So, when I went to Thailand for the first time (and the only time so far), I was rather unprepared, as this is what I normally do while traveling. I was in company of two friends and we stayed at three different locations (Bangkok, Krabi and Phi Phi Island). We are three very easy going and uncomplicated guys and we were just living it day by day. However, I get the prepping mentality. Here are some useful tips on food and food safety, Transportation and various activities for people who like things to run a bit more smoothly.
Food & Food Safety:
We all have heard of the numerous "I got food poisoning from..."-stories while on vacation. Yet we never had to experience it ourselves. So, are we just that lucky or is it all a myth? Probably a mixture, but how can we avoid such unpleasant bed-toilet-bed-toilet nights? The following tips not only apply to Thailand, but everywhere in the world:
- It is ok to be picky with the selection of your restaurant. Look at what others eat (or if other people even eat there), don't get distracted by a beautiful designed restaurant. What goes in your tummy matters!
- Be cautious with perishable food (fish and meat in particular!) Ask if you can pick your own fish or meat. If you can, know what you are choosing (e.g. look at the eyes of the fish, if they are milky, don't eat it!).
- If you can't identify the meat on your platter to 100%... don't even think on eating it!
- Bottom line: If you want to be an adventurous tourist, eat what and where the locals are. Many online guides provide you with excellent street food choices and restaurants.
If you grew up in a country with a well-developed transportation system, you might get challenged in a country like Thailand. Tips to get around Bangkok? Here you are:
- Tuk Tuk: Probably the most touristic way to travel around the city. Prices of Tuk Tuk's can vary largely (depends on your negotiation skills). If you know some tricks, they even let you ride for free or very cheap. Why? The drivers cooperate with stores all around the city (tailors, travel agencies etc.). The drivers will offer to show you around the city and in return you stop by the different stores. Only agree to that if you really need a new suit or you plan your next trip to another place in Thailand.
- Cab: Like everywhere, there are nice and bad cab drivers (like the passengers). Make sure to either negotiate the price before entering or check that the meter is running. I recommend the later, as you probably can't estimate the correct travel price.
- Public Transport: Most likely the cheapest option. Yet, I never even dared to enter public transport because I don't know the language and I couldn't figure out where the bus will take me to. If you do... Kudos to you for the courage! Let me know how it was.
So, but how did we get to Krabi and Phi Phi Island?
- Krabi: We simply took a plane and got picked up by the local shuttle bus (which we arranged at the travel agency in Bangkok), which brought us to our hostel. Transportation in Krabi is similar to Bangkok, just on a much smaller scale.
- Phi Phi Island: Once more, we arranged a pick up at the hostel, which gave us a ride to the harbor, where we bought a ticket for the ferry to Phi Phi Island. Ask your hostel/ hotel or local travel agency for the departure times (they might even offer you to buy the ferry tickets for you). Transportation on Phi Phi Island is none existent. You'll be walking everywhere, except you'll go and explore the different islands (which is absolutely recommendable, but we'll get to that in a bit!)
- Bangkok: As I mentioned before, Tuk Tuk drivers are perfect guides. They will show you around the city, just be clear on where you want to go and what you want to see. A word to the temple's and Buddha’s; There are so many! Do your research and pick the ones you are most interested in. Usually if you want to enter a temple, you are asked to take your shoe's off and cover your knees and shoulders with a scarf. Bring your own if you have one.
- Krabi: Unfortunately, I cannot say much about Krabi, as we only stayed overnight.
- Phi Phi Island: There are tons of activities offered by the local businesses. To go around the islands by boat is definitely a must! I Also recommend going diving with one of the local and international diving instructors. The underwater world is breath-taking! We went to Phi Phi in the off-season and thought that the place was crowded, I don't want to imagine how it looks like in peak-season! You have probably also heard of the famous full moon/ half-moon parties... Don't be sad if you miss them, because beach parties happen very night. Just walk along the beach and you'll find them. If not, ask someone who wears flipflops. So basically everybody!
That's it folks! If you need to know anything else, please let me know in the comment section and I will answer your question to my best knowledge.