Thailand is like sex: You have no idea what you are getting yourself into and then it ends in tears… Or was that just me? Anyhoots, that doesn’t have to apply to you (hopefully)! This is why we have gathered all the information you need to somewhat successfully navigate through the Land of a Thousand Smiles on your first trip. It may not be India, but Thailand, nonetheless, is still overwhelming at times, particularly when your first inevitable destination is Krungthep (Bangkok, my friends).

We were all in the same boat once as well. ? But we made it through the wilderness, somehow we made it through, didn’t know how lost we were until we found Slumber Party. ?

Shit To Bring With You (Or To Leave At Home)

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my travels is to pack my bag with a minimalistic approach. Be like Baloo and only bring the bare necessities. Don’t be like Cherryl Strayed, the author of the book ‘Wild: A Journey From Lost To Found’, who had a backpack “so heavy she couldn’t stand upright. She called it “Monster”.

In case you really do need something that you forgot in your home country, chances are that you can buy it at a reasonable price in Thailand. Forgot your mosquito spray? Every 7-Eleven and Family Mart in the country has it. Darn, you forgot your rain jacket although it’s rainy season now? A full-body rain poncho costs 40 Baht.

You forgot your diabetes medication? Okay, that is, obviously, more serious. If you have any pre-existing condition then you definitely want to make sure to stock up on as much medication to last you for the duration of your trip. Based on stories I’ve heard, it is really difficult to come by such specific medicine and importing it from your home country is a huge hassle.

We wrote a post about things you shouldn’t pack and a list of 7 secret things no one told you to bring. A hoodie is always a good idea as well, even during the high season. You will understand why as soon as you step into a minivan that has the aircon at full blast. Oh, and movie theatres are notoriously cold as well. Just in case you want to catch the latest Marvel movie.

Tips For Getting Around

Thailand is often cited as the best country for first-time travelers. One of the reasons for this is that from all the south-east Asian countries, and maybe even whole Asia, it is the easiest to get around. Whether it’s with buses, minivans, planes, trains, or tuk-tuks, you can get from point A to point B effortlessly and affordable. A plane ticket from Bangkok to any place or island, like Krabi or Koh Samui respectively, costs around 20 US Dollars (with checked baggage a bit more). Within two hours you can be anywhere in Thailand. Air Asia makes it happen.

If even that is too costly for you or if it’s just too damn boring, then a bus or train journey might just tickle your fancy. Particularly popular among backpackers are the overnight trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and a trip from Chiang Mai to Pai. Although, the latter is less popular than it is emetic when undertaken in a bus. The 762 curves between the two locations are infamous. On the other hand, it is an unforgettable experience when you rent a bike and make your way to the charming village independently.

Buses are undoubtedly the cheapest option, but you also have to take two factors into account. One, it takes a lot longer than a flight (duh), and second, you will also spend some money on food and water, which can quickly amount to a few hundred Baht. Therefore, it’s always good to plan accordingly in order to find out if a long bus ride is really worth it.

Then there are also the notorious stories about theft. According to some accounts, either the driver or an accomplice go through the luggage compartment during a stop when everyone is asleep. While these kinds of incidents do happen, they are, nonetheless, more the exception than the rule. Generally speaking, just make sure to keep your wits about you as well as your valuables close to you.

For more tips on how to have peace of mind on a long and arduous trip, read our overnight transport guide. We know our onions, you know?

Don’t Worry, Be Happy (or How To Be Sanuk In Thailand)

No matter how well prepared you are and no matter how many times you read your Lonely Planet guide, shit will happen. Plans will fall through, you will – literally and figuratively – lose your shit, and there will be times when you feel like the world is against you. What do you then?

Well, do as the Thais do and be sanuk! It’s sort of a philosophy that encourages people to just have “fun”, to enjoy everything they do and to have a positive outlook at whatever happens to them. There is no one meaning to the word sanuk but you should consider making it part of your life as well. Whether you are traveling or staying at home.

Just look at Thailand’s biggest festival of the year: Songkran. This is the definition of having fun! There are even instances when Thai people quit their well-paying job if it’s not fun.

So, next time you lose your phone or miss the boat to an island, don’t be annoyed or angered; be sanuk!

Other Tips For Your First Time

Now, it’s story time! How was your first time… in Thailand? Did you feel as lost as a puppy or did you manage just fine? Any other tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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