Thailand is what I like to call "backpacking with training wheels!" The country is blanketed in an efficient transportation system, English is widely spoken, prices are low, and there are fellow travelers in every direction. From scuba diving vibrant coral reefs to feeding elephants in the jungle to rock climbing limestone karsts to clambering over ancient temples and cities to snacking on delicious street food in bustling markets, there’s never a dull moment in the Kingdom. Best of all, for true budgeters it’s possible to travel Thailand on a mere $30 a day.
Facts about Thailand
Stuff to See and Do
What to Do
Formal cooking classes are costly (roughly 1000 baht to learn 2-3 dishes) and you usually have no idea if the instructor is any good. What I like to do instead is to find a dish I want to learn at a restaurant I've been to. I order the dish and then ask the chef to let me watch her cook it. I'll also usually leave an extra tip as a thank you. It's nice doing it this way because it's cheaper and I get to learn dishes I've tried and like.
Fish soup, that`s how we used to call Boonsung Wreck when I was working in Khao Lak.
In the morning you`ll be picked up from you hotel or guest house by the dive shop of your choice wich will take you the the north beach, from there you`ll take a small tail boatf for relaxing 30 minute ride to the dive site.
Boonsung Wreck is not much of a wreck. Wait!Before you give me that weird look, let me explain it to you.
The site is famous for its incredible , abundant marine life! Resting at 20 meters deep on a sand bottom, it attracts several species. You`ll find Lionfish, Stone fish,Scorpion fish, the beautiful Honeycombe moray, Ghost pipe fish, colorful Nudibranches and tons of Snappers, Trevally and Batfish, sometimes you can`t even see the wreck because there are too many fish on the way!
If you are diving the Similan Islands don`t overlook Boonsung Wreck as it`s a great dive site and a favourite even for dive guides and instructors working in the area, including myself!
Nine Islands with pristine water, white sand beaches and amazing marine life, this is Similan Islands, on the Andaman Sea, southern Thailand.
You can get there from Khao Lak, a small and friendly town with
affordable accomodation options, nice restaurants, food stalls and good bars.
With many dive shops there, walk around and see wich one offers you the best deal. I worked there as a Dive Master and can garantee you they are very professional.
To dive there you have two options: day trips consisting in two dives lunch and time on the islands between dives, or liveaborads, with four dives a day, during three or four days, three meals, snacks and accomodation on a large boat.
While day trips is a great way to experience the islands in a day or two, liveabords give you the whole picture and,for me is the best way to dive the Similand Islands.
So, pick one of the above, you may encounter leopard sharks, sea horses,
a great variety of fish, manta rays and the migthy whale shark!
Money and Banking
Dont be afraid to shop around for your money card, read everything! There's always some kind of catch so the company can make money! If you're in a job before you go get the Halifax credit clarity credit card. It really is the best one to not loose money when your traveling. As I said to my boyfriend, it takes a mouthful of your 'money cake' when traveling, however, thomas cook and other travel cards take slices of your cake! and if you use any of these cards in a country other than the that of the currency loaded on that card or you simply want to change your money back to pounds when back in the UK - ouch more slices taken of that cake!! If you think you can manage a credit card or even entrust a family member at home to pay the monthly bill with your cash (so you're not panicing about finding internet to transfer money) then Halifax it!! just don't forget to pay off that credit card bill!! If you're not in a job check out travelex cards!
If you're arriving by land, you won't be able to get more than a 15-day tourist visa at the border. If arriving by air, you may be able to get a 30-day visa exemption upon arrival, depending on your nationality. Beyond that, there are a few options for extending your stay: (i) apply for an extension while in Thailand; (ii) cross the border to apply for a new visa; or (iii) pay the daily fine for overstaying. Do a bit of research first to see which Thai embassy offers the best visa "deal"--a Canadian we met told us an embassy in Laos sometimes grants up to 4 months (as opposed to the popular 60-day tourist visa).
If you're in KL on a Thai visa run, there are a few things you need to know. First, the Thai Embassy in KL (http://www.thaiembassy.org/kualalumpur/) has a standard two business day turnaround on visa applications. Visa apps can be dropped off at the embassy near Ampang Park metro station after 9:30am and picked up the following day after 2:30pm. For U.S. citizens, we were asked to present a complete application form (see the embassy website), one 4x6cm photo (white background ok), and an application fee of 110 ringit (exact change) for a 60-day single entry visa. Try to get there early to queue but remember that once you enter the gate, you will have to queue again to receive a ticket number, which they will call. Very organized and professional. We were in and out in less than an hour, including queue time. The only other thing I would mention is to be sure to check the holiday schedule (Thai and Malaysian) so that you don't show up on a day the embassy is closed.
Haggling And Negotiating
Haggling is the ancient art of negotiating a mutually beneficial deal over fine and often blurry lines.
1. Mutual respect often seals the deal. Don’t be rude when negotiating
2. It’s supposed to be a fun cultural experience, not about pinching pennies.
3. Be flexible. Set the high and low price you are willing to pay and negotiate within them.
4. Give in or pay full price for cheaper items so you can save more on big items.
5. Take your time to consider the counter offer, don’t be aggressive or pushy.
6. Beware of your body language, open hands and stance means you’re friendly and willing to negotiate.
7. Purchasing multiple items with one vendor will usually get you a better deal.
8. Shop around, and don’t assume things are cheaper because you are in a third world country.
9 Sweeten the deal.
10. Be prepared to walk away.