Updated: Dec 16, 2020
If you follow me on Instagram (and you should, because most of my captions have dad puns), you know that I spent part of February exploring the beautiful country of Thailand in Southeast Asia. I truly do not know what I loved more: the the immensely kind and considerably generous Thai people, the tropical oasis nestled between thousands of years of rich Buddhist history or the noodles. Probably the noodles.
Thailand was my first experience outside of Western and European travel, which supplied many lessons learnt at a very quick scale. Here are a few things you absolutely MUST know before venturing to Thailand or you may end up with no cell phone, potentially puking your brains out, or bitten by a monkey. Are these guidelines? Should you take my advice? But why males models? Yes. You should. Rabies will come back with you.
Bring A Fair Amount of Baht
Simply put: Thailand hates credit cards. If you are considering traveling to Thailand for a good amount of time, I highly recommend bringing more than you think. I brought about $168 USD (close to 5800 baht) worth and ran out very quickly. If you are like me, you have forgotten what a $5 bill even looks like as I am an avid friend to Chase. However, do yourself a favor and take out a sizable amount for your day to day tasks as you will rarely use a credit card in Thailand. Expert tip: banks DO NOT typically carry Baht in their branches. Call your bank before you visit to check their stock, they can always input an order for you and will call once they receive the currency!
Take Bug Spray Seriously
"I really should have brought more bug spray" -Kathryn Reale, every day of the trip. Helpful hint: Bring as much as you can. Thai mosquitos are relentless and your face is not off limits. Nothing says 'easy breezy beautiful' like two massive red bites on your cheek for photos. Maybe she's born with cysts? Maybe it's Maybelline. Ok, last beauty pun. If you visit a travel clinic before your trip, they usually supply some heavy duty products. I recommend Ben's Bug Spray, which my very smart traveling partner, Brigitte, took with her and I stole from her frequently throughout the trip
Visit Your Local Travel Doctor or Pharmacist Beforehand
So, there are several people out there that will tell you "I definitely didn't get shots before Thailand" or "I will not get sick during my trip". Just do it -Nike -Kathryn Reale. My travel companion Brigitte caught a stomach bug mid way through our trip and the poor thing was miserable. Unless you want to throw up whilst on a shuttle bus from the airplane to the terminal in 95 degree heat with 85% humidity, then visit the damn doctor. As you can see above, a lovely view of the Thai urgent care in Bangkok. I'll take places I never want to find myself in for 500 please, Alex.
To note: Brigitte did receive shots before our trip and still ended up with a bug. Take the precautionary task to get the Typhoid, Flu & Hepatitis A shots. I also obtained some over the counter medications to help with nausea and stomach illness, which I used when needed. Another note: the pharmacy in Thailand does not have a one "one size fits all" medication for food born illnesses or stomach sickness and additionally, urgent care does not have the best hours (the one we found in Bangkok opened at 5pm). Ask your doctor what they recommend for your trip.
Ah from talking about puking to food. What you do not know about Thailand is there will be food served on every single flight you take, no matter how short it is. They could be landing the plane and you would be getting a tray of fruit, pre packaged water & noodles flying into your lap.
However, if you want to avoid illness (and airline food overall), pack yourself some nutrient dense/non perishable snacks for your trip when you're in a tight spot. Quest bars have always been a favorite of mine (also linked is the best flavor) as well as tiny bags of unsalted almonds. Because additionally you'll feel skinny and the picture of health while eating them.
Kleenex is Your Friend
Remember that time you had to squat pee over a port-o-potty at Outside Lands? Or that camping trip where you had to pee in the woods? This is child's play. Welcome to Thailand, where squatting toilets are most definitely 'still a thing' and bathrooms can vary from military style clean to Guantanamo Bay. Do I need to say more? Bring two packs of Kleenex just in case.
Respect is Key
Do you ever offer advice and say hmm, I should probably take my own advice (i.e. every single post I write)? This would be one. You will find that Thailand is hotter than Fort Lauderdale in July, which means for 20 somethings like myself to bring all of the shorts, boobtastic dresses and rompers Tobi and Brandy Melville can supply.
I'm not saying do not bring them. Because they are adorable and you'll want to wear as little clothing as possible. My recommendation? Pack your lightest scarf to wrap around your shoulders and boobs to wear with a maxi dress. Or use that same scarf for your knees with a tasteful sleeved dress. Please note what I am wearing above is HIGHLY inappropriate. But it looked cute against the temple background right? RIGHT?
Another note, please observe signs. Some women are not allowed in temples and they will yell at you to ensure that you are aware of that. Now, I'm all for girl power, but I was not about to violate a monk's sacred temple (all the jokes here). Plus, we had the opportunity to watch a woman openly say 'screw this' and go in anyways. Solidarity sister.
Consider the Duration of Your Trip
Hey there working girls. Yes, I'm speaking to the general population here. Unfortunately I am not nearly funny enough to write and travel full time, so I do have a full time job selling software. But if PTO permits, I highly recommend taking at least two weeks in this country.
In Europe, you can breeze through a destination in 3 days tops as I have found with most major cities. Thailand is a place you will want to take your time exploring. If you are a big outdoors junkie like myself, you'll want to hike every unique temple or bridge you have stalked on Pinterest. Typically, these places are going to be well out of range from where you are staying (I wanted to visit this temple but did not have enough time, cries) and activities will be located far outside the city. Do yourself a favor and plan your duration accordingly with your "must do's" of the trip, while mapping out approximate lodging to said activities.
Bring a Cheap/Disposable/Old Phone for the Full Moon Party
*Note this only applies if you are attending the Full Moon Party, but you're basic like me so you probably are*
The Full Moon Party is a fun gathering of 40,000 of your closest friends on a beach with buckets, and I mean literal buckets, of alcohol, what could go wrong? Everything. If you have stuck with me throughout the years, you know I have the WORST luck with cell phones of any person I know. I have had more cell phones than boyfriends, fact. This time around, I was not taking any risks.
If you can bring a cheap phone with you, maybe your brother's cracked iphone 4 from 2011 that somehow still works, I would highly recommend it. 83% of people get their iphones stolen at the Full Moon Party. Although this is a statistic I made up, it rings true with several different personal friends of mine. Bring a shit phone, stay together, & keep your good iphone at the hotel locked in a damn safe.
Consider Your Time Between Flights When Booking
Want to know what running through the Bangkok airport at a dead sprint feels like? I do. I will definitely get shit for this, but Asian Airlines are notorious for problems, whether they are unknown delays or mechanical problems. Give yourself at least 4-5 hour breathing room before your next flight (if you are changing planes/airlines or traveling to a new destination).
If Thailand is not on your list of destinations to travel this year, I highly recommend sticking it on your dream board. Your dream catcher. Who cares, put it there and do what you can to get here!