Fried bugs. About as prevalent as hot dog stands in New York are bug booths in Thailand. One-man stalls are found all over the road and serve fried grasshoppers, ant eggs, silk worms, and larvae. If you are feeling especially adventurous, try the fried scorpion. They’re pretty crunchy and the taste is a little nutty, in my opinion.
Curry. It’s found in almost everything. Almost all meat in Thailand is marinated or cooked in it. The farther south you go, the more likely the spice will have coconut milk added to it so it will be less spicy. The spice is generally made from chilies, lemon grass, and Kaffir lime leaves. If you have trouble eating spicy food, then you probably want to stay away from most of the meat.
Seafood. Giant tiger prawns, snails, whole fish (probably mackerel), horseshoe crabs the size of dinner plates, and octopus are all common dishes near the sea.
Rice. If you don’t like rice, then you’re out of luck if you are in Thailand. Rice is served with almost every meal—even breakfast. Steamed rice (most with a hint of jasmine) is most common, but you can also find fried rice with various meats at most restaurants. Also, if you are eating with a group, be prepared to have your food served family-style. You will generally be given a bowl of white rice, vegetables, and 2 or 3 different meat choices.
Iced tea. Although it will taste much different than your typical American tea, it’s refreshing after walking through a city that is humid and hot (even in winter).
Something with caffeine! Thailand offers many varieties of energy drinks, and after a 20+ hour flight, you’ll need something to combat the jet lag.
A traditional dance. Dancers start at a very young age to learn interpretative dances combining classical movements with story telling. Opt for a dinner production and sit back and let the music provided by stringed instruments begin the night. Also, be prepared to sit on the ground, and remember to take your shoes off at the door!
A kickboxing match. Catch Muay Thai at its finest—and don’t spend a ton of money on tickets. Try finding a training gym off the beaten path with native competitors. If you want, join in on a bet or two with the locals. Get there early to catch the ritual dance that all competitors perform before every match to honor their coaches.
The sites from a boat. The Chao Phraya River passes by homes and several hot spots, including the Temple of Dawn, whose view is worth getting out of the boat and climbing to the top for. However, the stairs can be alarmingly steep, so be prepared to have sore muscles the next day!
Get a reflexology foot massage. Asia is known for its holistic view of medicine, so if you’re feeling stressed, tired, or if you’re in pain or even pregnant, there is a massage for you. Points on your feet can correspond to areas all over your body—from sinuses to kidneys.
Buy some saffron if you get the chance. The price in Thailand compared to what the spice costs in the states is significantly lower.
Remember to pack appropriate clothes for temple visits. For women, this means a long skirt or dress. For men, khaki pants or other nice pants. No one is allowed to wear anything tight, sleeveless, suggestive, or anything that comes above the knee. And you may want to change before you get there—lines to the restroom can be long.
DO NOT point your feet at anything or anyone, especially a statue of Buddha. This is a taboo in Thailand and is extremely offensive. If you commit this crime at the Grand Palace with the iconic Emerald Buddha, palace guards may arrest you. Don’t be worried about just pointing your feet in the direction of the statue, just don’t flex your foot forward like you’re using your foot as a means to point something out. See below for example.