These frequently asked questions about Thailand travel are intended to give visitors general information about such topics as getting a Thailand visa, Thailand travel methods, health and safety, accommodation, and understanding Thailand customs’ regulations.
There are three seasons in Thailand, although what they are called and when they start is subject to much debate.
The Summer “hot” season runs essentially from March through to June, with temperatures between 33 C – 48 C in the day, and not below 27 C at night.
The Monsoon “rainy” season runs from July through to November with frequent heavy rain around 5.00pm.
The temperatures range from 32 C during the day to 16 C at night.
The winter “cool” season runs from November through to February with temperatures at 32C during the day, to a bearable 16 C at night, although in the North, it could be as low as 12 C.
This also doubles up as the dry season During the rainiest months of July to November, we recommend that you pack a light waterproof jacket and a pair of closed shoes.
For an up to date weather report, go to the Thai met-office website http://www.thaimet.tmd.go.th
Are there any poisonous/dangerous animals in Thailand?
Mostly, poisonous animals are found in forests. While participating in an adventurous trip in or near the forest you should be aware of dangerous animals, such as snakes and centipedes.
While there certainly are deadly snakes in Thailand it is extremely uncommon for visitors to see one, let alone be attacked and killed by one.
Furthermore, there are no man-eating sharks endemic to Thai waters and one’s risk of being killed by a wild tiger is far lower than a road accident.
Dangerous wild animals are not a serious concern for travelers to Thailand.
The following are the most dangerous animals you may come across.
Thailand has poisonous snakes, scorpions, centipedes and jellyfish.
If you see a centipede, do not try to hold it or touch it, they have an extremely painful sting and if you are stung by one, you will be off your feet for days.
Scorpions like to hide in clothing that's been left on the floor, in shoes, under logs etc.
Snakes can turn up anywhere, even in the cities. If you are bitten, call for help immediately but try not to panic as snake bites are easily survivable and treatments are available everywhere.
You should use caution when bathing in the sea. Swimmers have received fatal stings from jellyfish. Certain varieties are very dangerous and are found in coastal waters all around Thailand.
Generally, jellyfish stings are just painful and don't pose a threat to life. but you should be aware of the dangers.
Is it safe to drink the water?
Despite the fact that the authorities have made efforts to make tap water meet World Health Organization standards, very few people drink tap water in Thailand, even the local population. Bottled water is widely used instead.
Some people actually boil tap water before use, but this will not remove chemical toxins or remnants of whatever else was there before boiling. You should also be careful with ice, as freezing does not protect you from bacteria, viruses or chemicals.
Brushing your teeth with tap water is considered to be safe, although those with very sensitive stomachs may occasionally experience problems.
In restaurants, you will find the water to be generally safe. You can always buy small bottles if you like but make sure the seal has not been broken.
However, you should be very careful with street vendors and street food stalls. The biggest risk is actually from the cleanliness of the glasses themselves.
You can become very ill indeed if you are not careful.
Drink directly from the bottle if you are in any doubt.
Don't worry too much about the ice that is served in cafes etc as they usually have the ice delivered to them from government inspected ice factories.
What is the voltage of electricity supply?Do I need to take a converter?
The electricity in Thailand is 220 volts, 50 cycles per second.
Most receptacles in Thailand have two prongs, missing the third earth prong at the bottom. However, the newest office and condominium dwellings usually offer the third prong due to increased awareness of the importance of grounding for both safety and equipment damage reasons.
Are there any international schools in Thailand?
American Education System
International School of Bangkok
International Community School
Nakorn Payap International School (Chiang Mai)
Ruamrudee International School
International Education System
Kesinee International School
Prem Tinsulanonda International School (Chiang Mai)
National Curriculum for England and Wales
Dulwich International College (Phuket)
Harrow International School
Modern International School
American Education System
American Pacific International School
Bangkok: 1000/133 Soi Tonglor, Sukhumvit 55 road,
Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Tel: (02) 381-4988 to 9
Fax: (02) 381-4987
Chiang Mai:158/1 Moo 3, HangDong to Samoeng Road,
Ban Pong, Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 Thailand
Tel: (053) 365-303, 356-305
Fax: (053) 365-304
Bangkok International Academic School
Address: 959/44, Soi Prichatower, Patanakan Soi 44 Rd.
Suanluang, Bangkok 10250 Thailand
Tel: (02) 322-1979, 1983
Fax: (02) 322-1978
Chiang Mai International School
Address: P.O. Box 38, 13 Chetupon RoadChiang Mai 50000
Tel: (053) 242-027, 306-152
Fax: (053) 242-455
Ekamai International School
Address: 57 Soi Charoenchai, Ekamai 12, Sukhumvit 63,
Tel: (02) 391-3593
Fax: (02) 381-4622
International School of Bangkok
Address: 39/7 Soi Nichada Thani Samakee Road, Pakkret
Nonthaburi 11120 Thailand
Tel: (02) 583-5401 to 10
Fax: (02) 583-5431
International Community School, Thailand
Address: 72, Soi Prong Jai, Sribhumpen Road, Thungmahamek,
Address: 1799 Rim Thang Rod Fai Kao, Moo 1,Samrong Nua,
Samutprakarn 10270 Thailand
Tel: (02) 393-6976, 393-6983, 399-3837, 748-5453
Fax: (02) 361-2361
Traill International School, Thailand
Address: 36 Ramkamhaeng Soi 18, Huamark Bangkok 10240 Thailand
Tel: (02) 314-5250, 718-9152
Fax: (02) 318-7194, 718-8546
Is it safe to walk the streets at night?
Thailand has more than its fair share of scams, but most are easily avoided with a modicum of common sense.
More a nuisance than a danger, a common scam by touts, taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand is to wait by important monuments and temples and waylay Western travelers, telling them that the site is closed for a Buddhist holiday, repairs or a similar reason.
The 'helpful' driver will then offer to take the traveler to another site, such as a market or store. Travelers who accept these offers will often end up at out-of-the-way markets with outrageous prices - and no way to get back to the center of town where they came from.
Always check at the front gate of the site you're visiting to make sure it's really closed.
Avoid any tuk-tuks in Bangkok. Tuk-tuk drivers might demand much higher price than agreed, or they might take you to a sex show, pretending they didn't understand the address (they get commissions from places).
For the same reason, avoid drivers who propose their services without being asked, especially near major tourist attractions.
Don't buy any sightseeing tours at the airport. If you do, they will phone several times to your hotel in order to remind you about the tour.
During the tour, you will be shortly taken to a small temple, without a guide, and then one shop after another (they get commission).
They might refuse to take you back home until you see all the shops.
On your way back, they pressure you to buy more tours.
Terrorism: National security is currently at the top of the agenda of countries around the world and Thailand is no exception. The insurgency in southern Thailand is limited to the country’s three southernmost provinces and has thus showed no signs of having an effect on the capital.
Nonetheless, Thailand’s tourist destinations are not entirely unlikely targets as they do host millions of international tourists each year.
Use whatever caution and common sense you would use a tourist destination in your home country.
Drugs: While the situation has lightened somewhat since the severe crackdown of the infamous ‘war on drugs’ in 2003, Thai authorities still draw a hard-line on drugs and possession of even a small amount of marijuana may result in a hefty fine or even jail time and/or deportation.
Foreigners caught trafficking drugs are likely to end up living a hellish existence at the infamous ‘Bangkok Hilton’, Bangkwang prison.
Do not be drawn into any suspicious deals, no matter how financially rewarding it may sound to a desperate soul. Furthermore, those offering drugs are not likely to provide guarantees of the content of those drugs and overdoses and adverse reactions to illegal narcotics consumed in Thailand are not uncommon.
Be smart and avoid getting involved in illegal drugs in Thailand.
Violence: Thais, on the whole, are passive people and manage to maintain a passive environment.
However, there is the odd occasion when alcohol fuelled fights break out and the aggressor will stop at nothing with his rage.
Thai men are proud and controlled, but some are known to get drunk easily and if their national or self pride is insulted by an insensitive foreigner they can really ‘lose it’! Some men have also reported rather destructive jealousy-fueled tantrums from their Thai female companions which have left their hotel rooms trashed.
Politically motivated violence, an unfortunate consequence in Bangkok, is not directed in any way at foreigners.
While standing in between protesters and riot police to get some photos would not be safe idea, it is unlikely that foreigners would otherwise be injured in politically motivated violence.
Women alone: Thailand is generally a safe country for women to travel alone, but there have been a few cases of rape by taxi drivers or women lured by local men into fatal or fearsome situations, particular late at night on the beaches and islands.
As with all strange countries, keep your wits about you and be wary of befriending strangers too quickly.
Hustlers and touts: Pushy touts are likely to be among the first Thai people you meet upon landing in the Bangkok airport and you are likely to meet many more during your stay.
They will all want to cart you off to some destination or other, all the time with an eye on making a bit of extra money from someone unfamiliar with the city.
Relative to other tourist destinations in developing countries the Thai are generally quite polite and, apart from market vendors and tuk tuk or taxi drivers, they respect your privacy.
A firm ‘Mai ow krap/ka’ (not interested thanks!) will serve you well in most cases and if it does not simply ignoring the persistent pleas and continuing on your path will cause the tout to move on to the next person.
Motorcycles: Many consider motorcycle taxis so dangerous in Bangkok that there used only as a last resort when you need to beat the traffic.
They can be particularly dangerous for those who have much larger body types than Thai people.
Remember that a motorcycle driver is accustomed to having a thin-framed Thai person on the back of his bike and may at times not leave too much room to negotiate himself through a tight traffic squeeze, including while riding on sidewalks or into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road.
Motorcyclists can also be a hazard to pedestrians.
Be careful when jaywalking as motorbikes drive quickly through lanes between cars and drive on sidewalks and the wrong side of the road.
Finally, it is extremely important never to open a taxi door without looking through the rear window to see if a motorbike is about to speed past, even if you are parked near the curb.
If you hit a motorbike with the taxi door you will be expected to pay damage to both the bike and the taxi as well as medical costs for the injured bike rider.
Buses: getting off and on the buses in Bangkok is not a simple matter.
You must be sure that it has come to a full stop, and as such it is best to get off with a group of people and be careful about doing so. Numerous terrible injuries occur every year due to people falling off buses.
Construction: Bangkok is one big ongoing construction project and much of the work that was abandoned after the 1997 financial crisis is now being finished off. Sidewalks are a particular hazard, full of holes and sometimes loose debris.
Safety laws in Thailand are rather loosely applied and falling masonry and collapsing walls and billboards are a hazard from time-to-time, but seldom cause any widespread casualty.
Scams: Tuk tuk drivers, especially those who congregate in tourist areas, are notorious for offering ‘tours’, even on occasion bringing you to the famous site of your choice for free, provided you stop off at look at a jeweler or suit shop along the way.
These scams are arranged with the owner of the shop and making purchases during such a trip is not a good idea as you will be paying far higher rates than you would normally and quite possibly receiving goods of dubious quality.
Also be aware of recommendations from taxi drivers when it comes to jewel shops, suits shops, bars and restaurants.
Gem scams are the most prolific and every week someone lodges a complaint about losing larges sums of money buying what they thought were cheap ‘illegally smuggled’ Burmese gems, only to discover the goods are fake and the shop gone when they return.
The solution to this one is simple; don’t be greedy, and imagine you are scoring a bargain illicitly.
Furthermore, it is not uncommon in tourist areas for travelers to be approached by a clean cut, well dressed man who often will be toting a cell phone.
These scammers will start up polite conversation, showing interest in the unsuspecting tourist's background, family, or itinerary. Inevitably, the conversation will drift to the meat of the scam. This may be something as innocuous as over-priced tickets to a kantok meal and show, or as serious as Bangkok’s infamous gem scam.
Once identified, the wary traveler should have no trouble picking out these scammers from a crowd. The tell-tale well pressed slacks and button down shirt, freshly cut hair of a conservative style, and late-model cell phone comprise their uniform.
Milling around tourist areas without any clear purpose for doing so, the careful traveler should have no difficulty detecting and avoiding these scammers.
Many visitors will encounter young Thai ladies armed with a clipboard and a smile enquiring as to their nationality, often with an aside along the lines of please help me to earn 30 baht.
The suggestion is that the visitor completes a tourism questionnaire (which includes supplying their hotel name and room number) with the incentive that they just might win a prize - the reality is that everyone gets a call to say that they are a winner, however the prize can only be collected by attending an arduous time-share presentation. Note that the lady with the clipboard doesn't get her 30 baht if you don't attend the presentation; also that only English-speaking nationalities are targeted.
Another recurrent scam involves foreigners - sometimes accompanied by small children - who claim to be on the last day of their vacation in Thailand, and having just packed all their belongings into one bag in preparation for their flight home, lost everything when that bag was stolen.
Now cash is urgently needed in order to get to the airport in a hurry and arrange a replacement ticket for his/her return flight in a few hours time.
What languages are spoken in Thailand?
The main language spoken in Thailand is Thai.
Different parts of Thailand have different dialects and different ways of speaking, so it can be quite difficult to understand Thai speakers from another part of the country.
Hill tribes and other ethnic groups have their own languages; for instance there are villages of Chinese settlers in Thailand where little Thai is spoken, or on the islands where sea gypsies have settled.
English is the most common second language, and many Thais have studied some level of English either at school or through practice with foreign friends.
Where are the foreign embassies?
Below is a comprehensive list of Foreign Embassy's and Consulates together with their contact information in Thailand
o The Embassy of the Republic of Argentina
Prommitr Villa, 20/85 Sukhumvit Soi 49/1, Bangkok 10110
Phone: (02) 259-0401-2, 259-9198
Fax: (02) 259-0402
o The Australian Embassy
37 South Sathorn Rd, Bangkok 10120
Phone: (02) 287-2680, 287-3485, 287-4843
Fax: (02) 287-2028-9
o The Austrian Embassy
14 Soi Nandha, Soi Attakarnprasit, South Sathorn Rd, Bangkok 10120
Phone: (02) 287-3970-2, 287-3925
Fax: (02) 287-3925
o The Embassy of The People's Republic of Bangladesh
61/1 Soi Chatsan, Suthisarn Rd, Phayathai, Bangkok 10310
Phone: (02) 274-7262-3
Fax: (02) 274-7261
• United States of America
o US Embassy
95 Wireless Rd, Bangkok 10500
Phone: (02) 205-4000
Fax: (02) 205-4131
o Embassy of Uzbekistan
77 Soi Thonglor 8, Sukhumvit Soi 55, Prakhanong, Bangkok 10110
Phone: (02) 391-3397, 714-9838-9
Fax: (02) 391-3397
o Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
83/1 Wireless Rd, Bangkok 10500
Phone: (02) 251-7202, 251-5835
Fax: (02) 251-7201, 251-7203
• Vatican City
o Apostolic Nunciature
217/1 South Sathorn Rd, Bangkok 10120
Phone: (02) 233-9109, 212-5883-4
Fax: (02) 212-0932
Are Internet and email facilities widely available in Thailand?
Internet services are now available at Thailand's leading hotels and at the many “Cyber-Cafes” that are cropping up in all major tourist destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai, Ko Samui, Hua Hin and many more.
When is the best time in the year to visit Thailand?
The best time to visit Thailand is during the winter and summer seasons which run from November to April each year. This is the time when we consider a high season. However, the low season from May to October which coincides with the rainy season features much cheaper accommodation.
As Thailand is full of activities, festivals, shopping malls and markets, cultural places, amusement parks to entertain visitors all year round, it is needless to say that Thailand is the place anyone can enjoy at any moment of the year.
What is there to see and do?
Thailand's natural wonders are matched only by its cultural marvels. You could spend years just doing experiencing the following attractions and activities: beaches, cruises, cultural events, Thai boxing, learning history, golf, medical tourism, meditation, shopping, Thai cooking classes, camping, trekking, and home stays with local villagers.
An adventurous trip may include white water rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, trekking, and nature study, bird-watching, sailing, canoeing, yachting, sea kayaking, diving and snorkeling. Moreover, you can enjoy Thai culture by attending Thai festivals, entertainment activities, and romantic activities, such as the Loy Kratong holiday.
You can go on different kinds of tours depending on your preference such as boat tour, cruise, helicopter tour, nature tour, family tour, and national park tour. You can also enjoy Thai wellbeing through Thai massage, yoga, destination spas and Buddhist meditation.
Bangkok features the following attractions: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Emerald Buddha Temple, National Museum, and Floating Market.
Ayutthaya attractions are the Bang Pa In palace, Ayutthaya historical park and wat chaiwatthanaram. Chiangmai features Doi Inthanon and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep as its attractions. Phuket has Patong Beach and many secluded, romantic beach resorts as its major attractions.
Krabi and Phan Nga have Rock Climbing, Koh Phi Phi, James Bond Island, and the Similan Islands as their premier attractions. Kanchanaburi is home to the bridge of River Khwai and the seven tiered Erawan waterfall.
Nakhon Ratchasima has the national park Khao Yai as its famous attraction. Ko Samui is an attraction of itself with the nearby islands of Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan, along with kayaking around Mu Ang Thong Marine National Park. Not even last but certainly not the least is Pattaya, which features Koh Lan, underwater world, and mini Siam as its most popular attractions.
However, this is not yet the end of Thailand’s attractions; Thailand has lots more to explore. There are many more attractions in lots of destinations all over the nation which can only be explored by visiting and exploring the country.
Is English widely spoken?
In Bangkok, where the major business and commercial transactions are held, English is widely spoken, written and understood. Further, in most hotels, shops and restaurants of major tourist destinations, English and some European Languages are spoken, written, and understood.
Can I buy a SIM card for my cell phone?
SIM cards of local Thai network providers are widely sold and may be used to call/text both local and internationally.
Is it convenient to make phone calls in Thailand?What kind of phone card is available to foreign travelers?
All the hotels in Thailand provide international phone call service. Public phone booths can also be found at most places in Thailand. Moreover, several types of international phone cards are sold at shops such as the ubiquitous 7-11 chain.
What are the work days and hours in Thailand?What about shops and stores hours?
Business and commercial transactions are normally done on a Mon-Fri basis between 8am and 5pm. Most stores are open everyday from 10am to 10pm. Government offices are on a Mon-Fri basis (except on public holidays) from 8.30am to 4.30pm with a 12.00 to 1.00pm lunch break. Banks, on the other hand, are on a Mon-Fri (except on public holidays) schedule from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
What should I do if I lost my passport while traveling in Thailand?
In case you lost your passport, make file a report at the nearest police station immediately. Take a copy of FIR report to your national embassy in Thailand in order to issue a new travelling document.
What important phone numbers should I be aware of?
Tourist Police (English, French and German spoken) : 1155
Central Emergency (Police, Ambulance, Fire) : 191
Crime Suppression : 195 or (662) 513 3844
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Call Centre : 1672
Immigration Bureau : (662) 287 3101-10
I am considering moving to Thailand, where can I get relocation information?
Thailand is well established as one of the world’s most exciting and inexpensive travel destinations and many guests wish to move to Thailand for temporary or even permanent residence. The Thai Government is now actively encouraging “Long Stay” visitors. The popular places to visit for long term stay are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Phang Nga, Hua-hin, Kanchanaburi, and Koh Samui..
Those interested in studying or receiving Thailand's heritage of natural healing, traditional massage and herbal treatment are one group who are welcomed to apply for long term visas. Others are those with retirement visas, or those who wish to teach English in the Kingdom.
Information about relocating to Thailand can be procured from a Thai Embassy or consulate in your home country. Check directly with the Thai Government in order to be aware of the most current legal guidelines for those wishing to study or work in Thailand. Be sure to meet all the requirements before you arrive in Thailand in order not to face any problems later on.
What is the capital of Thailand?
Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (the rough translation of Krung Thep is “City of Angles”) is the capital city of Thailand.
It is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand, and is the 22nd most populous city in the world.
Bangkok has a recorded population of about 7 million, but the actual number is thought to be much higher.
The city is a major economic and financial center of Southeast Asia. Bangkok has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.
Bangkok became the capital around 1782 when “King Rama I” decided to move across the river from Thonburi, as he thought it was a better place to defend the city from invaders.
Former Capitals include the cities of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, now both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
What are some cultural Do’s and Don’t in Thailand?
Thai people are extremely polite and their behavior is controlled by etiquette and influenced by Buddhism. Thai society is non-confrontational, and as such, you should avoid confrontations at all costs.
Never loose, your patience or show your anger now matter how frustrating or desperate the situation because this is considered a weakness in Thai society. It is important to cultivate an air of diplomacy when traveling in Asia. Conflicts can be easily resolved with a smile.
Dress code is also important. Thais like to dress smartly and neatly. Do not wear revealing clothing such as shorts, low cut dresses, and bathing suits as they are considered as improper attire in Thailand. Keep in mind that this type of clothing is only acceptable in the beach. It is advisable to wear long skirts or long trousers when entering a temple.
Women should not touch monks. If a woman wants to hand something to a monk, she must do so indirectly by placing the item within the monk’s reach.
Remove shoes when entering houses and temples.
Public display of affection between sexes is frowned upon.
Avoid touching people. The head is the highest part of the body, so avoid touching it. The feet are the least sacred, so avoid pointing it at anyone or kicking them as it is extremely insulting to do so. Thais usually do not shake hands.
The ‘Wai’ is the usual greeting. The hands are placed together and raised upwards towards the face while the head is lowered with a slight bow. The height to which the hands are held depends on the status of the people involved. The higher, the more polite.
In case of monks, higher dignitaries, and elderly, hands are raised to the bridge of the nose, while with equals only as far from the chest. Young people and inferiors are not Wai’d but a slight nod is acceptable.
Do not blow your nose or lick your fingers while eating. While Thai people may commonly pick their noses they have high table manners. The right hand must be used when picking up food eaten with fingers.
When entering a foreign culture for the first time, it is highly likely to make a mistake. If you do so in Thailand, just smile or ‘Wai’ and you will be forgiven.
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