What You Should Know Before Going To Thailand For The First Time

Plan Your Trip Out

I’m a wing it kind of girl so I get it but if you haven’t been to Thailand before watch some videos on YouTube and have a route planned out.So from my experience I spent weeks planning but then we didn’t leave on the date I have planned for therefore my route didn’t work out. We completely winged the trip, and many mistakes were made from that. Example: With my trip I ended up spending a lot more than I needed because I was backtracking, on top of that I ran out of time/budget to visit the north side.

HOW TO PLAN: Set up a visual like below include: how you will get there, the cost, and a list of things to do in each spot. To find spots- A) Watch YouTube B) Instagram – location tags will help you find hidden spots, as well follow creators and look at their Instagram highlights. C) Facebook Thailand Travel Groups you will find everything you need to know in these just search up travel Thailand and start requesting to be in the groups.

Thailand route What you should know before going to Thailand.
Planning Guide

Currency

$1CAD = 23.84 BAHT

Switch to a bank with a 0% foreign transaction fee, home trusted preferred Visa has a $0 annual fee with 0 foreign transaction fees.

Pay attention to which ATM is the busiest, this most likely means lowest fee. I don’t remember the name but in Bangkok the purple ATM has the lowest fee so look out for that one!

Thailand baht compared to Canadian Dollar
Thailand baht compared to Canadian Dollar

Driving

Driving Style: The driving is completely different, because of this you may get car sick (very common). For me I got car sick every single ride two minutes in. I started taking Gravel 10 minutes before being in the car and it made a huge difference. 

Driver: There are many roads to tourist spots that look like one ways but there are two. What the drivers do is honk before the corner to make sure the other side knows they are there

Renting A Scooter: ($5-$10/day) You might have seen all of the cute Instagram photos of travelers with their scooter. Renting one will save you a whole lot of cash on cabs, but there is a lot more that goes into it. A) Get your International Drivers Licence if you are going for longer than two weeks. It costs about $15 and takes a couple weeks to get it mailed. No tests needed just fill out the forms online. Cops pull tourists over asking for their IDL and if you don’t have it you have to pay a small bribe each time. This is personal some say they don’t need it others get it to avoid the headache. I believe it also affects insurance so if you do get hurt this $15 paper could potentially save you a ton. Another tip is always take photos of your scooter before renting and after.

Phone Plan

I never found a solid answer online about phone plans, here is everything you need to know.

1) Download whats app before going and add your main number. That way you can contact your friends and family for free (they will have to download the app). You will also communicate with private drivers in Thailand through this app.

2) You will be able to have data, talk, and text by purchasing a SIM card at the airport in Thailand. It will cost about $20/month. DON’T buy it online before your trip as it will cost you double even triple

3) When you get to the Bangkok airport exchange your $ for Thai Baht then look for the AIS booth its green. With the language barrier its easiest to point to the sim card of your choice (7, 14, 30 days) they will have a sign/paper of the different plans in English displayed. Pay then they will help you switch out your sim card, when they give you back your original sim card make sure to put it in a safe spot.

There are other options that may be a little cheaper but your data isn’t going to run as quick, and you will lose service often (from experience). AIS is trusted and the most popular.

4) Download the AIS app to check your balance. If you run out of data you can top off your card by finding an AIS machine (by the trains). Enter your Thai phone number, insert cash and you’re good to go.

Price of AIS sim card travellers guide
Guide to AIS SIM card pricing

Washrooms

A) You can’t flush toilet paper.

B) You won’t find toilet paper in many public bathrooms, you can buy a purse size pack for 5baht (25cents) in the vending machines before entering.

C) Some washrooms have a fee to use. Usually in the markets, BUT if you see a mall close by which is usually the case head over there instead because it’s free, no lineups and the malls have luxury bathrooms.

Clothing Costs

Use the photo below as a guide! Please note the price could be higher in different spots for example shopping on the island will cost more.

Items hard to find in the market: Bikini, and tight fitting Aritzia quality top.

Average Thailand Market place prices cost What you should know before going to Thailand.
What you should know before going to Thailand.

Best to find: Jeans, dresses, summer tops, and vintage shirts.

Gucci belt- In the touristy markets like MBK they will charge you 700-2000 baht for a belt, the quality is higher but if you go down to victory monument Jeja shop ask for one and they only charge 250 baht.

Candy

I know this isn’t essential but it’s nice to know. Candy portions are small, in Canada you can go to any gas station and pick up a normal sized bag of candy. Now in Asia one bag is like 1/6 of the amount in Canada. There are bags of candy with 4 gummy bears in it. (711) You’re not going to find candy Maynards instead it will be hard candies, yogurt based, or small portioned gummies. 

Mentos: They have different flavors of Mentos which is a must try- Soda, fruit, watermelon, etc.

Food

Everything is different!! Don’t let it come as a surprise, I remember being so shocked I lived off of grilled cheese from 711 for the first week. Not because i’m a picky eater but because I didn’t know what to try to eat. McDonalds for example when you go in there instead of strawberry pie they carry corn, sweet potato, and pineapple pie. They serve bubble tea, the ice cream tastes a lot different (like it has less sugar in it), so do the burgers. 

Get the app grab to order food: Some great spots to check out is BonChon Chicken, and Burger King (serves rice).

Thai Belly + Food Poisoning

Almost every girl gets this. I don’t know what it’s from but I assume it’s because you’re not used to the new bacteria over there. First off it sucks but there’s a quick fix.

It will feel like you’re on your period in your stomach and it can last two weeks. It might get really bad if you drink to the point that you can’t walk. Most girls get really worried thinking they caught a virus but it’s super common. Though you won’t see a lot of info about it online! You can go to the hospital and get a couple IV’s to make you feel better but the costs are high. It will naturally get better or the qu

ick fix is to drink lots of water, take a laxative and be on your way.

Food poisoning: Go to the local pharmacy and purchase White rabbit It will help a lot. Costs around 50 baht for a small bottle. After that head over to 711 and grab a couple gatorades. The most common place to get food poisoning is on the islands and Koh San Road. 

Tip to avoid it: READ GOOGLE MAPS (APP) REVIEWS BEFORE GOING TO EAT. Travellers will leave a review of what they ordered that got them sick.

About The Author

Randina