Top tips for traveling to Thailand
Once eluded to as a mystical land that only seasoned travellers went to Thailand has become a lot more accessible for people wanting to explore the country. Most people start their adventures in Bangkok as it is the easiest place to arrive to. Bangkok is a very hectic busy city, allow a day or two to soak up the capital’s atmosphere and enjoy a night out on Khao San Road. When planning your trip don’t try to fit too much in that you are overtired. Most travellers to Thailand stay for 2 weeks or more and many people like to explore the South places like Ko Samui and Phuket are very popular tourist destinations.
Chiang Mai is often referred to as the rose of the North. As it is very beautiful with lots of flowers and rolling hills and natural scenery. Chiang Mai is a one hour domestic flight from Bangkok but you can arrive by bus or train. There is a very popular over night train with your own sleeping compartment.
Overall Thailand is a very safe place to travel and crime is much less likely to occur than in other developing nations. However, just like any other tourist destination you do need to be aware of your surroundings and personal safety. Here are some of our top tips for travelling to Thailand.
• Thailand is beautiful to visit all year round. July- October which is the rainy season. However, it rarely rains all day and when it does rain it comes in refreshing bursts. In Chiang Mai where Fresh Start is based these short bursts happen during the late afternoon, evening or night time. So the rains rarely affects our programme. High season is November- March just after Monsoon season where the temperature is comfortable and not too hot. It tends to be slightly cooler in Chiang Mai compared to Bangkok and the Islands of the South.
• While travelling in a tuk-tuk is a Thai experience you must try do not use them as your primary means of transportation. When you do use them negotiate your fee before you set off and remember to not pay until you arrive safely. When you get in state exactly where you want to go and do not allow drivers to take you places where you have not asked to go, this can happen in Bangkok.
• Getting around Thailand can be very affordable but the quickest way to travel larger distances are through cheap domestic flights around the country or the extensive bus services. You can take train services between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, or Bangkok and Surat Thani.
• Women should always dress modestly as tight clothing or that which shows off a lot of flesh can be misinterpreted as showing your level of morality. Always carry jackets and make sure you cover up when out and about so men do not misinterpret you. This is especially important in religious buildings where you may be refused entry if you are not dressed appropriately.
• Street food is a normal part of Thai eating and is both tasty and affordable, but it is always advisable to eat where there are larger crowds as this means the food is likely to be fresher. The last thing you want is to be left feeling unwell or contracting food poisoning.
• If you choose to go down to one of the local beaches bear in mind that almost all beaches do not have life guide protection so go to a beach which is busier and never venture out into the sea on your own.
• If you hold a full UK passport you will not need to apply for a Visa when entering Thailand for a period up to 30 days. If you plan on staying for longer or hold another passport check with the Thai Embassy before you go to see if you need a Visa.
Richard and Louise Thomas have been travelling to Thailand for over 20 years and their Fresh Start fitness and wellness bootcamp is based in Mae Rim in Chiang Mai.