Tips for Backpacking in Thailand
Backpacking in Thailand always a dream I longed to fulfill since I was a teenager. Moving to Seoul, Korea a few months ago allowed me the chance to live this dream, as I decided to take my two-week vacation in the Land of Smiles. I moved cautiously, worried about all that I’d heard and read regarding the country and its treatment towards tourists. Being a woman traveling with two other female companions, I was that much more afraid of the problems we could encounter.
However, some basic planning on our parts with regards to which hostels we would stay at, and research on dealing with taxi drivers and tour guides, made our two-week sojourn in this beautiful country a memorable and painless experience.
Keep in mind that it’s a country where bargaining is part of their culture. They enjoy the give and take that comes with negotiating prices on everything from souvenirs to clothes.
Though we visited quite a few cities, our biggest worry was Bangkok, because of the fact that it was a major destination know as much for its problems as its cosmopolitan nature. We learned very quickly that cab drivers were always on the prowl for unsuspecting tourists, so we took Bangkok’s modern public transportation as much as possible around the city (SKY train and ferry). It was a cheap and efficient way to travel, and it gave us a chance to really get comfortable with the locals.
Another fact to keep in mind is that it’s a country where bargaining is part of their culture. They enjoy the give and take that comes with negotiating prices on everything from souvenirs to clothes. It’s definitely scary to do at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature and you’ll actually start to enjoy it. Challenge yourself to walk away with a treat, paid for with the lowest price possible.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions – even if it means asking more than one person the same question.
Once you hit the islands, you’ll find yourself being drawn to boat trips that aren’t necessarily worth the bang for your bhat. There’s many to choose from and a few that are legitimate. It’s worth visiting one of the many travel agencies available on the islands to book tours, which can either be for a few hours or for an entire day. And if at all possible, try renting a cycle or a mini-moped for a day tour of the beaches and sights. Drive carefully, though, and be sure to ask for a helmet.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions – even if it means asking more than one person the same question. Generally, Thai people speak decent English, though their fluency varies across the board. However, it will definitely ease any anxiety you might have throughout your travels, when you find more than one local giving you the same information as the next.
I found my smile while backpacking in Thailand, and I hope you do too. Happy Travels! You can read Simone’s blog at: www.straightfromthecurls.blogspot.com
Tips for Backpacking in Thailand
Have you traveled to Thailand? What were your impressions? Email us at [email protected] for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you. Photo credit: Sim C.