Backpacking Around Thailand
Thailand is geared up for backpackers and travelling round the country independently is very easy. Accommodation on the whole is cheap and easy to find. Backpacking in Thailand is fun no matter what your age. The jumping-off point for most backpackers is Khao San Road in Bangkok. Here you can find travel agents, cheap guesthouses, bars, clubs, very cheap internet cafés and many restaurants serving a variety of food, from Indian to pizza. It is possible to organise tourist buses to other destinations in Thailand. These can work out cheaper than the ordinary buses, but as they travel at night and do not take Thais, they do not give travellers a chance to see or experience Thailand.
What needs to be taken
Thailand is very westernized, particularly in the south and most things you would need, you can buy there. The north is less well catered for, and if travelling to more remote areas, women may prefer to take supply of tampons, as these tend to be on sale only in the main towns and tourist areas. On the whole it is better to travel light though, and buy what you need when you are there. Cheap clothing is readily available although be aware that Thais are much smaller than Westerners so if you are particularly tall you may prefer to bring your own clothes from home. Pharmacies sell medication, anti-biotics and anti-malarial prophylactics. Condoms are available but often Western men complain that they are too small as they are designed for Thais.
Other useful items are:
* A plug for a sink or basin;
* An adapter for electrical items, for instance a laptop;
* Travel wash - laundry services are available but sometimes it is preferably to wash smaller items yourself;
* Penknife with bottle opener attachment;
* Sunscreen - although this is sold at beach resorts and in Bangkok;
* A stout pair of walking shoes if planning to go walking;
* A torch;
* A mosquito net and mosquito repellent - they do sell quite good insect repellent in Thailand ;
* A chain and padlock if planning to do long bus and train journeys;
* Emergency medical kit containing syringes, oral rehydration powder, plasters and anything else you think you may need;
* A sturdy backpack to carry it all in.
There are several good bookshops in Bangkok and Chiang Mai which sell maps, guidebooks and books in English and other languages. Some resorts operate a book swapping policy - swap your old book for one of theirs - these tend to be mainly light fiction.