Useful Tips

Changing Money.

Don’t change your money into Thai Bahts until you arrive at BKK Airport, you get much better rates at Bangkok Airport, they only accept cash though.

Tell Your Bank.

Always remember to advise your bank before you travel. Thailand is high on the radar for card fraud, so UK banks like to block usage of your debit cards over there unless you call to tell them to authorize use of your card. Trust me, the last thing that you want is to get over there to find that your card is blocked and then have to spend £1 per minute to sit in a que for 15 minutes before speaking to someone. Then to top it off, forget your security questions to access your account. Yep, that’s what happened to me and after a long haul flight and in a rush to get another flight, I wasn’t too happy.

Using Cash Machines.

Every time you use a hole in the wall to withdraw money your bank will charge you. The machine is nice enough to charge you 150THB and then your bank also charges you, this works out to be about £6 in total. It’s not the best idea but I tend to change a wad of money into Thai THB at BKK Airport and make sure I always get a room that has a safe for me to keep it in. Losing this would not be a good idea!

Thai Sim Cards.

If you want to use your phone in Thailand for either making calls, using the internet or instant messaging/emails then you can get Thai Sim Card from most 7/11’s, I usually get mine as soon as I arrive at BKK Airport. You will find two kiosk on the arrivals level (floor 2). Just look for the crowd of people waiting for arrivals where you will find two kiosks. You can get a card and a one week data bundle for about 300THB (£6) which is super cheap. Having the internet on your phone is very useful for booking flight, making hotel reservations and even using Google maps for finding places etc. You can only use a Thai Sim in your phone if your phone is unblocked to accept any Sim Card.

Travel Insurance.

I would always recommend taking out travel insurance before your trip to Thailand. You can get a decent policy for as little as £14 by looking on sites like gocompare.com or moneysupermarket.com. You may not think it necessary but I speak from experience. Once I hurt my back after doing flying forward rolls through giant rings on fire during a beach party. Long story short, I ended up spending a night in hospital which would have cost me £1000 but luckily I took out insurance and the insurance company footed the bill. Every time I go I meet people who have hurt themselves on bikes and had to pay a fortune on hospital bills because they didn’t have insurance. One thing that you will always see in Thailand are a ton of people walking around with bandages and broken limbs due to bike accidents. So you would be silly not to take out insurance. The morals of this story are don’t jump through rings of fire on the beach like a fool, don’t mess about on your bike and take out travel insurance.

Hospital Visits.

This is only relevant if you have taken out travel insurance and are unfortunate enough to find yourself in hospital. Hospital visits are always interesting in Thailand. No matter what your symptoms are the first thing they will ask you is if you have travel insurance. If your answer is yes then depending on your reason for your visit or symptoms then then will always try to admit you for a night. This is because they can make a big claim on your insurance policy but they can only claim if you spend over 24Hrs in their care. Now I am not suggesting that you should completely ignore the hospitals advise if they want to admit you but just beware.

On one occasion I actually fell for it myself and after I decided that the whole hospital was in on the scam. After hurting my back by messing about on the beach, I went to hospital the following morning to have it checked out because I couldn’t even walk. The first question they asked was if I had insurance and after answering yes they must have had a secret orgasm. The second question they asked was if I had my passport with me. Once I handed that over, its game on. I was pretty worried because I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t walk so I took their concern seriously. Anyways, one drip, an Xray, an ambulance to Koh Phangan ferry port, a Speed boat to Samui, another ambulance and two nurses waiting at the ferry port later, I arrived at Saumi Hospital. I had to wait for about an hour before the Dr  got round to me. He literally took a 5 second look at my Xray and said “nope, nothing wrong”. In my naivety I thought that I could just get up as I would do at home, thank them for their concern and be on my way but they weren’t planning on letting me go without giving me my bill for 50,000THB (£1000). There was no way I was parting ways with a grand but they know what they’re doing, I have insurance and they have my passport. Here comes the best part, they say either pay the £1000 or you make a claim on your insurance but the catch is that they cant make a claim unless I stay for at least 24 hours. They basically had me by the balls, they had my passport and I wasn’t going to pay the £1000 bill. So I had to spend 24 stinking hours in hospital for absolutely no reason other than making the hospital a grand!

Another time after spending three days in bed with a bad viral throat infection, I went to the hospital for a shot on penicillin and yep they tried it on again. “oh, we think you should stay over night on a drip”. No thanks just hit me with a shot of penicillin in the bum and let me out of here. They gave me the shot and 2000THB (£40) and after a nights sleep I was fine. So the morals of this story are, don’t get sick in Thailand and if you do, don’t give anyone your passport and don’t let them talk you into staying over night unless you feel it is necessary yourself. Obviously I’m not a doctor and I’m not suggesting that you ignore their advise to stay at all costs. Clearly if one of your eyes  is hanging out of it’s socket or you’ve walked in with one of your legs in your hand then I wouldn’t suggest accusing them of trying scam you out of your insurance money as they may have a point, I’m just saying don’t let them try to pull the wool over your eyes.

Choosing your Accommodation.

I would recommend using sites like Agoda and Booking.com for finding somewhere to stay. They have mobile device friendly apps and traveler reviews. Go to Accommodation Page for more info.

Blocking Flight Seats.

Why fly First Class when you can have a row of three seats to yourself? I usually fly from London to Bangkok with Eva Air. When I check in I always ask if the flight is fully booked, if it’s not then I’ll ask to be seated on my own and for the other two seats to be blocked off. This way the other check in operators can”t seat other passengers next to me. I’ve tried it every time that I’ve flown and it has worked every time so far. Chances of it working are good providing the flight isn’t full and that you arrive at the check in desk early enough before lots of seats are allocated. So If you want to try it, make sure you check in early. I have only tried this flying with Eva, other airlines might have a policy not to block seats but it’s always worth trying.

Drugs

Don’t be taking drugs in Thailand, if you get caught the Thai police will take great pleasure in locking you up and trading cash for your release and as much as they can get out of you. I’ve heard that they have locals working for them who set you up by trying to sell drugs to you and before you know it you’ll be in handcuffs wetting yourself in a Thai cell. Sounds good to me.

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