Prepare your perfect paradise
There are a lot of things you want to do in Thai. Shopping. Travelling. Eating. Adventuring. You name it! But there is also something that you are likely to miss or have no idea it exists. So here’s my take on what you should be preparing for your next trip to Thailand.
Do lots of research. Dining research.
One thing that Thais are famous and proud of is the eating-out lifestyle. It’s cheap, it’s delicious, and it’s everywhere. But there are just a few highly-appreciated restaurants amongst the travellers, so you better do some research and plan what type of food you are expecting. In this part, you might have to do research on your own; from Wongnai.com, a food review website, to Pantip.com (Thai language only) a Facebook-like website. You might get something interesting to fill in.
But for Thais, every street food is all delicious. Since we can ask the chefs to customize your dishes, from changing the Proteins, Carbs, Veggies, Garments, and Sauce. You name it! This type of store is called “อาหารตามสั่ง” or “do-by-order food” and it is everywhere. If I ordered and like to make my Pad Thai (ผัดไทย) a little more savoury, just tell the cook and you are all good!
For a loving couple, you can enjoy dessert cafes and bars. It is also everywhere and Thais love it. If you are planning to find the love of your life, a Thai woman, or you just have a desire for treats, don’t forget to do some research on cafes!
Spend money without the money
Thailand’s currency is the Thai Baht. A decimal is called Satang (pronounced sah – tongue or sa – tang). You can use it to pay or give it for anything as cash. I’m sold that you know that fact already, but there’s more of it that you might not know about
One thing that we all Thais are using for payment is a bank transfer method called “PromptPay”. It’s basically a money transfer via mobile phone by scanning QR Codes, or some people might be similar to Venmo, PayPal, or WeChat. We, the Thais, are using it like a digital wallet, as we believed and so bought with a cashless society and we are shifting towards that point sooner or later.
For numbers, 99% of the stores that are not avoiding taxes or/and are low-tech are all accepting PromptPay payments, or worse, some don’t accept Cash at all! But worry not, they got their solutions on standby.
But unfortunately, you might not even be able to sign up for the PromptPay. But with PromptPay cross-border payments as an “Asian Payment Network” with Japan, Australia, China, and many Asian countries, you can now pay Thais by PromptPay. I believe.
Or if you somehow have a Thai bank account, you could be able to use PromptPay. So it is beyond likely that Thai merchants and stores are now accepting multiple methods of payment, including good-old cash and credit cards.
What should I pack for the Thailand trip?
One thing that you absolutely need for the Thailand trip is a mobile phone. Yup! it’s the mobile phone and chargers that are so valuable to Thailand. Since we are going to transform any services and interactions to digital, so if you like to be worry-free while you travel, bring a battery bank, a US/JP plug charger, and your smartphone. And also cash.
But for everything else, you can buy it from convenience stores like 7-Eleven or malls.
Survival Tips 101
When you travel to Thailand, here’s what you need to know.
Be respectful. Thai style.
There are so many websites on how you should prepare yourselves in Thailand. And all the website seems to agree on being respectful to anyone, not only just Thai people but to the monarch, their religions, their freedoms, their cultural norms, their lifestyles, and their privacy.
I know this is hard for you to understand how we show respect to others by just reading this blog. My suggestion is to use your feeling on questions like “If I were that person, would I be shamed, harmed, looked down, or angry”. And it gets harder because we Thais don’t say a word if they are somewhat unhappy about your behaviour, except if you are breaking their last straw.
You can immediately detect Thais if you did something inappropriate. For example, they might start to finish their actions (speak, listen, look, write) abruptly or show any sign language that means they are annoyed by you. If they start approaching you, they are actually angry at you. Start saying sorry or calm them down.
Too spicy? Too bitter? Too sweet? That’s normal.
Your taste in any food in Thailand can be critical since you are going to remember it forever. It’s always too spicy. Too bitter. Too sweet. Or worse, too much taste. We loved it, but you don’t have to pretend you love it.
You can always ask the chefs or cooks to fix the taste. But don’t expect them to make a new one for you. The food is already cheap and there is not much of a profit margin for the street food vendors either.
If you can’t speak Thai, try to speak slower
We believed that every Thai person, especially teens to people in their 40s can speak English (and rarely Mandarin or any other Asian language) but the issue we are facing is that we have zero experience talking to real foreigners. So speak slower. Assuming that you are talking that slow just like you are speaking Thai to them.
Things you already know by now
Thailand is a hot and humid area of the world, so no wonder there is a mosquitoes everywhere. Equip yourself with a mosquito repellant lotion or products. That could help.
One of the key things to avoid getting bit by a mosquito is to “smell clean”. Always take your time to shower, every morning and afternoon, and you will be unlikely to get bitten by a mosquito. That’s Science!
In the normal afternoon, it’s 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) here in Bangkok, Thailand. You are going to get sweaty and for Thais, we hate it so bad. This is why Thai people will spend time outside only in the afternoon (3 PM afterwards), but at noon, we stay indoors in shopping malls.
So when you are here and you want to do the opposite as Thais do, I suggest that you find an overfitted shirt and pair it with Elephant pants. It going to help you a lot, and you are seen as respectful when visiting temples with a not-tight shirt and long pants on.
Sunscreen and enough water is also helping you to avoid getting heatstrokes and you getting scammed by vendors who charged extra for cold water bottles.
It is not a scam if you get something back. For some of the tourist attractions, there will be a price for tourists and a price for locals. It is the “convenience cost” you tourists have to pay, but it is highly recommended, even for me, to experience what’s inside.
But for cases like meter fares for taxis and tuk-tuk, if they don’t press the meter (in a taxi) and they start to drive anyways, you are about to get scammed by them since they going to ask for two-fold, and up to ten-fold the price that they legally need to charge. If you don’t believe me, just search it on Google.
We, the Thai people, also get this kind of scam. But we know the normal price is, so we reject the service and report the driver to the authorities.
You can check the fares by visiting the Grab website https://www.grab.com/th/en/transport/ then add the destination. Grab is an Uber-like service, but you get a rough idea of what the fares should be. Fares cheaper than Grab are considered acceptable.