Southern Thailand Beaches

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Southern Thailand Beaches Money-Saving Tips

The Law is the Law

All venues close at 1am or 2am at the latest. Do yourself a favor and don't start arguing with the bartender about “just another round.” He isn't allowed to pour after closing time.

The Language

It isn't necessary to learn Thai for a short stay - Thai people speak proficient English. Though the writing looks completely alien, it's pretty easy to learn a handful of basic greetings, questions, and numbers. And the Thais will love you for it, even if you don't get the tone right.

High and Low

In Buddhism, the head is considered the most sacred body part – so do yourself a favor and don’t pat somebody on the head, not even the cutest kid. Accordingly, the feet are a no-go zone: don’t place them on chairs and tables or even point your toes at somebody – it's plain rude.

Butt Out

Smoking is not permitted in any air-conditioned restaurant. Bars and pubs are exempt, though the latter tend to allow smoking after 10pm only. Likewise, littering (including throwing butts on the streets) can cost up to $60 – and tourists are likelier to get the highest fines!

Dress Up

Wear bikini tops and surfer shorts only on the beach. Lose those flip flops and don long pants before entering temples.

Religious Conflict

About one third of Phuket's population is Muslim, and the number climbs the further south you get. A long-standing conflict between the government and insurgents wishing for autonomy has increased dramatically in recent years. Visitors are advised to stay clear of the Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani provinces. For further information and recent developments, check the site of the Department of State. www.travel.state.gov

Money

The Thai Bath (THB) is a fairly stable currency. Major credit cards are accepted by hotels and large shops, but cash is the preferred tender almost everywhere. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted outside of hotels, so change them for cash at a bank exchange.

Avoid the Bus from Bangkok

The easiest and most comfortable way to travel in Thailand is by plane (a bus ride from Bangkok to Phuket takes 16 hours!).

Get in Gear

If you don't plan to spend your whole holiday on one single beach, consider renting a car. Motorcycles are another possibility, but the steep, winding roads in many parts of the South should discourage anybody with a shred of common sense from doing the latter. Prices are reasonable. Andaman Car Rent is a trustworthy regional company with a large fleet. www.andamancarrent.com

Cheap Dive Excursions in Phuket

Phuket ranks among the globe's top diving destinations. Day tours, including two dives, all equipment and three meals, can cost as little as $100. Aqua Divers offers day trips as well as multi-day ventures to islands further out in the Andaman Sea.

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