Telephone and connectivity in Thailand
Phone networks cover the entire territory. We recommend that you get a local prepaid SIM card on arrival (there are several providers at the airport, both inside and outside).
The plugs are American and you will easily find cheap converters everywhere. Visit simoptions.com if you want to learn more about prepaid SIM cards in Thailand.
Getting around in Thailand
When travelling by public transport, Google Maps won’t be of much help and sometimes the easiest solution is to go to the train and/or bus station to book your tickets. For trains in particular, you will be able to book your tickets on the official website.
Driving is on the left, but you get used to it quite quickly… Unlike the madness of local traffic! It is literally reserved for the bravest drivers. Carry an international driving licence with you in case of a problem.
Security in Thailand
You always feel safe in Thailand, despite some scams in tourist places. The most common are the taxi scams, and the one from the so-called TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) which will organize a fake trip for you. They will also try to hijack you from some tourist sites under the pretext that they are closed (sometimes with a police disguise). So be on your guard, especially in Bangkok. The precautions you would apply everywhere else (e.g., don’t leave your valuables lying around on coffee tables) are in order.
Avoid conflicts, do not raise your voice and never behave aggressively even if you have been offended, and take the time to compare offers before accepting a tempting proposition. There is no reason to be wary of everything, the locals will usually help you without any commercial purpose, or will sometimes offer you excellent services.
Some border areas have been in conflict for a long time (especially on the Burmese, Cambodian and Malaysian borders). As for any other trip, stay informed with your embassies.
Health in Thailand
I’ve had some very good experiences in the hospitals in Chiang Mai. If you have a medical problem, always ask a resident for advice on where to go. If you take medication on a regular basis, take a stock of it with you and ask about its availability before departure (in case of lost luggage, or other).
Before you leave, it is recommended that you get vaccinated for the following: Hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and typhoid. If you wish to stay in a rural area for a long time or venture into the jungle: also take Japanese encephalitis and rabies. More information on vaccinations before travelling to Asia
It is essential (I am weighing my words) to protect you from mosquitoes from sunset to sunrise. Dengue fever is very common and it is no fun at all and can be extremely dangerous if you have contracted it in the past. So don’t neglect mosquito repellent, ever. For me lemongrass worked well, but for other travellers it has no effect. Unfortunately for the resistant ones, chemistry will save your holidays (and your precious health).