Thailand is a fairly large country, approximately the size of France, with a growing population of around 61 million. Its sits in the center of mainland South –East Asia bordering Myanmar to the east, Laos to the north and the north-east, Cambodia to the west and Malaysia to the south. The north of the country is mainly mountainous while the central region vast fertile plain. In the south the country stretches for over a 1,000km down a narrow peninsula to the Malaysian border.
All visitors must complete an arrival card. This should be submitted together with passport and visa to the Immigration Department officials, as well as the Customs officers. The Exit portion will be torn off and returned to the visitor, who should retain this for presentation upon departure.
International Flights: 500 Bath (Approx 12.50USD)
Domestic Flights: 50 Bath.
Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for traveling in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter month’s warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Visitors to Buddhist countries should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings and shoes should be removed before entering a private home.
The basis of a Thai meal is rice, usually steamed although it can be made into noodles, while glutinous or sticky rice is preferred with some specialties. Accompanying the rice are main dishes featuring vegetables, meat, seafood, egg, fish and soup. Although Thais generally prefer hot, spicy food, not all dishes are so intense and there are grades of hotness and Thai food can be modulated to suit most tastes.
No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions especially if travelling off the beaten track. Medical facilities are rather limited in all countries with the exception of Thailand and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed. Please kindly visit our Travel Insurance for details.
Hours of Business
Most businesses are open from Monday to Friday. Government offices are open from 08:30 to 16:30 with some closing for lunch from noon to 13:00. Many retailers and travel agencies are also open on Saturday.
The most widely spoken language in Thailand is Thai, a complicated language with a unique alphabet. Beside the numerous hill tribe dialects, the non-Thai languages include Lao, Khmer and Chinese.
The currency in Thailand is the Bath. Banks, which are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 15:30, give the best exchange rates. In tourist areas there are also foreign exchange kiosks that stay open later, usually until around 20:00. All major Thai banks offer ATM machines and most of these will accept foreign ATM cards. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
January 1 New Year's Day
February 17 Makha Bucha Day
April 6 Chakri Memorial Day
April 12-14 Songkran Festival (Thai New Year)
May 1 National Labour Day
May 5 Coronation Day
May 15 Wisakhabucha Day
July 14 Buddhist Lent Day
August 12 Queen’s Birthday
October 23 Chulalongkorn Day
December 5 Constitution Day
December 10 King’s Birthday
December 31 New Year’s Eve
Theravada Buddhism is practised by about 95% of Thais. Every Thai male is expected to become a monk for a short period in his life. There is also a large Muslim minority in Thailand’s four southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and Satun.
Textiles are possibly the best buy in Thailand and Thai silk, considered the best in the world, is very inexpensive. The Thai shoulder bags known as yâam are generally well made and come in many varieties, some woven by hill tribes. Other items to look out for include gems and jewellery, silverware, bronze ware, woodcarvings, lacquerware, celadon pottery, leather goods and tailoring.
Most hotels now have IDD phones in rooms and it is possible to send faxes from hotels and post offices although be warned these services are expensive in all four countries. Away from the major cities it may not always be possible to make international calls. Internet cafes are becoming popular in the major cities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand (not yet in Myanmar) and many travellers now prefer to keep in touch by e-mail. Postcards can be bought at all the main tourist sites and stamps are available from post offices and some hotel reception desks. It is not permitted to bring mobile phones into Myanmar. Even if they are not connectable in Myanmar to an international network such as GSM, they will be confiscated upon arrival at Yangon International Airport and released only upon departure. A few hotels in Yangon have an e-mail service, however, it is not possible to connect to the internet and consult your own e-mail account.
Travel insurance is not included in all of our tours/service. We highly recommend you purchase your own one including air evacuation in your country before traveling. Tipping
Tipping for good service is appreciated in these developing nations. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped a small amount for their troubles
Citizens of 56 different countries can enter Thailand without a visa and be granted a free visa for a 30 day stay. Next in length of validity is the tourist visa which is good for 60 days and costs approximately 15USD, depending on the country of application. Three passport photos must accompany all applications
It is not advisable to drink tap water in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Thailand but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Ice in drinks is generally fine in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls or in country areas.
Thailand’s climate is ruled by monsoons that produce three seasons in Northern, North Eastern, Eastern and Central Thailand, and two seasons in Southern Thailand. The three season zone, which extends roughly from Thailand’s northernmost point and reaches to Phetchaburi province of the Southern Peninsula, experiences a ‘dry and wet monsoon’ climate, with the south-west monsoon arriving between May and July and lasting into November. This is followed by a dry period from November to May, a period that begins with lower relative temperatures until mid-February, followed by much higher temperatures from March to May.
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