Dos and Don’ts in Thailand to avoid nasty surprises

PHOTO: Unsplash

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The country boasts natural beauty, interesting culture, delicious food, energetic nightlife, and more. However, like any country around the globe, the Land of Smiles also has some shady corners with unsafe activities. Of course, if you’re new to the country, you can not know everything right away. That’s why we make this guide, to point out the things to do correctly in Thailand that every visitor should know beforehand. Knowing these things will help you avoid embarrassment and scams while you’re in the country, allowing you to have a truly memorable experience.


Khao San Road. iStockphoto/monticelllo
PHOTO: Khao San Road via iStockphoto/monticelllo

Don’t: Thinking of going to a Ping Pong Show in Thailand? While it may seem fun and exciting, it’s best to avoid it. Ping Pong Shows are a type of sex show infamous in certain parts of Thailand, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket. Many things are wrong with these types of shows. The first and biggest danger you need to watch out for is being approached by a man who promises you the night of your life, taking you to the upstairs of a bar, they won’t allow you to leave until you pay a significant amount of money. In other words, you’re being scammed.

Do: Thailand has many shows that are genuinely spectacular with talented performers. You can watch a cabaret extravaganza in Pattaya, get front row seats to a Thai boxing match in Bangkok, or see cultural shows in Phuket such as the Phuket FantaSea. If you’re really curious about Thailand’s famous nightlife in questionable areas, there are numerous safe tours that will take you to some of Bangkok’s more seedy nightlife scenes.

Bargaining in Thai markets

Things to do correctly in Thailand. Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay
PHOTO: Floating market via Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Don’t: While bargaining and haggling for a better deal is part of the experience when shopping in Thai markets, you should never bargain too low as it may offend some people. In addition, you shouldn’t bargain if you don’t actually want to buy the item or service. Asking how much something costs out of curiosity and then walking away is fine. Still, haggling when you really don’t intend to buy at any price is terrible. Remember that people are just trying to make a living. However, if you don’t reach an agreement with the seller, then it’s okay to move on to the next store.

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Do: Before you haggle, make sure you have a rough idea of how much you’re willing to pay for the product or service. You can do price checking in other shops or ask your accommodation how much things cost. When you start bargaining, start at around 50% of the price offered, then begin to negotiate from there.


Image by Jean Martineau from Pixabay
PHOTO: Taxi. byJean Martineau from Pixabay

Don’t: If the taxi driver offers a flat or fixed rate, don’t try to bargain it since they’ll most likely give you an inflated rate. Remember that there’s no need to negotiate the fare of taxis in Thailand as they all should have metres.

Do: Ask the driver to use the metres. It’s illegal for them to refuse it. If they don’t want to use the metre, it’s an indication of a suspicious agenda. Therefore, it’s best to walk away and find another taxi. Alternatively, you can hail cars easily and safely using apps like Grab or Bolt (this is the cheaper option). But be mindful that the rates might differ according to demand. In some cases, you can rent a taxi for the day and negotiate the price instead of using the metre. The price can vary a lot, but they tend to be rather expensive. In this case, renting a private car might be a better option.

Visiting Temples

Wat Arun. Image by Carina Hofmeister from Pixabay. Things to do correctly in Thailand
PHOTO: Wat Arun by Carina Hofmeister from Pixabay

Don’t: Wearing something revealing when visiting the temples in Thailand is considered impolite. Avoid wearing shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, or other clothes that show too much skin.

Do: If you’re planning on visiting any temples or royal palaces, be sure to cover up. It would be best to wear a top that covers your arms and pants or skirts that cover your legs. Larger temples usually have signs that mention the dress code. You might also be able to borrow a sarong in some temples. However, smaller temples may not display any signs or offer sarongs, but the same rules still apply.

Tour in Bangkok

Dos and Don'ts in Thailand to avoid nasty surprises | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok by tawatchai07 from freepik

Don’t: While tours can bring you the best experiences in Bangkok, many scams do exist. Some tours may trick you into thinking that popular tourist spots like Wat Pho have been closed and instead offer you an overpriced tuk-tuk tour.

Do: If you want a tour of Bangkok, always be careful. There are many great tours around the city offering unique and unforgettable experiences, such as river cruises and tours around the city’s temples and palaces. However, always book the tour with trustworthy tour operators, whether it’s online or offline.

Things to do in Pattaya

Pattaya. Image by 41330 from Pixabay
PHOTO: Pattaya by 41330 from Pixabay

Don’t: While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying Pattaya’s nightlife, make sure to avoid seedy areas of the city.

Do: Pattaya has so much more to offer than wild parties. Don’t miss out on other impressive attractions, such as extravagant performances and beautiful beaches. Cultural and historical attractions in the city, such as Sanctuary of Truth, are worth checking out as well. The city is also dotted with great museums, including Art in Paradise and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. For some serenity, visit the lush Nong Nooch Tropical Garden.

Things to do in Phuket

Phi Phi Island Tour. Things to do correctly in Thailand
PHOTO: Phi Phi Island Tour by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

Do: If you really want to make the most of your trip to Phuket, it’s best to avoid spending too much time in touristy areas like Patong. We’re not saying that you should avoid the area altogether. After all, it’s home to some of the island’s best restaurants and hotels. However, don’t forget to explore other places on the island as well. HERE is our guide to lesser known beaches in Phuket. Also, if you’re not into crazy nightlife, you might want to avoid certain areas of Patong.

Don’t: There are many things you can do in Phuket. Yes, partying is one of them, but make sure you avoid shady nightclubs and bars. There are many great nightclubs, bars, and beach clubs around the island to choose from, but it’s best if you do quick research first. Be sure to explore Phuket’s many beaches, beside Patong. If you want to escape the crowd and relax somewhere quiet, Freedom Beach and Sai Kaew Beach are well worth considering. Phuket Old Town is a great place to explore and make sure to try the local cuisine. Don’t forget to check out the islands around Phuket as well. Phang Nga Bay, Phi Phi Islands, and Similan Islands are all within an easy day trip from Phuket. Also, try snorkelling and discover Phuket’s beautiful marine life if you can.

Elephant attractions

Dos and Don'ts in Thailand to avoid nasty surprises | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash

Don’t: Riding on the back of an elephant may sound appealing and exciting for many tourists. However, it’s not healthy for the elephant, and they’re likely to be tormented for years to be able to do that. You might also see elephants being paraded through tourist areas but don’t support such a thing. Skip other animal attractions, such as monkey or tiger shows, as well.

Do: If you do want to visit and see elephants, then make sure to do it in ethical sanctuaries or camps where the animals are treated well. There are numerous elephant sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres in the country, such as Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Khao Kheow Open Zoo near Pattaya, and Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Sukhotai.

We hope this guide can help you enjoy Thailand to the fullest, without any trouble or nasty surprises!

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Cita Catellya

Cita Catellya is a journalist and writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter 5 years ago, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence. Cita writes in both English and her native Bahasa Indonesia

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