6 Ways to Experience Thailand like a Local
Genuine local experiences are the true heart of traveling to strange lands. If you want a truly authentic Thai experience, you’re going to have to leave the most popular tourist spots and travel like a local! Some backpackers may not be able to stray from their original plans too much because of time restraints, so we included a few things you can do along your journey regardless. In this article, we’ll go over 6 ways to travel like a local in Thailand including amazing Thai dishes, local language and a handful of uniquely Thai activities.
Learn Basic Thai Phrases
First and foremost, learning basic Thai phrases and manners will go a long way. No matter how long you’re in a new place, it’s always a good idea to take the time to learn the local language. Thailand is known as the land of smiles and this is amplified tenfold by doing your best to speak in Thai yourself. Before getting into the most useful Thai phrases, it’s important to note that there are 2 words that appear in nearly every Thai sentence.
If you’re a boy, you’ll end sentences in “Khrup”(pronounced krahp). Girls end their sentences in “Ka” (pronounced kah).
Yes — Chai (khrup/ka)
No — Mai (khrup/ka)
I Don’t Want That — Mai Ao (khrup/ka)
Hello — Sawadee (khrup/ka)
Thank You — Khop Khun (khrup/ka)
Sorry — Khor Thoad (khrup/ka)
No Worries — Mai Pen Rai
Not advanced or in-depth enough for you? We highly suggest taking 15 minutes to read through and practice basic Thai phrases with our handy guide.
Learn to Cook Thai Food
Everyone loves Thai dishes, but how many non-locals know how to cook it? Not many! Taking a Thai cooking class is a great way to spend an afternoon in Bangkok. We recommend Amita Thai Cooking Class or Silom Thai Cooking School. Both offer half-day courses, thoroughly going over all the ingredients involved, recipes and hands-on cooking. Thai dishes are typically rotated in and out on a daily basis, making each class different. Many would say that the best part of taking a Thai cooking class is getting to taste your hard work at the end of the day. We say it’s the knowledge you leave with – the knowledge to cook Thai food like a local!
Not everyone loves to cook, but everyone loves to eat. While you can probably find a Thai restaurant back home that satisfies your cravings, it just isn’t the same. Nothing beats the authentic Thai street food experience! Grabbing a meal from a street vendor is one of the best ways to travel like a local in Thailand. “If the locals eat there, then so should you.”
The great thing about street food in Thailand compared to even other coutnries in Southeast Asia is the insane variety. Deep fried insects, scorpions and spiders. Classic Thai dishes like papaya salad, Pad Thai and grilled meat skewers can be found just about anywhere.
Take a Motorbike Taxi in Bangkok
Going for that authentic Thai experience doesn’t have to break the bank! In fact, sometimes it will actually save you money (and time). Being frugal in Bangkok can be a tall task, especially if you need to take an expensive cab ride. Add Bangkok’s congested traffic during rush hour and it’s a recipe for an empty wallet.
The alternative? Hop on a motorbike taxi during peak hours. Not only are they cheaper as a whole, but they’re able to weave through traffic at ease. They often know the city much better than the taxi cabs too, so you’ll probably get to your destination quicker. Motorbike fares in Bangkok usually start at 25 baht and go up every 5km traveled. Head to a busy intersection and wait for an orange vest to head your way. They’re hard to miss!
Haggle for a Bargain at a Night Market
Bangkok is full of night markets, but did you know there’s at least 1 in every Thai city? Back in the early 80’s, the third Prime Minister of Thailand decided that every town should have its own flea market. It was a power play to boost local economies and make it easier to do trade in the country. What this means for the tourists of Thailand is that you can always get a good deal on souvenirs no matter where you travel.
Read our guide on basic Thai phrases to learn how to haggle like a boss!
Learn Muay Thai at a Local Gym
Learning Muay Thai is a great way to stay fit and blend in with the locals of Thailand. And there’s no better place on the planet to take a Muay Thai class than Thailand itself. The basic training regime even in beginner’s classes is enough to make you feel thinner and stronger. Sweat it all out, your body deserves it!