Preparing for a trip to another country can be quite stressful. Especially if you are not familiar with factors such as weather, the language, or customs. Here are a few tips that I found helpful prior to my departure to Thailand.
- Make sure that you allow sufficient time to go to a travel clinic. Normally, I am a procrastinator. I got lucky as I scheduled my visit to the travel clinic 2 months before my departure date. If traveling to Thailand, try going 4-6 weeks prior to your planned trip. Depending on what region you’re staying in, you may need to get multiple vaccines. One of the vaccinations I was required to get was Japanese Encephalitis. Had I gone to the travel clinic less than a month from my departure date, I likely wouldn’t have been able to receive my second vaccination as it is standard to wait at least 28 days between the two. I was also given pills when visiting elephant sanctuaries, as my Nurse Practitioner informed me that it would help protect me against bacteria in the water as it can be sprayed in visitors faces by the elephants. If you are going to the Northern regions of Thailand, ask your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner about Malaria pills. I was given some for my visit to Pai.
- Spray your clothes with Permethrin before heading over to Thailand to help avoid mosquitos, especially if you are visiting during the rainy season. It can last on clothes for up to 6 weeks and 6 washes.
- Write down common phrases in Thai. I put them in the notes section of my phone and it was incredibly helpful. Google translate is also a good app to download on your phone. It is thought to be respectful and polite for females to end sentences with kâ and men to end them in kráp when speaking to others. This website was very useful for me: https://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/thai.php.
- Talk with other individuals who have visited the country or are from Thailand. The best suggestions for places to visit in Thailand were from friends who stayed for a significant amount of time there. They were able to suggest places that weren’t as touristy like Chiang Rai.
- Familiarize yourself with what is and isn’t appropriate etiquette in Thailand. For instance, taking off one’s shoes prior to entering a home or Temple is key, avoid pointing as this is considered a rude gesture, and women should not touch or hand anything to monks. Check out these links for more information regarding Thai etiquette: https://www.tripsavvy.com/thailand-etiquette-dos-and-donts-1458305, http://www.greenthailand.co.uk/green-tourism/7-dos-and-don-ts-of-thai-cultural-etiquette/, and http://www.expique.com/blog/2017/07/06/customs-and-habits-that-baffle-first-time-visitors-to-thailand/.