A Guide To Backpacking In Thailand
Thailand is probably one of the greatest backpacking destinations in the world, providing an inexpensive and fun-filled experience. There is simply so much to do and see that a prolonged backpacking trip is often far more worthwhile than a short vacation in luxury accommodation.
However, just like any travel destination, there are a few precautions that must be taken as well as tips to follow to make the most of the country, it’s attractions and culture.
1. The Food
Thai food is absolutely delicious but may not be to everyone’s taste or immune system. Most foods are spicy and rich so if your stomach is sensitive, it is recommended to try small amounts of the local cuisine to see if you have a reaction. It may also be advisable to avoid eating street food or in the markets.
The dishes are often cooked with fish oil or shrimp paste which can give it a rather strong odor but adds loads of good flavor. Don’t let the odor put you off too much before giving it a go. The bonus is that food is really cheap in Thailand.
2. Your Feet
It is recommended to keep the soles of your feet covered and be aware of pointing them towards the locals. This is considered to be a great insult. On the other hand, when entering any building or establishment, it is customary and polite to remove your shoes and not track dirt from the outdoors inside. This is especially important when visiting the Buddhist temples or other religious sites.
3. The Locals
Thailand is known as the land of smiles and the locals are generally very friendly, helpful and hospitable. Don’t be surprised if your are invited to share a meal or even spend the night with a local family but remember that it could be an insult if you decline the invitation. Make use of this friendliness to get directions and to get the best local knowledge of the region.
4. Take The Bus
Bicycles, motorbikes and scooters are the main mode of transport in Thailand’s busy streets. While you can hire one of these, the chaotic nature of the roads can be quite frightening and difficult to navigate. So rather take the bus where you need to go, no matter how near or far you are traveling. This is a very reliable mode of transport and is ideal for backpackers traveling on a budget.
The best time to visit Thailand is after November when the monsoon rains have come to an end. Monsoon rains that will drench you in seconds and literally continue for months on end will really put a damper on your backpacking adventure. The rains and hot, humid weather return in February.
This said, November to February is considered to be high or peak tourist season and you can expect to pay much more for accommodation, food and other travel expenses. So you may want to brave the rain, forget the beaches and explore everything else that the country has to offer between March and October.
When you make a trip like this, be prepared and make sure to have all of these travel essentials. Our list goes above and beyond to help you pack properly.