A place of commerce and tourist traps juxtapositioned against the philosophy of Buddhism, Thailand has more ways of getting your money than the vendors on Khao San Road. That being said, you can vacation here fairly cheap if you know what to watch out for.
Don’t Eat Cold Curry Soup From An Open Air Market
This was on the Island of Koh Samui. My girlfriend and I rented a scooter and toured the Island. By mid day I was ravenous, and we decided to stop at a market under a tin roof by the side of the road. The vendors had many types of soups and things available, and since I love green curry soup, I bought a bowl. Unfortunately, I found out after my first mouthful that it was cold. With under cooked chicken. Needless to say, I got pretty sick. It took me several months and some really heavy duty antibiotics to kick it.
Avoid Mountain Trails on Luxury Scooters
Our scooter was a double seater and looked brand new. We saw some signs advertising waterfalls and other attractions while on our island tour and decided to follow them inland. The road soon rose steeply upward and we found ourselves climbing a mountain on the back of a scooter. After several miles, the road went from paved to dirt and grew quite treacherous. We made it to some very beautiful places that day, but not without scuffing up the bottom side of the scooter. Our rental guy wasn’t impressed.
Don’t Join A Muay Thai Club (Unless You Love Sweating and Fighting in Thailand Heat)
Disclaimer: We went to Thailand specifically to train in muay thai. And I loved it. These guys at Lamai Muay Thai are amazing. However the heat was pretty incredible. We would train for 2 hours in the morning and then again for 2 hours in the evening after the heat of the day had passed. Of course, personal training was also available after lunch. In the deadly heat. Why do I pay for these things? In between there was only enough energy to drag yourself to the smoothie bar next door and then down to the beach to sleep and recover. I enjoyed every minute but this is not for the faint of heart.
Whatever You Do, Don't Stay At The Grace Hotel In Bangkok
We got booked into the Grace Hotel for one night. Never again. Not only was it way more expensive than even a really nice hostel, the rooms were also filled with mold, cockroaches and other undefinable creepy crawlies. We paid more to switch rooms and got away from about a third of the insects and half the mold. Also, there were incredibly loud parties complete with drums going on at all hours of the night and an endless stream of Arabic men with Thai prostitutes. All in all a lovely place.
So there you have it! This is definitely not a comprehensive list of the “don’ts” in Thailand, (one could add in things about lady boys and unscrupulous massages, or drugs and full moon parties) but it is a good start. Thailand is a place where you will find everything you ever dreamed of and more. Including lasers that burn holes in things and start fires. Available from street vendors. True story.
Jonathan Beam is the author of Crimson Morning - The Philosophy of Travel, available on the member page by signing up above. He is a blogger who writes about travel, adventure and philosophy. He has also written a novel that is currently under consideration to be published!