Before you board the plane for your golfing adventure in Thailand you need to make sure you are prepared because you don’t want to overlook something that could ruin your hard-earned holiday.
Thailand is one of the safest countries around so you need not worry unduly but to make sure that you are prepared if something does happen and to help you we have produced a checklist of things to consider before you leave – some of them obvious and some of them not. Anyway we hope you find them useful.
1. Make a note of your embassy contact details
If something goes really wrong whilst you are away (serious injury, lost passport etc.) you may need to contact your embassy. Most embassies are located in Bangkok but many countries also maintain Honorary Consuls in places like Phuket who are there to assist tourists who get into trouble. This information is usually available on the embassy website so it might be a good idea to enter the contact numbers into your phone so you have them handy if the need arises.
2. Buy Travel insurance
You must buy travel insurance before you leave. Medical expenses in Thailand are much less than some other countries but if you get seriously hurt the charges can rack up quickly and you won’t get out of hospital until either you pay your bill or the insurance company steps in. Make sure the policy covers you in the event you lose your golf clubs and also if you intend to hire a motorbike or go scuba diving that you are covered for this.
3. Take a stock of your favorite medications
Most medicines and drugs are widely and freely available in Thailand but they may not stock your favorite brand so be sure to take a stock with you. Also there are many counterfeit drugs sold in Thailand so you can never be 100% sure that what you are buying is genuine. Don’t forget to pack mosquito repellant as Malaria and Dengue Fever are an ever-present risk everywhere in Asia.
4. Check your Passport
Seems pretty obvious but make sure that you have enough pages left and that its valid for at least six months after you arrive in Thailand. Also you are supposed to carry it with you at all times when in Thailand but normally you can get away with carrying a photocopy. Also a good idea to store a photo on your phone so you always have the details handy.
5. Leave copies of documents at home
Leave full details of your itinerary with a friend or family member back home (insurance policy, travel itinerary, passport copy etc.). This will help enormously if you get into trouble.
6. Driving in Thailand
If you are caught driving in Thailand without a licence you will be fined around US$30 on the spot and be faced with the inconvenience of having to go to the local police station. Best option is to get an International Driving License but if not carry your home country licence with you. If riding a motorcycle, then you should wear a helmet – the police set up roadblocks from time to time to catch people riding without a helmet. If caught drinking and driving you might end up in jail overnight which can be a scary experience so don’t even think about doing it.
7. Credit cards
Don’t put all your credit cards in the same place so that if you lose your bag or wallet you end up stranded. Keep one back in the safe of your hotel. Also credit card fraud is rife in Thailand so be sure to tell your bank that you are travelling overseas otherwise when you go up to an ATM you may find that they have put a block on your card and you cannot withdraw any cash.
8. Pace Yourself
It is hot in Thailand all year round and if you are not used to it then it can be very tiring so make sure you have a rest day occasionally and don’t try to play every day. If you intend to party hard then don’t book an early tee time – no fun getting up at 6am with a hangover and it won’t do anything for your golf game.
9. Prepare for the weather
You can read about the Thailand weather in more detail here. In most places you can expect mainly dry weather from November to February so rainwear will probably not be needed. We do recommend you take an umbrella to protect you from the sun – your caddy will hold it for you and if you want you can hire an extra caddie or “Umbrella Girl” to follow you around.
At other times of the year you should prepare for rain and pack a lightweight waterproof top and a cover for your golf bag.
10. What can you bring in/bring out?
Apart from Buddha images and pornographic material there is not much else that you cannot bring into Thailand. Most golf courses have well-stocked golf shops so you can pick up anything you might have forgotten and its quite easy to find second-hand golf balls if you don’t want to buy new ones.
You are not supposed to take Buddha images or statues out of the country and if you decide to get a Buddha image tattooed somewhere than make sure it is hidden.
We hope you find this useful and that you have wonderful golfing break in Thailand.Check out our post on 10 Money Saving Tips for Golfing in Thailand