Welcome to Thailand!

This is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist monks and temples, exotic wildlife, floating markets, rave partiers, dense rainforests, tropical islands, golden beaches, bays and pristine coral reefs!

Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui are some of world famous clean beaches with stunning views of their limestone rocks. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation where Thai people are truly hospitable and open towards foreigners. Thailand had one of the world’s greatest cuisines, in its variety and complexity. For many the taste of Thai curries flavoured with rich pastes made from herbs, roots, spices, and ground chillies is the definitive taste of Southeast Asia. Thailand is the only country in South East Asia which had not been colonized. As well as relaxation – and what could be more relaxing than a massage on the beach? Thailand is a place for adventure. Try bathing under a waterfall in an orchid-filled jungle clearing you won’t forget.

QUICK FACTS

Official Name:Kingdom of Thailand
Capital:Bangkok
Location:Thailand is an Asian country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in South East Asia share borders with Burma, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos
Goverment:Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Dialing Code:+66
Time Zone:GMT +07.00
Climate Weather:Tropical Monsoon
Population:68.01 million
Land Area:513,120 km2
Official Language:Thai
Currency:Thai Baht ฿
Foreign Currency Accepted:USD ($), EUR (€) British Pounds (£)
Entry requirement:EU citizens, Indonesians (total 45 nations) do not require a visa up to 30 days. Citizens of Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Korea and Peru do not require a visa to enter Thailand for up to 180 days. Nationals of 21 countries can obtain visa on arrival.

All visitors must hold a passport with at least two blank pages valid for at least 06 months beyond the date of your arrival. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry.

Health Tips:Take precautions for infections, diarrhoea and dengue fever.
  • Don’t show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family, It’s a criminal offence to insult the Thai monarchy
  • Dress appropriately when visiting temples
  • Don’t sunbathe nude

General information

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its capital and most populous city is Bangkok. Thailand is the only country in South East Asia which had not been colonized. Thailand is a place for adventure. Try bathing under a waterfall in an orchid-filled jungle clearing you will not forget, as well as relaxation – and what could be more relaxing than a massage on the beach? The Thai people are famously hospitable, and Thailand was one of the first corners of South East Asia to really open up to outsiders.

This is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist monks and temples, exotic wildlife, floating markets, rave partiers, dense rainforests, tropical islands, golden beaches and pristine coral reefs. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation. As well as relaxation – and what could be more relaxing than a massage on the beach? Thailand is a place for adventure. Try bathing under a waterfall in an orchid-filled jungle clearing you won’t forget. Don’t do the following in Thailand :

  1. Don’t show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family.It’s a criminal offence to insult the Thai monarchy.
  2. Dress appropriately when visiting temples. Do not wear shorts, short skirt, bikini, tank top, tube top, or any other inappropriate clothes.
  3. Respect Buddha images. Do not do any kind of inappropriate posture near images of Buddha.
  4. Do not play with Thai people’s heads. They believe that the head is the highest point of the body.
  5. Do not touch Thai women’s bodies, or stay too close to them.
  6. Don’t sunbathe nude. This is offensive to most Thai people although nobody is likely to say anything to you if you do so.
  7. You should take off your shoes when you enter a temple (or a house, no need to say), or anytime you notice that shoes are being left in front of the door.
  8. Don’t get involved with anything or anyone about drugs. The laws here are very tough, the prisons are no Disneyland and you don’t want to take the risk of spending many years in a Thai jail.

If you’re not sure what to do or how to behave in a specific situation, just look at what the Thais are doing and do the same. If it fails, just smile.

Time deference

GMT +07:00
There is no time difference between Jakarta and Bangkok, Thailand.

Compare to France, Thailand is 6.00 hours ahead of France.
That means at 8:00 am in Paris France, at 02.00 pm in Bangkok, Thailand.

Please note that Daylight Saving Time (DST) is calculated for hourly clock calculations.

When to visit

Best time to visit (Nov-Mar)
A cool and dry season follows the monsoons, the landscape is lush and temperatures are mild and comfortable. X’mas and New Year holidays bring plenty of crowds in to Thailand.

Hot summer (Apr-Jun, Sep and Oct)
April–June is generally very hot and dry, with an average Bangkok temperature ranges from 30C – 35C. September and October are ideal for the north and the gulf coast.

Law season (Jul-Oct)
Monsoon season ranges from afternoon showers to major flooding. Some islands shut down; boat service is limited during stormy weather. Rain is usually in short, intense bursts.

Money and currency

US $1 = 33.93฿ (Thai Baht) (currency rate can be varied depending the day you search)
Euro €1 = 38.00฿ (Thai Baht)
฿1 (Thai Baht) = IDR 391.90

The Thai Baht is the currency of Thailand. One Baht is divisible into 100 Satang. Notes of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 Baht denominations are used. Thai currency should be treated with respect because it bears the King’s image – who is held in very high regard.

ATMs are plentiful in Thailand. Cash is the preferred method of payment for most Thai people, so using an ATM to make withdrawals can be a convenient option for travellers. Major credit cards are accepted by hotels and large shops, but “hard cash” is the preferred tender almost everywhere. Travelers checks are not widely accepted outside of hotels, so change them for cash at a bank exchange, which you’ll find in any and every tourist destination.

Electricity

In Thailand, the power sockets are of type A, B, C, F and O. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.  You can use your electric appliances in Thailand, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).

Manufacturers take these small deviations into account. If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100 V – 127 V (as is in the US, Canada and most South American countries), you need a voltage converter in Thailand.  But if there is no voltage difference, you could (at your own risk) try to use the appliance for a short time. Be especially careful with moving, rotating and time related appliances like clocks, shavers and electric fan heaters Buy a power plug travel adaptor. To be sure, check the label on the appliance.

    

Telephone and how to call

Thailand country code +66 and Bangkok city code is 2. Most land line numbers in Thailand are 7-digits long, whilst mobile phones tend to be 8-digits long. However, you may find 6,7, 8 and 9 digit numbers too. International calls are significantly more expensive in Thailand than in most industrialised countries. It is often cheaper if your family or friends from your home country call you in Thailand than the other way around.

You can also buy international phone cards at 7-11 stores to call abroad from your fixed line. An alternative to fixed line services in Thailand is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) such as Skype or MSN Messenger. You need to have internet access and the same programme installed as the person you are calling.

Visa requirement

EU citizens do not require a visa to enter Thailand for up to 30 days Citizens of Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Korea and Peru do not require a visa to enter Thailand for up to 180 days Citizens of Indonesia do not require a visa to enter Thailand up to 30 days if entering via international airport and up to 15 days if entering through a land border checkpoint from a neighboring country (Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia) under the Visa Exemption Rule.

Vaccines and Travel insurance

Zika virus is a risk in Thailand. Because Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause serious birth defects, women who are pregnant should not travel to Thailand. All travellers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika virus during and after the trip.

For most standard tourists, the usual recommended vaccinations for Thailand include cover against the childhood diseases (Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) as well as cover against the food borne diseases of Typhoid and Hepatitis A. For those trekking in the Thai countryside or staying for longer periods then cover against Hepatitis B and Rabies should be considered.

You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel. When travelling overseas it is important to take out travel insurance. An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive.

How to go to Thailand

Indonesia to Thailand

Distance between Indonesia, Jakarta & Bangkok, Thailand is 2280 Km. Non-stop flight time from Jakarta/Bangkok is around 03 hours 15 minutes. Fastest one-stop flight between Jakarta and Bangkok takes close to 05 hours. Apparently, connecting flights and direct flights with stopover take longer time than non-stop flights.

In such cases, Jakarta – Bangkok flight time depends on the layover destination specified by your airline or the one you choose while booking your ticket. Airlines operated from Indonesia to Thailand Garuda Indonesia, Asiana Airlines, Royal Thai Airways

France to Thailand

Distance between Paris, France & Bangkok, Thailand is 9450 Km. Most of the flights by major airlines departing from Paris arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport or Don Muang Airport. Bangkok is served by 2 international airports.

Non-stop flight time from Paris to Bangkok is around 11 hours 30 minutes. Fastest one-stop flight between Paris and Seoul takes close to 13 hours. However, some airlines could take as long as 44 hours based on the stopover destination and waiting duration. Airlines operated from Paris Air France, Royal Thai Airways

Transportation in Thailand

Transportation in Thailand is much cheaper compared to western countries yet price negotiation is much more important than expats may be used to. If you would like to use a taxi in the area of Bangkok, you should be aware that the meter should always be on, just point at the meter if it is not and if the taxi driver doesn’t turn it on then use another taxi.

Otherwise, they can charge you more. Also, for journeys outside Bangkok, you need to negotiate the price before you start. Furthermore, only pay when you have arrived at your specified destination.

Tuk Tuk and motorcycle taxi

The most indigenous mode of transport in Thailand, Tuk Tuks are the famous 3-wheeled vehicles that you would have seen in many travel-related photos of Southeast Asia. You should definitely take at least one ride on a Tuk Tuk as it is quite a memorable experience that you won’t find back home. Motorcycle taxis are your best bet if you are looking for cheap and immediate transport for short distances. But safety wise it is not recommended to travelers unless someone takes it on their own risks.

Taxi

With Bangkok being the most visited city in the world in 2013, it consequently has one of the largest proportions of taxis to people in the world. Unlike in the big Western cities, Bangkok’s taxi system is very reasonable thanks to the meter system.

Buses

Air-conditioned buses are more comfortable and faster. These buses are run by the government as well as private companies. Also, there is another alternative if you are travelling long distance. This typical bus is called a “VIP” or “sleeper” bus. It has many features, for instance, more legroom for passengers and the VIP bus only has 30-40 seats, so it may well be quieter!

Bangkok MRT subway

The MRT Subway, otherwise known as the Blue Line, is the first underground railway line to be introduced to Bangkok’s railway network. It is comprised of 18 stops and follows a slightly different route to the BTS Skytrain which allows travellers to commute via train to the inaccessible neighborhoods of the Skytrain.

Train

Thailand’s over ground railway network runs throughout the country and offers a comfortable travel option compared to some of the cheaper bus routes. The Thai train also has three different classes with different rates. We recommend second class tickets which makes your journey more comfortable as many Thai passengers travel in third class carriages and can be too crowded. Especially during public and other long holidays you are required to book tickets in advance to avoid any disappointments due to non-availability of tickets.

Special food and drinks

Thailand had one of the world’s greatest cuisines, in its variety and complexity. Rice is the staple food for Thais, eaten with most meals, from breakfast to dessert. For many the taste of Thai curries flavoured with rich pastes made from herbs, roots, spices, and ground chillies is the definitive taste of Southeast Asia. Bangkok and Chiang Mai are the country’s big culinary centres, boasting the cream of gourmet Thai restaurants and the best international cuisines. Hygiene is a consideration when eating anywhere in Thailand, but being too cautious means you’ll end up spending a lot of money and missing out on some real local treats.

Wean your stomach gently by avoiding excessive amounts of chillies and too much fresh fruit in the first few days. If you’re really concerned about health standards you could stick to restaurants and food stalls displaying a “Clean Food Good Taste” sign, part of a food sanitation project set up by the Ministry of Public Health, TAT and the Ministry of the Interior. For a more relaxing ambience, Bangkok and the larger towns have a range of upmarket restaurants, some specializing in “royal” Thai cuisine, which is differentiated mainly by the quality of the ingredients, the complexity of preparation and the way the food is presented. Great care is taken over how individual dishes look.

The cost of such delights is not prohibitive, either – a meal in one of these places is unlikely to cost more than B500 per person. Most famous Thai dishes are Tom Yum soup, Som Yum(Spicy green papaya salad), Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in coconut soup), Gaeng Daeng (Red curry) Pad Thai (Thai style fried noodles), Khao Pad (Fried rice) Pad Krapow Moo Saap (Fried basil and pork) Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (Green chicken curry), Yam Nua (Spicy beef salad, Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken with cashew nuts)

Drinks

Night markets, guesthouses and restaurants do a good line in freshly squeezedfruit juices such as lime (nam manao) and orange (nam som), which often come with salt and sugar already added. Fresh coconut water (nam maprao) is another great thirst-quencher – you buy the whole fruit dehusked, decapitated and chilled.

Places to go and things to do

Thailand Beach

Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Ko chang and the Anadaman coast The islands off the coast of Thailand are famous throughout the world for their beautiful beaches, others for their gorgeous scenery and some even claim their fame for the party atmosphere. There are three main sets of islands in Thailand. To the east of Bangkok there are Ko Samet and Ko Chang, in the Gulf Ko Samui lie Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao, and in the Andaman Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. Phuket is the country’s largest and most developed island, connected to the mainland by two bridges. Ko Phi Phi is famous for the movie “The Beach”, while Ko Tao is Thailand’s diving mecca. But there are many, many more beautiful islands to choose from.

Bangkok

Thailand’s capital city and by far the largest city in the country, Bangkok, is a buzzing cosmopolis of high rise buildings, magnificent palaces (Grand Palace), ancient temples, glittering nightclubs, bustling markets and streets lined with vendors hawking souvenirs and tantalizing foods. The famous tourist street, Khao San Road, is a good place to begin with its cheap shopping, dining and nightlife. Also not to be missed is the sacred Wat Phra Kaew temple, which contains the Emerald Buddha.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai itself is a large and culturally important city where historical and modern Thai architecture and traditions coexist. A walk around the historic centre bestows views of old city walls and dozens of Buddhist temples. However, the most famous of these temples, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, lies outside Chiang Mai on a mountainside overlooking the city.

Kanchanaburi

Located in western Thailand and admired for its beautiful scenery and accessibility to national parks and waterfalls, Kanchanaburi is best known for the Bridge over the River Kwai that is linked with the historic Death Railway to Burma in which thousands of Asian laborersand POWS died during its construction under Japanese occupation during WWII.

Railay

Railay (or Rai Leh) is a small peninsula that is only accessible by boat due to the high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. These cliffs attract rock climbers from all over the world, but the area is also a popular attraction in Thailand due to its beautiful beaches and quiet relaxing atmosphere. Almost every patch of buildable land fronting in the eastern and western part of the peninsula has been taken over by bungalow resorts, and development is creeping up into the forest behind.

Ayuthaya

Founded in 1350, the city of Ayuthaya is located in the Chao Phraya River valley in Thailand. It sits on an island surrounded by three rivers connecting it to the Gulf of Siam. King U Thong proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, the Ayuthaya Kingdom, better known as Siam. Once declared the most magnificent city on earth, Ayuthaya was an impressive site, with three palaces, more than 400 temples and a population that reached nearly 1,000,000.

Khao Sok National Park

Considered by many to be one of Thailand’s most beautiful wildlife reserves, the Khao Sok National Park covers jungle forests, limestone karsts, rivers and lakes in the Surat Thani province of southern Thailand. The reserve is home to some of the most amazing wildlife in Thailand such as Asian elephants, barking deer, wild boar, bears, Malayan tapirs and various monkeys breeds like gibbons, pig-tailed macaques and langurs.

Pai

Thailand’s reputation as a country of beautiful landscapes and friendly people is thanks largely to the world-renowned southern beaches. Most people don’t realize that the vast north is also home to breathtaking landscapes, though these are of a different nature entirely. Pai, in Mae Hong Son province, is a perfect place from which to enjoy the country’s natural beauty as well as the famed Thai hospitality and cooking. This small town has developed a reputation as a mecca for hippies and backpackers, though you will see locals and families here as well.

Khao Yai National Park

This is the most exciting chance to see elephants in their natural environment, and Khao Yai National Park provides a great opportunity to do just that.

Floating Markets

A visit to one of the floating markets is a fun way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors and observing local commerce in action. Some do seem to cater more to the tourist crowds than to be part of the fabric of local Thais’ daily lives, but there are others that make for a nice authentic travel experience. You’ll need to get up early to visit a floating market, as vendors are out in their long wooden boats first thing in the morning with their goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and tasty dishes.