There are some important things to know before traveling to Thailand:
CULTURE: BETTER TO KNOW
Temple Dress Code: There are strict dress codes when visiting Buddhist temples. For both men and women, it’s best to have legs and shoulders covered. Consider keep a scarf on your bag to visit temples.
Thai Language Tips: The Thai language is tricky, but it’s important you know at least helpful words:
- Hello: Sa Was Dee Ka (for a woman) and Sa Was Dee Kap (for a man)
- Thank You: Kob Khun Ka (for a woman) and Kob Khun Kap (for a man)
- Bathroom: Hong Nam
- Sorry: Kor Thod
- How Much: Tao Rai
- Vegetarian Food: Aharn Jay
- Spicy: Phed
- Not Spicy: Mai Phed
Being Polite: Thai people are quite polite. It’s rare to hear someone yelling, so please be considerate and quiet. Even when drunk.
The Royal Family: Never say anything disrespectful about the royal family. Thailand has extremely strict lese majeste laws.
Shoes: Removing shoes before entering someone’s home is the norm and it is always required to remove shoes is before entering a temple. If in doubt, ask before entering.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol is illegal in the following locations: Temples or places of worship, Pharmacies, Public offices, Education institutions, Petrol stations, Public parks. Tip: don’t drink, unless you are outside of a bar, because drinking on the street it’s not part of Thai Culture.
FOOD: A PARADISE FOR FOODIES
Thai Food: Thailand has many dishes and Bangkok reunite all flavor in just one city. Nearby The Yard Hostel you can find some of the best food the country has to offer from North and South. Ari neighborhood is a paradise for foodies.
Eating Utensils: Chopsticks are used for noodle dishes and forks and spoons for everything else. Knife it’s not necessary in Thailand.
Condiments: Thais are very serious and particular about condiments. Thai people like add sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, chilli or all together.
Eating is culture for Thai people: When Thais meet each other they don’t ask “how are you?”, but rather “have you eaten?” Don’t feel shy about snacking a lot in Thailand. It’s part of the culture. And if you don’t feel conformable to try everything by yourself, considerer takes a food tour. Maybe that’s one of the most important thing to know before traveling to Thailand.
Beer with Ice: Thailand can get exceedingly hot so drinking beer with ice is a classical. It might seem strange at first, but you’ll learn to love truly iced cold brews.
MONEY: TO BE CAREFUL
Money: It’s better to change money in Thailand and pretty easy to find places to exchange, or just go to the nearest bank. There are plenty. You can check at XE exchange (http://www.xe.com/currency/thb-thai-baht) rates.
Whithdraw: Be aware that most, if not all, Thai ATM’s charge about 220BHT per withdraw no matter how little or much you draw out. That’s on top of any bank charges you might also get. Make sure it’s all ok with you bank before traveling to Thailand.
Credit cards: Most places prefer cash, however main chain stores, hotels, shopping malls will take credit cards. Smaller businesses will always ask for cash.
Thailand is safe: Thailand is pretty safe for travellers (male, female, solo, gay). But it’s better stay in control, especially after drinking. Violence against foreigners are extremely rare in Thailand, just don’t put yourself in a position of extreme vulnerability. The usual precautions should be taken that you would normally take at home, eg.: watch you belongings.
Weather: Between November until April the weather is great.
TRANSPORTATION: GETTING AROUND
Getting around Bangkok is quite easy as there are several modes of transportation for locals and travelers alike, including MRT metro, BTS skytrain, bus, tuk tuks, motorbike taxi, private taxis and cars by application (Grab or Uber). Once you arrive to Bangkok’s train station, bus station or airport, you have specific option (read here) to get to The Yard Hostel :
- Suvarnabhumi Airport: Airport Rail Link + skytrain (71 baht) OR taxi (400 baht)
- Don Mueang Airport: Bus A2 (30 baht) OR taxi (350 baht)
- Mo Chit Bus Terminal: Taxi (80 baht)
- Samsen Train Station: Taxi (60 baht)
Once in Bangkok, skytrain, bus or even Grab (app for private car) are always great options for getting around, just depends on where you are heading to. Tuk tuks tend to be the more expensive option, but also a fun way to see the city. Be aware of scams and bargain your fare before you board.
Around The Yard, you can take one of our free bicycles to explore our Ari neighborhood, which is full of food stalls and soi’s (small streets) with hidden gems. Of course you can rent a motorbike, but make sure it’s not your first ride and always use helmet. Bangkok is not a place to learn.
To explore other cities, sites or specific places such as floating markets or Ayutthaya, you can take train nearby The Yard Hostel or minivan with a good price. And you are always welcome to ask us how to get to some place you want to go. Before traveling to Thailand, just make sure you did at least a quick research. There are so many options here…
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai:
By train: you can take a overnight sleeper train, because is effectively faster than flying, far less hassle, far more environmentally friendly, more of a real Thai experience, and saves you a hotel bill, too. It takes about 13 hours to arrive. You can choose upper bunk (cheaper) or lower bunk (expensive). Both have curtains for you privacy, fresh bed sheets, pillows and blankets. Trains have dinner and breakfast service (paid), toilets, air con and space for luggage with you. It’s not allowed drink alcohol inside the train.
By bus: You can take a night bus from Mo Chit Bus Terminal. It takes about 10 hours. Keep a jacket with you, because buses in Thailand get to much cold.
By air: if you book in advance, it’s a great way to go, because can be cheap. Flights usually depart from Don Muang Airport, but remember you have to be at the airport a least 1 hour before, plus the time to arrive there (about 1 hour). Most companies charge to checkin luggage, so be aware the size and weight of your bag. If you come back to Bangkok, you can leave your luggage at The Yard for free.
For train and bus we charge 100 baht (go to bus terminal, queuing, purchasing in advance and delivery it to you) and if you miss the train, you get a free Chang. Read our complete guide to buy train and bus tickets by yourself when traveling to Thailand.
Avoid buying your ticket at the pier, because they usually charge more than the city agencies. If the sea is choppy be very weary of going on the smaller speedboats and long-tail boats. Sometimes piers even closes because the weather.