My first post in many months. I spent the last months in Thailand on vacation, with a visit to Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. Here is the basic summary of my trip and some recommendations for anyone else visiting Thailand:
- Bangkok is worth visiting for 2-3 days, but after this it will start to get tiring and you will feel like visiting the beach. After four days in Bangkok I couldn’t wait to leave, but I still have a positive impression of the city and the shopping is great.
- Take the bus from Bangkok to Pattaya for a simple weekend break. Pattaya isn’t Thailand’s nicest beach, but it’s the easiest to access from Bangkok. It has lots of nice hotels and great restaurants that don’t cost very much.
- For a nicer beach, visit Phuket. I like Nai Harn beach in the south of Phuket, which has a great surfing break. The beaches at Kata and Karon are also nice, but Patong is just too crowded and feels like Pattaya.
- Pack light. Thailand is very warm, even during winter, so there is no need to pack too much for your trip. Keep it simple and bring a small wheeled suitcase, unless you plan to visit any of the smaller islands, in which case a backpack will be more practical. Smaller is better!
- Change your money after you arrive in Thailand. It’s easy to withdraw money in Thailand as all ATMs will accept foreign cards, unlike in Japan or Korea. I recommend withdrawing money in Thailand instead of at home, since it will help you reduce the fees and conversion rates you need to pay.
- Be respectful and learn the culture in advance. In Thailand it’s very rude to show your feet to other people or touch someone’s head. You are expected to “wai” when you meet a new person, which is a bow with your arms raised to your chest. Learn these customs before you visit and you will find it easy to make friends and avoid awkward situations.
- Make sure to visit the temples and cultural areas. Thailand is most famous for its beaches, but it also has great temples to visit. I recommend the Grand Palace in Bangkok and the Big Buddha in Phuket, which are both peaceful and beautiful and offer a nice break from the beach and nightlife.