Some notes about Thailand

Before you arrive you’ll want to Know a few things first. This will help you know what to expect and maybe help you pack a bit more efficiently.

 

AIRPORT ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE PROCEDURES
Upon arrival in Thailand, all travelers must fill in an entry/exit form. This form should be kept safe with your passport while in Thailand. Upon departure it needs to be presented to the immigration officials at the airport. If this form gets lost a fine has to be paid at the airport. If you have booked an airport transfer or fast track service with us we will inform you where to meet our airport representative who escorts you to your private car.

AIRPORT TAX
All airport taxes are already included in the international and most domestic ticket prices. So there are no additional costs at the airport (Only private airports may ask for an extra airport tax).

ATM’S AND MONEY EXCHANGE OFFICES.
ATM’s for withdrawing local currency can be found at almost every 7-Eleven shop, at airports, shopping malls, many hotels, local markets and banks. At most ATM’s there is a maximum withdrawal of 20,000 THB per transaction. But most banks accept multiple withdrawals in a single day. A fixed fee of 150 THB per transaction is applicable. Also in major cities and tourist spots Money Exchange Offices are widely available and rates are similar at all major banks.

BUSINESS HOURS

All businesses open from Monday to Friday during commercial times. Government offices open from 08:30 to approx. 16:30. But offices can be closed without prior notice due to Buddhist holidays, ceremonial festivities or when they ran out of ink for their stamps.

CLOTHING

Light weight clothing of natural fabrics are most favorable for your travels. Thai people do dress well and do not show all their body parts. So polite dress is most appropriate when visiting temples, palaces and people at their homes. This means women have to cover their shoulders and knees and men have to cover their shoulders and wear a long pair of trousers. Shoes should be removed before entering a temple, spa, private home or any place that have a bunch of shoes at the door. During your stay a casual but clean style is much appreciated. At night cover legs and arms against mosquitoes and insects. During the winter months (November to February) the North of Thailand can be chilly (no Lime) so keep a warm sweater at hand. A poncho or light weight raincoat keeps you dry during the rainy season (May/June to October) and can be obtained at 7-Eleven or local markets.

CREDIT CARDS
Most major cards are widely accepted at shopping malls, high end restaurants and touristic places. If you want to pay goods or services with credit card do check with the staff first if they accept your card. Some places do charge the 3% commission fee as well.


ELECTRICITY
Thailand uses 220V and the plugs are not standardized. But most sockets are for both flat and round plugs. You might want to bring a universal plug adaptor just to make sure your appliances can be fed at all times.

FOOD
Rice soup, fried rice, cooked rice, rice noodles, rice candy, popped rice, rice wine. We love to let you try all kinds of rice! As the center of a Thai meal is rice, so much is possible with rice that we can spend a day just introducing this special crop to you. Next to the rice Thai people combine it with vegetables, fruits, meat, seafood, fish, salads, soup and lots of fresh and tasteful herbs. For breakfast people eat rice or noodle soup or a porridge made of rice. The food can be hot, sour, sweet, salty and spicy all at once. This combination of tastes is what makes Thai food so famous. For travelers dishes are prepared less spicy but chillies and lime can always be added to give a more intense taste to the food. Next to Thai food you can also get plenty of foreign food at Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican or other restaurant in major towns and at tourist spots. We do try to let our guests try as much of the different kind of food as possible as this really enriches their Thailand explorations. However we would like to know if you have any food allergies so we can create a note in Thai which you can take on your travels to show at restaurants. HEALTH

Travelers to Thailand should be vaccinated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Dengue can be found in some cities but the standard of medical facilities in Thailand is excellent so no worries at all. Always travel well prepared and get a medical and travel insurance in case of emmergency and medical assistance or even when evacuation back home is needed. If you have any allergies or medical needs please inform us about this so we can keep this in mind and if needed, act accordingly.

LANGUAGE
Thai is not a very complicated language but as it stands so far away from the European languages, it does sound very strange. Grammar is straightforward but pronounciation is hard as it is a tonal language. There are 5 different tones so one word can mean 5 different things depending on the tone. If you ever want to try to learn the language a great place to start is at a karaoke place with English subtitles to the songs. At hotels, tourist spots and restaurants serving foreigners, English is widely spoken and it’s easy to communicate. If nobody understands you try using your hands and keep on smiling at all times.

MONEY
The local currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht, or abbreviated to THB. As mentioned before you can find ATM’s and exchange offices widely around. The normal banks open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 15:30 and at tourist spots and shopping malls on Saturdays as well. Exchange rates are similar between banks. TIP: Do not exchange your money to THB back home but wait until you arrive in Thailand as rates are much better in Thailand then overseas.

POSTAL MAIL
What? Postcards? Yes postcards. Postcards are still being sold at most tourist spots. Your friends and family will love this ancient and lovely way of giving special attention to them. So why not get your stamps at a post office or hotel reception and make people happy. To send a postcard to the U.S. or Europe costs 15 baht and it takes around 10 to 14 days to arrive.

RELIGION
Around 90% of Thai people are Theravada Buddhists. Around 4% are Christian, Sikh or another religion and 6% are Muslim. The main Muslim population is located in the very South of Thailand at the Malaysian border. At this time there are approximately 35.000 Buddhist temples all over Thailand. So during your travels we will impress you with the most important shrines and temples. So just a few. Unless you want to see all of them of course.

SAFETY
We can assure you that you will feel very safe in Thailand. But always use your common sense and don’t flash around with your valuables. Never leave your belongings unattended as it might be confusing for security or it might get lost. Around tourist areas in Bangkok and around Thailand there are well known scams going on so never go for a free tuk tuk ride or trust anyone trying to help you out with a map in their hands to soon. This will leave you with a bag full of to small tailored business suits or fake diamonds in many cases.

SHOPPING
Thailand is great for shopping. Especially Bangkok where local art galleries are abundant and handmade artifacts are skillfully produced by families at home. Thai silk, tailored clothes, jewellery, wood carvings, paintings, lacquer ware and much more are some of the top products to get your hands on if you love the Asian artists impressions of life.

TELEPHONE
Next to all your favorite apps on your smart phone you can still use hotel phones to communicate with your loved ones at home. But only in emergencies because rates at hotels are quite high. Another way to stay in touch is to buy a Thai SIM card at a 7-Eleven or at the arrival gate on the international airport. They cost approximately 100/200 THB and international rates are about 10 to 20 THB per minute.

TIME
The time is Thailand is GMT + 7 throughout the year.

TIPPING
Tipping for good service at really local places is not expected but is always appreciated in Thailand. For people working in the tourism it is customary but not compulsory. E.g. at spa’s, hotels and some other places people do depend on tips as it is a big part of their income.

VISAS

Citizens of 49 different countries can visit Thailand without a visa and get a free visa on arrival for 30 days at the airport. But overland arrivals only receive a 15-day visa. If you plan to stay for a longer period of time please contact your local Thai embassy or Thai consulate for rules and rates.

WEATHER

From November to February when the weather is dry and the temperatures are not too hot, it’s the best time to visit Thailand. From February onwards the lush green colors of the nature will become brown and temperatures will rise to sometimes over 40 degrees Celsius/ 104 Fahrenheit. The monsoon season begins in May/June until October. During this time the humidity is quite high as it can rain daily. But most of the time in the late afternoon, at night or evening for about 20 minutes only. The Southern part of Thailand has 2 different rainy seasons so you can enjoy the white sandy beaches all year round.


WATER

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Thailand. You can get bottled water at every street corner and at local shops. It is safe to use tap water to brush your teeth though. At air conditioned restaurants or bars it’s safe to use ice cubes in your drinks as it is mineral water as well.