My husband and I traveled to Thailand for a month in February and March of 2015 to celebrate our honeymoon. It was AMAZING!! Below are a couple of tips I have for anyone traveling to Thailand.
1. Pack light: Use a backpack. If you will be traveling to many destinations, you will be getting in and out of "buses" (pick up trucks with camper tops), tuk-tuks, ferry boats, taxis and more. The thought of dragging a rolling suitcase through the sand sounds tough! Lots of places in the island towns we went to didn't have roads so it came in very handy. Pack light! Pack only light weight shoes and under-pack clothes. Clothes in Thailand are so cheap and you will want room for new clothes and souvenirs! Do Laundry. If you want to save money, you can bring your own laundry fixings like we did and do it in the sink and hang it out to dry. We also splurged and dropped it off once and it was really affordable. It is better to bring 7 or so versatile pieces and wash through the month than lug around a bunch of clothes. Choose neutral and/or light colors that can easily be mixed and matched. Check out my packing list at the end of the post for the essentials.
2. Bring tissues for TP: Parts of Thailand are very developed and others are still quite rustic. If you need TP, be sure to BYOT! I packed travel tissues in my purse to avoid a drip dry scenario or having to buy the tissue. Be prepared for the squat toilet. I wasn't quite sure how to use it the first time and let's just say, things got a little messy. When confronted with the squat toilet, don't worry! You are supposed to stand on top of it, squat, and feel relived! Since the squats don't flush, you will see a bucket of water and a scoop next to you. Scoop fresh water into the toilet until it is "flushed". Never throw TP into any toilet in Thailand. Their plumbing can't take it. I also liked to carry sanitizing wipes or gel in my purse as lot of the bathrooms didn't have soap.
3. Temple Etiquette : We saw so many temples! It was my favorite thing to do. Temples are called "Wats". To avoid looking like an insensitive jerk, follow this basic etiquette. Take off your shoes before entering the temple. Make sure to come with your knees and elbows covered. Some temples will not allow you to enter unless you are covered. You may bow to the image of the Buddha or sit, but never point your toes towards any image of the Buddha. Thais believe the feet are the lowest part of the body.
4. Learn to Wai: The thai people are so so polite and kind. To greet, place your hands into a prayer position and bow. This is the typical greeting to all Thai people. If you want to go further say "Sa-wa-dee-ka" if you are a female or "Sa-wa-dee-krup" if you are male. It means Hello! A little politeness will go a long way.
5. Get all the massages: OHMMMMGEE They are amazing and cheap! For only $10 an hour, sail away to bliss. Choose a place that does the massages in public to avoid a happy ending (unless you want one!) Also avoid places that say "happy girls" or "nice girls" or places close to the Patpong (red-light) district. My husband and I learned that one the hard way when the lady offer to massage his man parts. Haha. Thai massage is done on the floor with your cloths on. It involves stretching and kneading. It is uh-maze-ing.
6. Don't Drink the Water: Don't do it anywhere ever. Thai people don't drink the water either. It is not safe. Brush you teeth with bottled water and only use ice if you know for a fact it was made with clean, bottled water.
Have Fun and Be Safe!!!
strong backpacking backpack
bring a small purse that fits around your body that won't be easily stolen
A day pack for hikes and/or the beach
cash, credit cards, passport, insurance info, photocopies of passport and ID, luggage tags
collapsable water bottle (buy gallons at the store and fill as needed)
guidebook, map, compass
travel adaptor, phone charger
toiletries, first aid kit, sleep aid, sleep mask, antibiotics, anti diarrhea medicine
mosquito net, coil, and bug spray with DEET
sunscreen and aloe
journal and pen, books and/or e-reader
clothes pin, detergent, laundry rope, dirty laundry bag
undies, socks, pjs
shoes: one pair of comfortable lightweight walking shoes, comfortable sandles, and buy cheap flip flops there
two dresses (one that can be used a beach cover up), one skirt
one swimming suit
one pair of lightweight hiking pants, one pair shorts
3 tanks, 3 shirts, 1 dress shirt and buy new clothes! They are so cheap and you need room for souvenirs
one sweater, one rain jacket