Squid on a Stick & Monkey Islands in Thailand

Heading to Thailand for the first time and need some ideas? After my recent trip to Bangkok and the nearby beach town of Pranburi, I’ve got some tips to share with you. But the most important advice: EAT! Eat as much of the street food as you can physically manage, walk around for 15 minutes and then go eat MORE. Don’t worry, you can’t get fat–it’s so damn steamy and humid in Bangkok that you sweat off the calories as soon as you’ve ingested them. So on that note…

-Eat all the street food you can, try everything, just point and smile. It is almost always ONE US DOLLAR for your meal, no joke, and it’s totally clean and safe. I never got sick once in 10 days of being there.

-As weird and interesting as it may seem, do not try the durian fruit–it smells bad and tastes even worse! Of course now that I’ve said this, you’ll want to try it even more, so when you do, just avoid experimenting with this freaky fruit in an enclosed area, like an airplane! There will be rioting.

-In Bangkok , go check out the “food court” at the market by the National Stadium, and also the food court with a kickass view (as well as the cool indie designer boutiques) at the Terminal 21 mall, a very cool airport-themed mall where the food choices will have you staring open-mouthed and going mad trying to decide). 

-Opt for AC in the hotel or hostels if possible, as it is just so constantly muggy and hot, and I am saying this after going there straight from India where I mostly did not use AC.

-If you seek a calm, inexpensive, non-touristy beach resort near Bangkok, go to Blue Beach resort in Pranburi. It’s just a 3-hour mini van ride from Bangkok. Go to the resort’s website for help with directions, etc. At the resort, there’s even a real live monkey island you can kayak over to!

-Whether in the city or at the beach, use good sun screen all the time, as the sun is very hot and strong there, especially if you’re in the water, which acts like a magnifying glass.

-If you’re going into temples, you’ll need to be modestly dressed, so for the ladies, take a scarf and some of those hippie pants (you can buy them all over the place) so you don’t have to pay to “rent” clothes at the temple entrance. One must-see temple: Wat Arun, which you can reach by river ferry; it’s a really refreshing and scenic ride.

-Always bargain with the tuk tuk drivers. But also try to have your hotel address or destination written in Thai because many drivers do not understand English. You can even have the driver call the number (they usually have a cell phone) of your hotel/destination to get directions.

-For flying around the region, Air Asia is an excellent low cost airline. But always check out Kayak.com (my fave!) to compare with other airlines.

Have you ever been to Thailand? Do you have any juicy tips for first time visitors to Thailand?

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