Thailand: Bob’s Top Travel Tips
1. Thailand is ALWAYS hot; even in Winter.
This means you have to pack light, breathable clothes that are good whatever the weather! You’ll be surprised by Thailand temperatures – when Thais think it’s cool, it is actually warm for us. The overnight may drop down to the mid-20’s (C) and this is there definition of cold. Crazy, right? And HUMID, regularly!
2. Get out of Bangkok.
Bangkok is now a huge city with big-city issues, particularly traffic, so you need no more than 2 nights there. Make a conscious effort not to revolve your vacation around Bangkok or touristy areas like Phuket – you’ll see more if you venture out to culturally immersive cities such as Chiang Mai, or wonderful beach locations like Koh Samui!
3. Try ALL the food.
Thai food is colorful, creative and full of flavour. The combinations of ingredients (meat, fish and/or vegetables) can be surprising so it is worth trying to taste as much as possible. There are around 34 types of rice in Thailand – make sure you try at least a few of these; you’ve probably never had them before! It is also important to remember that Thai food is moderate to highly spiced so you may want to ask for it to be spiced down if you’re not used to it…Thai people enjoy their spices!
4. Go all out in a 5-star stay.
It’s all about value in Thailand. The quality and service of their 5-star properties is equal to what you would find in other parts of the world, but the prices are half of what you would pay elsewhere! A luxury getaway is achievable for most budgets – sounds good, doesn’t it?
5. Pick an awesome tour operator.
Bob travelled with EXO Travel, a local company who are specialists in Asia. They provided a guide for the duration of the trip who was someone local, meaning they could speak and read Thai – a skill that comes in very handy when travelling to less tourist-y areas! It is also great to have a local guide because they can help with local communications, local arrangements and local stories, consequently you’re going to get more for your money and time. The local stories and histories are a wonderful added value!
6. Be immersed in historical and authentic experiences.
Two of Bob’s favourite, and most interesting, moments from Thailand were visiting the Hell Fire Pass Museum and spending time in The Elephant Sanctuary. The Hell Fire Museum shows the history of the building of the Bridge on the River Kwai including the inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War and local people. The train tracks were carved out of the mountainside by hand, and you are able to walk along the railbed – a moving experience.
In contrast to this, a visit to the elephant sanctuary is fun and educational. The sanctuary looks after sick, injured and abandoned elephants (elephants are still a significant part of Thai culture). Volunteers and day visitors can spend a day helping to feed and look after the elephants or help with general upkeep of the Sanctuary. Since there are a lot of abused elephants in Thailand, it is really important that you choose an ethical company to interact with.
7. Combine your visit with other South East Asia countries.
Your adventure can start and end with Thailand, but it doesn’t have to. There are so many surrounding countries that can easily be incorporated into a Thai vacation. Vietnam, Myanmar or Cambodia would be fantastic choices. Add on a few days or week in Thailand to any of these destinations for a relatively inexpensive visit. Really the question shouldn’t be where to go, but which one first?
For more information on travelling Thailand or ideas for South East Asia holidays, please contact Bob@lloydstravel.com or your favourite Lloyds Travel Agent!
Written by Hannah Poaros