Westerners are very welcome in Thailand and you are going to have a great time when you visit. That said, there will be a period of adjustment to a new country and culture and you should be prepared for what you will face when you step off the plane and arrive in Bangkok.
First off, you will have just been on a plane for more than 24 hours. Your muscles will be sore and you will be tired. You will also be suffering through jet lag and adjusting to a new time zone.
One thing many do on their first day in Bangkok after a long plane ride is to take a trip to Babylon Sauna or B & N Massage and get a good Thai Massage. This will help you adjust your body to the new time and help you relax. Plus, it feels great! Be sure to look at our Massage guide for the latest information on the best massage places in Bangkok and other cities!
Do not plan to do anything intellectually or physically strenuous on your first day and night in Thailand. A plane trip of 20 plus hours is very hard on your body. Take a day to relax and adjust to the new time zone.
You will also have to go through Thai customs and passport control. While this may seem obvious to most people, we can not stress it enough. Do not bring any drugs including poppers and Tina. You will get caught. You will go to prison. Drugs are not only VERY illegal in Thailand they are frowned upon. Don't be a fool and try to sneak anything into this country. Your embassy will not be able to help you. At the airport, there are little signs warning you to be wary of bringing this in. You are expected to know the law here when you visit. However, I have crossed boarders where there were billboards saying that if you bring illicit drugs into the Kingdom of Thailand you will be shot. While that may not be the case, the possibility of it should scare you enough to be intelligent. If you cannot enjoy a trip to Thailand with "party drugs" then please stay at home!
When you get through customs you will find yourself in a very busy airport. Take a second to look around and get comfortable. There is no need to rush into the throng of people.
Next, you will want to exchange money to the local currency, the Baht. You can also use your ATM card to get Baht at any number of ATMs in the airport. You can also do a currency exchange. Most do not carry around large sums on cash in Thailand and rely on ATM's. They are in all major cities in Thailand and finding one is never an issue.
You should start respecting local customs as soon as you are in the airport. These means do not yell or show anger to anyone. It is regarded as a crude display and will not solve any problems.
Also remember that if someone does not speak English, speaking English loudly to them will not help them figure out what you are saying.
Thais do not point at people or objects ever.
In Thailand the head is given special reverence. That means you do not touch anyone's head for any non-medical reason.
Thai people have a deep respect for the Royal Family. You must show reverence to them as well. In a movie, the King is often shown in a tribute and everyone in the theatre stands. You must stand as well out of respect.
Thai people do not shake hands with each other. Instead they place their hands together, similar to a prayer in Christianity, and the bow, called a Wai. Normally, this is done by a younger person to the older one and then the older person returns the gesture.
Do NOT get yourself involved in drugs. They are strictly forbidden in Thailand and you will be severely punished if you disobey the law!
Once you have mastered these basic introductions to Thailand all you need to do is find a taxi and speed off to your hotel!
You can get a local taxi out front of the airport to take you to Bangkok or get one of the Taxi centers in the airport. I have found both Image Car Service and Phon and Gem's service VERY reliable and always have one of them pick me up at the airport. Both can be found in the city guide area of the website!
Take your taxi, prepare for a nice ride into the city and get ready to have an amazing experience!
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