What Nobody Tells you about Thailand
1. Sanitary regulations don't apply.
Just as you read, I can say that I can tolerate a lot, but what surprised me the most was how everywhere in Bangkok and Chiang Mai the place where they cook (that can't be called a kitchen haha) is located on front of the restaurant getting smoke from the cars and dirt from the street. Even when I have to say that no food poisoning or anything happened to us, is some occasions this was quite a shock, because in some places we even saw insects in the floor and on the table.
2. Moving from one place to another in Bangkok takes forever.
This is for 2 reasons, Bangkok is a huge city, so the distances are huge anywhere you are going (no walking options at all) and the taxi, über and grab drivers don't speak any english or anything apart from Thai, so if you messed up and set the app for the wrong address (which happened to us) you will probably end up going and going until you find a way to make them understand that you messed up (we ended up using Google Translate and almost missing out on our flight back home). Also, it takes forever for the drivers to pick you up, more than once the app said 5min and ended up being almost 30min.
3. You have to remove your shoes in more places than a temple.
If you have been to Japan before where you also remove your shoes in some places, well don't expect it to be like that, here you'll have to remove your shoes in the middle of the street before entering to a massage place, a restaurant and even in some hotels.
4. Mainland can be very cheap but don't expect the same for the coast.
We visited Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai, where we payed $3 for a lunch including Coca-Cola, so when we got to Koh Samui we were surprised to see how prices go up a lot (for Thailand) and everything started to be similar to what we can find in Spain for a lunch price wise.
5. Flights between Thailand are not necessarily super cheap.
After 3 years living in Europe I'm used to cheap flight deals and I thought that Thailand would be similar because of Airlines like Nok Air, Thai Lion and Air Asia. But when I started looking for flights to get in and out of Koh Samui I hit the reality that is not always like that, because this airlines fly more to places like Krabi and Phuket, so my recommendation is to look for flight at the same time that you book your hotels and plan you route, because this were almost $300 one way.
6. People can try to scam you specially in Bangkok.
I'm talking about this because I listened about it from two YouTubers (Lost LeBlanc and Raisa) and happened to us in our first full day when we went to the Grand Palace, a guy came to us speaking Spanish and started talking about the palace been closed for some hours and that we had to arrive at 6am to be able to get in and recommended us a rote through the river and even stop a Tuk Tuk to take us there for like 4 hours. But we saw several Chinese tours going somewhere in the area and had listen the histories of scam from this 2 vloggers, so we decided that we won't listen to him and say no to the Tuk Tuk and in that moment he said to us that we will never arrive walking, because "we were 2 hours away of the entrance". We ignored him (he was walking after us and kept trying to say things) and he left, a couple minutes after we arrived to the visitors entrance (following the Chinese tours) we got in, because it was open as it was supposed to be.
How they act is with a deal with the Tuk Tuk driver and several other places where they take you, so they are able to lie to you, because the tourist entrance is not the same as the main, that's where Google maps takes you and where you see locals getting in, and when you arrive there they see that you are a little lost (Google maps doesn't have the other information) and they engage in a conversation asking you where are you from and tell you a history about themselves that sounds convincing, after that they tell you the place is closed because you can't see the other entrance from the part of the street that you are.
So you just have to tell them/him/her that you are not interested and keep walking because the other entrance is in the same street or you can always count on following some tour, because the guides always know where they are going and if they are there for sure the place is open.
7. Not everything is how it looks on the internet and the photos.
In the Internet, Instagram, YouTube, you'll see this amazing desolated beaches, even in the tours publicities, but the only time that you'll see the beach like that is at 6am/7am, so if you want some alone time this is not the place and if you want that perfect Instagram photo, well, you'll have to wake up pretty early and have a route already planed, because at 9am people start arriving and you'll probably will find hours more quiet than others, but in some moments you'll even see huge boat with 30/40 people getting there at the same time. If you want that, talk to your boat driver one day before to arrange it.
8. You have way more food options apart from Thai dishes.
I really recommend to use Foursquare to find good places to eat, we used it everywhere we go and got never disappointed, but even if you don't use it, I don't thing you'll have a problem finding something you like, because almost every Thai place offers an "international" menu, full of Italian dishes, salads and hamburgers, but even if you don't like spicy food, order something Thai and ask for it not to be spicy you'll be ok, because it won't be spicy.
9. Thai people are extremely nice and super polite.
Thailand is by far the place where we have met the nicest and polite people ever, people there are very special, kind and willing to help you everywhere you go. So treat them well, treat them with respect and honor their job, because they will for sure try to do it the best they can.
10. Is difficult to find good information about the history when you go to places.
I'm this person that wants to know everything and when I visit a new culture I do it to learn more about it, but when you visit places in Thailand is very improbable that you'll find a board with information and not to name an audio guide. So you'll need to be very autodidactic about it and run for your good friend Google.
11. Don't Expect Toilet Paper in half of the bathrooms.
Thai toilets can't flush paper (not even in hotels), so instead of this in many places they only have water for you to clean up, for that is very advisable to have always paper in you bag, because believe me, you'll need it.