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Complete Travel Guide to Thailand – Travelling Sands

by travellingsands

Travel Guide to Thailand

Planning for a vacation to Thailand? This article will be the best Travel Guide to Thailand. You can get complete information on travel, visa, Places to share and many other important facts you need to know about Thailand before your visit. This can be your ultimate Thailand travel Guide covering every detail from cost of accommodation, type of food and prices of food as well.

You can get detailed information on all aspects about Thailand which includes,

  1. Reason why Thailand is best place for Vacation
  2. When and How Should you Travel to Thailand
  3. Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand
  4. Cost Analysis for Thailand Trip
  5. Thailand Currency and Tips To Handle it
  6. Thai Baht(Currency) Exchange Tricks
  7. Visa to Thailand and Requirements
  8. Where to Stay in Thailand
  9. Steps to Book Cheap and Best Hotels
  10. Foods and Cost in Thailand
  11. Useful Mobile Apps for Thailand Travel
  12. Must-Do Things Before Leaving your Home

Reasons why Thailand is the best place to travel on Vacation

If you ask me to suggest the best overseas tourist experiences for a typical middle-class family, Thailand would definitely find itself in the top few entries as far as value for money is concerned. Its proximity to Indian shores is one of the main reasons why it is more affordable than her neighbors on the East. Moreover, the country is well geared up for the tourism industry. That’s why I feel Thailand is ‘the’ destination for the year 2020 and I can be your Thailand Travel Guide to plan your journey.

Bangkok is the most visited city in the world for a number of reasons. So, go ahead and see the top 10 reasons why I rate Thailand as cheap and best among the Top Tourism destinations in South East Asia in 2020 this can be your Travel Guide to Thailand. Even Singapore and Malaysia lag a tad behind when it comes to popularity as budget destinations.

Old Capital of Thailand Ayutthaya

Old Capital of Thailand Ayutthaya

  1. All in One Package

Thailand offers something for every kind of traveler. Be it Beaches, National parks, Island hopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, adventure sports, nightlife, shopping, Heritage, Hills, Theme Parks or Zoos, Thailand has it all.

So, your family members are sure to find lots of things to do, as per their choice. Hence, your Thailand Vacation is something which visitors of every age group and taste will enjoy. There are some amazing sights and activities out there.

Wat Bor Bangkok

Wat Bor Bangkok

  1. Cheaper Currency

One Thai baht equals to approximately two+ Indian Rupees. Probably, this is one of the best conversion rates in the travel point of view given the value for your money. Just to compare US dollar is about Rs 75. Hence you can have a foreign holiday in a fraction of the US/UK costs.

Shopping at Pattaya

Shopping at Pattaya

  1. Affordable Accommodation

Accommodation is very cheap in Thailand. For family stay, if you use AirBnB like services you can hire a fully furnished condominium/ flat cheaper than a hotel. For instance, for a family of 4, I got a condo for about INR 1800 which is even lower than Indian hotels.

AirBnB Bangkok

AirBnB Bangkok

  1. Cheap & Quality Street Food

Bangkok is regarded as the Street Food capital of the world. A reasonable meal can be had upwards of INR 100 (THB 50). Now, that is a huge money saver.

street food in bangkok

Bangkok Street Food

  1. Cheap Flights

Flight tickets from India to Thailand are one of the cheapest. A number of Indian low-cost carriers are operating flights from all major airports in India. So, you can fly to Bangkok at the cost of flying a full-service airline from Delhi to Chennai on a typical season.

Even the local flights connecting Bangkok to Phuket, Krabi, Chaing Mai etc are dirt cheap. Check the cost of local flights here

  1. Visa on Arrival (VOA)

Visa on arrival is available for Indian tourists at a reasonable cost. For travel till 30 April 2020, the VOA fees have been waived to promote tourism. Otherwise it costs around Rs 4400 (THB 2000). Read this post to know more about Thailand Visa On Arrival.

Visa on arrival is SUSPENDED for travel till 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 due to the ongoing COVID 19 PANDEMIC. If you need to travel to Thailand, you have to apply for a regular Visa.

  1. Superb Transportation

Bangkok has a very good transportation network. Underground Metro, Sky Train, River and Canal boats, buses, Taxis, TukTuks( Auto Rickshaw), Songteaw (Shared Mini Bus) and Motor Cycle Taxis are all available to make your movement smooth. You can book Train, Bus, Van and Ferry tickets all in one mobile app.

Songthaew Baht Bus Thailand

Songthaew Baht Bus Thailand

  1. Shopping Paradise

A large number of Malls, Weekend markets, Night markets and China Town dot Bangkok. Asia’s largest Chatu Chak Weekend Market is also in Bangkok. Handicrafts, Clothing, Cheap Electronics, and Designer Tea etc are the most common items you can shop for.

Chatu Chak Weekend Market

Chatu Chak Weekend Market

  1. Friendly People and Colorful Culture

Thailand is called ‘The Land of Smiles’. Thais are always smiling and welcome guests with a lot of warmth and friendliness. The Buddhist- Hindu culture and references to ancient Indian epics like Ramayana are quite interesting.

A number of shows like the Siam Niramit, Alcazar, Tiffany’s etc are world famous for their uniqueness and colorful display of art and culture.

Thai Dancer

Thai Dancer

  1. Well Developed Tourism Industry

Above all, Thailand is a country which is very well organized for tourism. Seamless integration of transportation, hospitality, food and entertainment industries makes a traveler feel at home.

Tin Speed Boat

Island Hopping by Speed Boat

I can assure you that you will get full value for the money paid for any service in Thailand. All of the above make Thailand ‘the’ destination for 2020.

Tip: You can opt for free pick up and drop service for local tours which will save time and is hassle free.

 

When and How should you travel to Thailand

When Should You Visit Thailand?

Being a tropical country, Thailand experiences hot and humid summers and warm and dry winters. In my opinion, it is best to travel to Thailand in the months of December and in January when the weather is comfortable. Ideally you can plan to be in Thailand during the New-Year’s Eve which attracts travelers from all over the World. However, February- April window is also fairly suitable.

 How to travel to Thailand from India

This can be your one stop Travel Guide to Thailand when you are travelling from India. Although land, sea and air travel options are available, for us Indians, air travel is the most convenient due to the following reasons:-

  • Excellent connectivity from all major airports in India
  • Relatively short duration of flying that is about four hours.
  • Availability of low cost Airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet, AirAsia, & Scoot, apart from newly introduced Thai Lion air and Nok Air etc full service airlines like Air India, Jet Airways, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines etc.

 

 

Cost Analysis of Thailand trip 2020

How Much Will It Cost?

The main criteria of a foreign holiday are the cost. To give you an idea, I have made a typical cost analysis for an Indian family of 2 Adults and two children in their teens for 4 nights and 5 days. Kolkata is my favorite departure airport as the cheapest fares are from Kolkata most of the time. Read below to know how much your Dream Trip to Thailand will cost. This can be helpful to plan your travel and perfect Travel Guide to Thailand.

Even Bhubaneswar and Vishakhapatnam also see low fares. Of course, you are free to choose an airport that is nearer to you that may be more cost and time-effective.

  1. Airfare

Approx Rs 10000 per head (Rs 40000) for a Bangkok return ticket. (Spice Jet, Indigo and Jet Airways)(This could be reduced by 10% if you plan the departure city and season well) Air Asia has dirt-cheap fares during sale.

However, only cabin baggage of 7 kg is free and check-in baggage will cost you extra

  1. Cost of Thailand Visa On Arrival

VOA on the normal channel is 2000 Thai Baht per head (Rs 17600 at1 THB~ INR 2.2 – Check the current exchange rate here. Visa on arrival is SUSPENDED for travel till 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 due to the ongoing COVID 19 PANDEMIC. If you need to travel to Thailand, you have to apply for a regular Visa.

  1. Stay Expenses

Accommodation on AirBnB condominium with working Kitchen (@Rs 2000- Total Rs 8000)( This also could be reduced by detailed search however you may have to compromise on certain comforts)

  1. Food

Daily Meals (mostly street food) – (750 THBx4x5=15000 THB ie Rs 33000) # could be cheaper if you stick to Pad Thai, Fried Rice, Chicken Sticks, fruits and juices etc.

  1. Moving Around

Daily Transportation Metro/Taxi/TukTuk( 1000 THBx5 days ~ Rs 11000) For online booking of Bus/Van/Taxi/Ferry and flights within Thailand, register using this link.

  1. Sight Seeing and Shopping

Entry Tickets/Sightseeing/entertainment/shopping THB 15000(Rs 33000)

     Total: Say Approx Rs 1.4 Lakhs (35000 per head) with Free VOA.

Note: The above cost is only to give you an idea. The actual cost may vary based on the type of travel and comfort levels one seeks. In the case of backpackers who may like staying in hostels and move around by foot, the cost could be even a fraction of the above illustration. Message me below for help in planning your Dream Trip to Thailand, I can be your Thailand travel Guide.

 

Thailand Currency and Tips to Handle

The ‘BAHT’ is the Thailand currency in use currently. It is available in various denominations in notes as well as coin form. You can check the current value of Thai Baht against the USD in Google.

US Dollar Currency Notes

PC Pixabay

  1. How Much THB to Carry

Carry THB sufficient for Visa on Arrival, Taxi and first day’s meals from home country. Rest can be a mixed denomination of USD that can be exchanged in Money Changers near Malls. Never Change money in airports. ( Super Rich in Bangkok offered me good exchange rates)

  1. Where to Keep Money and Valuables

Carry money and valuables including Passports in a good quality waist pouch (Chaddi Bag as in Rio-2 animated movie) and not in the luggage.

  1. Who Should Have the Money

Keep the money distributed with all members of your group to avoid losing it all in one go.

  1. Identifying the Thailand Currency Notes

Once you get THB notes and coins, observe them closely and get familiar with their shape and color to avoid giving out the wrong denomination.

These notes bear the image of HRH King Maha Vajiralongkorn who assumed the throne in since 01 Dec 2016. The older series bearing the image of the late HRH King Bhumibol Adulyadej are also in circulation.

Thailand New Currency

Thailand New Currency

  1. Daily Accounting

Take stock of the money spent and balance held every night before going to bed. This will help you plan the day ahead and safeguard yourself from running out of money. It makes sense to keep the reserve and that meant for shopping in separate marked envelopes.

  1. Coins

Coins with denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 Bahts are commonly in use. Smaller denominations of 25 Satang, 50 Satang (one quarter and half Baht respectively) are also used. Remember to use up all the coins before you leave Thailand as no money changer will accept coins.

  1. After The Trip

As per rules un-used foreign currency should be changed into INR through a licensed money changer within one month of landing back in India.

For more practical tips & tricks find 10 Smart currency Exchange tricks for Thailand bellow.

 

9 Thai Baht Exchange Tricks

Obtaining, carrying and spending foreign currency is something any first-time traveler would like to know about. It starts with the exchange of home currency with a Money Changer or a bank, knowing its value in the host country, spending and re exchanging the unspent currency back into own currency. In every step, there is something important that one needs to remember. Here are some smart currency exchange tricks to easily and profitably save the Thai Baht while spending it. Read these tips about currency exchange which can be a helpful part of the Travel Guide to Thailand.

Currency Notes

Currency Notes

  1. Exchange Rate

The currency of Thailand is Baht and it costs a about Rs 2.25 to buy 1 Baht as per current exchange rates. Click this link for today’s Exchange Rate. Remember this rate may vary when you do actual currency conversion as money changers have two different rates for buying and selling.

  1. Cash Vs Travel Card, My Pick

As per my experience, in Thailand cash is king. Although Visa Travel cards are widely accepted, hard cash gives you much more flexibility. Understanding the Thai currency is essential. You may like to carry a Travel Card if you are a lover of cards, however, daily retail spending on street food, transportation etc will be in cash. So, plan well.

  1. How Much Cash To Carry

Visa on Arrival charges has to be paid only in THB. So it is wise to carry THB for the first couple of days of stay and carry the rest in the US dollar as it is the easiest to exchange in Thailand and you get a better rate than exchanging any other currency. For emergencies keep your debit card for ATM withdrawal.

  1. Using Your Debit Card on Thai ATM’s

Thai banks charge around 200-300 THB as transaction charges and a 3% charge is levied by your bank in India for each such transaction. The max amount that can be withdrawn in one transaction is limited to THB 30,000 in Krung Sri Bank, Thai Military Bank and CIMB Bank while Citibank allows THB 50,000 while the rest allow only around THB 20,000. So withdraw all the money you need in one transaction to avoid paying the exorbitant bank charges. Never Use Credit Cards to withdraw cash.

  1. Can Indian Rupee Be Exchanged in Thailand ?

It is almost impossible to exchange Indian Rupee in Thailand at a good exchange rate. I do not recommend this.

  1. Which Money Changer in Thailand ?

Airport money changers in any country give the worst currency exchange rate. So only approach individual outlets farther from tourist areas to get a good rate. I got good rates at Super Rich which has outlets all over Thailand especially in Metro Stations, Malls etc.

  1. Which Money Changer in India ?

In India, certain online aggregators pose as direct money changers and promise good rates. What they actually do is to direct you to a regular money changer and charge a commission from both. Instead, approach established brands like Western Union or other authorized brick and mortar agencies to get a reasonable rate.

  1. Currency Exchange Process

You are supposed to provide original passport for verification while changing money. Always keep the receipt issued by a money changer as it may be asked for by authorities in both countries for verification.

  1. What To Do With Unspent Coins ?

Use all the unspent coins before you leave for the airport in Thailand. No one accepts coins in the airport or back home.

 

Visa to Thailand and Requirements

Why Thailand Visa On Arrival?

Thailand Visa On Arrival is the most important factor that fuels the travel industry of Thailand. In case you are new to this, let me first explain what a Visa and Visa On Arrival are. Read this Thailand Travel Guide before applying for visa which will be helpful to plan your travel.

Visa on arrival is SUSPENDED for travel till 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. If you need to travel to Thailand, you have to apply for a regular Visa.

Visa On Arrival

Way to Visa on Arrival, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

Visa Basics

As you know a ‘Visa’ is a documentary permission given by the host country to a visitor. It is stamped to your ‘Passport’. To make things easy for tourists, certain countries publish a list of countries, whose visitors do not need advance Visa for short stays for tourism purposes.

Such visitors, on landing at the earmarked ‘Port of Entry’ will be issued with a short term visa called “Visa on Arrival” (VOA) provided they fulfill all the requirements and pay the prescribed fees.

The ease with which ‘Thailand Visa on Arrival’ (VOA) and the convenience it offers have been the reasons apart from affordability why travelers worldwide have been choosing Thailand over other countries. So, go ahead and know how to get a Thailand Visa On Arrival quickly and easily. Visa on arrival is SUSPENDED for travel till 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. If you need to travel to Thailand, you have to apply for a regular Visa.

 

Documents Required for Thailand Visa On Arrival

The mandatory documents required to be produced at the Visa On Arrival counter are as follows:-

  • Passport with over 30 days validity on the date of exit
  • Confirmed return flight ticket with return journey date within 15 days
  • Hotel reservation for at least first few days
  • Visa fees in Cash @ THB 2000pp (Waived off for travel up to 30 April 2020)
  • Proof of finances @ THB 10000pp or 20000 (~USD 319/638) per family in the form of cash/travel cards.
  • Print out of Application form/online Visa registration print out
  • Colour photo of size 4cm x 6cm#
  • Arrival/ Departure Card filled in ball point pen
  • Boarding Card of the arrival flight

New Feature – Online Pre-Registration

Of late, obtaining Visa on Arrival in main Ports of Entry like has been a harrowing experience. Due to the large volumes of tourists and limited resources available with the Thai Immigration authorities, one has to swim past a melee of tourists to get your VOA wasting about two hours in the airport.

As most of the flights from India land in the wee hours of the day, tourists often waste a lot of time inside the airport trying to obtain VOA. In that time they could have reached the Pattaya or Bangkok city center by taking advantage of the traffic-free morning hours.

 

This season, the Thai Immigration Authorities have come up with the Online Registration Facility where you can register yourself for VOA at the comfort of your home and hand over the printout along with supporting documents and a Visa fee of THB 2000 (~USD 64) per head in cash at the VOA counter in the arrival airport. Let me remind you again that Visa on arrival is SUSPENDED for travel till 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. If you need to travel to Thailand, you have to apply for a regular Visa.

 

Thailand Visa On Arrival Form 2020

Recently, the Thailand Immigration Authorities have revised the ‘Thailand Visa On Arrival’ form and have made it much simpler. As there are is a number of forms of older vintage also available on the internet, I have given below a sample. Please note the Number ‘TM 88″ for correct identification. You can download the form using the link at the useful links column in the next section.

Please note that, if you have done the ‘Online Pre Registration for Thailand Visa On Arrival’, then you need to carry the print-out form. The form below is for travelers who want to just land and proceed to procure the ‘Thailand Visa On Arrival’.

Thailand Visa On Arrival Form 2019

Thailand Visa On Arrival Form 2020

Where to Stay in Thailand? Hotel Vs AirBnB!  Why?

What is AirBnB?

Before I tell you the Top 10 Reasons Why I prefer AirBnB to Hotels in 2019, let me tell you something about the concept of AirBnB first

AirBnB is a platform that is spreading like wild fire. In this, people like you and me rent out space in own home to like-minded travelers and earn some income. The whole operation is moderated and guaranteed by the aggregator AirBnB. As a traveler, I get to stay in someone’s home.

AirBnB Bangkok

AirBnB Bangkok

This comes with comfort, convenience and better suitability for a family stay when compared to hotels. What I like the most is getting loads of local information and insider tips from the host. This often helps me to see offbeat places, shop like a local and get better value for my money. AirBnB’s robust verification system ensures safety and reliability for both hosts and guests. Staying in AirBnB would be the most economic and efficient way of accommodation that any Travel Guide to Thailand would recommend.

 

Top 10 Reasons Why I Prefer AirBnB to Hotels

  1. Spacious Homes for Family and Friends

Hotel rooms more or less have the same cramped design and layout and hence boring and feel claustrophobic.  AirBnB homes offer lots of space and flexibility, just like your own den.

  1. Feeling @ Home with AirBnB

AirBnB provides us an opportunity to stay in someone’s home with all the creature comforts including space, amenities and freedom that a hotel can never offer.

  1. Quality of Service

In Thailand, many properties are run by enterprising Thai families and even European expats. I have personally seen that their quality and services are as per international standards. Many seasoned travelers prefer them due to the excellent communication, impeccable standards and of course most speak English. In fact, AirBnB is making the conventional hotels sweat a lot of late.

  1. Economy

The nightly prices of the AirBnB apartments are very economical especially when you travel as a family or group. Discounts are also offered for stays upwards of min 7 days. If you are a family of four, a hotel will force you into two rooms when AirBnB gives you a full-fledged home at a fraction of the cost.

  1. Facilities offered by AirBnB homes

As kitchen, cooking range, crockery/cutlery, refrigerator, washing machine etc are often available; taking care of kids/senior citizens is much easier than in a hotel.

  1. Self Cooking Option

Being Indians it is natural for us to start missing our Karahi Paneer or Rajmah Chawal or Upma within a day in a foreign country. So carry some ready to eat Indian food and cherish it for dinner or breakfast when you fall homesick. A quick fix breakfast like this or bread/butter/jam with eggs lets you get ready quickly and gives additional time for sightseeing.

Since such accommodations are located in fully residential areas, you can find all utility stores, small shopping and even street food at cheaper rates few hundred meters around.

  1. Premium Amenities

While Swimming Pool, Gym and Spa are only available in 4/5 star hotels, AirBnB flats are often located in posh residential complexes with all these facilities and more at no additional cost.

  1. Easy Transportation Options

Being located in residential areas excellent commuting facilities like Metro, TukTuk and Cabs are available round the clock and are safe too. So, you get to travel cheap and convenient, just like a local.

  1. Authentic Local Experience

Staying in a purely local atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of touristy areas gives you an authentic experience of the life and culture of the people. Also you can get lots of tips and get to taste authentic food too. This kind of authentic local experience can not be given by the ‘Package Tours’ in which people are often herded like school children on an educational excursion.

  1. Ease of Payment

The payment is in Your Home Currency. So, you don’t have to cater for Foreign Currency and pay using your domestic card or net banking.

So, go ahead and register using this link in AirBnB and get a stay credit of Rs 2200 on your first stay in AirBnB.

 

 Easy Steps to Book your Dream AirBnB in Thailand

For a first time user, searching for the most suitable home on AirBnB in Bangkok could be slightly confusing, mainly because of the thousands of choices, one better than the other.

To make this easy and quick I have listed out the following 5 steps to book your dream AirBnB home in Bangkok. Once you do it once, you can use the same for booking a home anywhere in the world.

  1. Searching for AirBnB in Bangkok

Use this link to register with AirBnB to get a credit of Rs 1700 on your first stay. Once you have registered, complete your profile with photo and identity proof. Now you are ready to search for your accommodation. Set the destination, dates and no of people and search. Now you are good to find a suitable AirBnB in Bangkok

  1. Zoom in an Area

After the search results are available go to the map view and enlarge the general area and look for properties located near MRT/BTS(Sky Train) stations. Although you can find a number of homes on AirBnB in Bangkok, you can set the suitable filters for the required amenities and price range to narrow down your list of choices.

  1. Top Localities To Stay @ AirBnB in Bangkok

In Rama IX intersection is my favorite locality for AirBnB in Bangkok as AirPort Rail Link, BTS Sky Train and Underground MRT intersect around this area and hence gives excellent connectivity to any part of the City.

Moreover, many famous Malls like the Grand Rama IX, Central Plaza Rama IX, Ratchada Train Night Market, Sukhumvit Soi 21 (Night Life), Hwai Kwang Night Market, Thailand Cultural Centre ( Siam Niramit Show) are located around this area.

  1. Compare and Evaluate the Properties

Once you find a few properties fitting your requirement, start going through the amenities, house rules, photographs and most importantly recent reviews. For a slightly higher price band you can get a lot of prime properties on AirBnB in Bangkok.

  1. Quick Hack to Select the Host

There is a category of ‘Super Hosts’ who have hosted a good number of travelers with decent reviews. Super hosts are the best choice however they often have strict cancellation policies.

Hence I would recommend you to choose those with free cancellation to ensure flexibility and in case your travel dates are nearer and plans are firm, then go ahead and book a ‘Super Host’ property.

You can use either net banking or your credit/Debit Cards activated for international transactions.

Bonus Tip:

If you have at least a month in hand before your travel, book more than one properties under the ‘flexible’ cancellation option so that you can choose the best option and cancel the other before the penalty period.

For help in locating the best Home on AirBnB in Bangkok, do message me in the comment box below and I shall get back with the answers you need!

 

Foods and Cost in Thailand

Let me to introduce you the some ‘daily use’ items you may need while in Thailand. And the most heartening thing is that all you need is just around the corner. Yes, 7 Eleven is a chain of supermarkets having stores in every nook and corner of Thailand.

Everything, from Bakery, Beverages, Dairy, packed meat, cosmetics and even SIM cards are available here. So, go ahead and get familiar with this little list I have made for you.. I have also added a few cooked food choices as I feel one can survive just by sourcing them from street vendors. Believe you me, they are of great taste and hygienic too. After reading this post you will be more qualified than to buy just bread and milk.

  1. Plain Bread (Khanompaang) THB 37 – 60 ($ 1.14 – 1.8)

Common bread comes in various sizes and qualities. I have given the price range of the most common loaf of bread weighing around a pound and available in Seven 11. You can also find flavored and stuffed bread too.

bread loaf

Bread Loaf

  1. Plain Milk (Nom Thombanaa) 1Litre THB 45 ($ 1.35)

I still remember our hunt for the must common thing one would look for when kids are around, Milk. Whoever we asked for about where plain milk is available, we were directed to places which sell small tetra pack ‘flavored’ milk. Then we realized that plain dairy milk is available in a different name. Finally and thankfully a granny in a mom-and-pop-shop took out this and said, ‘Nom Thombana’. Well that was our small ‘Eureka’ Moment.

plain milk

Nom Thombana

  1. Eggs per Dozen (Khaai) THB 40 – 80 as per size ($ 1.2- 2.5)

The search for eggs was more easier however we could not decide which ones to pick up. It was quite funny to see pink and purple colored eggs, which, we could not understand. So, we settled with the regular white eggs to ensure our next day’s breakfast.

eggs

  1. Butter 100gm (Noi) THB 45 ($ 1.4)

butter

  1. Jam 200 gm (Yaem) THB 60 – 80 ($ 1.8 -2.4)

Jam is one of our most loved Thai food accompaniments. Not without reasons, though. The colorful variety of Jams available in any store is truly amazing. And the taste is what our kids would die for. S0, I recommend you pick up a bottle of exotic jam in Thailand, and do not eat it. Well, it was on a lighter vein.

yaem

  1. Sugar (Nataal) 1 Kg THb 30 ($ 1)

Although the picture shows sugar cubes, what I am actually referring to is plain gain sugar. To be frank I did not even know that I am going to cover it in a post that I never clicked the actual pics at Seven 11.

All the pics in this post are from Pixabay.com and the original manufacturers of the brands. I thank them for the same.

nataal

  1. Tea bags (Thung Chaa)100 gm THB 65 ($ 2)

Tea comes in all hues and flavors in Thailand. The common tea bag is what I have listed here. However, you can pick up some exotic flavored tea like Jasmine or Camomile for around THB 200 per 250 gm.

Cup of Tea

Cup of Tea

  1. Bananas 12 (Kluwie) THB 25 – 40 as per size ($ 0.8 – 1.2)

The awesome varieties of Banana available in Thailand is something that needs to be seen to be believed. The most common Cavendish sells for about THB 40 per dozen. However, we have even got a dozen of small and tastier fruit for THB 10 in the interiors if Thailand. To be precise, on our road trip to Koh Lanta.

kluwie

 

  1. Sandwich (Sandwip) THB 100 – 150 ($ 3-4)

Sandwich

Sandwich

  1. Water Bottle (Khuwad Naem) 1Litre THB 15 ($ 0.5)

Bottled drinking water is available almost everywhere. If you are a budget traveler and want to save some money, then read on. There a number of water ATMs placed in strategic locations. Just for an One Baht coin you get a liter of RO water. So, keep empty bottles with you and keep filling them up as you go.

bottled water

Bottled Water

  1. Pad Thai THB 100 – 150 ($ 3-4)

Pad Thai should be declared the official dish of Thailand. But wait, you will be surprised to know it has been invented for tourists and the local daily meal does not consist of it. Nevertheless, this is a yummy combination of meat, spices, rice and noodles cooked in Thai spices and dressed with celery, as per the ingenuity of the cook. This is the cheapest and filling dish for a backpacker.

pad thaipad thai

  1. Fried Rice (Khaw Phad) THB 100 – 150 ($ 3-4)

Fried Rice is the most common dish in all of South Asia and Thailand is not an exception. this simple yet tasty dish consists of steamed rice stir fried with cooked meat, spices,pungent sauces and dressing with spring onions. It is again very cheap and filling.

thai fried rice

khaw phaad

  1. Noodles (Kuwaitiuw) THB 100 – 150 ($ 3-4)

Noodles do not need any introduction at all. The only difference in the Thai noodles is that the string of noodles is flat in shape when compared to the regular cylindrical form of Chinese ones.

Kuwaitiuw

  1. Chang Beer 300ml THB 32 ( $ 1)

Chang Beer

Chang Beer

  1. Coca Cola 300 ml THB 36 ($ 1.2)

coke

  1. Fresh Fruit Juice 200ml THB 20 – 40 ($ 5 – 1.3)

Thailand’s tropical climate and abundant sun shine has resulted in an explosion of good quality fruits and vegetables. The large assortment of fresh fruits and juices available is not to be missed out. One can even survive on a diet of just fruits and juices.

fruit juice

  1. Fresh Cut Fruits THB 20 – 40 ($ 0.5 – 1.3)

The cut pineapple available from street vendors has often been our favorite buy when on walking tours and beach escapades.

  1. Chicken (Kye) Sticks THB 10-20 ($ 0. 31 – 0.60)

The Thai street food scene is filled with such chicken snacks that are yummy and economical. Above shown are chicken sticks, chunks of spiced chicken deep fried in oil. They taste good and are found almost everywhere.

chicken

  1. Mutton (Nuu Kae) THB 100 – 150 ($ 3-4)

  1. Fish (Plaa) Roasted THB 150-200 ($ 3-4)

Roasted fish is the standard item found in the Thai foods cape. There are hundreds of varieties of sea food available for every pocket size.

plaa

  1. Pork (Neu Moo) THB 100 – 150 ($ 3-4)

South East Asia is generally characterized by the culture of pork eating. Except for some countries where pork is avoided for religious reasons, the most common meat protein comes from pork. The innumerable permutations and combinations available in pork dishes are a delight for pork eaters.

pork and rice

  1. Petrol/Gasoline (Benseen) 1 Liter THB 60 ($1.85)

Prices are approximate and subject to change. Prices cheaper as you move away from Bangkok and touristy places. I have found buffet meals at THB 50, 12 Bananas/1 Pineapple at an unbelievable price of 10 THB in rural areas. So, take these prices as indicative only. I thank Ms May of Ban Sala Dan, Koh Lanta for updating the latest prices of certain items.

 

7 Useful Mobile Apps for Thailand Travel

I assume you have bought a local Thai SIM with 4G connectivity right at the airport itself. This arms you with the ability to plan and troubleshoot your travel with ease. Now, let me tell you how I utilized the free data available with the connection to plan and optimize my various sightseeing tours and adventures. The following are my choice of ‘must have’ mobile apps to make life easy in Thailand and be your Thailand Travel Guide:-

  1. 12Go Asia

This is an extremely useful mobile app for travel planning. You can even book your local flights, train, bus and ferry tickets in advance. Here is  the Web Link for direct search and booking.

12go.asia

12Go – Flights, ferry, train, Bus & Van

  1. Grab Taxi

Grab It is the answer to Ola in Thailand and is much better and transparent compared to its Indian counterpart. It has a Thai- English chat facility to chat with your driver who cannot speak English. Moreover, it gives you reward points that you can redeem in any nominated food outlets. Although Uber is also available in Thailand, I have been conned a couple of times by Uber app as well as drivers, it is no more my favorite.

  1. Bangkok Metro Guide & MRT/BTS Route Planner

This is an all in one planner mobile app that gives to time and fare of MRT,BTS, and ARL. In addition it gives you a real time update of Departures and Arrivals at the Suvarnabhumi Airport

Bangkok Metro Guide

Bangkok Metro Guide

  1. Bangkok Transit Guide

This is the official Marine Department app for boats and ferries. Bangkok Transit Guide

  1. Line

Line is the most widely used communication app and you must install it after you insert the Thai SIM in your mobile. WhatsApp is also used but Line is more common.

important-things-to-do-before-leaving-your-country

  1. Viator

Viator is a useful app to compare the entry ticket rates of tours and shows. I have found rates to be less than the official websites and operators.

Viator

Viator Tour Booking

  1. Google Navigation

No other mapping app has been as successful and intuitive as Google Maps. With live traffic and navigation, you can never get lost. Hope you found the above mobile apps for Thailand useful and do write to me your suggestions.

Google Navigation

Google Navigation

10 ‘Must Do’ Things Before Leaving India

While you are away on a holiday, there are certain things that you must do in advance so that your travel is not interrupted. First, the advance arrangements pertaining to your trip.

Second, the issues that needs prior coordination in your home country while you are away.

Based on my practical experience, I have listed out the Top 10 ‘Must Do’ things that need to be coordinated before you embark on the voyage. Add these Things to the TO Do list in your Travel Guide to Thailand.

important-things-to-do-before-leaving-your-country

Important Things to do

  1. Banks

Call up your bank and Credit Card Company and info them about your trip and ask for activation of international transactions for that specific period. You may have to access your internet banking account, withdraw money using debit card or use your credit card.

  1. Mobile Service

Contact your mobile service provider and get only ‘SMS‘ receipt service activated so that you receive your OTP and transaction alerts.

  1. Emergency Assistance

Ask for and note down emergency assistance numbers of bank, credit card, travel insurance, Indian Embassy and local contacts in Thailand if any.

  1. Staying Connected With Home

Have a nano-SIM slot available to load your Thai 4G Sim for seamless connectivity. You can use WhatsApp for calls to India and within Thailand.

  1. Staying Connected at Host Country

Install ‘Line’ in addition to WhatsApp as most locals in Thailand use it like we use WhatsApp in India. WhatsApp is also used by Thai tourist industry.

  1. Advance Booking of Services

Try to book and pay for services like Accommodation, Entry Tickets to certain attractions while in India itself to avoid carrying around too much of cash while in Thailand. Day tours can be booked in situ as bargaining is possible.

  1. Travel Insurance

It is advisable to obtain Travel Insurance from any reputed company in India. For detailed info check out the insurance aggregators like Policy Bazaar, Cover fox, etc

  1. Suspension of Services

Suspend services of DTH Connections; clear all pending credit card, mobile, landline and EMI dues so that you do not miss the deadlines while on holiday.

  1. Security of Home and Pet

Ask a close friend or relative to keep a watch on your home while you are away. You can also entrust a security agency to provide security cover to your home/premises during your absence.

I have installed IP based CCTV in my home and I can monitor it anywhere from the world using an android app. You may like to entrust your pet with a Pet Care Center. It is a good idea to inform the local Police about your absence.

  1. Disconnection of Gadgets/ Equipment’s

Disconnect LPG cylinders, TV/Home Theatre/DTH/Geyser and other gadgets from wall sockets. Ensure all doors and windows are secure; cars in parking area are locked and covered.

 

Do’s and Don’ts while in Thailand

Every country and people has a bagful of customs and traditions. Thailand is a culturally rich and vibrant country. Although the people are warm and helpful, one needs to know the local practices and un-written rules. What is correct in England may not be the thing to do in Germany.

If eating with hands is taboo in the West, it the most common method in Asia. So, it pays to know the local ways of expressing oneself as well as to connect with the people. After all your visit will be incomplete without connecting with the local vibes, isn’t it?

So, here are my well researched Do’s and Don’ts for Thailand.

 

Things to Avoid Doing

  1. Thai Royal Family & Government

Do not ever show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family or adversely comment about the Government. Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family and any kind of disrespect towards the royals may land you in jail.

  1. Religious Symbols

Statues or images of the Buddha are worshiped, Buddhism being the main religion. So treat them with same respect as we do in India to our deities. Disrespect to the Buddha is punishable. Carrying such idols and images out of Thailand is also not permitted.

  1. Buddhist Monks

Do not cross your legs when facing a Buddhist monk. They are highly respected and even have separate reserved seats in public places and transport.

Do wish them with folded hands and a small bow especially when you happen to accidentally cross them in close proximity. Touching them is not taken kindly.

  1. Food & Water

Do not waste food and water. Any un-used food item should be tightly packed and disposed of correctly.

  1. Conduct Towards Other People

Do not stare at or pass comments on locals or even older foreigners often seen with much younger local girls.

  1. Drugs and Intoxication

Do not consume drugs. Do not accept any packet from any stranger. You may unknowingly become a courier of contraband which is punishable by death or life imprisonment.

Also being in an inebriated state in public places may make you a victim of mugging etc. There have been cases of snatching of passports etc.

  1. Call Girls

Do not mess with call girls or misbehave with them. Avoid them with a smile, if you are accompanied by children, then avoid visiting or walking through places like Walking Street, Pattaya and Sukhumvit Soi 21, & Bangkok.

  1. Touching Thai People

Do not touch Thai people’s head which as it is considered offensive.

  1. Temples & Wats

Do not point your feet at Idols or people or things. And do not sit on the floor of a Temple with your feet pointing to the deity. You are not supposed to enter religious places with shorts, minis etc which do not cover legs and shoulders especially women.

  1. Public Hygiene

Do not smoke in the street, or to litter public places. You can be fined for littering.

  1. Dealing With People

Do not raise your voice in public in anyway (to anybody). Deal with adverse situations and annoying officials calmly and politely. Entering into altercations with locals is not warranted and could lead to complications. It is better to get out of un-pleasant situations.

  1. Avoid Strangers

Do not accept any offers from strangers to guide you to do sightseeing or shopping. Refer to Google map for directions and working hours of the place of interest.

  1. Spoken English

English is an alien language to most Thais as Thailand has never been colonized by the British. Only a handful of people who are in tourism industry can speak or understand English. Most important, Thai customs/immigration officials DO NOT speak English.

  1. Mob Mentality

Do not jump queues or push people especially at the Visa On Arrival counter. Immigration officials can make life hell for you in case you break rules or misbehave.

Always be polite and do not show the typical aggression like we do in India to anyone we think is powerless or poorer.

  1. Safe Keeping of Valuables

Do not keep your valuables in your luggage and leave them unlocked in hotel rooms while going out for sightseeing. Book accommodations with safe lockers and store important documents like passport and valuables in them.

  1. Using Passports As Collateral

Do not hand over your original passports as collateral for hiring a scooter or any kind of such transaction. You may give a Photostat copy when requested for.

 

Should Do In Thailand

  1. Pleasant Demeanor

Always wear a smile on your face as Thailand is the land of smiles. Thai people do not make faces or get aggressive in normal daily dealings with people and expect the same from others.

Even under tough situations, try to control your anger and get out of the situation in a calm manner.

  1. Turn Out

Do dress conservatively when visiting temples. Sleeveless tops and short skirts and minis are not permitted. Certain temples and Royal palace have suitable clothes available on hire at the entrance gate.

  1. Personal Hygiene

Always smell good and dress up well in clean clothes. Thai’s give lot of importance to personal hygiene and good dressing sense. Body odor dirty smelly clothes or foul breath is frowned upon by them especially when you travel in public transport.

  1. Removing Footwear

Do remove your shoes before entering a temple or any place of worship. Even some guest houses especially those near the beaches follow this strictly. If you are visiting a local home, be sure to remove shoes and socks at the entrance before entering.

  1. Respect to Monks & Elderly

Do treat monks and the elderly with respect and allow them right of way.

  1. Thai National Anthem

Do show respect to the Thai national anthem when played in public places like theatres etc by getting up and standing still.

  1. Greeting People

Greet Thai people with the gesture ‘Wai’ which is similar to ‘Namaste’, the traditional gesture of greeting and thanking with folded hands and a slight bow. Now with the Covid 19 pandemic ‘Namaste’ has become a global hit.

‘Sawadee’ is the word for greeting. Males end it with ‘Krap’ (‘Sawadee Krap’) and women with ‘Kaaaa’ (‘Sawadee Kaaa’). Just follow it and you shall be treated very well.

  1. Buying Gold and Gems

Do buy gemstones or Gold only at reputed establishments. Hua Seng Heng in Yaowarat Road, China Town , Bangkok is a reputed company and has more than one outlet of Gold in China Town itself. Be careful of scams and do not follow tuk-tuk drivers’ recommendations for shopping.

For a commission from the acquainted shops they may make you buy spurious things at exorbitant prices.  Always be aware of rules about carrying valuables in and out of any country and follow them religiously.

  1. Smile Your Way To Glory

Always wear a smile. Do speak politely to anyone you deal with. And do not forget to return a smile.

  1. Bargaining

Do bargain for products or services however do not cross the limits. Even if you are not buying anything from a shop after asking the price move away saying “I’ll come back”, with a smile.

  1. Gifting

Do carry some small inexpensive souvenirs from the place you belong and gift them to people you befriend there or that give you good service. It ensures good vibes and better service.

Final Thoughts

It is important that your trip is safe and pleasant. Follow the tips and tricks in this Thailand Travel Guide and make your journey a memorable one. This article covers most important factors like currency, local habits and their culture and can be your best Travel Guide to Thailand. Plan ahead and save the most by following the methods mentioned in this Thailand Travel Guide.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Thailand Travel 

Avoid the Following in Thailand,

  1. Insulting Religious symbols
  2. Drugs
  3. Call girls
  4. Touching Thai people
  5. Trusting Strangers
  6. Speaking ill of Royal family

Find more here,

The best time to travel to Thailand is between December and January, because of the cool and dry season.

The mandatory documents required to be produced at the Visa On Arrival counter are as follows:-

  1. Passport with over 30 days validity on the date of exit
  2. Confirmed return flight ticket with return journey date within 15 days
  3. Hotel reservation for at least first few days
  4. Visa fees in Cash @ THB 2000pp (Waived off for travel up to 30 April 2020)
  5. Proof of finances @ THB 10000pp or 20000 (USD 319/638) per family in the form of cash/travel cards.
  6. Print out of Application form/online Visa registration print out
  7. Colour photo of size 4cm x 6cm
  8. Arrival/ Departure Card filled in ball point pen
  9. Boarding Card of the arrival flight

Visa on arrival is SUSPENDED for travel till 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. If you need to travel to Thailand, you have to apply for a regular Visa.

Read Detailed information here,

Major Indian carriers like Air India, Indigo and Spice Jet operate flights from almost all major cities in India.

Find cheap flights to Thailand here,

1 comment

Sahil mehta 07/01/2020 - 11:44 am

We are looking for relaxing holiday which can include Safari/Marine world, Floating Market, Weekend/Night Market, Beaches, Walking Streets, scuba diving, water sports etc.
For one week, two people in Thailand

Reply

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