Thailand - Tips for Thailand

For my last post on Thailand, I wanted to write a few tips for travellers from the things that I learnt whilst I was out there. It's always daunting when you visit somewhere new, ESPECIALLY if you've never really traveled before, and I know I would have liked something like this to read before I left! So here goes... 

-Taxis cheaper than tuk tuks! I know this doesn't sound right, however in a tuk tuk they can charge you whatever they want as there is no meter to tell you the real price of your journey. Plus, if you don't know exactly how far away your destination is, then you could end up paying way more than you should! If you get into a taxi, you just need to say 'meter please' and they'll turn it on for you. If they say no, just get out and find another taxi. Don't spend time on someone who is just trying to do you over. In a taxi in Bangkok, we went on a 20 minute journey for 125 BAHT. In a tuk tuk 2 minutes around the corner, he charged us 100BAHT. You can see the difference!  
-7/11 will become your life and holy place! They sell everything you need (food, drinks, toiletries) at such a good and cheap price! Plus their ATM's can be trusted. You'll never be very far from one.
-Birds in tiny cages, on the streets and around temples. Sometimes hundreds crammed into one cage. Basically, you will see a lot of these. I don't know what the exact type of the bird is, however it travels from China through Thailand on its migration. People here catch them and put them in these tiny cages, because they can make money from tourists looking at them, or 'setting them free'. You can pay to set these birds free and they will tell you that if you do this, you will get some good luck coming your way. Many people think they're doing a good thing by doing this, letting a bird go free and also 'gaining some good luck', however what you don't get told is that their migration has already passed and they're too late to carry on. If you let a little bird go, it will still try and fly the rest of it's migration naturally, however on the way it will either get caught in the weather and die OR just get caught and put in a cage again for the cycle to repeat. It's a shame because you want to set them free, they shouldn't be in cages, but you know they're just going to die. The best thing to do is try and ignore this, don't buy into it and hopefully this horrible trap will stop! If the money stops and people won't pay to set them free, then so will the abuse and hopefully they won't catch them anymore. 
-People will try to rip you off when you want to buy clothing etc. The best thing to do is barter with them, offer a lower price and eventually they'll agree on a cheaper price after them bringing it down and you bringing it back up! You don't want to be paying more than something is worth so stand your ground!
-April and May are the hottest time of the year. Everyone wants sun, but oh my it's unbearable and if I return I'll definitely come when it's less hot. It's very hard to deal with sometimes! If you don't mind being wet with sweat 24/7 then this will be fine for you. 40 degrees plus is pretty standard during this time. 
- The animal abuse here is very bad. Just make sure that you look into a company if you're doing a tour that involves animals. Tigers are drugged if you're going to see them up close, even though they'll tell you they're not and they've just 'not reached maturity where they want to eat you and that's why they let you near them'... Bullshit. Imagine being drugged every day? It's awful. As well as this, there are the elephants (you can read about this in my previous posts on ENP), dogs which are very much neglected on the streets, cats, and the cattle which you see tied to trees in excessive heat with no shade near to hide under. All this makes me sad but just try not to buy into anything which supports animal abuse, and help make a stand to end it!
-If it feels wrong it probably is. Always go with your heart and instinct. 
-If you're in a pair, it's often cheaper to get a double room somewhere then a separate bed each in a dorm. Hostels are great because you get to meet people, but every now and again to save some money, you can find a double room somewhere and it can be cheaper. 
-Buy train tickets at the station because they're cheaper than travel agencies, and well in advance if you want to travel anywhere. They get booked up very quickly and you don't want to be disappointed if the next day you wanted to go somewhere and find you have to wait 4 days for an available seat/bed on a train. 
-Bring toilet paper! Most toilets won't have ANY toilet paper in so always be prepared. Also, bring hand sanitizer. They tend to not have soap in there either.  
-Try and eat off the main strip at any place that you go. You'll normally find more authentic, better and cheaper food! We've had some of our best green curries at little hidden restaurants for under £1!  
-Mango sticky rice... I don't need to say anymore. Just get some!  
-VIP buses aren't very VIP. It's just a coach. You're still very squashed in. The seats recline quite far so you can get a bit of sleep, but the person behind will have squashed legs, so it's a bit tricky! 
-If you're vegan it's best to eat at a veggie restaurant. All coconut curries here don't use egg or dairy so you're fine, however if it's not at a veg restaurant and you order their 'vegetable green curry' there will almost definitely be fish sauce in it as that's the traditional recipe, they've just put tofu and veg in instead of chicken. Atleast at a veggie specific restaurant you know that no way will they have used fish sauce! Veggie restaurants aren't usually too hard to find either, so that's a bonus! 
-Don't sit at the back of the minibus as you'll be flying all over the place on your journey (the roads are sooo bumpy), and forget seatbelts, they very rarely work! 
-Travelling here is very easy and people are normally always happy to help! Just ask if you're stuck, but getting from A to B is mostly very easy, so don't worry! It's all fun and part of the adventure anyway! 

I hope this has helped. If you have any questions at all then I'll always be happy to answer them! Enjoy Thailand, it's an amazing place!

Sasha x 

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