Things you need to know when travelling to Thailand

thailand

I know!!! This post is now long overdue!! I’m sorry…life got in the way  Let’s get right into it, no ramblings!

The first thing that’s handy to know is the currency exchange. If you’re from Australia or Mauritius and you’re considering a trip to Thailand but you’re a bit undecided because you’re on a budget? Good news, Thailand is cheap! Everything from food, accommodation, clothes,transport is cheap even for Mauritians! I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but we all know Mauritian rupee is very weak. So relatively speaking, of course Thailand is even cheaper for the Australian than it will be for the Mauritian, but both will still find Thailand cheap. Thai money is called Baht and below is a rough conversion rate:

Currency:

currency

$1 = 30 Baht (In Aug 2013, it was around $27.40)
1 Baht = 1 Mauritian Rupee

Airfares:

airfares

If you’re on a budget and planning an overseas trip, please read on before crossing Thailand off your list! The only steep expense you might have will come from the airfares. I’m not sure how much it is from Mauritius, but from Sydney, in low season (July – September), you’ll be looking at around $1200 for airfares only. In saying that, in Australia you can get so many deals for destinations like Thailand and Bali, you just need to know where to look. I’m always hawking websites like TravelZoo, Groupon, Scoopon for travel deals. When I went to Thailand last month, I bought a deal via Scoopon which was $999 for international return airfares, 10 nights accommodation inc. daily breakfast, return airport transfers! As you can tell, that’s an awesome deal, way too good to pass! However please note that I bought the deal almost 1 year before my actual trip. So if you’re planning today for next month, it might be harder for you to get the best deals.

Accommodation:

accomodation

Whenever I’m travelling, I always think of accommodation as a place where I can sleep at night. I think it’s pointless to look for the most luxurious resort and pay a leg and an arm for a room when you’re not even going to spend that much time at the resort itself. In saying that, hygiene, a minimum of comfort and location are important factors, I take into consideration when booking my accommodation.

If you’re like me, then you can get accommodation in a 3-star resort for as low as $40- $60 per room, per night. So if you’re going with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend, that’s $30 per person per night and most resorts in Thailand include daily breakfast. For people from Mauritius, that’ll be around Rs900 per person per night. I know it can add up very quickly but compared to the resorts in Mauritius, Rs900 is still pretty cheap. If you’re not too fussy about hygiene, comfort and location, you can get even cheaper in hostels or backpacker accommodations.

I book my accommodation on one the following websites, wherever I get the cheaper rates: agoda.com, booking.com, wotif.com, lastminute.com and on the hotel’s website. Make sure you compare the rates because all five websites came up with different rates when I checked.

Everyday expenses:

everyday expenses

Depending on what type of traveller you are, you can easily live off $40-60 a day. Below is a guide of prices for different things:

F&B:
Bottle of water (1L) = 15 Baht/ 50 cents/ Rs.15
A small drinkf rom the shops = 10-15 Baht/ 50 cents/ Rs 10-15
Small coke in restaurant = 50 Baht / $1.67 / Rs 50
Basic traditional thai meal (street food) = 120 Baht/ $4 / Rs.120
Restaurant meal inc. drink = 380-420 Baht/ $14 / Rs 380-420
Beer: 70 Baht / $2 / Rs 70

Transport:
Transport/Taxi = 500 Baht for a 45mins drive / $16 / Rs500

Other:
1 hr full body massage = 300 – 500 Baht / $10-16/ Rs300-500
Facial = 300 Baht / $10 / Rs300
Mani + Pedi = 300 Baht / S10 / Rs300
T-shirt = As low as 100Baht / $3 / Rs100
Full day tour including lunch = 900 – 1200 Baht/ $30-$40/ Rs 900-1200

Things you absolutely need to take with you:

survival kit

You can easily find chemists, convenience stores, grocery shops everywhere in Thailand. But there are things you’ll need from the very minute you put one foot onto the Thai land (get that, get that?!! Lol) that cannot wait until you get to a shop to get what you need. So if you already have these things at home, take them along with you.

– Insect repellent – A MUST!
– GastroStop – Gastro doesn’t wait for you to get to the chemist!
– Sunscreen – Trust me you’ll feel your skin burning
– Aftersun – Because you will be in pain from the sunburn even if you wear sunscreen
– Bobby pins – Holiday hair needs bobby pins at all times
– Some cash (Baht) – I usually exchange some money at my destination’s airport, that’s where I find to get the lowest rates

Shopping:

shopping

If you intend to shop in Thailand, I’d recommend going to the markets because they’re not only cheaper than in the shopping malls, but you can also haggle and get what you want for even cheaper. Don’t ever pay the advertised full price. You can always bargain with the sellers and it’s totally acceptable and not considered rude in the Thai culture. Just keep perspective that if you’re bargaining over 100Baht, that’s only $3/ Rs100 and probably not worth the hassle. And the sellers will be so thankful that you’re willing to pay the 100Baht extra, you’ll feel like you’re Mother Teresa. So if we can make simple things like that to make locals happy, why not?  There were many instances where the seller will hand me a calculator and ask me how much I’m willing to pay for the item I’m interested in. Just keep in mind that they will never settle for the price you’re requesting, so always give a price lower than what you’re willing to pay, but be realistic.

Some of the things I found to be extremely cheap in Thailand were Thai silk (table clothes, cushion covers, scarves, silk clothes etc.), real freshwater pearls of any size, leather items (handbags, belts, wallets etc.) and DVDs.

Drop me a line if you have questions 🙂 ❤

~C

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