Thailand is a different world, and having a few Thailand travel tips under your belt can make your trip to the Far East unforgettable…in a good way.
However, there are a few essential pieces of information any traveler needs to know, whether they are lounging on a beach in Phuket or hanging out with the expatriates in Bangkok. Thailand is very popular among English-speaking travelers, since the entire tourist industry-and, most of the citizens under 40-can speak the language.
But don’t get TOO comfortable, because there are some major differences.
Thailand and Drugs Don’t Mix
Some Thailand travelers have an image of the nation as a hedonistic paradise. Movies like The Beach (with portions filmed in Thailand) have supported this. Although the party beaches and red-light district are popular destinations, do NOT consider messing with illegal drugs. Drug laws in the country are very strict.
Possession charges that might not be a felony in the US can result in years of imprisonment in Thailand. And if you get caught with large amounts, you can even face execution. Despite these strict laws, drugs are fairly accessible in the country. Easy to get or not, do NOT become involved with drugs in Thailand; it is recreational Russian roulette.
Dark Side of the Animal Industry
Touring animals and elephant shows are common in the country. In my first trip, I regularly fed elephants wandering the streets and posed with pet monkeys…but that stopped my second trip to the country. Frequently, those wandering the streets with monkeys, birds, and lizards will ask for a small fee to pose their animal in pictures.
To keep the animals docile, I discovered the owners often drug them daily. Even worse are the elephants led by owners to beg for bananas and fruit in the streets. These animals are often too old to perform in the animals’ shows and are on the fringe of starvation. It is heartbreaking. As much as you’d like to feed them, not doing so is all you can do to dissuade the practice.