What are some unique things about Thailand

These are the 12 things you shouldn't do in Thailand!

By Gudrun Brandenburg | February 17, 2020, 10:14 am

As in other countries, vacationers in Thailand can quickly get into trouble if they disregard the bans and rules that apply in the country. What may be permitted or tolerated elsewhere can be severely punished in Thailand. Sometimes even with prison. Many Thailand holidaymakers are also ripped off - often out of ignorance. TRAVELBOOK lists twelve things tourists shouldn't do in Thailand.

1. Get into the wrong taxi

The good news is: In Thailand there are so-called “metered” or “public” taxes almost everywhere, the drivers of which charge according to taximeter. The bad news is: Unfortunately there are also numerous taxi drivers who refuse to turn on the taximeter and end up receiving double to triple the price from tourists. If a "metered" taxi driver does not turn on the taximeter even after being requested to do so, it is best to get out of the taxi again and take another taxi.

“Metered” taxis in Thailand have a sign with the inscription “Taxi-Meter” on the roof and are mostly yellow-green, pink or light blue. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok's international airport, the stop zone for the “public” or “metered” taxis is on the first floor (level 1). A drive from the airport to the center of Bangkok takes between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the traffic. Depending on the destination, the trip costs between 450 and 600 baht (the equivalent of between 12 and 15 euros). You can get to your destination cheaper and faster with the Airport Rail Link. The shuttle train runs from the airport to the city center every 45 minutes.

Beware of "wrong" taxi drivers in Thailand. They do not have a license and lie in wait for tourists mainly at airports, train and bus stations. Private vehicles are used for the journeys.

So-called limousine services with stylish, comfortable cars are also common in Thailand. However, the journeys are usually twice as expensive.

In Thailand, collective taxes (mini-vans and so-called songthaews) and tuk tuks are cheaper than metered taxes.

2. Enter the temple with shorts and tank tops

Visiting a Buddhist temple in Thailand with shorts and tank top or even with a bare torso or bare feet is a no-go. Appropriate clothing that covers arms and legs is compulsory when visiting a temple in Thailand. In most temples, however, it is sufficient to only cover the upper arms, thighs and knees. That means: short-sleeved (not sleeveless!) Shirts, blouses and shirts as well as more than half-length trousers, dresses and skirts are mostly tolerated by tourists. It should also be noted that shoes must be removed before entering a temple.

3. Bathing naked or lying topless on the beach

Nude bathing and lying topless on the beach are prohibited in Thailand. If the prohibition is disregarded, penalties are imminent.

4. Have an e-cigarette in your suitcase

The import and smoking of e-cigarettes is strictly prohibited in Thailand. Smoking standard cigarettes is generally permitted. However, anyone caught smoking a cigarette in a designated smoke-free zone faces a fine of 2000 baht (around 50 euros). It should be noted that smoking is also prohibited on some beaches in Thailand. TRAVELBOOK reported.

5. Eat fish or meat that is not fully cooked

Thailand is famous for its street food. In the street food stalls and in markets, delicious satay skewers, chicken legs and seafood sizzle on the charcoal grills. It happens, however, that fish and meat are not completely cooked through. Or that fruits were not peeled by a clean hand and the lettuce was not washed with flawless water. Therefore, tourists, especially those with sensitive stomachs, should be very careful about what and where they are eating. It is not without reason that diarrheal diseases are still one of the most common diseases among Thailand tourists.

Some hygiene measures can also protect against illness: wash and disinfect your hands regularly and never drink tap water, but only drink safely bottled water and brush your teeth with it.

6. Rent a moped

The good news is that in Thailand you can rent mopeds relatively cheaply in many places for 250 to 300 baht (between 7 and 8 euros) per day. With a longer rental period, you can get away even cheaper. Now the bad news: Mopeds are often rented out in Thailand without any insurance. If the landlord does offer liability and / or vehicle insurance, the amounts insured are usually so low that in the event of a claim, most of the costs have to be borne by yourself and paid immediately.

Anyone who takes the risk and rents a moped in Thailand should check the vehicle thoroughly before signing the contract, photograph any existing damage, have it recorded by the rental company and signed. Otherwise it could happen that you will be asked to pay for damage that is not your fault. In addition, brakes, tires, lighting, etc. should be checked thoroughly.

Although wearing a helmet is compulsory when driving a moped or motorcycle in Thailand, many tourists drive without a helmet. Not only can this be dangerous, but if you get caught, you will also be fined 500 baht (approx. 13 euros).

Particularly reckless tourists - and unfortunately most of them are - drive a moped with shorts, tank tops and flip-flops in Thailand. Many men only with a bare torso, women with bikini tops. It's extremely dangerous.

7. Accidentally stumble into shady massage parlors

Massages are offered on almost every corner in Thailand. On a lounger by the street, on a mat on the beach and also in massage parlors. Most of the massage parlors in Thailand are reputable salons. Foot reflexology, shoulder, neck and oil massages are offered, while others lure customers with erotic massages. Such massage parlors can usually be recognized by the fact that the windows are covered and cannot be seen from the street. Scantily clad women and transvestites also usually stand in front of such salons, attracting customers.

8. Buy something on the street without bargaining

Some Thailand newbies are happy about the comparatively low prices when they buy one or the other supposedly inexpensive souvenir at a market or street stall in Thailand. But it is often much cheaper. Because many traders in Thailand try to rip off tourists and call up horrific (starting) prices. In return, however, tourists are expected to act. And this is how it works in Thailand (and in most other Southeast Asian countries): Dealers and buyers enter their asking prices into a calculator until a price has been agreed. When haggling, tourists should take into account that the traders also want to earn something and do not push prices down outrageously.

In “normal” shops, department stores and shopping centers, the prices are usually fixed and non-negotiable. In many places, however, (tourist) discounts are offered.

9. Stay away from all drugs!

There are strict drug laws in Thailand. Drug possession and trafficking can be punished with long prison terms and even the death penalty. Therefore, tourists should not take drugs with them to Thailand, buy drugs or trade drugs in Thailand.

10. Rent jet skis

Renting jet skis isn't cheap anyway. Even in Thailand, where the prices are usually much cheaper than in Europe, 15 minutes of jet skiing cost an average of 1000 to 1200 baht (around 30 euros). However, if you still have to pay for scratches and dents that you may not be responsible for, you can get away with a few thousand euros for 15 minutes of fun in Thailand. Because unfortunately there are some black sheep among the jet ski rental companies in Thailand who hold tourists liable for damage that is not their own fault.

With mopeds, for example, it is much easier than with jet skis to identify any existing damage. Since the hull of a jet ski is usually in the water, it can hardly be checked for surface damage. In addition, jet ski rental companies in Thailand usually do not offer adequate insurance cover. Therefore, Thailand vacationers should better refrain from jet skiing.

11. Visit animal shows

In particular in the north of Thailand and in the southern holiday regions, animal shows are unfortunately marketed as a tourist attraction. Elephant, monkey, snake and crocodile shows are on the program of most local tour operators. The animals are often tortured and mistreated for years before they are used for tourism. Tourists should avoid all events with animals to protect the animals.

12. Damage corals

Many corals in Thailand have been destroyed by careless tourists. In the last few decades, among others, have suffered particularly. the reef off the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, on which the Maya Bay known from the Hollywood film “The Beach” is located (TRAVELBOOK reported), or the diving and snorkeling spot “Japanese Garden” near Koh Nang Yuan, a neighboring island of Koh Tao in the southeast of Thailand.

Unfortunately, it happens again and again that tourists willfully break off corals while diving or snorkeling or damage them with their fins due to carelessness. Divers and snorkelers, especially beginners, should therefore move particularly carefully underwater and not touch anything there.

The author of this post has also written an online travel guide about Thailand with numerous travel tips.

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