bottle or thermos along with you.This could save your life and will help the environment as a bonus.Keep it filled with pure, potable water, and keep it on you at all times.Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are insidious ailments, which will creep up on you before you realize it, and could knock several precious days off your hard-earned holiday.Water is cheap and readily available everywhere in Thailand.Stay hydrated.
Keeping to this important point, stock up on fruit that needs to be peeled or cut before eating, as opposed to fruit that can simply be eaten with the skin on. Thailand is a fruit-lover’s paradise: it is cheap and sold everywhere.Bananas are perfect, as are oranges, rambutan, mangosteen, watermelon, and dozens of other fruits you may never have heard of, but will miss after returning home.
A small dictionary or phrasebook will help you immensely in this area.Avoid shellfish and other seafood, especially in the hot season, outside of hotels and air-conditioned restaurants.They are responsible for more foodborne illnesses than anything else.Of course, eating anything raw or uncooked increases your chances of taking unwanted parasites on board.Be sure everything is cooked, fried, or boiled thoroughly before eating.
Thrifty travelers will be pleased to learn that tipping is neither common nor expected in most of Thailand.When dishes cost one dollar, it doesn’t really make sense to leave a tip equal to that; some places may even try to give it back to you, thinking you must have made a mistake.Larger, enclosed restaurants, and hotels used to tourists, on the other hand, have come to expect some sort of tip, albeit less than expected in Western countries, especially the USA.
Thailand is one of safest countries around as far as crimes against persons are concerned.This doesn’t mean you should be flashing your jewelry around, or leaving expensive photographic equipment unguarded.Leave the bling at home, and travel with smaller, portable cameras or video recorders.A little common sense will go a long way towards avoiding unpleasant encounters.
The same holds true for manners and dress.For some reason, a number of tourists think that anything goes in Thailand, when in fact the opposite is the case.Thais are modest, conservative people for the most part, with boundless respect for the monarchy and their religion.Never insult or demean either of these institutions, dress respectfully, remove your shoes before entering temples or homes, and speak softly with a calm disposition.Again, many of these behaviors are suggested by common sense; keep them in mind and you will have a thoroughly enjoyable trip to a very special country.