THAILAND: 10 POINTS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Spending 10 Days in Thailand you learn a couple things about traveling across the world, especially how you are as a traveler in certain situations. So 10 days equals 10 points you need to know before traveling to Thailand:
1. The Grand Palace, Bangkok
Although you will be bombarded my every tourist imaginable, this is a site you can not miss. Set aside 3-4 hours and go through the whole Palace. Note: Men and Women will not be allowed to enter wearing shorts or tank tops. Make sure to dress appropriately.
2. Buy a Parasol
Yea, you may think it's cheesy but if you're going during Thailand's hot months (which is basically every month) then it's worth it. I'm pale, I mean very pale...so when I got burnt my first day walking around, the $5 investment was worth it.
3. Check out the tours at your hotel
Before I got to Thailand I had already planned and scheduled some day tours. However, when I arrived I asked my hotel's (read about Rawisara Villa Resort in Chiang Mai) if they had partnerships with any tour companies. What I found was that booking tours in Thailand was much cheaper than booking beforehand ($200 for a full day tour vs. $50).
***Almost all tours include lunch if you book a full day tour. Usually buffet style, and has multiple choices of cuisine.***
4. Lay down next to a Tiger
Just do it. Trust me I was a baby and freaked out before, but hold your breath and go into the Tiger's Den. The tigers are in a relaxed state, and there is a trainer with you at all times.
Also, you will take better pictures with the bigger tigers. I really wanted to get a cute picture with a baby tiger but alas they are like toddlers that never sat still for more than 10 minutes (the picture below is the only somewhat clear photo my boyfriend took and the trainer had to push the baby tiger to the ground).
5. Research restaurants before you go
Also think about making reservations too. I had planned everything but where to eat as I thought I would make reservations when I arrived. Upon my arrival I found very good restaurants I wanted to go to but unfortunately it was too late and most nights were fully booked. One night my boyfriend and I even ate at a mall...let's just say we did not feel the best afterwards.
6. Go to a Boxing Match, and buy front row seats
This was the most expensive 'activity', but it was well worth it. The fights began with teenagers fighting and continued to adults fighting (there were about 6-7 fights in total). Book here in Phuket, and you get a free t-shirt!
7. Eat real Pad Thai
I'm a huge lover of Pad Thai so naturally I ordered it almost every meal. SO I highly suggest ordering it for at least one meal! If you have any suggestions on where I can find real, and authentic Pad Thai in NYC please comment below.
8. Eat the Street Food, but with CAUTION
I read other travel websites and reviews before about how to tell the difference between good and bad street food. Safe bet is if you see locals eating at the stand, go for it. If you do not see a line waiting at the stand, stay away. One think you should try are quail little pop pancakes...absolutely delicious (they were so good I completely forgot to take a picture).
9. Got to Ayutthaya
You may think it's just a bunch of old temples (which it is) but it's a great experience to understand Thailand's past history and culture. Don't miss the Buddha head! Warning: As a sign of respect you must kneel in front of the Buddha head. Women should wear pants and bring a sweater to enter the temple. Everyone should wear sneakers...it's a big city.
10. Finally, Jet Lag is REAL!
I highly suggest booking an overnight or night flight so that you can wake up in Thailand. AND, do not fall asleep as soon as you get to your hotel room. We did, and it was a huge mistake as we woke up the next three days at 4am.
Suggestions for other travelers? Please comment below!
All pictures of myself were taken by Pat Rivadeneira