College Summers 2014: 49 Tips To Surviving Thailand

Thailand is the best holiday you will ever experience - Fact.

Yes you have to be careful but you will never be in a place where you can do whatever the hell you want again. So, bloody enjoy it. I could go on for hours about why it is so amazing, instead I have compiled a list of 46 tips to surviving Thailand. Prepare for the greatest trip of your life. Enjoy!

1) Book Flights Early

I know that it is a trek and it's annoying, but when you're on that 24 hour journey the thing you will be thinking about is 'why didn't I book the two stop flight earlier?'. You will also save yourself a hell of a lot of money. Make sure you have at least 1hr and a half between flights. You don't want to have too much or too little time. If you are on a long wait or running from flight to flight, there will be arguments and we will blame everyone else except ourselves.


2) Don't be scabby


No matter how much something sounds like it is, it will most likley never be more than €5. Thailand is not expensive. I stayed in hotels every night, ate out twice a day and bought a lot of fake stuff and came home with money to spare. Work as much as you possibly can in the time before you go to ensure you have the best time ever.


3) Get 1st class on trains

You wouldn't believe the squalor that they put you in in second class. Think a cold hard bench, no air conditioning and you might be sharing with chickens or other farm animals. Also, not sleeping for 24 hours incase you get robbed is not ideal. First class was only around 5 euro more and it is so nice. Book this in advance as when you get to the airport you need proof that you are leaving the country. So, if you only got a 4 week visa, but you're staying longer, this is proof and you will save a lot by booking it before.



4) Stay in D&D or Dang Derm in Bangkok

These are the best hotels to stay in in Bangkok. It is where all the students are and it is so central. They have really nice rooms and a pool. It is smack bam in the centre of the Khao San road, which is student travel central of Bangkok. And, it is one of the only places with a McDonalds.


5) Stay in Phi Phi Princess in Phi Phi


Phi Phi is unreal. It is so nice, so hot and it is full of students. Stay in the Phi Phi Princess hotel but whatever you do, do not stay in the Phi Phi Princess huts. First of all, they are huts, and, secondly, if you are terrified of spiders, lizards, cockroaches or snakes, you will be terrified all of the time. Also the shower is outside and the water is ice cold.


6) Wear suncream

I know this sounds like a stupid suggestion but so many people don't do it. Some places are overcast but be warned you will still get severely sunburnt. Irish people are notorious for thinking they go tanned when they don't, so wear a higher factor than normal. If you wear factor 6 oil, or baby oil, instead of a reasonable factor, you will get burnt.



Here, is me after a day of sunbathing with factor 15 in Kao Tao..

7) Don't sunbathe on the boats

When you get any boats, from phi phi to kao samui especially, don't sunbathe. But if you do wear factor 50. The third degree burns and blisters people get from sunburn leaves you stuck inside and ill.




8) Go scuba diving

In Khao Tao you have to go scuba diving. If your stuck for time, or money, do the two day course. You learn all you need to know and when I went some people in our scuba group saw a baby shark. I'm being serious.


9) Bring all medication

If you are in anyway sick, bring all your medication with you. Write down the names of all of them somewhere safe and email it to yourself as well. Everything is over the counter so you can get everything you need, within reason.



10) Get Differin cream

If you have a spot or rash get Differin cream. It is a life saver and will clean it up straight away. But don't use it on every single little spot because the more you use it the more immune your body becomes to it.



11) Drink out of buckets

All the myths people tell you about them putting this and that in the buckets is absolute horse s***. They sell you the bucket and mixer and liquor separately. So when you mix it yourself you will hear the seal break knowing that there is nothing else in it. I honestly think people make up stuff to freak people out before they go.  It's your own fault if you over do it, don't blame everything else.

12) Stay on the beach in full moon

Whatever you do, do not under any circumstances stay in a hotel called Sunrise. Unless your idea of fun is to curl up crying hungover because of the constant music being played. And trust me it is not a party place. Stay somewhere on the beach like Tommys or Coral Bungalows, that’s where the pool parties are.


This is a photo of mine from Coral Bungalows..

13) Get loads of glow paint and Koh Phagnan attire

Either get someone to paint you on the beach, or buy the paint yourself, but either way go all out! I wore an illuminous koh phagnan top, tie dyed shorts, face paint, feather earrings and bunny ears and i was under dressed. Just goes to show really.

14) Take the airlines blanket


They give you a blanket on the way over so hang on to it for dear life. When you're travelling on a cold bus, flight or train you will be so glad you kept it.


15) Don't go to Vietnam or Hanoi without a set plan

Vietnam was an absolute disaster for us. Hanoi is so overcrowded and so scary but if you have your heart set on going to Vietnam go to Halong Bay. It is amazing and make sure you go on the booze cruise. We ended up on an old persons cruise and it was not fun. Book your flights to leave Hanoi before you go because they cost us over €300, it was horrendous. Also, it is impossible to cross the streets. Think no traffic lights, no pedestrian crossing and, basically, no order whatsoever. Trick is, walk at an even pace and don't stop, they will go around you.


A photo of mine from Halong Bay..

16) Backpacks are not essential

It’s a myth that you can only bring a backpack. A suitcase is fine and you won’t have it on your back constantly. Backpacks aren't that bad at first but as you gather various random items along the way the pain becomes unbearable. Yes you are going for a backpacking 'experience' but no need to carry one on your shoulders. If you are going to get one, make sure you buy one that opens across the bag, as opposed to at the top. Getting to a hostel after travelling for 8 hours only to realise your towel is at the bottom is tear worthy.

17) Do get a photo with the monkey in Phi Phi


His name is William and he is a delight. To be honest I think I miss him a bit.


This monkey was not so nice...

18) Don’t leave anything behind in a hotel room


My friend left her makeup bag behind for 2 mins and it got robbed. She lost a whole summers worth of M.A.C makeup.


19) Bring all makeup with you

You will not find any M.A.C shops out there and the fake makeup over there is so bad. It is like rubbing gone off fake tan on your face over and over again.


20) Don’t wear strapless bikinis in any sort of water sport activity

They will slide off and the Thai residents won't find it amusing in the slightest.

21) Be organized

Just because things are so much cheaper in Thailand, this doesn't mean you don't have to be organized. Things will be booked out so you will end up staying so far away and flights will be so much more.



22) Go to Koh Tao straight after Full Moon

It is the nicest place I have ever been to and it is so relaxing. It is the perfect place to take a break after the week in Full Moon and scuba dive if you can. Even though Thailand is insane it is nice to have one place to not drink, so you will last the rest of the holiday. Koh Tao is the best for this because you can't drink when scuba diving so it's killing 2 birds with one stone really. And when you finish your scuba diving lessons the Koh Tao pubcrawl is the best way to get back on the drinking band wagon.

This photo of mine is from the beach in Koh Tao...

23) Be prepared for the awful transport


Download lots of music, films and episodes onto your iPod before you leave for Thailand and bring lots of water with you on all the trips. You will move being around a lot. The average trip would involve 3 trains, 3 buses and a plane. We never thought we would say it but it makes Bus Éireann seem luxurious.



24) Get the yellow motion sickness tablets

These are over the counter and are the biggest life savers. I have the worst motion sickness and when I drive anywhere in Dublin that's over an hour away I want to puke. So these were my savior. Take one about a half an hour before you get on the boats and you will be fine.



25) Go to the medical center

If you have any sort of medical issues go straight to the medical center they will sort you out and if you know your prescriptions everything is over the counter so you're grand. Anyone who has been to Thailand will know the Siam Clinic in Phi Phi. You would not believe what they will just hand over the counter.

26) Buy water & Bring Dioralyte

Before you go out at night it is essential to buy water for the next day. You absolutely can't contemplate drinking the tap water. If you have nothing to drink the next morning when you wake up with a tongue like sandpaper, it will be awful. Stay hydrated at all times. Dioralyte sachets you can buy in any pharmacy, best to bring them from home. They will re-hydrate you faster than water. The amount of people who had to go to medical center for dehydration, when I was there, was a joke.



27) Try Street Food

It's important to try street food as it is delicious, most of the time. But be wary of the environment it's in. Have a look around before trying, make sure it looks clean and edible. Bear in mind they think crickets are a delicacy.



28) Don’t eat food from an American inspired restaurant

If it isn’t Mc Donalds or Burger King you will get food poisoning, and even then it's risky.

29)  Eat Thai food

Thai food is really good but just be careful. If the restaurant is completely empty at peak times it's not going to be nice but generally, it's far cheaper than anything else and they know how to do it well. When I was there I stayed away from red meat and ate lots of veg, it's just more appealing. Keep in mind also that what they think is mild, we would think is stage 5 spicy.



30) Toilet Situation

Three words: Just. Be. Careful.


31) Check All Public Toilet Stalls


Make sure you check all the toilets in a bathroom before you decide which one you will take. Some might be a hole in the floor, others might be proper toilets. That little hose you see in the picture is to hose your ass. Yeah. Weird.

32) If your accommodation has more than 4 beds in one room, expect that there will be no space for anything else in the room


33) Losing Weight


If you want to lose weight you have come to the right place…you wont be able to hold a thing down.



34) Buy Fakes in Koh Samui

The fake designer knock offs and stall shopping in Koh Samui is so much better and easier than Bangkok. Don't wait until the end of your trip. This was my biggest regret. It is so much better and easier in Koh Samui because it's all on one street. In Bangkok you either get a tuk tuk to MBK or that dodgy market.


35) Get Tuk Tuk's

The more people you shove in a tuk tuk in Bangkok, the more fun you will have. They are scary but so so funny.



36) Do Not Insult The King. You will get shot.


37) Make sure you get the boats during the day

At night you will fly from one side to the other and if you fall off the boat no one will care I'm afraid, besides your friends of course.

38) Don't go to a ping pong show

No matter what anyone says it is revolting and when you are watching the horrific sights, that you can't look away from, the staff are there trying to steal your wallets.




39) Men out there AVOID THAI WO(MEN)

When you realize the gorgeous Thai girl is a lady boy it's too late. I didn't realize any of those women outside the bars were lady boys until my second time in Bangkok that's how convincing they were. So, boys, just be smart about it.

40) Don't get a tattoo

I'm not going to even explain this one...




41) Drink M-150

If your hungover drink M-150. It is like drinking a red bull x 1000. Now I can't exactly recommend it but all I can say is when I was hungover, and as sick as a dog, one of these got me hyper and ready to drink again. Probably not the best advice for your body but fuck it, good time not a long time.

42) Don't miss a good night out


Unless you are scuba diving or in hospital, this is not okay. You will have the fomo of all fomos and it will probably be the best night ever.


43) Don't Buy Moisturizer

In Thailand, all their moisturizer's have skin whitening in them. So, buy a giant tub before you go over. You will not regret it.



44) Bring Insect Repellent

Until you go to a place like Thailand, you won't know if you are prone to mosquito or spiders bites. Eat chilli and garlic while over there as these are, apparently, natural insect repellents.


45) Go to the Tropical Medical Bureau


The Tropic Medical Bureau on Grafton Street is where I got all my injections before I went. They were very helpful and the nurses is there were so so nice. And, don't be scared, they are made out to be far worse than they actually are.

46) Don't "F**k the Police"

They will f**k you up. Do what you want but don't be an idiot. Doing something that is illegal over there is stupid. If it's illegal in Thailand you know it's very very bad. Just don't insult them and all will be okay.




47. Get Crepes From The Street Stalls

Holy shit, I don't know what they put on these things but they are honestly like crunchy squares of heaven.



48. Respect The Locals

Before you go, do yourself a favour and learn these three phrases. The locals will appreciate your efforts and it shows a small amount of respect that will go a long way.

  1. Sa-wat dee (hello)
    Used for both hello and goodbye.
  2. Khop koon (thank you)
    How to show your appreciation once you’ve been handed your Singha beer and pad Thai.
  3. Gee baht? (how much)
    Essential for all the shopping you’ll be doing, or when haggling with tuk-tuk drivers.

49. Use A Condom

Even if it's a lovely, clean looking, well spoken ride. The fear you will have after that beach romp will not be worth it. Bring Durex around with you wherever you go.



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Lauren Rol
Article written by
Lauren Rol: A UCD graduate who spends most of her time watching the Soaps. A devout fan of Chinese food and a French Bulldog obsessive.

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