We are importers from all over the world, but mainly Thailand. We’ve been to Thailand six times since 2011 and have seen much of the country. Here is our top 5 tips:
- Stay one night in Bangkok. If you are traveling through Bangkok, as most international travelers do, you’ll likely come through BKK or Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced more like Sawanapoon). It’s worth it to spend the night if you’ve been traveling all day. Traveling from the United States is a very long plane ride. So we usually stay one night in Bangkok to prepare for our next day’s travels. Be prepared to arrive in Bangkok at midnight their time, when your body is telling you it’s noon! The airport is far from any good hotels, but you should be able to find something within 30-45 minutes drive. AND, arriving at night has it’s advantages–NO traffic! During the day Bangkok traffic is outrageous! Trust me night is better for getting anywhere fast. Just spend the night, you’ll feel so much better the next morning.
- Use the Red Truck or Taxi service. Do NOT rent a scooter expecting to get around efficiently, even in the islands. Especially if you have no previous experience on a motorcycle or scooter in your home country. This is NOT the place to learn to ride. It is dangerous and the traffic patterns are not like anything you’ve seen. Even if you do have experience on a motorcycle, spend a day or so checking out the traffic patterns before deciding to rent. The Red Trucks or Taxi (or even a tuk-tuk) should get you to your destination safer than motorbike.
- Eat the noodle soup with lotus root. One of the very best dishes we’ve ever had is a simple noodle soup with chicken or pork and lotus root. We eat it even in 100 degree heat if it’s available. It’s about $3 US and you might be able to find it for less. It’s usually served in little 1970s plastic bowls with chopsticks and a soup spoon. The soup’s temperature is hotter than an inferno, which means anything that might disrupt your digestive system should be dead.
- Try the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The train leaves from Hualamphong station in Bangkok. This method of travel is not about getting anywhere fast. It’s about the experience of traveling by train, eating in a dining car with locals, and sleeping in berths while being rocked side to side. Don’t expect the doors to lock, even in “First Class,” and the toilets are nothing to write home about–usually squat toilets that have seen a lot of use. Just do it! And then go back to airport travel.
- Make friendly with the locals. The Thai people are so nice. They are, in my opinion, what make the trip so worthwhile. Expect big smiles, excellent service, great products–if you know where to look. Be polite and all will be well. There is no need to push your own agenda like in the US. Be calm, and you will get the best result.
Have fun–you’re on vacation, right?!