November 29, 2016 Jackie Montoya 3Comment
After some time of living in the ‘Land of Smiles’ as they call Thailand, I had learned the ABC’s of the country (not literally though). As a Filipino, I found this country having the same tropical weather with the Philippines and having the same facial features, thais look like pinoys and vice versa. But really different in religion, food, and of course the tonal language they have which I still had difficulty speaking. Visiting this place is a new and awesome adventure but you must observe some limitations as respect for their culture and as being a visitor as well.
There are a lot of ‘must dos’ but certainly you have to take note of the ‘must nots’ while enjoying your trip.
So I’m gonna give you some tips of what NOT to do when going to Thailand.

#1 Don’t pack a lot!

Why do I suggest to bring just few clothes and stuff? For you not to be over baggaged when you bid goodbye to Thailand. For you to allot a big allowance in your luggage for everything you would bring home like pasalubongs and souvenirs. And I tell you, it’s too hard to resist not buying a lot! So my tip is to just pack for at least 2 to 3 day clothes (even if you’re gonna be staying for weeks or even a month) really –even underwear, I swear! (oh rhyming! haha) Everything else is cheap in Thailand so just buy it there. Clothes, are a lot cheaper in the markets specially, not so in malls but compared to the prices here in the Philippines mall prices there are still cheaper. Food for your inner foodie is cheapest and also food that we could bring as ‘pasalubong’ is also cheap there AS IN guys. I bought home home atleast 5 packs of Lays very cheap, half price! So better keep the luggage light.

#2 Don’t forget to plan your itinerary

If you want to see every part of Bangkok’s must-see attractions do your own research and itinerary, PLAN and PLAN MORE because there are a lot of the Wats or temples as we call it, a lot of shopping haven, and a lot more street markets to see. Better be ready.

#3 Don’t forget also to plan your food stops as well

So do wake up the foodie adventurer in you because Thai street food is like no other in terms of taste and price. My staple faves are Thai Milk tea is as low as 20baht, fried chicken and sticky rice is just 25baht, and an authentic Pad thai found on the street is 25-40baht. If you would ask me it’s more than that so wait for my separate post about food musts in Thailand. Also, not to forget the crunchy critters they had, my dad loves the fried worms the most. It’s not that bad, tastes like a bland fried shrimp and somewhat nutty. I guess it’s all in the mind –go ahead and conquer your fear!

#4 Speaking of food, don’t forget to ask if it is spicy

Thai food in general are gangster spicy. If you love eating spicy foods then I dare you! Hands up as my spice gauge is not as tough as I thought it was. If not sure, better tell them to skip the chillies or just say “Mai phet ka/khap” meaning “Not spicy please”.

#5 Don’t forget to download Google translator app or learn the basics

Most of the thai population has just little knowledge in english language (most english speakers are in the tourist places only) and a lot of the english speakers are too shy and intimidated to speak specially in rural areas. Try to learn some Thai basic phrases. “Sawadee kha” (putting hands together as if praying and bow) is the greeting commonly used in Thailand as hello or goodbye. It is necessary to use the words ‘kha‘ if you are a lady and ‘khap‘ if you’re a man as respect in any thai sentence you utter. In Filipino, it is like the ‘po‘ and ‘opo‘ that we used. You also need to be familiar to the thai numbers just in case, that’s what living in the southern part made me learned easily it’s not really that difficult to count in thai, just try to learn basic numbers. 😉 Ikaw ang mag-aadjust bes, keri mo naman yan.

#6 Don’t just agree with a price

HAGGLE. It is very nice to do haggling with the Thai vendors specially in Chatuchak market, MBK, Platinum, and other night markets. I got a luggage for less 200 baht with haggling so don’t be shy to do so.

#7 Don’t ride in Tuktuks – Unless you really like to just experience it

Tuktuk in Thailand is nice just for picture taking and touristy whatever in Bangkok but, foremost I don’t suggest to ride in one. Simply because they charge too much! Believe me with this, better hire a taxi cab metered than ride in a Tuktuk. Anywhere in Thailand tuktuk drivers felt like they are taxi cabs with their overpriced charges. Just ride the train. It’s so convenient, less hassle. and has a reasonable price. If you insist, haggle before you ride.

#8 Do not hang out in malls

Go to the streets. Talk to the locals. And experience the ‘land of smiles’ first hand. If you want to experience authenticity in food and culture not found on high end malls, ditch the Siam Paragon and Central Plaza if your time is limited. But if you have a lot of time why not?

#9 Don’t go to Starbucks

Sad. I know. It’s not worth it in Thailand because I had tried it myself and that was my worst Starbucks experience ever. The Belgian waffle which is my favorite in Starbucks was the loneliest waffle I had, masarap pa ang monay at pandesal. It doesn’t have that crunch and fullness and there wasn’t any sugar cubes to prove that it’s the “belgian waffle” so it is not worth it. AND, it doesn’t have whipped cream and syrup unlike here in Philipines that it’s included when you order. And all other drinks are just the same here in the Philippines so don’t bother bes. Instead, try the much cheaper and more delish alternatives in the thai food street markets. Yes, there’s waffles and coffee too less than half the price of a drink in Starbucks.

#10 Don’t skip Thailand as part of your Asia tour

Since Thailand is part of ASEAN countries therefore Filipino citizens could enter the country without visa for 30 days stay. It is worth it! Go see the floating market in Bangkok, the beautiful beaches in Phuket and Krabi, and some islands in Suratthani like Koh Samui, Koh Pang Ngan and Koh Tao, also consider Chang Mai as the baguio version of Thailand and I’m gonna go there when I return.

#11 Don’t take things seriously

As what Thais always say, “Mai Pen Rai” meaning no worries, don’t stress. Just enjoy the view, the food, and the people. 😉

#12 Oh wait, and don’t forget that there’s a VAT Refund for tourists 

Planning or buying something above 2,000 baht better check the store if they provide VAT refund for tourists it’s 7% so don’t hesitate. I bought a camera and I got a refund and the price is cheaper than in Philippines. 😉

Kob kun kha aka Thank You for reading.

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