Once known as Siam, Thailand is a stunning country full of unique flavors and sights. From the country's distinctive spicy cuisine to the ancient temples and architecture that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. All this is topped off by the amazing natural beauty of white sandy beaches and towering rainforests. Thailand is a unique adventure for any traveler. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your experience.
- Travel Insurance: Required for all Visitors
- Currency: Thai baht (THB)
- Must-See Landmark: The Great Palace, Bangkok
- Must-Try Food: Guay Teow (noodle soup)
- Most Common Language: Thai (also known as Siamese)
- Emergency Services Telephone Number: 911 or 191
Travel insurance & safety
Travel Insurance is required for most visitors to Thailand.
Tap water is not always safe to drink in Thailand, but fresh bottled drinking water is readily available. The country is generally quite safe although petty theft and tourist scams can occur.
Be sure to not bring any drugs into Thailand and travel with hard-sided luggage to avoid becoming an unwitting drug mule. Drug charges are taken very seriously and usually result in jail time.
Common words and phrases in Thai:
- Yes: châi [chai]
- No: mâi châi [may-chai]
- Thank you: khàawp-khun [kop-koon]
- Cheers: Chon gâew [ca-hi-yo]
- Hello: Sawatdii [sa-wat-dee]
- Goodbye: laa-gàawn [lah-gon]
Etiquette and cultural norms
When visiting Thailand there are a few things to keep in mind. The Royal family is highly venerated in Thai society and it's illegal to speak badly of them. Don't speak poorly of them in public, private or on social media.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country and religion is taken very seriously. Show monks and other religious figures respect including Buddha statues. Remove your shoes and make sure your shoulders and knees are covered when entering religious spaces. If you're wearing light-weight clothing, consider bringing a scarf to cover up your shoulders in case you want to visit a temple.
People often greet each other with the "wai" greeting by pressing their hands into prayer positions and inclining their heads. It's also considered impolite to touch other people's heads (including children) as the top of the head is considered the holiest place on the body.
Weather and what to pack
Thailand is generally warm and wet. Be sure to pack light-weight clothing to keep cool and enjoy the beautiful beaches in addition to a light raincoat in case of showers. If you are adventuring up into the mountains, be sure to pack some warmer clothes as well.
Popular places to visit
- Bangkok: Thailand's capital city is a bustling metropolis. Modern sights stand shoulder to shoulder with ancient sites and architectural marvels. From the stunning Grand Palace to the towering Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun, visitors will find dozens of sites to explore.
- Chiang Mai: With beautiful mountain views and a calmer city than Bangkok, Chaing Mai is a must-visit destination for any visitor to Thailand. Known for its night bazaars and Old CIty full of ancient temples, this city is one of the best places to experience what Thailand has to offer.
- Ayutthaya: Once the capital of ancient Siam, this ancient city is full of monasteries, temples, statues and archaeological ruins. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of Thailand's past.
- Phuket: Thailand's largest island, Phuket is decorated with white sand beaches and turquoise waters. An ideal place to kick back and relax, Phuket is perfect for any traveler in search of a beach.
- Khao Lak-Lum Ru National Park: This expansive national park, encompassing nearly 31,000 acres, is paradise for nature lovers. From sea cliffs to mountains, rainforests to waterfalls, Khao Lak-Lum Ru is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Thailand.
Have fun but stay safe
Once you book your trip to Thailand, protect yourself and your investment with trip and travel medical insurance. Read more about visa and travel insurance requirements for your trip.