Planning a Trip to Thailand

Planning a Trip to Thailand , Visiting Thailand, especially as a family, is hardly a trivial expense. Rather, it costs a considerable amount of money. A great trip to Thailand requires, first and foremost, the right planning, which is based on updated, reliable information. The right planning will take into account the travellers’ wishes and interests (as individuals and as a family); then, it will adjust and apply them in the best way possible, according to the reality in the field.

Years ago, tour books and booklets were very common and popular among travelers. Some of them were even considered as ‘Tourism Bible’. However, as the internet developed and progressed, while becoming easily accessible to more and more people around the globe– such guidebooks became redundant, as they contained rather scarce information (certainly compared to the internet). They became increasingly outdated and inaccurate, as years went buy from the day they were printed, and certainly from the time they were written. Today, these printed guides can only provide you with limited, general information, and it is best not to rely on them when planning your next trip.

During the recent years, many tourism websites and forums (in English and other languages) became the main sources of information for most people who plan trips abroad, and specifically to Thailand. However, the world wide web is far from being perfect; it contains endless errors, unreliable and outdated information and plenty of nonsense. However, you can certainly trust this website.

The ample content which you will find here, has been written by me (your loyal servant) who lives here for almost a decade and knows Thailand throughout its length and breadth. During this time (and even earlier, throughout my frequent visits to this wonderful country), I have become well versed in the local culture and Thai language, and I continue to frequently travel and explore Thailand to this day.

This website aims to provide travelers with up-to-date, detailed information about Thailand, which draws on personal, hands-on experience and vast, reliable knowledge. Before launching this website (which was hardly an easy task, I assure you), I have been an active participant in multiple forums, and unfortunately came across their disadvantages, disinformation and inaccuracies – which you should be aware of.  I will cover them briefly in order to assist you in making the right decisions while planning your trip.

Please consider the following aspects:

  • The anonymity of the internet user who provides you with certain information – in most cases you know nothing about the ‘informant’, the forum member who wrote down the tips etc. You don’t know his/her age, gender, interests, hobbies etc. More importantly, you know nothing of his experience – has he visited the place once, twice or 5 times? Has he stayed there a day or a week? Has he been to other places and has some scale to make a decent comparison? You’ll often find that the so called ‘expert’ who claims to know Bangkok and its surrounding like the back of his hand, has only visited there once, for two days, ten years ago. In short, if you know nothing about the information provider – please take it into consideration!!

 

  • Subjectivity issues – which relates to the previous passage. An average minus hotel can seem like a palace to a young, broke guy on his first trip to Thailand. The very same hotel will probably look like a poor dump for an older, more experienced traveller who has far more resources and money to spend. Moreover, in most cases, you can’t possibly tell the purpose and nature of the visit – was the traveller looking for exciting night-life among prostitutes? If so, he could be thrilled about places like Pattaya and Patong, while he’ll find other places to be ‘dull and redundant’. Hence, you should pay attention to this aspect as well.

 

  • Personal circumstances and feelings – in many cases, it is hard for us to distinguish and pinpoint the causes for liking a certain place more than the other. Our satisfaction often stems from personal feelings and associations that have nothing to do with the place, but rather draw on emotions, circumstances and experiences such as the mood we had that day, the people we were with, the weather at the time of our visit and many other factors that are unrelated to the place/attraction in question.

 

If there’s a certain location where we fell in love or had a fight with a loved one – we will remember the place differently. If we had a stomach ache, were annoyed by the hotel receptionist or quarrelled with our siblings – that too will influence our experience and perception of the place. Of course, the weather is also highly influential – was it a nice sunny day when we enjoyed a fresh, cool fruit shake on the beach, or perhaps a gloomy day, with pouring rain? There are numerous factors that can greatly impact our experience, and various circumstances that have nothing to do with the place we have visited, yet such aspects can certainly effect our impressions, associations and perceptions of the place – for better or for worse.

 

Here is exactly where rich experience comes into play. When a person already visited a certain place many times, in different seasons, times, moods, with different people etc. – the personal feelings and circumstances no longer influence his impression and sensations regarding the place itself. Thus, they will hardly affect his review.

 

  • Agents (particularly hidden ones with seemingly regular user names) have always been around tourism forums, but the phenomenon became more common in recent years. To date, it poisons many discussion groups, when many agents use them as platforms to promote their personal interests and private businesses – while often providing biased and inaccurate information.

Today, most forums are filled with travel agents who are constantly trying to market themselves and indirectly sell their services. The problem is not those who identify as travel agents, but rather their messengers – the hidden agents. The later present themselves as innocent tourists who come to share information and assist their fellow travellers by providing them with “recommendations” and “tips”, when all they want is to assist the agent who sent them.

The unfortunate phenomenon is hardly exclusive to forums, but common across the world wide web, which is full of impostors whose writing serves a specific business, a hidden agenda or a person with certain interests, yet they claim to be innocent writers. Sometimes these are professional frauds, who know how to do their job very well.

Please note: the problems I have mentioned above are hardly exclusive to a particular forum; rather, they exist in many discussions groups, not only about Thailand. I have to say I don’t invalidate any forum altogether or question all its participants – I personally know many of them who are indeed descent people who are trying to help. However, unfortunately, the above phenomena worsened and became increasingly common with time, thus considerably harming the credibility of the information in the different forums online.

Just think – would you put 5,000 USD in the hands of a complete stranger who tells you wonderful stories, when in fact, you know nothing about him, not even his real name?! Now keep in mind that the trip to Thailand will cost you more than the above sum…

Please note: unfortunately, many of the self-proclaimed online ‘experts’ are rather clueless; they mostly provide other users (innocent travelers) with faulty, mistaken and misleading information.  The innocent traveler has no way of telling which of the answers he received is indeed right. Therefore, in order to truly assist web users, I’ve decided to launch a section titled “Beat the Expert”.

“Beat the Expert” will feature, from time to time, examples of the nonsense which is frequently stated by the various “forum experts”.  These will include user names, the subject in question and the actual, right answer/information, so users can question the ‘expert’ and take his ‘answers’ with a grain of salt.

** The originally beautiful idea of online forums, where users can discuss and share their travel experiences, recommendations and tips, has become highly commercial over the years, awash with business interests and intrigues. Hence, no wonder that the credibility of these forums has been considerably harmed.

My advice to you is to consider the information you receive with great caution (including the ‘tips sections’ of sorts). Don’t take any tip or advice as facts or absolute truths, and always keep your options open; compare the information received in a certain forum with the data provided by other sources. Additionally, don’t count on anonymous sources, but rather consider the information you got from users you know something about, members who identified themselves or provided some information regarding their background, experience etc.

In conclusion: visiting Thailand is hardly a trivial, minor expense. It requires paying a considerable amount of money, so you should consider the timing of your visit and think your destinations through when planning your trip.        Don’t listen to agents – disguised or not – who try to direct you towards specific locations (which serve their agendas and interests). Simply browse through the web in detailed, updated websites which will provide you with comprehensive information about Thailand, to help you plan the perfect vacation.

Please note:

  1. Not every location should be visited at all seasons! For instance, when it comes to north Thailand and specifically Chiang Mai – March/April are the worst months to visit, due to aridness, frequent fires and poor air quality.
  2. The resort destinations, beaches and islands of the western side (Khaolak Andaman Beach Resort, Krabi, Ko Lanta, Ko Lipe and more) are far better than the eastern islands (Koh Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and such). In the summer time, the weather in the eastern islands is better, and it makes sense to travel and explore them. However, if you get to Thailand between October – May, the western side is far better.