Mistakes to Avoid in Thailand

If you are planning your first trip to Thailand, these are the most common mistakes most people make. 

Mistake #1: Packing


Yup - you can make a mistake before you even leave for Thailand.

While you may be tempted to pack for a beach vacation and call it a day, Thailand is a unique culture that you need to prepare for. Make sure you pack appropriate clothing. Read my full packing guide here. 

Mistake #2: Ride an Elephant


While I understand the reason behind wanting to see and ride an Elephant while in Thailand PLEASE don't. You can read my full rant here - but just know it isn't good for their spine and they are kept in slave like conditions. So many people come back and have no idea that they did something that was so incredibly harmful to these beautiful creatures. Don't be one of them. 

Instead, visit a sanctuary, where you can feed and bath the elephants. It still is an amazing day and no animals are harmed in the process. My full experience at an Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai is here. 

Mistake #3: Hang out with Tigers


This is in the same vein as Elephant riding, don't do it. Tiger Kingdom, the most popular attraction in Chiang Mai has been found keeping their Tigers in terrible conditions, under feeding them to keep them docile, and keeping them constantly on tranquilizers all so tourists can take pictures and pet these beautiful animals. Don't give your money to this awful company. Here are a full list of tours to avoid in Thailand.

Mistake #4: Missing Sunrises


If you are in the islands, don't miss the sunrise. Even if it is just one day on your vacation definitely get up and watch it. It will change your life. (I'm dead serious). Also, don't forget you can wake up, watch the sunrise, and then go right back to sleep. Full guide to the best islands in Thailand here.

Mistake #5: Playing into a scam

In the big cities, and Bangkok in particular, tuk-tuk drivers will try to tell you your destination is closed for the day. They will try and make you go to secret local places on they know about. They will drive you all over town and then charge you a ton of money.

First off, anytime you get into a tuk-tuk before you even begin to move negotiate your price. If anyone starts to tell you things are closed, just move on. It is a scam. 

Mistake #6: Sunscreen!


If may sound like something so easy but pack lots of sunscreen. Not only do you need to protect your skin from the harsh Thai sun but sunscreen is RIDICULOUSLY expensive everywhere in Thailand. They know you need it, so they charge way too much for it. Everything you need to pack here. 

Mistake #7: Leaving your passport at the hotel

Don't ever leave the hotel without your passport and travel documents. While it never happened to me, there are some police who will stop you and demand your documents. If you can't produce them they "fine you" a ton of money. When you don't have that much they kindly escort you to an ATM to withdrawal some cash. Carry your documents with you - seriously.

Mistake #8: Getting ripped off by a taxi

By law, all taxis must use their meter. They are not allowed to operate if their meter is broken. If you get in a cab and they don't turn on the meter - get out immediately. Better yet, Uber is awesome in Thailand. Use that. 

Mistake #9: Over scheduling

Thailand is HOT. Don't schedule too much in one day. You will want to take many breaks. My favorite break was getting a massage mid day - so relaxing. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this didn't scare you too much. I promise Thailand is a magical place and not too different safety wise from any other vacation. Knowing these mistakes beforehand though, will make for a much smoother trip overall. 

One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. I always use Lonely Planet's pocket guides since they fit in my ...... pocket.

A super common question I get is: what camera do I use for my travels. The body is a Nikon D3300 and this is the wide angle lens I use and love - I am seriously obsessed with it. 

My full guide that includes all the camera gear I take on every trip is here.


And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (tessajuliette@gmail.com). 

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If you are planning your first trip to Thailand, these are the most common mistakes most people make. 

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