My husband turned 25 in Bangkok, Thailand. That was in October of 2012. And that was our first time in Thailand.
We were there for about a week. It was a fun week full of sightseeing, yummy Pad Thai, and cheap liquor.
In November 2013, we spent some more time in Thailand. That time we went to Krabi, Thailand.
My husband proposed to me in Krabi. For that reason alone, Thailand will always have a special place in my heart.
Chiang Mai, Thailand is supposedly one of the best cities for digital nomads – to live and work remotely. We can work from anywhere. So in August 2017, we stayed in Chiang Mai for a month.
In January/February 2018, we spent some more time in Bangkok. This time we were there for a month.
We ran our first official 10K in Bangkok.
So yea, we’ve spent a decent amount of time in Thailand. We had different experiences and learned different things each time.
During our time In Thailand, we learned that you should NOT…
1. Ride elephants
If we knew then what we know now, we would NOT have rode that poor elephant. Unfortunately elephants are exploited in Thailand and suffer immensely due to tourism.
There are elephant sanctuaries and rescue centers in Thailand where you can volunteer to help in different ways. However, please do your due diligence to ensure that the sanctuary is really a sanctuary though and not just a tourist trap.
2. Visit any place where animals are drugged and chained
I know this is horrible.
There are also tiger sanctuaries in Thailand, or at least places that claim to be. Again, please do your due diligence to ensure that the sanctuary is really a sanctuary and not just a tourist trap.
If it’s not just a tourist trap, the animals should be released back into the wild when they’re healthy and able, right??
3. Swim or fall into the Chao Phraya River
The river is polluted.
4. Drink tap water
According to locals in Bangkok, the tap water itself (in Bangkok) is classified as safe to drink from the source. It is what happens between the source and tap that makes it inadvisable to drink. So drink bottled water. We did brush our teeth with the tap water (no swallowing!) and did not have any problems.
On the other hand, we did drink water (sparingly) provided by seemingly trustworthy restaurants in Chiang Mai, and we didn’t have any problems. I’m not sure about other areas in Thailand.
5. Wear shoes when entering certain places
Your shoe soles are dirty.
In Thailand, always remove your shoes when entering temples, someone’s home, schools, and other places as well. It’s easy to figure out where you should take your shoes off. If you get somewhere and there’s a line of shoes outside the door, take your shoes off and put them there too.
You should also take this into consideration for your own home.
6. Not visit a beach
Yes, that means you should definitely visit one of the beaches in Thailand! Such a beautiful place to relax. Just don’t forget sunscreen and mosquito repellent!
7. Not eat Thai food
Why would you come to Thailand and not eat Thai food?
Our first time in Bangkok we ate Pad Thai every single day. And we paid for it in pounds – not the British ones. But it was so worth it!
Always remember that balance is key. Healthy options are available in Thailand, as you can see in the photos above.
8. Not see a Muay Thai fight
Even if you’re not into boxing, wrestling or anything of the sort – like me – you should still check out a Muay Thai fight. It was interesting!
9. Not cover up when visiting temples
Be respectful. When visiting temples, dress conservatively. Don’t wear tank tops (or bring a light jacket to wear over it), shorts, or skirts. You can also rent a pair of those popular elephant pants shown in the photos above and below. My husband rented his. I bought a pair in 2012 and I still wear them.
10. Disrespect the King or Thai Royal Family
The King and the Royal family are highly regarded in Thai society, as evidenced by the pictures and displays of His Majesty and family throughout Thailand.
The people in Thailand love their king and the royal family. There’s a law, the lese majeste law, in which the courts can sentence anyone who “defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent” to a jail term. They even show a tribute to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) before every movie in Thai cinemas and it is customary for all to stand in respect to his Majesty.
In the picture below, my husband and I are standing in front of the Grand Palace, which is the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government.
So now you know some of the things you shouldn’t do (and should do) in Thailand. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!
For those that have been to Thailand, leave a comment below stating what you think people SHOULD do in Thailand.