Key Information before discovering Thailand
Follow this practical guide on Thailand to help you prepare for your trip! You will find in this section all the important elements and information you should know about Thailand, before leaving on your trip.
For all inbound tourists coming to Thailand, under the Thai immigration law:
A) there is a “Visa exemption rule” that allows tourist from 64 countries to enter Thailand with a visa. There are granted to stay a maximum of 30 days if they are entering Thailand via an international airport or entering through a land border checkpoint from neighboring country.
Please click on this link: https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand/changes-visa-exempt.php
B) There is a “Visa on Arrival (VOA)” option. The Visa on arrival is only applicable for passport holders of 19 countries to enter Thailand under this rule provided that they meet these requirements: Passport must be valid for at least 30 days. You must have a valid address in Thailand whether a hotel or apartment that can be verified. You must have a confirmed return ticket to show that they are flying out of Thailand within 15 days of entry, as appropriate. Open tickets do not qualify. Travelling overland out of Thailand by train, to neighboring countries is not accepted as proof of exiting Thailand.
For more information on Visa on Arrival : https://extranet.immigration.go.th/voaonline/voaonline/VoaonlineAction.do
Useful links on how to apply for a Thai visa:
Type of visas: http://www.consular.go.th/main/th/other/7394
Visa Requirement: http://www.consular.go.th/main/th/other/7395
Ministry of Foreign affairs: http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/services/4908
The main international airports in Thailand are Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and Phuket Airport.
Other major airports are Chiang Mai international airports, Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai International airport and Hat Yai International airport.
For more information you can consult this link: https://suvarnabhumi.airportthai.co.th/en
Bangkok to New York: New York is -11 Hours behind Bangkok
Bangkok to London: London is -7 Hours behind Bangkok
Bangkok and Tokyo: Tokyo is +2 Hours behind Bangkok
Bangkok and Canberra: Canberra is +4 hours ahead of Bangkok
For more information you can consult this link : https://www.timeanddate.com/time/difference/thailand/bangkok
Weather and geography
The climate and vegetation are tropical and humid with monsoons. The dry season extends from November to April, it is more pleasant and cool during the months of December and January. From June to October, it is the monsoon season characterized by frequent rains especially in the evening. Temperatures generally range around 30°C and can climb up to 40°C (86- 104°F) and drop around 22°C (72°F). We advise you to take light clothing. If you are going to northern Thailand during the cool season, you will need to cover yourself more with a sweater or sweatshirt.
Thailand is located in South-East Asia, bordering the Andaman sea and the gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma. Its capital is Bangkok, the center of the country. The other main cities are Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi, Krabi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Pattaya, Sukhothai and Ubon Ratchathani. Covering an area of 513,120 sq. km (about three time the size of Florida), Thailand occupies a massive continental area and an important part of the Malaysian peninsula.
Its land borders are 4,673 km (2900 miles) long. It shares its borders with Burma in the North, North West and West, Laos in the North East and East, Cambodia in the South East, and Malaysia in the South of the country. The length of its coasts is 3,219 km (2000 miles), bordered by the Gulf of Thailand on its east coast and the Andaman Sea overlooking the Indian Ocean to the West.
Population and languages
Thailand has 69 million inhabitants including 8 million in the megalopolis of Bangkok. The density is 133 inhabitants per km². Thailand is renowned as being the land of smiles for its quality of welcome. The Thai people, always smiling, will be there to help you. As a result, the quality of service in hotels and public places in general is impeccable. The official language is Thai. Thai also has its own alphabet, made of symbols. English is very often understood and spoken in Bangkok and in the tourist places, but in the countryside and the cities of province, it is more difficult to find inhabitants speaking English.
Here are some expressions in Thai (written in Latin alphabet to help you in pronunciation):
Hello : Sawadi Krab (For a man) / Sawadi Khra (For a woman)
How are you: Sabai di mai Krab (For a man) / Sabai di Mai Kha (For a woman)
Thank you: Kob Khun Krap (When you’re a man) / Kob Khun kha (When you are a woman)
Please: Ka Ru Na (Please)
No: Mai Chai
How much does this cost? : Tao Rai Krap (For a man) / Tao Rai Kha (for a woman)
Religion in Thailand
Buddhism is the dominant religion (around 95% of the population), followed by Islam (4.35) Christianity (1%). Freedom of worship is respected. There are more than 250,000 Buddhist monks and it is customary for young people to spend a minimum of 15 days in a monastery as a monk during their lifetime.
When to go to Thailand?
The best time to go to Thailand is during the dry season, between November and February. During this period, there is very little rain and temperatures rise around 30°C (86°F). In March and April, the sun is always there but expect much hotter weather and the heat wave is often present (between 35 and 40 degrees). From mid-May, the rainy season arrives in Thailand and lasts until October. Although there are abundant showers, this does not prevent periods of sunshine, the rains often falling at the end of the day and at night. In addition, it is a much less touristy season and the prices as well as the frequentation of popular places drop drastically. A good time for those who do not like crowds.
Money and Electricity
The currency unit is Thai Baht (THB). You can find an exchange office at most hotels and at airports. The international Visa card (or Mastercard) allows you to withdraw cash in the numerous ATMs. Banks or credit unions usually charge a flat fee – often $1 - $5 for using an ATM network in another country, plus a percentage of the amount you withdraw. For instance: it’s around 220 baht ($7) for each withdrawal.
The current is 220 volts. Most sockets adapt to international standards.
Traditions and customs in Thailand
Thailand is known for its hospitality and tolerance, and tourists will have no problem getting acquainted with local customs. But, as in any country in the world, there are certain rules and codes of conduct that should not be ignored in order to avoid any situations that could offend the Thais.
Thais have immense respect for the monarchy and visitors must avoid any disparaging remarks about the King, Queen or any member of the royal family. When the national or royal anthem is played, the Thais interrupt their occupations and remain standing during the anthem. Travelers are requested to do the same out of respect. This happens everyday at 8am and 6pm, so if you see everyone standing still for the duration of the anthem, please do the same.
Correct behavior in temples or other religious buildings implies compliance with a certain number of things. It is important to wear proper attire (no shorts, tank tops, T-shirts) and remove your shoes when entering a building with a Buddha icon. When you decide to sit in a religious building, your feet should not be pointing towards the Buddha. For that, we will sit with our legs folded on the side, feet pointing backwards. Buddhist monks must not touch or be touched by women. If a woman wants to give something to a monk, it must either be given to a man who will then give it to the monk, or the object must be placed within the monk's reach.
Thai people do not usually shake hands to greet each other, but use a gesture that consists of bringing the palms together in a prayer gesture, the wai. Thai people are often called by their first name preceded by an honorary khun. When things go wrong, don't get upset! Losing your calm is losing face. Raising the tone is considered rude, regardless of the situation. When you hold something out to someone, do it with both hands, or with the right hand, but never with the left hand, reserved for intimate ablutions. Books, as well as any written medium, enjoy a privileged status over other objects: do not put them on the ground.
The feet are spiritually the most impure part of the body. Never point them at anything or someone. Do not put your feet on a chair or table while you are sitting. Never touch someone with your foot. In the same way, the head being spiritually the purest part of the body, there are certain taboos: never put your hand on someone's head, and never touch a child's hair (or an adult). If this happens to you, immediately apologize, at the risk of appearing to be an extremely ill-mannered person. Never step over a person, even in a very crowded place. Try to bypass the person or ask them to move.
A wide variety of handicrafts and souvenirs are available in Thailand at very reasonable prices. For those who don't have a lot of time and want to avoid haggling, some items are on sale in stores or prices are displayed. For those who prefer to bargain, patience and a smile will generally suffice to bring the price down. Humor and good humor are always good assets to establish a friendly contact with the seller. Do not get upset, the seller can in this case refuse the sale.