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Tips for Travelling from India to Thailand – The Land of Smiles

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand was exactly what I googled, back when I discovered I was moving to Bangkok. I was excited, for this was my first job ever and also my first time living in a foreign country all alone.

I had read so much about Thailand – about its maddening shopping, its never-dead nightlife, its beaches (that actually have white sands and clear blue waters), its rich culture, its delicious food, and of course, its world-popular Thai massages. But I still had my doubts.

Since I was going to be living there, I was faced with a whole new set of questions. How much does it cost to get a tooth treated? How do I manage my cash and finances? What are my go-to places for when I crave Dal Makhani or Shahi Paneer ? How do I get my laundry done? 

Now that I’ve spent around 7 months in Bangkok and other places, I can answer all these questions happily. In the current blog, I will offer the most crucial tips for travelling from India to Thailand for all first timers. Whether you’re travelling for a day, for a week, for a month, or for a year, I will make it a point to provide useful travel information that helps all my fellow Indians.

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Tips for Travelling from India to Thailand

Best time to go

October to February in terms of weather.

March to September, if you’re wanting to travel on a shoestring.

Minimum duration recommended

7 days

Affordability

Extremely cheap if done right.

Currency

THB (Thai Baht)

1USD=32THB

Language

Thai and Mandarin are the most used. Younger generations generally know basic English.

Food

If you eat meat/seafood, options will be endless. Vegetarian & Vegan options, however, are becoming more popular by the day too.

(Read on to find out more)

Transport

Cabs are available in abundance all across Thailand.

Looking for cheaper options? Public transport is most certainly a great alternative.

Accommodation

Hotels, hostels, guesthouses, Airbnb’s, couch surfing: available.

Accommodation is the last thing you should worry about.

Safety Level

Generally, Thailand is very safe. It would be advisable, nevertheless, to be careful about your belongings at all times.

 

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Visa and other formalities

There’s great news on this front. If your stay in Thailand is going to be restricted to less than 15 days, you can apply for a Visa on Arrival (VOA). Thailand’s economy runs majorly on tourism and thus, ensures a hassle-free visa process for a number of countries including India. In a general scenario, all you need to do is show up at the airport with your passport, a few passport photographs, and 2,000 THB. However, more recently, the VOA fee was completely exempted, and this exemption is going to last till 13th January 2019. That’s another 60 dollars saved, making your trip even more economical. In case you want to extend your stay beyond 15 days, you can get the same done at the Immigration Bureau.

Visa on Arrival (VOA) Fee

2,000 THB

Required Documents

A valid passport, VOA application form, photographs, confirmed return tickets, proof of accommodation, and proof of sufficient funds to support your trip.

Passport Photo

Must be 4*6cm

 

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Money Matters

The first thing that comes to mind when planning a visit to Thailand is the money issue. Where do I get my money exchanged? What’s the scene with forex cards? What are forex card charges in Thailand? Should I exchange money before I travel to Thailand? Should I just withdraw in Thailand instead? 

To start with, remember that you need to pay your VOA fee in baht only (in cases that it isn’t waived off). If you haven’t carried bahts along with you, you could get it exchanged at booths in the customs hall. However, the rates would be relatively higher and it wouldn’t be a good idea to exchange all your money there. After your visa formalities, you could head to B Floor and visit one of the many currency exchange booths to get better deals. If you’re looking out for the cheapest rates, simply get it done outside of the airport. Super Rich is one of the most popular money exchange services in Thailand.

Alternatively, you could carry a forex card along with you and simply withdraw at the ATM.

Tip: Every time you withdraw, you’ll be charged a fee of 220 THB and the maximum limit to withdraw at a time is 25,000 THB.

This is a great option especially if you already hold a multiple currency forex cards. You could also swipe your card wherever possible to avoid withdrawing again and being charged the fee.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Food

On my first night in Thailand, I was clueless. And hungry. Having no knowledge of food apps and delivery services, I simply decided to go for a walk. All this while, I was of the assumption that Bombay is exploding with street food…

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Street Food

No matter what part of Thailand you are in, street food will be found in abundance. “Do they never cook at home?” I couldn’t wonder. I’d walked barely a kilometre, and passed stalls selling all kinds of food – fried rice, noodles, sausages, sautéed veggies, thai rotis, fresh fruits, fruit juices, coffee, etc. Just a short walk made me witness a new cuisine altogether – in terms of looks, taste, aroma and fragrance.

Tip: Do not hate the food in case you find its smell to be bothersome. In my early days, I did find the fragrances to be a little intolerable – they smell meaty, but it’s really just a matter of getting used to.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand A local vendor selling sausages at just 10 baht each. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

In case you’re doubting the cleanliness and edibility of all this street food, don’t. Most of these foods are prepared fresh and thousands of locals consume it on a daily basis – 100% safe in terms of hygiene.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: International Cuisines

I’m simply going to assume that a trip to Thailand necessarily means a trip to Bangkok for all. While trying out authentic Thai food is fun, there’ll definitely be days that you’ll want to play it safe. You’re going to want to eat food you’re familiar with, and food you don’t have to think twice before ordering. Bangkok’s got your back there. No matter what you’re craving: Spanish paella, Italian spaghetti, Mexican burritos, Indian biryani or Middle Eastern hummus – you’ll be sure to find it in Bangkok’s finest restaurants.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand A wholesome meal in a cosy café, on a rainy day in Bangkok. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Night Markets

Instagram boasts of numerous colourful photographs of night markets in Bangkok. These markets are almost like a bright, vibrant maze of stalls selling all things under the sun – shoes, bags, clothes, wallets, belts, lighters, car parts, and lots of food. Make sure you visit one of these to grab some great food and some cheap beer.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand Endless food stalls at one of Bangkok’s night markets – we were left spoilt for choice. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Vegetarian Food

On navigating my way through one of the local markets in Thailand, I was convinced that Thailand is blessed with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. I told myself that even in the worst of situations, I could survive by munching on bread and fruits.

Doable? Not really. You cannot possibly live on just that for months. Well, at least I can’t. The very next day, I found myself awkwardly pointing out at meaty things at a street-side stall, trying to tell the lady in her late 60’s all the things I do not eat. The reason why I did that, and not just use Google Translate was because of the Thai conceptualisation of Vegetarianism. Being vegetarian in a number of Asian countries would translate to not eating chunky pieces of meat. Other things like oyster sauce, chicken garnishing, and fish oil are deemed to be okay.

I nervously waited for my food to come. I was soon ushered to a wooden table with a low wooden stool. A steamy plate, heaped with rice and sautéed veggies made it to my table. It was delicious, and I do not remember the last time I felt fuller – both physically and emotionally.

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Tips for travelling from India to Thailand Fried rice devoid of meat and full of flavours. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Vegetarian food can be found and consumed in Thailand. You simply need to keep a few things in mind at all times:

A Mobile Application

Download “Happy Cow,” an application that helps you look for vegetarian and vegan restaurants in your vicinity. It is available for free on Android devices and at a nominal cost on Apple.

Thai Desserts

Always keep an eye out for Thai desserts being sold on the streets and in night markets. You generally do not have to worry about meat being present in these cases, and it’s certainly a good change.

A Vegetarian Festival

Generally celebrated in the month of October, this vegetarian festival is practice all across Thailand. Most restaurants and convenience stores even offer a wider range of vegetarian food items over these 10 days.

The Vegetarian Symbol

Instead of the universal green symbol, look for the Thai symbol implying “vegetarian.” You can google it to see what it looks like.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand

Happy Cow to the rescue – we found delicious vegan food. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Indian Restaurants

10 days into Thailand, I found myself craving Indian food. That’s quite understandable, considering how different Thai flavours are. I was sure of the fact that Bangkok has a number of Indian restaurants, but was blown away to see how many. No matter what your budget is, you can enjoy a wholesome Indian meal in Bangkok. Areas where you’ll find clusters of Indian restaurants in Bangkok are Pratunam, Little India or Phahurat, and Silom.

Must-visit restaurants:

Saras

There’s a total of 2 branches in Bangkok, and their wide range of dishes will leave you confused as hell. Rajasthani thalis, chaat, dosas, kachoris, vada pav, classic dal and roti; you name it, they have it.

Price Range: 200-300 THB per person on an average.

Anmole Indian Food

Imagine typical cheap thali-type restaurants in commercial office areas in India? Those are the exact vibes you’ll get once you enter this little food joint. Food’s as cheap as it can get, and you cannot miss its delicious (unlimited) vegetarian thali.

Price Range: 99 THB for the thali.

Chennai Kitchen

Located in Silom, this little restaurant is run by an old South Indian lady, who almost made me feel like I was being fed by my own mother. The crispy Rava masala dosa was probably one of the best I’ve had in my life.

Price Range: 200 THB per person on an average.

Punjab Grill

If you’re looking out for a “family restaurant,” Punjab Grill is the place to go. With old Hindi tracks playing, it almost feels like you’re in India.

Price Range: 300-350 THB per person on average.

Charcoal

Lastly, if you’re in the mood to spend some bucks, head to Charcoal, a fine-dine Indian restaurant. They also have a great variety of wines in addition to the delicious and authentic Indian food.

Price Range: Minimum 300 THB per person on an average.

In addition to these restaurants, there are hundreds of more you could choose to explore. If there’s a gem you manage to find, do leave it in the comments section at the end of the blog.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand It was hard for me to believe I was in Thailand, as I stared down at this plate. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Clothing

Overall, you do not have to worry much about how you dress in Thailand. There aren’t any straight up rules to prohibit anything, but there certainly are unsaid rules about what’s more acceptable and what’s not by the Thais.

Firstly, considering the fact that most of Thailand experience hot temperatures, it would be a good idea to carry Bermudas, shorts, cotton shirts, polo t-shirts and summer dresses.

Thailand will also repeatedly offer you the opportunity to take a dip in clear waters at beaches or waterfalls. Make it a point, thus, to always carry a set of swim clothes with you.

The most cautiousness you need to display with respect to clothing in Thailand is for when you visit temples. You really, really do not want to offend the locals in their place of worship, by not dressing appropriately. There’s one standard rule: always cover your shoulders and your knees.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand Carrying a jacket to the temple saved me from the humiliation. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Men

Collared shirts and shorts that come at least to the knee. Pants would be most preferred.

Women

Tops that cover the shoulders and pants or skirts that are at least knee length.

Tip: Always carry a scarf with you, so you can roughly drape it around your body if need be.

In case you’re visiting the North of Thailand, make sure you carry a jacket or two, for temperatures could drop.



Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Shopping

Ever thought of travelling to a foreign country with almost nothing packed? Well, with Thailand, you can. No kidding. Everything out here starting from bags to shoes to clothes to electronics to cosmetics to cameras is SO cheap, that you’ll hardly regret your decision.

There have been times that I’ve come back home handed because there were just so many options. (PS: doesn’t happen to all, I’m just a bad shopper.)

Must-visit markets/malls in Bangkok:

Chatuchak Market

The biggest weekend market in the world; you can buy anything and everything at dirt cheap prices out here.

The Platinum Mall

Imagine floors and floors of shoes, bags and clothes.

Rod Fai Market

Seen those colourful Instagram photographs of night markets, hustling with tourists, locals and vendors selling all kinds of stuff?

MBK Mall

Need to buy cameras? Laptops? Mobile phones? Chargers? Spare parts? Head to MBK.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand If you’re not brand-conscious, you’re going to have the time of your life. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Transport

Commuting from point A to point B is relatively simple and cheap in Thailand. While in Bangkok, you will have endless transport options to choose from.

Cabs

Metered cabs can be found all across the city quite conveniently.

Tip: Make sure that the cab is a metered one, and that the driver is not charging you a fixed rate.

There were times that we’ve been pitched 200-300 THB for a mere 10-kilometre drive. Say no, or look for another cab in that case.

Tip: Opt for the motorbike taxi, not just for the experience but to cruise past the unending traffic in Bangkok.

Grab App

Alternatively, you could download the Grab App on your smartphones – a substitute for Uber/Ola in Thailand. I personally find them to be more expensive, but they could prove to be a convenient option at times

BTS Skytrain

In case you’re travelling alone and do not wish to spend on cabs, Bangkok also offers a BTS Skytrain in the Sukhumvit and Silom areas. These are hard-core tourist areas, thus making it a reliable and economical option to commute especially for tourists.

Additionally, an underground MRT subway intersects the BTS at multiple points, offering commuters greater convenience in terms of reaching their destinations.

Buses

Bangkok also has a well-connected network when it comes to buses.

The first ever bus that I took in Bangkok, cost me a mere 7 baht. Yes, that’s right. Google Maps is pretty helpful to get information on buses, or you could simply ask the locals.

Ferries

Lastly, ferries run along the Chao Phraya River, transporting thousands of people on a daily basis.

You must take the ferry at least once, just for the experience.

I’ve caught some of the most beautiful sunsets while on these rides, and these ferries are undoubtedly a blessing during peak hours.

Long Distance Travel

For long distance travel, you can opt for 1) Trains 2) Mini Vans/Buses. Although trains are cheaper, buses are faster and also more popular.

19 baht Ferry ride for avoiding the traffic and witnessing beautiful sunsets. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Thai Massages

If the weight of your backpack is taking a toll on you, a relaxing Thai massage is what you need. Thai massages are universally popular and have a long history. Fortunately, they still continue to more than survive – you will be sure to find at least one massage parlour every 500 metres.

It’s possible that you’re a little sceptical about getting the massage done, even though you really want to. A number of questions could be baffling you – do I keep my clothes on? What if the massage is too harsh and causes pain? Will it be in an enclosed room?

In most parlours, you will be given a set of loose, comfortable and clean clothes. While it is generally optional to change into it, you will only have a better experience if you do.

Next, and also the most important, in case you find the massage to be too harsh on your body, you need to ask them to be gentler. Everybody has a different body, and you being vocal about what feels good and what doesn’t will not only help the masseuse but also yourself.

Due to a large number of parlours offering massages all across Thailand, prices are generally low.

Full body Thai massage in average parlous:

200-250 THB

Oil massage in average parlours

400 THB

Full Body Thai massage in luxury parlours

500 THB +

Thai massages sometimes have an assumed sexual connotation. That can make massages…well, interesting and awkward… To avoid such encounters or services you do not desire, stay out of the shady areas or just make things clear right at the start.



Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Nightlife

Bangkok equates wild partying in most people’s heads.

It’s true. On a Tuesday night, I headed to one of the “happening areas” of Bangkok at night. Trust me when I say this, I haven’t seen Saturday nights back in Bombay as lit. Happy hours, live music, good food, and great crowds in almost each and every bar that lined the street.

Tip: In case you don’t want to spend a bomb on drinks, head to one of the many 7 eleven’s that mark every street in Thailand, and down some booze.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand Sing a song and get a free beer at Fatty Bar’s Open Mic Night. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

Some of the must-visit streets in Bangkok:

Khao San

A backpacker’s hub, cheap bars and clubs.

Rambuttri

A quieter and calmer version of Khao San.

Sukhumvit Soi 11

Some great bars, great cocktails, great live music.

Thonglor-Ekkamai

Multiple streets with artsy cafes and wonderful bars.

Here, there’s something for everyone.

What’s best is that Thailand’s nightlife is not just restricted to Bangkok, but also to North and South Thailand. No matter what part of Thailand you’re headed to, nights won’t be boring.

Some of the popular nightlife experiences in Thailand:

The Full Moon Party at Koh Phangan
Strip shows, cabaret, drag shows
Bar Hopping in one of the streets mentioned above

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand Bangkok’s bars offer some of the most unique cocktails – don’t miss them out. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

 

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand: Must-visits in Thailand

While most popular itineraries and tours and travels companies target Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Krabi, Thailand is much more than just that. There are thousands of other beautiful destinations in Thailand that are cheaper, and not as commercialised.

Places around Bangkok

Ayutthaya – a city of ruins

Kanchanaburi – a treasure for history lovers

Erawan – an hour’s drive from Kanchanburi; magical waterfalls.

Koh Si Chang – a utopian little island not many know of.

South Thailand

Koh Samui, Similan Islands, Koh Lipe – beaches with bluer waters, whiter sands, and lesser crowds.

North Thailand

Chiang Mai – known for its beautiful treks.

Pai – gorges, waterfalls and hot springs amidst gorgeous greens.

National Parks

Khao Yai – miles and miles of greenery, waterfalls, wildlife, and camping opportunities.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand Koh Sichang is home to some of the prettiest houses I’ve ever seen. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

10 Frequently asked questions about travelling to Thailand from India

First-time travellers have a lot of questions about travelling to Thailand from India. Below I have tried to answer the questions. Some of these have been covered under various subsections of the tips for travelling from India to Thailand above.  If you have any more questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section. I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

When travelling to Thailand what do I need?

You need a valid passport, VOA application form, photographs, confirmed return tickets, proof of accommodation, and proof of sufficient funds to support your trip.

What are things to be careful of in Thailand?

Generally, Thailand is very safe. It would be advisable, nevertheless, to be careful about your belongings at all times.

What is the Thailand visa on arrival free?

2,000 THB

What is the Thailand visa on arrival photo size?

Must be 4*6cm

What to bring from Thailand to India?

Depending on how much you are willing to spend, you can buy a lot of stuff including Thai silk, spices, spa products, ceramics, handmade jewellery, etc.

What are forex card charges in Thailand? 

Every time you withdraw, you’ll be charged a fee of 220 THB and the maximum limit to withdraw at a time is 25,000 THB.

Should I exchange money before I travel to Thailand?

Since you need to pay your VOA fee in baht only, you could carry that amount. Rest of the currency can be exchanged at the cheapest rates, outside of the airport. 

Can I use Indian credit card in Thailand?

Yes, your international debit/credit card can be used.

Should I carry cash or card in Thailand?

Carry both. Using cash is more convenient. You should carry a card too, to be on the safer side. If you use an ATM, there will be some extra fees, including a 200 baht charge from the Thai bank, plus the domestic bank charges for the foreign exchange.

Is it safe to eat street food in Thailand?

Most of the foods are prepared fresh and thousands of locals consume it on a daily basis – 100% safe in terms of hygiene.

Tips for travelling from India to Thailand We found a private Jacuzzi while in Khao Yai, and couldn’t not jump in. Picture credits: Tarang Mohnot

If there’s one thing I do not like about my current stay in Thailand, it’s the fact that I’m going to be leaving in less than 2 months. If that’s not convincing enough for you to take a trip to Thailand, I don’t know what will be.

Happy Wayfaring 🙂

About the Author

Tarang Mohnot

Tarang Mohnot

Tarang Mohnot is a student of Economics and Sociology at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Constantly trying to quench her thirst for travel, Tarang’s goal in life is to keep on getting her passport stamped over and over again. This implies that she wants to explore new destinations each year.

Resorting to a local inhabitant’s advice over Google searches, to physical maps over Google maps, to haversacks over suitcases, and to exploration over planning, Tarang hopes to visit places no one has ever been and to share her travel experiences with thousands all over the world – something her CV won’t ever tell.

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