Every woman who has ever seen the Bachelor, has dreamt of riding elephants on the beach in Thailand, while most men probably have a different kind of Thai fantasy. Thailand and the Philippines are two gorgeous countries boasting miles of coastline, affordable accommodations and a rich history and culture. But before you travel to these Asian countries, there are a few things you should be aware of if you want to be a good travel companion.
Most people get around via motorcycle cabs called “tricycles”, and public transportation is very affordable. There are a few areas most tourists should avoid due to crime, terrorisms and habitual kidnappings. Please do your research if you plan on going inland in the Philippines or stay in the metropolitan or resort areas for safety. Tourists are also warned to be wary of money exchangers and vendors who are known for ripping people off and harsh negotiations.
Chances are you might have heard some things about Thailand, whether it be in popular culture or from a friend. Thailand is known for embracing sexuality, known internationally as the sex capital of the world as well as a hot spot for the LGBT community. It’s also been given the unfortunate distinction of being a popular area for sex trafficking. But most people should not be concerned about safety as long as they do their research ahead of time.
Thailand is coincidentally also known for being one of the nicest countries in the world, where everyone always smiles and is courteous. A well known Thai greeting is the wai, where two people greet each other by facing each other and pressing their palms together while bowing their heads slightly. This is something you will encounter from the moment you enter the country and you should reciprocate the wai.
Everybody goes to Thailand expecting to ride an elephant, and you can. But the truth is, an elephant endures a lot in order to be trained to safely cart wide eyed tourists through a jungle or on a beach. Most elephants you will encounter are sad, abused creatures that will break your heart. Instead of supporting their abuse, visit an elephant sanctuary instead. You will still be able to interact with an elephant with out contributing to its abuse.
Ever been to Thailand or the Philippines? What would your advice be to a first time visitor?