Practical information : Eating out Thailand
Restaurant hours are very varied. Traditional restaurants, like in France, are open for lunch and dinner, often with a weekly closing day (or two). Smaller local restaurants are open for a single service eight hours a day. If the restaurant opens early in the morning, they close around 2pm. Those that open in the late morning serve until around 7pm. And there are those that open around 5pm and close late in the evening. Present in each Thai city, the night markets which gather several stalls of street food are opened from 5 pm till 10 pm. On the islands and in the seaside resorts, the beach restaurants and beach bars are generally open without interruption from morning to evening.
Budget & Tips
Night markets, or night markets, can be found in every town in the country, offering a cheap evening meal, often with a wide choice of dishes. The small restaurants frequented by locals are often cheap too, but you will have to choose a dish blindly or show a photo of the menu, as it is rarely translated into English. Payment is made in cash in small establishments and you can pay by credit card in more posh establishments.
Also, be sure to check out the Lodging section to find a good place to eat, as most hotels and guesthouses have their own restaurant and some are worth the trip
What costs extra
Prices are usually inclusive of all taxes. However, in some cases, the 7% tax is added to the total amount of the bill, as is the case in some upscale restaurants. Taxes are often mentioned at the bottom of the menu. Look closely because the bill can sometimes rise surprisingly high!
In some restaurants, it is a good idea to leave a small tip for the staff. It is not mandatory but it is very much appreciated.
In some local establishments, you will be charged for glasses and ice. Please note that in these establishments the price of drinks is often very low
The local way
In Thailand we eat with a tablespoon and a fork, the latter being used to push the food. Of course in restaurants with foreign cuisine you will also be given a knife. Some establishments, particularly those specialising in noodle soups, make chopsticks available to customers. This is not a Thai tradition, however, but an import of Chinese culture.
Thai people, when they are with friends or family, like to share a lot of different dishes arranged in the center of a table. If you are invited, please be aware that we never take a common dish to eat directly, but we put the portion on a small personal plate before eating it
To be avoided
In the south of the country, some establishments run by Muslims do not serve alcohol (or pork of course). No need to ask for it and offend your interlocutors!
In all tourist cities restaurants offer menus or specialities for children. It's even more common in resorts.
Smoking is strictly forbidden in public places. However, many establishments tolerate cigarette smoke on terraces, especially in tourist resorts or even in Bangkok. Be careful not to bother your neighbors.
In some seaside resorts, such as Ao Nang (Krabi), barkers are waving their menus in front of customers and desperately trying to seat them on their terraces. Take the time to look at the prices and make sure the menu is right for you before you sit down.