Thailand is a popular destination, so it's important to keep your wits about you, as there are many people who will try to take advantage of unassuming travelers.
Clem Robin from i-to-i says, "From Tuk Tuk drivers who offer you city tours at an amazingly low price (or more like a ride to their friend's shop), to retailers switching a high-quality product for a cheap version at point of purchase, the best option if you're ever in a situation where you're not comfortable is to simply leave."
The Thai language has adopted many words and phrases from English, and some phrases from other languages, too. They call those words tap sap. So, if you learn tap sap, you'll know a lot of Thai words that an English speaker already knows (they're similar to English, but with odd pronunciations).
Here are some examples: guest house, hotel, computer, taxi, disco, clinic, same – or as they say, same same. Many useful Thai words are repeats or couplets, similar to the 'same same'.
If you're getting a massage that's too deep, you can say "bow bow" which means go easier, or 'softly softly.' The Thai word for often is boi boi, which sounds like boy boy.
Lined up in neat rows, filled with shiny bottles of Thai whiskey, vodka, gin and M150 (the Thai equivalent of Red Bull), these buckets sit innocently gleaming at street stalls waiting for travelers to buy them.
Nikki Scott from southeastasiabackpacker.com says, "Backpackers be warned! The bucket is the deadliest of all concoctions in Southeast Asia, and a drink that is not to be taken lightly – particularly at a full moon party. After just one, or heaven forbid two of these notorious buckets, chances are you won't remember what happened during the course of the evening, never mind your name or where you come from."
If you insist on buying a bucket, bring a few reusable straws and share one bucket between friends. Take it easy, that's all we're saying.
Throughout Thailand, the skill level of drivers – both locals and travelers – is pretty bad. Pedestrians are often ignored, and the number one rule of the road seems to be the largest vehicle wins.
According to the World Heatlh Organization, Thailand has the second-highest road traffic fatality rate in the world, with an annual estimate of more than 24,000 deaths – that's about 66 every day.
John Williams from Siam Divers says, "Thai people, though lovely and generous, are not very disciplined (but it's part of their charm). Watch what people around you are doing and mimic their movements and actions. Use pedestrian crossings whenever possible, but do not assume that they are pedestrian safe. Use overpasses where they exist."
Many travelers in Thailand are fed the idea that Thai people never complain or make a fuss in public. For the most part that's true, but even locals have a saturation point – beyond which they go ballistic.
Also, know that anything can be bargained for in Thailand. Even in the heat of an extortionist's shakedown, a bargain can be struck. But, don't push too hard to save a few dollars – have some respect for the person who is selling the item and pay a reasonable price.
Are you insured for riding a motorbike in Thailand? Do you need a license? Find out all the essential information before you rent two wheels.
Beware of buckets, flaming ropes and theft of your valuables. Find out everything you need to know before you go to Thailand's Full Moon Party.