Tips & Guides
Kingdom of Thailand
We enjoy a tropical climate with 3 distinct seasons - hot from March
through May, wet from June to September, and cool from October through
February. The average annual temperature is 28o C (83o F), ranging
from in Bangkok, for example, from 30 C in April to 25 C in December.
Light, loose cotton clothing is best. Nylon should be avoided. Sweaters
are needed during the cool season evenings or if visiting mountainous
areas or national parks. Jackets and ties are required in a few
restaurants and nightclubs. Neat clothes are required for entering
temples or palaces.
There are no required vaccinations, unless you are coming from an
infected area. Yellow fever certificates are required for those
who are coming from an infected area. Please check the latest regulations
with your local health office.
GMT + 7 hours.
Most offices open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, except on
public holidays. General banking hours are Monday to Friday 9.30
am to 3.30 pm. Many stores open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
There are 100 satangs in 1 baht. (B=baht) Notes are issued in denominations
of B1000 (gray), B500 (purple), B100 (red), B50 (blue), B20 (green),
and B10 (brown). There are 10, 5 and 1 baht coin, and 50 and 25
satang. Most foreign currencies and travelers cheques are easily
changed at banks, hotels or moneychangers. All major credit cards
are widely accepted throughout the kingdom.
The electric system is 220 Volt AC (50 cycles). There are many plugs
and sockets in use. Travelers with shavers, tape recorders and other
appliances should carry a plug-adapter kit.
Visitors to Thailand who hold valid passports or traveling documents
issued by any country included in an officially issued list of eligible
countries are permitted one-month visa-free visits. If planning
a longer stay, a Tourist Visa valid for 60 days must be obtained
from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad. Visa extensions can
be applied for at the Immigration Department in Bangkok.
Tipping is not a usual practice in Thailand although it is becoming
more common. Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge
to the bill. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but the gesture
Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other
places bargaining is to be expected. Generally, you can obtain a
final figure of between 10-40% lower than the original asking price.
Much depends on your skills and the shopkeeper's mood. But remember,
Thais appreciate good manners and a sense of humor. With patience
and a broad smile, you will not only get a better price, you will
also enjoy shopping as an art.
Thai is a tonal language belonging to the group of Ka-Tai languages,
the five tones are monotone, low, falling, high, and rising. This
can be a rather complicated language for the visitor; however, English
is quite widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is
almost the major commercial language.
DO'S & DONT'S
Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family,
and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the
Queen and the Royal Children.
Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should
never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire.
It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around
the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where
the principal Buddha image is kept. Each Buddha image, large or
small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb
onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate
a lack of respect.
Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched
by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman
has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who
then presents it.
Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but
instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called
a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.
Thais regard the head as the highest part of the
body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people
on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object.
It is considered very rude.
Shoes should be removed when entering a private
Public displays of affection between men and women
are frowned upon.
CUSTOMS & IMMIGRATION
All visitors to Thailand must be in possession of a valid passport.
Thirty-day visas can usually be obtained at the point of entry into
Thailand. However, it is best to check, in advance, as restriction
applies to some nationals.
Persons meeting the above conditions are exempted
from a visa and are permitted to remain in the Kingdom for a period
not exceeding 30 days, except for the nationals of the Republic
of Korea, Brazil, and Peru who are permitted to stay in Thailand
for a maximum of 90 days from the day of entry.
All kinds of narcotics (hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine, heroin),
obscene literature, pictures or articles. Firearms: Importation
of firearms and ammunition can be done only after a permit has been
obtained from the Police Department of the Local Registration Office.
A reasonable amount of clothing for personal use, toilet articles,
and professional instruments may be brought in free of duty.
One still-camera or one movie camera can be brought in without duty.
Five rolls of still-camera film or three rolls of 8 or 16 mm movie-camera
film may be brought in free of duty.
Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverages
Cigarettes, cigars, or smoking tobacco each or in total must not
exceed 250 grams in weight. Cigarettes not exceeding 200 in quantity.
One litre each of wine or spirits may be brought in free of duty.
A reasonable amount of used household effects, accompanied by the
owner on change of domicile are also free of duty.
Plants and Animals
Certain species of fruits, vegetables and plants are prohibited.
Please contact the Agricultural Regulatory Division, Bangkhen, Bangkok,
Tel. 02 579-1581 and 02 579-3576. Permission of entry for animals
coming in by air can be obtained at the airport. If entering by
sea, the application must be made at the Department of Livestock
Development, Bangkok, Tel. 02 251-5136 and 02 252-6944. Vaccination
certificates are required.
Buddha images, Bodhisattva images or fragments thereof are forbidden
to be taken out of Thailand. A license must be obtained from the
Department of Fine Arts in order that such objects of antiquity
or objects of art, irrespective of whether they are originals or
reproductions, may be taken out of the country. For a license application,
contact the National Museum, Tel. 02 226-1661 and 02 281-0433.