Houses lining the River Kwai in Thailand.
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Useful things to know before visiting Thailand

Airra Beatrice

Contributing writer

Thailand, located in Southeast Asia, is a culturally diverse country with various ethnic groups and regional differences. The majority of the population is Thai, but there are significant ethnic minorities like Chinese and Malay.

Regional variations can be observed in the northern, northeastern, central, and southern regions, each with its own unique traditions, dialects, cuisine, and cultural practices.

Thailand has a reputation for its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality, earning it the name "Land of Smiles." It is a popular tourist destination known for beautiful beaches, historic temples, bustling markets, and vibrant nightlife.

When visiting Thailand, it is important to be mindful of your surroundings, secure your belongings, and follow local laws. The country generally offers a safe environment for tourists, but taking common-sense precautions is advisable.

Basic information

Plugs and measurements

When preparing for your trip to Thailand, don't forget to pack the necessary travel plug adapter that matches the local sockets. This will ensure that you can easily plug in and use your electronic devices during your stay.

Thailand uses three main plug types: A, B, and C. Plug type A features two flat parallel pins, plug type B consists of two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin, and plug type C has two round pins.

It's also important to note that Thailand operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz frequency.

Cash and cards

Many small businesses in Thailand do not have card readers. Therefore, it's advisable to bring foreign cash and change with you. Additionally, you may need to rely on ATM withdrawals, but be sure to check if your card charges foreign transaction fees.

Make sure to practice security precautions if you're carrying a large amount of cash, as basic travel insurance coverage may not apply beyond a certain limit.

Opening hours of shops and restaurants

Many shops in Thailand are open between 10am - 8pm (or sometimes 10pm), depending on their location. Some local shops may open around 9am. Some supermarkets in Bangkok are open for 24 hours a day.

Most restaurants open at 10am and close between 9-10pm. Some restaurants or cafes may only be open for breakfast and lunch, but that's relatively unusual.

Getting around Thailand

When it comes to the best way to get around Thailand, you'll find a variety of transportation options to suit your needs. The most common modes of transportation include getting the train, taking the bus, and using tuk-tuks.

However, getting between all the popular Thai islands will typically require a boat ride. Boats vary in speed and price, offering options for different preferences. Alternatively, take a taxi to the terminal and purchase your ticket at the ticket booth.

Smoking in Thailand

Thailand has strict laws regarding smoking in public areas. Smoking is prohibited in many indoor spaces, including government buildings, restaurants, shopping malls, and public transportation.

Designated smoking areas can be found in some outdoor locations, but it is advisable to check for signage or ask for guidance to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Toilets in Thailand

Toilets in Thailand can vary in terms of Western-style sit-down toilets and squat toilets. While many tourist areas and accommodations have Western-style toilets, it is not uncommon to encounter squat toilets in more local or rural areas.

Carrying tissues or toilet paper is advisable, as they may not always be provided.

Tap water in Thailand

Drinking tap water in Thailand is not advisable, as it may not be safe for consumption. It is recommended to stick to bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth.

Bottled water is widely available and affordable throughout the country.

WIFI / internet access

WIFI and internet access are generally widely available in tourist areas, hotels, cafes, and restaurants. Many accommodations and public spaces provide free WIFI, while others may require a password or have time or usage restrictions.

It is always a good idea to have a backup plan, such as purchasing a local SIM card or using mobile data, to ensure internet access during your travels.

SIM Cards

Purchasing a local SIM card can provide convenient and affordable internet access during your stay in Thailand. SIM cards can be easily obtained at the airports, convenience stores, or mobile network provider shops. Bring your passport as it is required for SIM card registration.

Responsible tourism in Thailand

If you're looking for ways to make your trip to Thailand more sustainable, consider staying in eco-friendly accommodation. These establishments prioritize environmental conservation and promote responsible practices.

By choosing eco-lodges, sustainable resorts, or community-based homestays, travelers can contribute to local economies and support initiatives that prioritize waste management, energy efficiency, and conservation efforts.

Remember to...

Respect the local culture and customs

Thailand is a country with rich traditions and cultural values. It's important to respect the local customs, such as taking off your shoes before entering temples or people's homes, dressing modestly when visiting religious sites, and being mindful of local etiquette.

Remember to be polite and courteous to the locals, as it goes a long way in fostering positive interactions.

Dress appropriately

While Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches and tropical climate, it's important to dress appropriately, especially when visiting temples or more conservative areas.

Make sure to cover your shoulders, chest, and knees, as revealing clothing may be seen as disrespectful or offensive. Additionally, pack lightweight and breathable clothing to stay comfortable in the hot and humid weather.

Be cautious of scams

Like in any popular tourist destination, there can be scams targeting unsuspecting travelers. Be cautious of overly friendly strangers offering unsolicited assistance, inflated prices, or suspicious tour offers.

It's advisable to book tours and transportation through reputable agencies, use metered taxis or ride-sharing services, and always confirm prices before engaging in any services.

Packing list for Thailand

  • Lightweight and breathable clothing: Thailand has a tropical climate characterized by high temperatures and humidity. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing made of natural fabrics like cotton or linen to stay comfortable in the heat. Opt for loose-fitting clothes that provide ventilation and help protect against the sun.

  • Insect repellent: Insects, including mosquitoes, can be prevalent in certain areas of Thailand. Protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever by packing a reliable insect repellent. Look for products that contain DEET or other effective repellent ingredients.

  • Portable umbrella or raincoat: Thailand experiences both heavy rain showers and occasional monsoons, especially during the wet season (May to October). Carry a compact and lightweight umbrella or a waterproof raincoat to stay dry during unexpected downpours and continue exploring without interruption.

  • Power adapter: Thailand uses Type A, B, C electrical outlets with a 230V supply voltage and a 50Hz frequency. To ensure your electronic devices stay charged and usable, bring a power adapter that is compatible with Thai outlets.

Words and phrases

Here are a few basic words and phrases that travelers may find useful when getting around Thailand:

  • Sawadee (sah-wah-dee): This is a common greeting in Thailand, meaning "hello" or "greetings." It is used to say hello to someone or as a general greeting when entering a place.

  • Khop Khun (kawp-koon): This phrase means "thank you" in Thai. It is a polite way to express gratitude and appreciation.

  • Mai Pen Rai (my pen rai): This expression translates to "no problem" or "never mind." It is commonly used to convey a laid-back and easygoing attitude in various situations.

  • Chai (chai) and Mai Chai (mai chai): "Chai" means "yes," while "Mai Chai" means "no." These simple affirmations can be useful for confirming or denying something in conversation.

  • Nee Tao Rai? (nee tao rai): If you're interested in asking about the price of something, this phrase will come in handy. It means "How much is this?" and is commonly used when shopping or bargaining.

  • Rot Fai (roht fai): This term is often used to refer to the Thai railway system. It means "train" and can be helpful when asking for directions or planning transportation.

  • If you want to sound like a Thai or just hang out with the locals, use terms like (Jaap): Something that is jaap is cool, amazing, or really great. It is mostly used by younger Thais to express appreciation and admiration.

Must have apps for Thailand

Google Translate

When it comes to translating Thai, finding the perfect translator app can be challenging, as the language poses certain difficulties. While no translator app is perfect, Google Translate does an excellent job and is particularly useful for getting around. What sets it apart is its live translation feature, which utilizes your phone's camera.


Eatigo stands out as the go-to app for finding restaurant discounts in Thailand. Eatigo offers a wide range of dining options with discounts of up to 50% on the entire menu. The best part is that there are no hidden conditions or drawbacks—what you see is what you get!


If you happen to not find the restaurant you're looking for on Eatigo, an alternative option is to book your table using Chope.


If you're planning to stay in Thailand for an extended period, having the Line app (stylized in all caps) is essential. While WhatsApp and Messenger are also commonly used in the country, Line takes the lead as the primary communication app among locals.

Get into the mindset

  • Bangkok 8, the first of a six-part series, is a razor-edged dark comedy thriller set in the surreal setting of Bangkok filled with temples, brothels, and world-class gangsters.

  • In Margaret Landon's compelling semi-fictionalized biographical novel, Anna and the King of Siam, published in 1944, the remarkable tale unfolds of an English widow and her two young children, who find themselves playing a pivotal role in shaping Thailand's history.

  • Jasmine Nights: The Classic Coming of Age Novel of Thailand by SP Somtow, set in 1960s Bangkok, presents a lively and enduring picture of the actual Thailand as opposed to the Western conception of it.

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Airra Beatrice

Author - Airra Beatrice

Airra is a Filipino Gen Z, travel content writer driven by wanderlust. She started writing about her journeys for extra income, but stumbled upon an undiscovered passion for writing along the way.

She has travelled all over her cherished homeland, the Philippines, and was intrigued by Thailand, where she totally fell head over heels for mango sticky rice! She inspires others to explore the world's wonders and embrace the beauty of life's journey.

Last Updated 24 September 2023

Long boats on the beach at Maya Bay in Thailand


Thailand is a land of flavours, cultures, and landscapes. However, there's more to Thailand than just postcard-perfect sights