Things you should know before your trip

Before You Go - consider the areas of Thailand you will be visiting and check for recent health alerts.

Water - is not usually a problem in Thailand. Bottled water is cheap and available virtually everywhere except adventure venues. But Thailand is a tropical to sub-tropical region and may be extremely humid. Proper hydration is extremely important. The tap water is rated as safe but nearly all Thais use bottled water for drinking. Most Foreigners use Bottled water for drink and cooking. Do not drink Bottled water if opened and un-refrigerated as bugs will increase.

Heat & Sun - are important considerations in Thailand. Drink more water than you think you need and don't over exert. Take the sun gradually for the first several days. Consider using sun screens and avoiding exposure in the early afternoons.

Food - Thai food is one of the rewards of a visit to Thailand. In restaurants and stalls frequented by Thais, it will be cheap, fresh and tasty. Common sense is the key. If something smells spoiled, don't eat it. Avoid undercooked meats. One other caveat might be the seasoning. While some Thai food is quite mild, other dishes are downright fiery.

Hygiene - will be important for two reasons. First, Thailand is hot and in the dry season can be dusty. You won't perspire, you will sweat. Bacteria will grow faster and fungus infections are always an issue. Second, you will smell bad.

The Thais are fastidious people. You will seldom see a dirty Thai unless they are engaged in hot dirty work. As soon as practical they will bathe and change clothes. Bathe several times each day. Make your first stop after a tour or trek the shower. Then when you sit down for that cool drink, the Thais and your fellow travellers will appreciate your presence much more.

Toilets - especially up country, may be the squat type. And there will seldom be toilet paper available, even in some of the sit-down stalls. Toilet paper is available in most markets, so carrying your own is advisable.

Clothing choices for Thailand tend to be personal and depend on activities, seasons and locations. A businessman planning a week in Bangkok will probably want to bring lightweight suits and cotton shirts. Short sleeve shirts are acceptable for most dining venues. Adventure travellers will be more prone to walking shorts and pullover cotton shirts. Weather will play a definite factor for most travellers. During the rainy season, lightweight cotton clothing will dry faster. Sandals will not get waterlogged like leather or athletic shoes, but they may be frowned upon in some venues.

Location and season can make a difference if one is travelling to the mountainous areas of the North and Northeast. A long sleeved shirt or light jacket is often advised for night time outdoors.

Thai Temples and Palaces will usually ban shorts and tank tops, especially for women.

T Shirts seem to be extremely popular among tourists... and they are widely available in the street markets around Thailand. But they are not considered proper dress with adult Thais. A pullover shirt with a collar makes a much better impression.

Grooming is important to the Thais, who tend to be fastidious. You will seldom see an unkempt and dirty Thai unless s/he is working at a dirty job. They tend to shower several times per day. The heat and humidity in Thailand makes most westerners perspire profusely. You would plan on bathing three times per day!!!

Laundry services are widely available all over Thailand, and laundry means washed and ironed/pressed. Larger hotels will tend to be expensive, but for short stays are probably more practical. For longer stays in a given area it may pay to look around for a laundry service. Asking a local will usually result in finding one nearby.

Internet is free and available if you have a computer buy the monthly packs although be careful. Some only work on TOT so if it's for checking your own e-mail buy the 20 or 30 hour packs which should work everywhere.