Forbes magazine has named Bangkok the most visited city in the world 2 years in a row now. It is a metropolis for solo travelers. As with any country in the world, use common sense, relax and have fun!
Once you receive your booking confirmation, you can book your flight! You will need to look for flights that arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport ( BKK). You are welcome to arrive at any time of the day or night but please keep in mind that check in time at the hotel is 3:00pm. We highly suggest using Google Flights to search for the best itineraries and fares. Feel free to text or call us if you need assistance booking your flights.
All travelers are required to obtain Travelers Insurance before going on the retreat. This is to protect you in case you have to cancel your trip, in case your luggage gets lost and ESPECIALLY in case you have a medical emergency. We are blessed in the United States to have hospitals that are required to treat us – even if we don’t have money on hand. Most of the world does not work like this. Many hospitals will not even talk to you until you can show proof of a Travel Insurance Plan.
There are many travel insurance companies out there.
This is a company that we personally use and have chosen to partner with this year.
For your convenience, here is a quick link to sign up now: AIG TRAVEL GUARD
Be sure to note that there are many different types of policies to choose from. One of the main differences is “Emergency Cancellation” ( Cancel because of a medical emergency etc ) vs “CFAR” ( Cancel for any reason – like if you just change your mind. ) CFAR policies sometimes require you to purchase the policy within a certain time frame from placing your deposit and are usually a bit more expensive. Just some things to consider!
Once you have secured your Travelers Insurance, please send us a quick email to let us know. We want to make sure every traveler is protected on this beautiful adventure.
We hope these tips help!
There are no vaccine requirements for United States Citizens. If you are traveling from another country, please check with your local government. We do suggest to all participants that you consult a physician or Travel Clinic before traveling so that you can be educated on the immunizations that are suggested as an extra precaution. This decision is totally up to you. We will be in Bangkok and Phuket where disease risk is very low. We had 24 travelers on our last trip. No one got extra vaccines and we were fine but every one is different. If you plan to travel to more rural areas, extra precaution should be taken. U.S. Citizens can read more here :
Right now, the Thai Baht is about 33 Baht to $1 USD. Needless to say, your lunch money will go a long way on this adventure!
United States Citizens do not need a visa to visit Thailand. If you are from the U.S. and plan to stay longer than our retreat dates or are traveling from another country, please check with your local government. All travelers: Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your trip dates.
Many hotels these days are equipped with American & European Outlets but you should always be prepared when traveling. For charging things like phones & iPads, you will need an adapter to fit into Asian plugs. We purchased this Apple Travel Kit. It is a great investment because it has plugs for various countries so you can use for future travels. If you don’t use Apple, just get something similar from your provider.
Appliances get a little trickier. Hair Dryers are provided in the hotels so you won’t need to bring one.
For appliances like shavers, flat irons and curling wands; you will need a converter ( in addition to an adapter.)
The Conair Styling Converter Kit is the only converter out there that is designed to work with high-end hair styling tools and we absolutely love it.
A last resort is to visit a Big C ( similar to WalMart ) or Central ( more high end ) Department Store in Bangkok and just purchase a cheapy for the trip.
Be sure to check out our SHOP on the VIVE Website for easy access to our favorite travel gear!
There are 3 ways you can choose to use your phone while in Thailand.
Option 1 : Switch the settings on your phone to “data roaming – OFF” and just use your phone whenever you are connected to WiFi. Hotels, cafes, shops will almost always have WiFi. Use the WhatsApp app to text freely with friends & family.
Option 2 : Purchase a SIM card with unlimited data so you can use your phone anywhere & everywhere. It’s easier than it sounds. You basically find a kiosk at the airport, mall or 7-11 and have the employees set it up for you. This option is suggested for those that might want to access FaceBook, SnapChat, Instagram , etc when on the go. I also suggest this method in case of emergencies. We will be doing this upon arrival at the airport – just to get it out of the way. Expect to pay between $35-65 USD for unlimited data. SIM cards are unbelievably cheap in Thailand!
Option 3 : Set up an International Data Plan with your cell phone service provider. Daily rates will vary depending on your carrier.
- When visiting temples – shoulders, belly & legs must be completely covered ( for men & women)
- At beaches – regular bikinis / beach wear is fine but have a cover up handy for going into hotel lobby , restaurants, shops etc
- Out & about in Bangkok or Phuket – normal stuff you’d wear – shorts & tank top etc is fine as long as it’s not skimpy.
- Remember it’s really hot so wear light materials that breathe.
- You take your shoes off a lot in Thailand ( all temples, some restaurants so bring mostly sandals that are comfy & not SUPER expensive since you leave them out in Public)
- As a rule of thumb in Bangkok & Phuket – dress “nice.” It is said on a lot of travel boards that the quality of service you get in hotels , restaurants, etc will depend on how you dress . Thais judge by appearance & it is a sign of respect to be dressed nice (as opposed to beach bum / tourist)
- Some roof top bars in Bangkok will have a dress code.
- DON’T EVER POINT
- DON’T TOUCH ANYONE’S HEAD
- NO FEET TOWARDS ANYONE , ESPECIALLY MONKS / BUDDHAS, DON’T PROP FEET UP
- DRESS MODEST, COVER SHOULDERS & LEGS IN TEMPLES ( MEN & WOMEN )
- DON’T BE LOUD
- DRESS NICE
- NEVER DISRESPECT THE KING OR STEP ON MONEY
- WOMEN SHOULD NEVER TOUCH A MONK
- DON’T “LOSE FACE” ( REMAIN CALM & SMILE – YOU WILL PROBABLY GET WHAT YOU WANT)
- LEARN TO USE THE “WAI” OTHERWISE JUST SMILE & NOD
- COVER YOUR FACE WITH MASK IF SICK
- DURIAN FRUIT NOT ALLOWED IN HOTELS / INDOORS
- KING JUST DIED IN 2016 THIS IS A VERY SENSITIVE SUBJECT
- DON’T DRINK THE TAP WATER. BOTTLE WATER ONLY. ( FOR HEALTH REASONS. NOT ETIQUETTE. )
- ALWAYS REMOVE YOUR SHOES WHEN ENTERING A TEMPLE OR SOMEONES HOME. SOME RESTAURANTS MAY REQUIRE THIS ALSO.
- TAXIS / TUK TUKS
- WHEN HAILING A TAXI, KEEP YOUR HAND OUT HORIZONTAL WITH FINGERS FACING DOWN TOWARDS THE GROUND. HOLDING YOUR HANDS WITH FINGERS UP OR POINTING IS CONSIDERED VERY RUDE. NEVER WHISTLE.
- NOT EXPECTED ( LIKE IN USA ) BUT APPRECIATED
- HOTELS 20 THB ( LESS THAN $1 ) FOR LUGGAGE CARRIER OR HOUSEKEEPING
- RESTAURANTS, CUSTOMARY TO LEAVE ANY LOOSE CHANGE IN COINS AS A TIP
- BUT MOST HOTELS & RESTAURANTS ALREADY INCLUDE A 10% SERVICE CHARGE ON YOUR BILL. IT IS SHARED AMONG THE EMPLOYEES.
- IN VERY HIGH END RESTAURANT WITH EXCELLENT SERVICE 5% – 10% TIP IS APPRECIATED.
- FOR TAXIS JUST ROUND UP THE FARE ( example – Fare is $4.65 – just give $5 )
- KEEP IN MIND MASSAGE LADIES WORK FOR PENNIES SO A LITTLE EXTRA GOES A LONG WAY FOR THEM.
- COMMON SCAMS
- MAKE SURE TAXIS TURN ON THEIR METER SO THEY CAN’T SCAM YOU. IF THEY TELL YOU A PLACE IS CLOSED “ AND YOU SHOULD GO SOMEWHERE ELSE “- JUST FIND ANOTHER DRIVER. THEY ARE PROBABLY TRYING TO SCAM YOU.
- NEVER GIVE YOUR PASSPORT OVER AS A DEPOSIT FOR JET SKIS OR MOTORBIKES. THIS IS A SCAM AS WELL.
- WE HAVE BEEN TO THAILAND MANY TIMES AND NEVER EXPERIENCED A FEELING OF BEING SCAMMED. JUST BE AWARE AND ALERT AS YOU WOULD BACK HOME.
IF THERE IS A FIXED, INDIVIDUAL PRICE TAG , IT IS PROBABLY NOT A BARGAINING PLACE.
IF HAGGLING – CUT PRICE IN HALF, THEN MEET SOMEWHERE COMFORTABLE IN THE MIDDLE.
NO SMOKING ON PUBLIC BEACHES, AS A RULE OF THUMB FOR ALL AIRPORTS, VAPES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN CHECKED LUGGAGE ( THEY MUST BE IN YOUR CARRY ON IN A SEPARATE BAGGIE ) THERE ARE MIXED REVIEWS ABOUT VAPES BEING ALLOWED IN THAILAND / NO VAPING IN PUBLIC WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY A FINE , NO DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY WITHOUT REGISTERING & GETTING A CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL. NOTHING TOO SERIOUS BUT PLEASE JUST ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE LAWS FOR ANY COUNTRY YOU VISIT BY READING UP ONLINE.
( VERY COMMON IN PHUKET BUT NOT SUGGESTED AS THE ROADS ARE VERY DANGEROUS ) YOU NEED AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS LICENSE. THOUGH NOT ENFORCED VERY OFTEN – IT’S STILL THE LAW. WE DO NOT ALLOW RETREAT GUESTS TO RENT MOTORBIKES DURING THE RETREAT.
- A photocopy of your passport to carry when out and about as I.D. ( keep original passport in hotel safe along with your other valuables.)
- Make sure your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your entry date into Thailand. Always check online for any updates to passport & visa policies. There is no visa needed ( for US citizens ) for this specific retreat. If you hold other citizenship, please check visa policies for your country.
- Prescriptions along with original bottles & doctors note
- Camera, chargers, adapters
- Light weight yoga mat ( expensive ones are usually too heavy for travel. Stick with one from Giam, Target, TJ Maxx that you don’t mind getting dirty or leaving behind.) Most of the time you can carry your mat on the plane without it counting as a carry on. It will become your best friend for stretches / naps during airport layovers.
- Entertainment for your flight Books, Kindle, journal to write in, healthy snacks, neck pillow. Whatever makes you happy – plan out your long haul entertainment.
- Packing Cubes are life. Get some on the SHOP page here on our Vive Website!
- Sun Protection ( hat / sunscreen / sunglasses )
- Change of Clothes
- Bathing Suit
- Bug Spray
- Walking Shoes / Shoes that can get muddy
- Light day pack / tote bag to carry it all in
- Same Items as Elephant Visit List
- Water Proof Camera or Waterproof Casing for Phone
- Flip Flops
NOTIFY BANKS OF YOUR TRAVELS
REGISTER YOUR TRIP ON S.T.E.P.
PHOTOCOPY OF ALL PASSPORTS & DOCUMENTS
DOWNLOAD WHATSAPP FOR TEXTING
DOWNLOAD SPEAK THAI APP / GOOGLE TRANSLATE
DOWNLOAD CURRENCY CONVERTER APP ( 33 THB = $1 USD )
A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY AND LOCALS ARE VERY APPRECIATIVE WHEN YOU MAKE THE ATTEMPT TO LEARN SOME COMMON PHRASES. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOWNLOADING A THAI LANGUAGE APP AND BRUSHING UP ON THE BASICS. ( THIS WILL ALSO GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO DO ON THAT LONG INBOUND FLIGHT ! )
The first thing you need to know is that the Thai language changes a bit depending on whether the speaker is a man or a woman. The addition of the word Krup or “khrap” (male speaker) and Kah (female speaker) to the end of the word makes what is being said “polite”.
For example :
Sawatdee (khrap/kah) Hello
Khob Khun (khrap/kah) Thank you
Along with greeting someone you may want to ask them how they are:
Sabai dii mai? ( khrap/kah ) How are you?
Sabai dii khrap/ka (I am fine thank you) or ‘mai sabai khrap/ka’ (not well).
HERE ARE SOME WORDS TO GET YOU STARTED:
mai pen rai – never mind (handy all purpose phrase to express the Thai go-with-the-flow attitude)
pood Thai mai daiI can not speak Thai.
kow jai mai do you understand?
mai kow jai I do not understand
nee Tao Rai? How much?
pang mak very expensive
lot noi dai mai can you give a little discount
sanaam bin Airport
hong naam toilet
nit noi small – not much – a little bit
mai phet not spicey please
arroy! means ” the food is delicious”
narak! means “so cute!”
Hope you find this page helpful! Be sure to check in on our Private FaceBook Group for more info, live Q&As, videos and fun posts all about Thailand! Email or Text us anytime with questions.