18 things i learned in the 12 days i spent in thailand

  1. April is the hottest month of the year. We went from 3/31 to 4/13 and there were days where it was uncomfortably hot, almost unbearable. We chose this month because of Songkran, so if you don’t mind missing this holiday, I’d recommend visiting during a different month. Chiang Mai is SIGNIFICANTLY cooler, since it’s up North.
  2. Speaking of Songkran, you will get soaked if you’re around for this holiday. There is no way around this.Apr 2018 iPhone 1615
  3. Lots of things are closed before Songkran. See Street Markets of Thailand. So the good thing about going to Thailand during Songkran is that you get to go during Songkran. The bad thing is that a lot of things might be closed because Thais will go home for the holiday.
  4. Haggle at the markets. Doesn’t matter what market you go to. Multiple stalls will sell the same things. I found it most effective to ask how much, name your own price, and when they say no (which they will), you walk away. Then they’ll call after you and give you a lower price.
  5. Massages are cheap. For ฿300 (about 10 USD, not including tip), you can get a one hour massage. The massage parlors are abundant, but if you want to be sure you’re going to a legitimate one, just avoid the ones where they have scantily-clad women standing out front. It’s pretty clean for the most part, but I did have one experience where the towel on my pillow smelled like straight up sweat, so I had to ask them to change it. Even so – $10/hour? I can definitely live with getting a massage everyday at this price point.
    Apr 2018 iPhone 1126
    White Orchid Massage in Chiang Mai

    Apr 2018 iPhone 1127

  6. Cover yourself at the temples. Your shoulders and knees should be covered. Some temples might offer you a robe, but it’s safest to arrive appropriately dressed so that you won’t be denied entry.
  7. Bangkok Airways might be one of the best short flights I’ve ever flown. We used this to fly from Bangkok to Phuket, and then again from Phuket to Chiang Mai. Each were about an hour and a half flight and they served meals. MEALS. You couldn’t even get United to do that on an 11-hour flight from New York City to Honolulu. So if you’re trying to fly within Thailand (not sure where else they fly), try to book Bangkok. PLUS, they were the cheapest!

    BKK to HKT 7
    Shrimp fried rice served on Bangkok Airways on the way to Chiang Mai from Phuket
  8. Nok air was not great. Really a no frills airline. We flew this on our last leg from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok so maybe by then, I was spoiled from the service of Bangkok Airways – but try not to fly this unless it’s SUPER cheap. Our flight was at 6:10 pm but we didn’t start boarding until 6 pm. We took off at 6:17 pm, while people were still putting their luggage away.
  9. Airport food is inexpensive and surprisingly not bad. McDonald’s at the airport on the other hand is pretty pricey.

    BKK to HKT 5
    Ben enjoying his $3 USD omelette at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
  10. Ubers are limited and take forever to come. Allot 10-15 min before you actually want to be picked up. I think it was because it was close to Songkran, but when we arrived to DMG from Chiang Mai, there were no Ubers available. We ended up having to wait in the taxi line for about half an hour. I don’t remember how much they charged but I definitely remember them uncharging us just because they could. The taxi company at the airport quoted us a lower price, but once we got in the cab, the driver tried to charge us double and we just said no. So don’t let them take advantage of you. If they try to charge you more, just tell them no, stop the car, and you’ll get out of the cab. Don’t worry, they won’t actually do it because the lower price you were quoted is still more than they’d normally make.
  11. Since we’re on the topic of cabs – when you get into one, try to get a metered one. Most cabs will try to set a fixed (higher) price because they play too much. But if you’re not in a hurry, there are still some that are metered by the distance you are going.
  12. The cab from Phuket Airport to Phuket is ฿1200 for four people. Don’t let seemingly, friendly Thai people take you for a ride (both literally and figureativiely). Properties work with cap companies to try to get you to buy a time share or at least go for a meeting, so that you can get a “free ride” to hotel you’re staying at. The drive will take about an hour. It was weird because after about 20 minutes, we stopped at a gas station, and a presentable, young Thai woman was asking us where we were staying. So I think that might have been another time share situation, and the cab driver must get some kind of a kick back or something. If you know you’ll be flying in/out of Phuket, book your cab ahead of time. I wasn’t savvy on the way into Phuket but when we were leaving, I was able to find one online for four people for ฿800.
  13. Cab from Chiang Mai airport to a hotel in the city is ฿250 and the drive is about 15 minutes. Since Chiang Mai was the last leg of my trip, I was pretty skeptical by then. I was sure our cab driver would take us for a ride (figuratively) but she didn’t. She was actually super nice and even gave us suggestions of places to go.
  14. Tuk tuks are a good way to get around. Just make sure you ask for the price before you get in so that they don’t try to scam you.Day 1 - Bangkok - City Centre 12
  15. There are a lot of stray dogs. They seem harmless for the most part.
  16. Thailand smells like durian and fish sauce. This might just be a generalization but I found this smell in each of the cities I went to.
  17. There are lots of giant roaches. Especially in Chiang Mai at night. I jumped a few times.
  18. Thais love spicy food. They will ask if you like it “Thai spicy”, which for the average person is probably unbearably spicy. So just beware and tread carefully.

    Apr 2018 iPhone 1323
    Colorful chilis

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