GENERAL INFO
THAILAND Capital: BANGKOK

Min.Traveling Cost/day $12, $=43.1B, May, 2004


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Language
National Thai
Foreign English is widely spoken among Thais working in tourism.

Climate
Varies between regions. General info below. See local info for more details.
Hot : almost all year round, especially April-May
Cool : Nov-Jan is the coolest period.
Rainy : May - Oct but varies according to location.


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Basic Travel Costs from Martin (Olavi Tours, Bangkok)
CURRENCY THAI BAHT: $1=44B(2001.9.10)
Room f s80+B, d100+B a/c d300B Noodles: 20B
Meal: 40B coffee(instant) 15B
coffee(real) 35B Starbucks grande 80B
Mineral Water(1 liter) 5-20B Coke 7-20 B
Big Mac 59B, set 104B beer 45-65B
breakfast(Cont.)50B breakfast(Ame.)50B
breakfast(local) ? Ice cream 5+B
toilet paper 6B film 36 ? B
T-shirt: 90B+ postcard 3-5B


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Bank/Exchange
No problem to exchange any hard currency(T/C and cash) The booths are everywhere. Almost all banks' T/C commission are same. The commission for cash is none. T/C rate is slightly higher than cash rate but the difference is less than 1% for US$ and about 2% for other currencies.Recently the T/C commission was increased to 33B/check, so that cash may be better than T/C disregarding the risk of loosing.
Bank hours: M-F 9:00-15:00, Bank exchange booths open late & on Sa,Su
T/C commission 33B /check
Rate at Airport: same as city banks.
Cash Advance(Visa/MC): No commission at banks but charge at some agents up to 7%.
ATM: Many can find in most cities. JPN: T/C & JPN Cash easy to change.



Health
Our knowledge is very limited. see SE Asia Health section for more details. Ask specialists.
Required vaccination: None
Recommended vaccination: Typhoid (If travelling in rural/tropical areas); Tetanus; Hepatitis, Cholera
Drinking Water Tap water not drinkable. Buy bottled or purify water, 1-litre bottle 5B+
Health Hazards:-
Malaria - carried by mosquitoes, found mainly in non-urban, forested areas. Found more in Laos and Cambodia.
Dengue Fever Increasing number of cases reported.
Japanese Encephalitis carried by mosquitoes, found mainly in rural areas during rainy season.
Hepatitis A contracted through contaminated water and food, common in areas with poor sanitation
Diarrhea contracted through contaminated water and food. A common travelers ailment.
Aids contracted primarily through sexual intercourse and injecting contaminated needles.
Good Health Practices: Always wear shoes. Drink purified or bottled water. Drink often & eat well-cooked food. Apply sun block regularly. Use insect/mosquito repellent and wear long-sleeved tops and long pants at night. And ALWAYS practice safe sex.
Thai massage : cheap & beneficial for health Rec


Immigration
BKK office Sathorn Tai Soi, Suanphlu T287-3101 bus #?
Passport All visitors must have a passport valid for 6 months from date of entry.
Visa Requirements
1-month Visa (Visitor stamp) on entry: (land, air or sea) issued to most nationals). Supposed to have an onward ticket but usually not checked. However if flying to Thai on a one way ticket, some airlines may ask you to sign a 'responsibility waiver.'
This visa type can be extended for 10 days with 1900B
2-month Tourist visa: obtainable from Thai embassies.
Visa Extension for this visa : 30 day Extension. 1900B
Overstaying:
There is a standard 'fine' of 500B/day payable at exit point. If you overstay 1 day the fine may be waived.


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Border Crossings
30days Thai visa is issued at  all official border points to most nationals. Free
MALAYSIA to Thailand: 1 hour time difference. 30 day visa issued at border(either land, sea, air)for both directions.
International trains run between Butterworth - Hat Yai - Bangkok.(23hours)
1.
Kota Bharu(Mal)-Songai Golok(Th): From Kota Baru by city bus to the border, then walk 10min.to cross. Then walk or take a tuk-tuk, to Sungei Golok train station, about 1.5km
2.
Butterworth/Penang-Hat Yai(Th)/BKK in Thai: Trains and tourist bus. Penang info, Hat Yai info
MYANMAR to Thailand: Possible to enter from Tachileik to Maesai, Thailand. But from other area, such as Mandalay or inle Lake, you are prohibited to travel to Tachileik overland. Only by plane is permitted.
To Myanmar: You are permitted to travel to Myanmar only for a day from Maesai, Maesot and Ranong with
$5. When you come back to Thailand, you can get 30 day visa. Many travelers go to Myanmar for a day to renew their visa. From Tachileik you can travel in the area around Tachileik for 15 days with $10. This visa is issued on the border. To travel other area, you have to have proper tourist visa. Apply at Myanmar embassy in Bangkok
LAOS to Thailand: 30 day visa(for Thailand) is issued to most nationals at the border. Over time fee at Laos immigration, during M-F 6-8:00, 16-22:00 & All day on SaSu 2500kip or 20B
To Laos: 15-day Laos Visa can be obtained on border for $30 or 1300B, also in most border town in Thai private visa agents are still selling visa service for more than the cost at the border, No point to pay more for the same visa.
1.
Tha Deua(L)-Nong Khai(Th): From Vientiane to the border by minibus. From Laos immigration.Take a international shuttle bus to Nong Khai Shuttle bus station 15B or 3000kip(M-F 6-8:00, 16-22:00 & All day on SaSu 20B). From the shuttle bus station to Nong Khai train station 1km. To the Nong Khai bus station 5km. You can take songthaw 30-50B Click Nong Khai info
2. Huai Xai(L)-Chiang Khon(Th): Huai Xai to Chiang Khong by boat 20B
3. Savannaket(L)-Mukudahan(Th):
by boat 13,000kip/50B Savannaket info
4. Pakxe(L)-Chongmek(Th): In Pakxe from Dao Heaung Chong Meh Bus station(new market), take a minibus 10,000k/p to the Vang Tao Bus station. Then walk up to the Lao immigration for 10 min.or take a moto taxi(1,000k/p) Then take 2 buses to Ubon Ratchathani train statin/bus station. Click Ubon Ratchathani
CAMBODIA to Thailand: The Thai visa can be obtained on arrival for free for most of the nationals.
From Thailand to Cambodia: The Cambodia visa can be also obtained on arrival,
$20/1000B. Better to have one photo. Some immigration officials may ask to buy "Health Certificate" with a few dollars. You don't have to buy.
1.
Koh Kong (Cambodia)to Khlong Yai(Th). The border open 7-17:00.
Songthaw or communal taxis are running from Koh Kong to the border
20B/p Minivans are running from Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville to the border. A boat is running from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong.
After crossing the border. take a minibus to Trat.
2.
Poipet(Cam) to Aranyaprathet: Poipet is the Cambodia border town. You can cross the border on foot to Thailand. Then take a truck bus to Aranyaprathet Buses/taxis/trucks are running from Siem Reap and Battambang


Thai index page

International Airport
Bangkok Don Muang Airport, Chiang Mai Airport, Phuket, Ko Samui Airport, Chiang Rai.International departure Tax : 500B


Mail
Mail:
To send a parcel, you may consider to use "small package" for less than 4-5kg, specially if you use surface mail, by packing with small boxes(upto 2kg) rather than one big box.
SAL: need a few weeks to deliver but slightly cheaper than airmail. Ask the rate at post office.
Japan Europe USA

AZ
Singapore
Air Postcard 15B 15B 15B

15B
15B?
Air Letter 19B 24B 28B

24B
19B
Small Parcel 2kg Air /Sea 760/1010B 870/1450B 690/1450B

15B
480/600B
Parcel surface 20kg 2740B 3130B 3210B

24B
1730B
Special over charge fee for Thai Airways passengers: You can take your excess luggage with 62B/kg + 1905B. If you have more than 30kg, you may use this special arrangement.

Telephone
Phone
New dialing system: Even for local calls, you have to dial with area codes including "0"
Country code 66
Local public telephone 1B, from hotels 5B
International Phone call: There are many private companies and public services are available in many different systems. The cheapest one is Lenzo Card IP telephone 9B/min to most countries.
Dial 001-809+country code + number

There are many private telephone service available on street, at travel agents or internet cafes. The cost varies and as low as
10-15B/min.
Collect call: is available from major telephone office.Usually no extra charge. Some offices charge 30B. Some phone private agents charge 30B. Since it is very expensive. it is better to buy a phone card and call first and ask them to call you back. It will save a lot of money for your family or friend.
Home County Direct: Phone: Free phone to connect to selected foreign telephone company operators for collect call.
First dial 1-800 then(basicly 1-800-country code-10, "10" may be different between companies.)
USA 001-10, Canada 001-50, France 033-10, Germany 040-10, Italy 030-10, Japan 081-10, Korea 082-10, Holland 031-10, NZ 054-10, Norway 047-10, Singapore 065-10, Swiss 041-10, UK 044-10
This system may be changed.
Dial 001-999 then for AZ61-1000, USA 11-1110, Canada 15-1000, UK 44-1000, France 33-1000, Germany 49-1000, Holland 31-1035, italy 39-1000, Japan 81-1051, Korea 82-1000, NZ 64-1066, Spain 34-1066, Taiwan 88-8100

International Transport
Bangkok is the flight center of South East Asia and one of the main transport hubs in the world.: see Airfares - Bangkok sheet for latest flight prices.
There are train, bus and boat services from Thailand to Malaysia.
To the other countries, international transport is very limited.


Thai index page

National Transport
Thai transport system is excellent, extensive air, train, bus, boat services. On bus & train there are a wide range of buses ranging from cheap Non A/C to more expensive luxury class. Many Travel Agencies & Hotels can book transport.
AIR:
Thai Air & Bangkok Airways fly between most cities. No discount fares are available from travel agents. But if you fly into Thailand with Thai Airlines and connect to a domestic flight, you can get a cheaper fare.
Recently many discount airlines started flying on Thai domestic routes.
You can fly from BKK-Chiang Mai as low as 1000B.
Air Asia: www.airasia.com
TRAIN:
Very comfortable. The 3rd class is cheaper than train. Bus generally more expensive than bus. Overnight trains have comfortable berths in 1st & 2nd class, Reservations several days before recommended, particularly during peak times.
You can terminate your journey before the destination station, but tickets are not valid nor no refund allowed.
The reservation can be changed or refund 3 hrs before the departure time. Fee is required.
If you take the train you booked not from the station your ticket specified, the reservation will be canceled unless you notified.
You can make a reservation with travel agents in Khaosan Rd area with a small handling charge.


3rd class

2nd class


2nd berth

food
BUS:
There is an extensive bus service throughout Thailand, ranging from very cheap, basic non A /c to deluxe (more expensive) faster super VIP buses. Food is often included. Bus Stations are often inconveniently located outside the center. Tourist buses operate along the most popular routes, these usually pick up and drop of in tourist areas or at hotels.
BOAT:
Ferry services operate between the islands and the mainland.
Thai Rail Pass
good for 20 days. 2000B class ?

Supplement Charges for Train
Train type charge  Express: 150 Rapid: 110 Special Express: 170-190
AC charge
upto 300/500km/more
A/C fee for 2nd: 50/50/80* A/C fee for 3rd: 50/50/70*
A/C 2nd with food: 110/120160* A/C fee for berth: 130/150/170*
A/C 1st double cabin berth: 400
berth charge 2nd upper berth: 100-150 2nd lower berth: 150-240
Your supplement is added up with train type charge, ac charge and berth charge.
Padang Basar to Butterworth Exp: 200, a/c Berth: 250

Thai index page

Local Transport
BUS very cheap, 3-5B, but routes particularly in Bangkok are complicated
TAXI Meter taxi available only in BKK
TUK-TUK 3-wheel open taxi. upto 3 passengers
SONGTHAEW small pickup trucks usually running on fixed route.Seating up to around 10 people.
bicycle rental in local cities 30-50B/day, conditions usually not good, check the breaks.
moter bike available in tourist towns. 100-150B/day. Make sure if the price include insurance or not.
Boat/ferry Bangkok has an extensive boat service operating along the river and canal system. Often much quicker than bus or taxi.


Thai index page

Food
Pat Thai (fried noodle),
Tom Yam (hot, spicy, lemon soup),
Yam neua (hot beef salad)
Kluay buat chii (banana in coconut milk)
Khaaw niaw mamuang (sticky rice & mango)
Kluay tort (fried bananas)
Drink - recommended fruit juices.
Fruit - recommended Durian, Rambutan, Mango, Papaya, Water melon, Mangosteen, Custard apple, Pineapple, Star apple, Lychee, Jackfruit



Customs
Similar to other SE Asian countries. See SE Asian customs/manners sheet
The Royal Thai family is highly respected.
You should stand up at the beginning of the opening ceremonies. Cinemas as well.


Shopping
Bargaining common practice in markets, street stalls, non-metered taxis.
Foreign language (Mostly English) books are available in the larger cities. 2nd hand books are widely available in tourist areas. Prices vary so check around. Many shops will buy back books at 40-50% of the price, some will 'rent' books.
Souvenirs: Silk, jewelry, woven textiles, ethnic clothes, lacquer-ware, fake designer clothing and watches.


Other
Voltage, Plug type: 220V, only types accept 2 round European type. But new ones accept American plug type as well.


Festivals/holidays 2007

Thai festival calender changes every year. Contact TAT for more detail.
(Thai calender Month/Day)
www.thailandgrandfestival.com/calendar.asp

Songkran Water Festival

Jan 1 PH New Year's Day:
Mar 5*(3/15) PH Magha Puja: Candle-lit procession
Apr 6 PH Chakri Day:
Apr 13-15 PH Songkran: Thai New Year, 3 days festival Water throwing(banned in Bangkok). 3rd day birds are released. Festival schedule varies from town to town.
May 1 PH Labor Day:
May 5 PH Coronation Day: Celebration of Kings coronation
May 31* (6/15) PH Visakha Puja:
Buddha's Birth/enlightenment/death. Candlelit processions from Temples.
June 30* PH Khao Phansa Day: Start of Buddhist Lent Candlelit processions from temples.
Jul 1 PH Mid Year Day:.only for banks.
Jul 29*(8/15) PH Asalha Puja:.Buddhist Ceremony
Aug 12 PH Queen's Birthday:
Oct10* OK Phansa: End of Lent Processions and fairs.
Oct 23 PH Chulalongkorn Day: In honor of King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910)
Oct 21-27 Nakhong Phanom: Illumiunated Boat Procession: held on Mekong River.
Nov 21-25* Loi Krathong: In honor of Goddess of Water Candles & flowers are floated in small model boats on river. Many stalls and performances.
The dates vary slightly locally.
Nov 17-18 Surin Elephant Round Up: Parades, demonstrations.
Dec 5 PH King's Birthday:
Dec 10 PH Constitution Day:
Dec 31 PH New Year's Eve:

Emergency
Police Hot Line: T191
Tourist Police: T1155, T02-281-5051
Credit Card report
Amex:
T011-999-811 or T02-2273-5522, Visa: T001-800-441 or 02-256-7326, Master Card: T001-800-118 or 02-260-8572, JCB T001-800-811, Diner's Club: T02-232-4111, Citybank: T1588

@ Internet @
Internet access points are available in major tourist area. 1B/min is most common. but it costs from 15B/hr. But in some islands, it costs 3B/min. Some telephone offices have internet facility called CADNET. You buy a card, 100B for 200min.

@ Web Sites @
Official TAT sites
www2.tat.or.th, wwwtourismthaialnd.org, www.amazingthailand.th, www.exoticthailand.com

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