So now you’re inspired to visit Thailand and want to know what you will need. Here’s a round-up of my Top 10 Thailand Essentials.
1. Money: Cash is king in Thailand! Their local currency is the Baht (BHT). Most vendors and restaurants only accept cash, so don’t expect to be able to use your credit card in most places.
Pro Tip: If you want to avoid the predatory currency exchange fees at the airport, you can order your currency online from your bank before you leave and they will Fedex it to your home – just make sure you are there to sign for it! As someone who shops online for almost everything, this was a Godsend! I also wonder why no one told me this sooner!
- If you plan on visiting multiple destinations, my bank (Wells Fargo) allowed me to order up to 5 currencies in one transaction. I wasn’t charged shipping fees and I still don’t see where they charged me to exchange the currency. Definitely the best option I’ve used thus far.
- To start, I ordered $500 (~17,000 Baht). If you need more cash during your trip there are plenty of ATMs that you can withdraw money from while there (use the purple ones). I did like using only cash because it helped me stick to a budget vs. just mindlessly swiping my credit card.
In total, I spent a little less than $800 for 10 days in Thailand, which consisted of the following:
- Local SIM card with unlimited internet/data + 1 “top up” (refill) for high speed data
- DO THIS! You can get a tourist SIM card right at the airport. Do not spend the daily TravelPass rate with your domestic cell phone carrier unless you want a $500 phone bill! For 10 days, I spent $15 all-in for unlimited data and cell service
- Beverages, Meals & Snacks, including various restaurants (several high-end places)
- Car service to and from airports (4x)
- BTS Sky Train day passes for unlimited rides ($4.25/day)
- Ferry rides down the Chao Praya River ($3 each way)
- Taxi/Motorbike/Tuk Tuk rides (varies)
- 2 Mani/Pedis (Approx. $16 total for both)
- 1-hour Thai Massage (Approx. $7)
- Multiple Excursions:
- Day trip via speedboat from Phuket to Phi Phi and surrounding islands which included, a trip to Monkey Bay, snorkeling, buffet lunch, swimming and beach time ($55) – I highly recommend this!
- Tiger Kingdom ($25)
- Elephant Sanctuary ($25)
- 2 Temple Entry fees ($4.55 total)
- Real jewelry, souvenirs, clothes, and various items I purchased from the night markets
- Convenience store items for the room
As you can see, our money goes a VERY long way in Thailand! The costs of goods and services are so affordable that you can easily do this spending much less. I “splurged” a bit since this was a self-care trip, but this is still a fantastic budget for 10 days considering I city hopped by plane (more car service fees) and lost my mind at the night markets LOL! 😂
2. Mosquito Protection: Thailand is a tropical destination so mosquitos are always waiting in the wings to light you up! Be especially mindful if you’re traveling during the rainy season (approx. May – October). I prefer a two-layered mosquito protection approach. I wear braided mosquito bracelets that are infused with natural essential oils. These are amazing and look like a regular bracelet you’d wear on vacation. I first bought another version of these when I traveled to Ghana, but I found these are more secure and stylish. I also opt for the Off! Smooth & Dry spray with DEET protection. I ordered both on Amazon. You can find these in my Amazon Store. I actually use these at home as well because the mosquitoes in North Carolina are persistent little demons. Lol
3. Small one-strap crossbody backpack: These are perfect for traveling as they are compact but have enough compartments to fit everything you’d need for a day of exploring. I’m able to fit my wallet, tripod, portable phone charger, wet wipes, and other essentials in this with ease. I didn’t even bother bringing a purse on this trip because I wanted a bag that would allow me to keep my hands free. Here’s a link to the one I purchased and they come in a ton of colors!
4. Wet Ones: Having Wet Ones on you at all times is extremely important. As mentioned in my previous post, food is EVERYWHERE in Thailand. If you’re eating street food, chances are you won’t have access to a bathroom to wash your hands before digging in. Also, if you’re using public transportation you’ll be exposed to a lot of germs and the last thing you want to do is get sick that far from home. Trust me on this, get a travel pack of these and keep them on hand at all times.
5. Sunblock: Thailand is tropical so sun protection is key. I always opt for broad-spectrum sunblock spray (SPF 50) instead of creams because they are so much easier to apply on the go and less messy! Don’t forget about a facial moisturizer with SPF!
6. Flip Flops/Slide in Sandals: Due to the heat, walking around all day in hot tennis shoes isn’t ideal. Also, it is customary to take your shoes off before entering many establishments so having shoes you can slip in and out of quickly is a must. I opted for some Italian leather thong sandals with a slight heel and support. Italian Shoemakers brand sells stylish handmade Italian leather shoes at a very affordable price! I don’t recommend you walk around all day in Old Navy style flip-flops if you value your shins, knees, and ankles. 🤣 Find sandals with some good support that are really comfortable because you’ll be walking a lot if you like to explore like I do.
7. Spray Deodorant: Even in their “winter”/dry season, which lasts from November to February, temperatures in Bangkok hovered in the 90s and mid to high 80s on the islands. I used Dove’s dry spray deodorant b/c you can spray it anywhere you tend to sweat (the ladies know what I’m talking about). Leave the sticks at home. You won’t regret it.
8. Lightweight Free Flowing Clothes: Ladies, pack lots of free-flowing cotton dresses. Due to local customs, opt for long dresses. If you plan to visit temples make sure your shoulders and chest are covered. No cleavage should be shown when you’re out. Respectful dress is encouraged there, though you will see the occasional tourist in booty shorts. I prefer to respect local norms when I travel. I bought a ton of dresses on Amazon for my trip and they were all under $30. I’ve added all the dresses from my trip to my Amazon shop! Fellas, stick to lightweight material shirts and shorts. Please leave your heavy materials and polyester blends at home if you don’t want to be a hot sticky mess!
9. Water: If you haven’t picked up on it yet, Thailand is a bit hot! Drink water like your life depends on it…because it does! Do not be the tourist who faints because you thought that water was optional, and make sure to drink twice as much as you normally would. 7-11s (& Family Marts) are everywhere and water, like most everything else in Thailand, is ridiculously cheap. You can easily get a bottle of water for 10BHT (30 cents) from the local convenience stores. I also use my water breaks to soak up their free A/C in the middle of a long walking day.
10. A Portable Cell Phone Battery Charger: Be prepared to take a lot of photos and videos while you’re out due to the stunning architecture and cool sights. Having a portable charger on hand is crucial so you don’t have to worry about missing great shots because your phone battery died. Also, Google Maps works well here and navigation tends to kill your battery so having one of these on hand is a must!
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