12 things you shouldn’t do in Thailand!

As in other countries, vacationers in Thailand can quickly get into trouble if they disregard the prohibitions and rules applicable in the country.

What may be allowed or tolerated elsewhere can be severely punished in Thailand. Sometimes even with prison. Many holidaymakers in Thailand are also ripped off – often out of ignorance.

Thailand tourists who want to avoid trouble while on vacation and don’t want to get in trouble with the law should consider these 12 no-gos:

1. Get in the wrong taxi

The good news is: In Thailand there are so-called “metered” or “public” taxis almost everywhere, whose drivers charge according to the taximeter. The bad news is: Unfortunately, there are also numerous taxi drivers who refuse to turn on the taximeter and end up charging tourists twice or three times the price. If a metered cab driver won’t turn on the meter when asked, your best bet is to get out and take another cab.

Metered taxis in Thailand have a sign saying “Taxi-Meter” on the roof and are usually yellow-green, pink or light blue. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s international airport, the stopping zone for the “Public” and “Metered” taxis is on the first floor (Level 1). A drive from the airport to central Bangkok takes between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on traffic. Depending on the destination, the trip costs between 450 and 600 baht (equivalent to between 12 and 16 euros). You can get to your destination faster and cheaper with the Airport Rail Link. The shuttle train runs from the airport to the city center every 45 minutes.

So-called limousine driving services with chic, comfortable cars are also common in Thailand. However, the journeys are usually twice as expensive.

In Thailand, shared taxis (mini-vans and so-called songthaews) and tuk-tuks are cheaper than “metered” taxis.

2. Enter temples wearing shorts and tank tops

Visiting a Buddhist temple in Thailand with shorts and a tank top or even with a bare chest or bare stomach is an absolute no-go. Appropriate clothing that covers arms and legs is compulsory when visiting temples in Thailand. In most temples, however, covering only the upper arms, thighs, and knees is sufficient. This means: short-sleeved (not sleeveless!) shirts, blouses and shirts as well as trousers, dresses and skirts that are longer than half-length are mostly tolerated by tourists. It should also be noted that shoes must be removed before entering a temple.

3. Bathing naked or lying topless on the beach

Skinny dipping and/or lying topless on the beach (applies to women) are among the other no-gos in Thailand. Both are also prohibited. Failure to comply with the ban will result in penalties.

4. Have an e-cigarette in your suitcase

E-cigarettes (also IQOS) or all other vaporizers are among the absolute no-gos in Thailand. Because in Thailand, the import, purchase, sale and smoking of e-cigarettes and the like are prohibited. The Federal Foreign Office writes on its website that violating the ban can be punished with a high fine or imprisonment of up to five years. Smoking standard cigarettes is generally permitted (with the exception of smoke-free zones). It should be noted that smoking in Thailand is also prohibited on some beaches (TRAVELBOOK reported). Violations are punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to 100,000 baht (approx. 2700 euros).

5. Eat undercooked fish or meat

Thailand is famous for its street food. Delicious satay skewers, chicken drumsticks and seafood are sizzling on charcoal grills in street food stalls and markets. It can happen, however, that fish and meat are not fully cooked through. Or that fruit wasn’t peeled by a clean hand and the salad wasn’t washed with completely flawless water. Therefore, tourists, especially those with sensitive stomachs, should be very careful about what and where they eat. It is not without reason that diarrheal diseases are still one of the most common diseases among tourists in Thailand.

Some hygiene measures can also protect against diseases: washing and disinfecting hands regularly and never drinking tap water, but only drinking bottled water and brushing your teeth with it.

6. Rent a moped

The good news is that in many places in Thailand you can rent mopeds relatively inexpensively for 250 to 300 baht (between 7 and 8 euros) per day. With a longer rental period, you can get away even cheaper. Now the bad news: mopeds are often rented out in Thailand without any insurance. If the landlord does offer liability and/or vehicle insurance, the sums insured are usually so low that in the event of damage, the majority of the costs have to be borne by you and you have to pay them immediately.

If you still take the risk and rent a moped in Thailand, you should definitely check the vehicle thoroughly before signing the contract, photograph any existing damage, log it and have it signed by the rental company. Otherwise, it could happen that you will be asked to pay for damage that you are not responsible for. In addition, brakes, tires, lighting, etc. should be checked thoroughly.

Although wearing a helmet is compulsory when riding mopeds and motorbikes in Thailand, many tourists ride without a helmet. This can not only be dangerous, but if you get caught, you will also be fined at least 500 baht (approx. 13 euros).

Particularly reckless tourists – and unfortunately most of them are – drive mopeds in Thailand with shorts, tank tops and flip-flops. Many men only jump on the scooter bare-chested, women with bikini tops – all of them no-gos and also extremely dangerous.

7. Accidentally groping into seedy massage parlors

Massages are offered on almost every corner in Thailand. On a lounger by the street, on a mat on the beach, and also in massage parlors. While most massage parlors in Thailand are reputable salons, where u. Foot reflexology, shoulder and neck massages and oil massages are offered, while others attract customers with erotic massages. Such massage parlors can usually be recognized by the fact that the windows are curtained and cannot be seen from the street. Scantily clad women and transvestites are usually standing in front of such salons to recruit customers.

8. Buy something on the street without bargaining

Some Thailand newbies are happy about the comparatively low prices when they buy one or the other supposedly inexpensive souvenir in a market or at a street stall in Thailand. However, it is often much cheaper. Because many dealers in Thailand try to rip off tourists and call up horrendous (starting) prices. In return, however, tourists are expected to trade. Here’s how it works in Thailand (and most other Southeast Asian countries): traders and buyers enter each other’s asking prices into a calculator until a price is agreed upon. However, when haggling, tourists should bear in mind that the traders also want to make some money and do not push the prices down outrageously.

In “normal” shops, department stores and shopping centers, the prices are usually fixed and not non-negotiable. However, (tourist) discounts are offered in many places.

9. Stay away from all drugs!

Thailand has strict drug laws. Drug possession and trafficking are punishable by long prison sentences and even the death penalty. Tourists should therefore never take drugs with them to Thailand, nor buy drugs in Thailand nor deal in drugs. Drugs are therefore an absolute no-go in Thailand.

10. Rent jet skis

Renting jet skis is not cheap anyway. Even in Thailand, where prices are usually significantly cheaper than in Europe, 15 minutes of jet skiing costs an average of 1000 to 1200 baht (around 30 euros). However, if you then have to pay for scratches and dents that you may not have caused yourself, 15 minutes of fun in Thailand can cost you a few thousand euros. Because unfortunately there are some black sheep among the jet ski rental companies in Thailand who hold tourists liable for damage that they are not to blame for.

With mopeds, for example, it is much easier than with jet skis to determine any existing damage. Since the hull of a jet ski is mostly in the water, it can hardly be checked for surface damage. In addition, jet ski rental companies in Thailand usually do not offer sufficient insurance cover. Therefore, Thailand vacationers should better avoid jet skiing.

11. Visit animal shows

Unfortunately, animal shows are marketed as tourist attractions, especially in the north of Thailand and in the southern holiday regions. Elephant, monkey, snake and crocodile shows are on the agenda of most local tour operators. The animals are often tortured and mistreated for years before they are used for tourism. To protect the animals, tourists should avoid all events with animals – and consider animal shows of all kinds as no-gos.

12. Damage corals

Many corals in Thailand have been destroyed by careless tourists. Have suffered particularly in the last decades u. a. the reef in front of the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, on which Maya Bay, known from the Hollywood film “The Beach”, is located (TRAVELBOOK reported), or the diving and snorkeling spot “Japanese Garden” at Koh Nang Yuan, a neighboring island of Koh Tao in the southeast of Thailand.

Unfortunately, it happens again and again that tourists willfully break off corals or damage them with their fins while diving or snorkeling: absolute no-gos! Divers and snorkelers, especially beginners, should therefore move very carefully under water and do not touch anything there.

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