How to Prepare For a Visit to Thailand – 20 Tips

Thailand is a strange and exotic country that is full of contradictions and challenges. Thais are some of the nicest, most laid-back people you will ever meet, yet they drive like maniacs and have the 2nd highest traffic-related death rate in the world. The food is delicious but the spice can inflict violence on your taste buds. And the heat – oh my god, the heat! – especially in Bangkok away from the ocean breezes, is unbearable!

As a result, it pays to prepare before you go to Thailand. Follow these 20 tips so you can hit the ground running in the Land of Smiles.

Thailand Travel Tips

1. Soak a jalapeño with gasoline, light in on fire and eat it. This will get your taste buds ready for the extreme chilis they will encounter in Thailand.

2. Take your favorite beer, pour 1/3 in a glass, fill the rest with water, add ice, enjoy!

3. If you plan to drink wine in Thailand, pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine and burn a $20 bill while sipping it.

4. Crank up the bathroom heater to full blast and run the shower at maximum heat until the bathroom is a sweltering, steamy mess. Now, imagine what clothes you’d like to wear in that environment and pack accordingly.

5. Start smiling at all strangers.

Land of smiles

6. Start sleeping on the floor, the harder the surface the better.

7. If you plan to stay in cheap hostels or go to a full moon party, invite your friends over to have a debaucherous, drug-fueled party with thumping techno music in the next room while you attempt to sleep.

8. Go to the busiest highway in your area and practice jaywalking, dodging cars, playing chicken with motorcycles, and running in front of trucks so you are ready to cross an average street in Bangkok.

9. Stop wearing your seat belt.

10. Spend 60 minutes in a tanning bed just to get the first really bad burn over with.

11. If you plan to rent a scooter, update your will and get right with your God(s).

12. If you are a cat lover like me, get vaccinated for anything a street cat might carry.

soi cat

13. If you are going to be hanging out in the red light districts it is probably a good idea to get vaccinated for anything a Thai “girlfriend” might carry and invest in a full body condom. I’d also recommend building up a tolerance for roofies.

14. Start eating Tums after every meal so you are accustomed to the traditional farang dessert.

15. They drive on the wrong side of the road with steering wheels on the wrong side of the car, so practice not getting in the driver’s seat of a taxi on accident and causing confusion and embarrassment like I did not do one time I swear. (Ignore this tip if you are British, Australian or otherwise drive on the wrong side of the road).

16. Practice having awkward conversations with friendly people who don’t speak a word of your language.

17. Start taking an umbrella with you everywhere – it is protection from the searing sun or a tropical deluge, whichever happens to be occurring at the time.

18. Collect some insects, fry them up in oil and fish sauce, invite friends over, start drinking like sailors and when you are totally hammered, dare each other to eat them.

Khao San Road Scorpion Vendor

19. Buy new sandals and just go ahead and step in dog poop to get that over with.

20. If you plan to hang out on the backpacker trail, remember that there can be difficulties with language in Thailand, so you should study the Australian, Kiwi and British accents to ease communication.


Do you have any other tips for Thailand or travel in general?