Prepare for Your TripAITadmin2018-08-19T14:25:51-06:00
Preparing for your trip
Now that you have decided to go on the trip of a lifetime with us, let’s get ready!
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date. This is true for Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia as well. Thailand does not require a separate visa for foriegners from America and most European nations if staying for less than 30 days. You can check if your country is included at the Thai Ministry of Foriegn Affairs. If your itinerary includes Cambodia or Myanmar, then we recommend purchasing an eVisa online. Detailed instructions will be provided in those cases.
It is not necessary to convert a lot of cash prior to your arrival. ATMs are prevalent all over Thailand and allow you to withdraw Thai baht as needed. Let your bank know that you’re going to be using your credit and debit cards in Thailand (as well as any layover cities on your flight). They might deny charges if they see your card used unexpectedly in a far-off land. Street markets and local craft vendors are usually cash-only so you’ll want a litte “walking around” money. We recommend carrying 2,000-5,000 baht ($70-170) with you during the tour.
Cell coverage in Thailand is excellent and there is Wi-Fi at nearly every hotel, restaurant and public building. If you’re OK with waiting until you find a Wi-Fi signal to check email, surf the net or play online games, then Wi-Fi is all you need and no further action is required on your part. Bear in mind that Android users can’t send texts without a cell signal. iPhones can utilize iMessage over Wi-Fi. However, if you want Internet, texts or email access while out & about during the tour, read on…
You’ll need a SIM card to access Thailand’s cell phone system. These are quite cheap. We recommend purchasing a SIM card from one of the vendors at the airport as soon as you exit baggage claim. These are (surprisingly) the best deals in Bangkok. A 30-day, unlimited data plan can be had for ~$20.
If you are from anywhere other than America, you won’t have any problems. The vendor will swap out your SIM, give you your old one back for safekeeping, and you’re on your way.
Americans, on the other hand, have a little work to do before getting on the plane. Many American cell phone companies “lock” their phones when you purchase them as part of a monthly plan (I’m looking at you, Verizon). This keeps you from switching carriers until your term is fulfilled. Even after you pay it off, they don’t automatically unlock your phone unless you ask. Either way, you’ll need to contact your carrier and ask them to “unlock” your phone so that you can use a Thai SIM card. Getting a Thai SIM is almost always cheaper than adding an “international plan” from a U.S. carrier, usually by a whole lot.
And finally, not all phones sold in America will work with Thai cell frequencies even if they are unlocked. You can check your model with this handy Compatibility Checker.
The weather is consistent in Thailand – it’s hot and humid! Plan on wearing shorts and t-shirts for most of the trip. Light-colored clothing made of wicking material is best (thin but not translucent). It usually doesn’t rain, but if it does you’ll find it a welcome relief from the heat. An umbrella is not necessary. A light jacket can come in handy for both air conditioning and in the early mornings on our trips to the northern mountains. At the temple, modest dress is required.
Here’s what we suggest packing for a 12-day trip:
4-6 short sleeve shirts
comfortable sandals or sneakers for walking (easy on/easy off is a plus)
a pair of closed-toe shoes for the Grand Palace
ladies, 1 skirt (below knee)
men, 1 light trouser
1 long sleeve shirt for the Grand Palace
1 sun hat (optional)
the minimum underwear you can stand (there will be opportunities for laundry service a few times during the trip)
small laundry bag with name tag
anti-itch medicine for insect/mosquito bites
sunscreen and sunburn care, if you burn easily (it’s getting easier to find in Thailand but they may not have your favorite brand)
medication (diarrhea medicine, aspirin, etc.)
medical insurance card/information
emergency contact information
small day pack/fanny pack for short excursions
dry bag for island trips or rafting activities
plane ride comforts (books/headphone, neck pillow, eye cover, sleep aid, ear plugs)