Before I first came to Thailand I had no idea what to expect! I was told so many different things by many different people, and everything seemed to contradict itself. I heard they had a very strong culture and I was terrified that I would do something that would offend people. When in retrospect, Thai people are some of the nicest, most carefree people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting! If you have never been to Thailand before, I hope reading this gives you some idea of what to expect.
Thailand is always really hot!
The biggest misconception I had been told about Thailand is that it’s always really hot. I came here for the first time during the hot season and yes it was hot! Very hot, but once you are here for a while you start to get used to the heat. Sometimes the nighttimes can get very cold. I even had a week during December when the temperature dropped to a low 20 degrees and I had to wear long trousers, jumper, two t-shirts, and a hat because I was actually really cold. Also, riding a bike in the wind can be very cold and the same for the open-back taxis! I didn’t bring a jumper with me first time and I really regretted it. The rain can also be pretty cold sometimes.
You’ll get scammed.
I hear this from friends and family all the time, and not only with Thailand but most places I travel too. Yes, there are people out there who want to try and take your money and scam you, there will be people like this most places you go. I’ve personally never had this issue in Thailand but I do know people who have. Keep your whits around you, use your common sense and don’t give your money away! Also if your getting a taxi, make sure you ask to run the meter or they will try and charge you double the price.
You can’t wear shorts or vests.
Ok, so this one gets most people confused all the time. Thailand is a very conservative place and Thai people don’t like to show much skin in public but in touristy areas, they are very relaxed about this. Obviously don’t walk around with your bum cheeks hanging out, but shorts and t-shirts or vest tops are fine to wear in streets, shopping centers, and beaches. Basically anywhere that isn’t holy or sacred. If you are going onto the holy ground to visit the monks or a temple then make sure your knees, stomach, and shoulders are covered. If you are wearing shorts, the temple will normally provide you with a wrap or trousers to wear while you go inside.
I always thought that Thailand was overflowing with monkeys, everywhere you go. This is not the case at all! Monkeys stick to selected areas over Thailand and have their own territories where they stay. If you go to one of these areas, you’ll find hundreds of monkeys but once you leave these areas you will very rarely see a monkey.
Thai food is always really spicy
Thai food can be really spicy, I can’t even smell the food my boyfriend eats because it makes my eyes water. When a foreign person buys food in a restaurant, the Thai people will naturally presume that we can’t handle the heat and make it as not hot and spicy as possible. If you like a bit of a bite to your food, normally in restaurants they will have chilly flakes on the table for you to add yourself or will provide them in a small bag.
The street dogs are aggressive and have rabies.
I’ve heard this one a few times and it is true that Thailand has a lot of street dogs, most are not aggressive and almost none have rabies. I’ve never come across an aggressive Thai street dog, most of the time they are either looking for food or sleeping outside a shop. Most are around people all the time and are quite friendly. In the past year, there has been a huge crackdown on the fight against rabies, some dogs in Thailand do have it but not many and now the government has started a programme to help vaccinate all the street dogs to help stop the spread of rabies.
Thai food is really healthy
Everyone always tells me that I must eat really healthy because I live in Thailand, well they couldn’t be more wrong! Yes, the ingredients tend to be fresh but everything gets fried. Fried rice, fried noodle, fried chicken! If that wasn’t enough, sugar gets added to everything! Even soup, the number of spices and sugar my boyfriend adds to his food is crazy!
Everyone lives in little huts and poos in a hole.
Stupidly before I came to Thailand I thought that the people who lived outside the big cities were all poor farmers who lived in wooden huts, farmed with sicles and never head of WIFI or Samsung. How wrong I was. Yes, some people in the really rural areas do live like this but even they will have a nice new moped or an Ipad. Most of the houses are very similar to the rest of the world, they have flushing toilets, hot showers and some even have WIFI and Aircon! They live a very simple life and the Thai people don’t get joy and happiness out of how big their house is or having the newest model of phone. As long as you have a roof over your head and your family then your good.
Everyone is really short
I don’t quite know why I believe this but I thought that everyone would be really short, I think because Thai people are portrayed this way in films and televsion programmes. In my head I imagined I would stand a head taller than them, this is not the case most of the time. I’m around 5 ft 8″ and I would say most the people I meet tend to be around the same hight some even taller. My boyfriend is Thai, younger than me and he is nearly 6ft! It’s the same in England; some people are short, some are tall… everyone is different.
Everyone speaks English
Coming from England and only really ever visiting English speaking countries I just naturally presumed that most people spoke English. This was very privileged of me to think. Thailand has its own language, its own culture and if we are visiting their country then it’s only right that we try and learn their language. Many Thai people who live and work in touristy areas like Bangkok or Phuket will speak quite good English but as you leave the towns and go into the more rural areas you’ll find that only a handful of people speak English.
The whole of Thailand is beach and jungles
I thought Thailand was just a giant beach full of jungles and waterfalls. I think I got this idea from all the beautiful pictures on Instagram I see all the time. They always look so beautiful and perfect. There are many different beaches, islands, jungles and national parks around Thailand but it also has its fair share of towns and cities with lots of buildings are traffic like most places.
Not worth going during the rainy season
I hear this all the time! It’s not worth going during the rainy season because it will rain none stop and ruin your trip, false. Thailand only really as three seasons; hot season, rainy reason and the cold season. Rainy season is from around May time until October, but this varies on the area of Thailand you are in. During the rainy season, it does not rain every day. It’s very inconsistent, sometimes it will rain all day, then it won’t rain for weeks, other times it will just rain for an hour or at night. Even if it’s raining it’s still really warm and you dry off straight away. Don’t be put off by the rainy season!
Everything is cheap
People always come to Thailand because it’s cheap, and it is very cheap compared to the cost of living in England. You can buy your lunch for around £2, and it will be delicious and you can stay in a hostel for £5 per night. Although, most of Thailand is cheap if you’re staying in the touristy areas they will bump the price of everything up! So buying a pizza or a MacDonalds will cost the same as in England. Also, some of the nice hotels cost an arm and a leg because of the jaw-dropping views they offer. Yes, most things are still cheaper than the western world but all those cheap things your spending money on adds up so keep an eye on your bank account.
Don’t eat the street food
I hear many people say “Don’t eat the street food in Thailand, you’ll get sick, you don’t know what’s inside it”. Although some street food can cause food poisoning if not cooked right, so can the food at a fancy 5-star hotel. I have never gotten sick of street food and I eat it all the time and the one time I stayed at a 4-start hotel on Phuket I got food poisoning. Don’t miss out on the street food, it’s one of the best things about Thailand.
I hope you have enjoyed reading these common misconceptions of Thailand, and please let me know if you agree with them or if you had any other misconceptions of Thailand before you arrived, in the comment section below!
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Thank you for reading!