“ It never stops to amaze! “
If you have traveled the world extensively, but you believed that there is still a fascinating place in the world waiting for you to discover and that’s Thailand, no amount of pictures, books and glossy magazines that could surpass the real experience to behold when you step on the amazing kingdom of Thailand-Siam in the old days.
Thailand, known as The Land of Smile, is one of the most accessible and well-known countries in Southeast Asia. Its diverse attractions make it popular with tourists and travelers of all types and ages, from idyllic, unspoiled beaches with turquoise seas and pure white sands to bustling cities sporting exotic markets and a vibrant, colorful nightlife, it is easy to see why Thailand has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for the adventurous and young at heart.
Thailand and its capital Bangkok – the city that never sleeps, is a synthesis between antiquity and modernity, lights are everywhere just like the traffic, glittering temples are feast to the eyes, sights with beauty that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
It will be heartwarming to visit and revisit some of Thailand’s ancient cities. A journey to this country’s gloried past never misses to spell out the height of one human idiosyncrasy- the passion to leave a legacy.
It’s worthwhile to visit Thailand and wallow in its ancient excuse for sanuk (to have a good time). After all the sybaritic feasts and bacchanalia, the heady route back home is often filled with great memories and awesome souvenirs, don’t forget to get Khao San Road Syndrome T-shirt and a four-headed, golden-hued Buddha.
When to Visit
Thailand’s rainy season, monsoons, arrive around July and last into November. This is followed by a dry, cool period from November to mid-February, followed by much higher relative temperatures from March to June.
By far the best time to visit is from February to March when the weather is kind and the beaches are at their finest.
The peak seasons are August, November, December, February and March, with secondary peak months in January and July. If your main objective is to avoid crowds and to take advantage of discounted rooms and low-season rates, you should consider travelling during the least crowded months (April, May, June, September and October). On the other hand it’s not difficult to leave the crowds behind, even during peak months, if you simply avoid some of the most popular destinations (eg, Chiang Mai and all islands and beaches).
THAILAND’S INTERESTING PLACES
BANGKOK - Thailand’s most iconic travel destinations and the cultural heart of the kingdom the city keeps many traditions still visibly intact, home to an amazing array of sights, activities and events. Even first time visitors to Bangkok will quickly be enthralled by how fun and fascinating Bangkok really can be. For those looking a glimpse of the real Thailand, or just a fun night out, Bangkok mixes old world charm with a modern and vibrant night life…More Info
CHIANG MAI- The second-largest city in Thailand and has many fascinating views to offer in the form of antique and gorgeous temples, teak forests, elephants, caves, waterfalls and a visit to the hill tribes. Doi Suthep temple and elephant trekking are very popular with tourists staying here. Doi Suthep other paramount temple in Thailand that is settled on a hilltop. Elephant trekking allows the tourists to get a closer look at the natural splendor and wonderful places of the city...More Info
SUKHOTHAI - This was the earliest capital of a Thai kingdom that flourished from the early thirteenth century, an era whose religious art and architecture is considered the most classic of Thailand’s cultural influences. In lush parkland settings are countless carved Buddhas, elegant lotus-bud spires and calm reflective lily ponds dating back to the golden age of ancient Siam…..More Info
PHUKET ISLAND – One of the largest island of Thailand, mixed with golden beaches, aqua oceans, and rain forest. Phuket dwells in the Andaman ocean encircled by aesthetical islands and to the northeastern, the beautiful limestone outcroppings of Phang Nga Bay.Phuket has got amicable populate, different cuisine, tropic climate and array of amenities…More Info
AYUTTHAYA HISTORICAL PARK - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayuthaya’s historic temples are scattered throughout this once magnificent city and along the encircling rivers. Several of the more central ruins – Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mongkhon Bophit, Wat Na Phra Meru, Wat Thammikarat, Wat Ratburana and Wat Phra Mahathat – can be visited on foot…More Info
KANCHANABURI – This province is filled with jungle clad hills and waterways. The town is the traditional site of the popular and historically paramount Bridge over the River Kwai where allied prisoners of war and Thai laborers were killed by the Japanese. Train trips are arranged for a visit across the post war bridge and this is a very fascinating and emotional experience…More Info
KOH SAMUI - The third largest island in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is located in the Surat Thani province and lies more than 500 km south of Bangkok. The tropical island, roughly circular in shape, is situated in the Gulf of Thailand…More Info
CHIANG RAI - Situated 180 kilometers north of Chiang Mai and is known as the gateway to the Golden Triangle. Famous for being the original home of the emerald Buddha (now found in Bangkok), Wat Phra Kaew is the city’s most revered temple. There are many other temples in the town that are worth exploring…More Info
PATTAYA - Delivers “Fun and Sun” like no other place. This is truly the entertainment beach capital of Thailand, with hotels for all budgets, more watersports than one can practice in a month, more restaurants than one can eat in a year and more sights to see than anywhere else in the entire kingdom…More Info
KOH PHANGAN - North of Koh Samui, the small island of Koh Phangan was discovered by backpackers seeking inexpensive beachfront accommodation and a lively party scene.The backpackers were drawn to the Full Moon Parties that still take place around the over-populated hub of Haad Rin…More Info
KRABI - Is typified by a tropical climate which stays warm all year round. A charming town situated at the border of the Krabi River is the capital of the Krabi Province. Boasts of some beautiful mainland beaches and seaside cliffs. A natural scenic beauty, Krabi has one of the best beaches and bays in Southeast Asia…More Info
KOH LANTA - One of southern Thailand’s new destinations away from the main tourist areas. Lanta island offers mangroves, spectacular coral rimmed beaches and coves surrounded by rugged mountains. Located in the Andaman sea between Krabi and Phuket,and reached via Phi Phi island, means it’s not as easily accessible as some of the more well-known islands – but this is part of the attraction…. Apart from peace and quiet, Lanta offers snorkeling, scuba diving, jungle walks, elephant trekking, horse riding or kayaking – all the facilities without the crowds…More Info
PHANG NGA BAY – Located just north west of Phuket island, Phang Nga makes a great day trip. The strange and beautiful limestone scenery consists of many uninhabited islands which contain hidden caves, tunnels and interior lagoons – known locally as “hongs.” Many of these can only be accessed via natural tunnels when the tide is just right, revealing a hidden and unique natural environment. This fascinating world of caves, tunnels and “hongs” can be explored with minimum disturbance to the natural habitat, by canoe.
KO PHI PHI ISLANDS - These idyllic twin islands lie an easy boat trip away from either Phuket or the mainland at Krabi. The largest, Ko Phi Phi Don, is a dumbbell shaped slice of paradise, its coastline fringed with white beaches all around, and its interior clad with tropical rainforest.
OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Thailand.
Thailand, the only Southeast Asian nation never to have been colonized by European powers, is a constitutional monarchy whose current head of state is HM Bhumibol Adulyadej. A unified Thai kingdom has existed since the mid-14th century, and Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 when it officially became the Kingdom of Thailand.
COUNTRY CODE: +66
Thailand lies within the humid tropics and remains hot throughout the year. Temperature varies from 19°C to 38°C. Average temperatures are 29°C. There are three seasons: the cool season (November to February), the hot season (April to May), and the rainy season (June to October), though downpours rarely last more than a couple of hours.
Total 63,525.062 (2009), including 31,293,096 males and 32,231,966 females.
TIME ZONE: GMT + 7
Thai is the national language, English is widely understood in cities.
Buddhist 94.2%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.8% others 0.4%
Mainland Thai culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism. However, unlike the Buddhist countries of East Asia, Thailand’s Buddhists follow the Therevada school, which is arguably closer to its Indian roots and places a heavier emphasis on monasticism. Thai temples known as wats, resplendent with gold and easily identifiable thanks to their ornate, multicolored, pointy roofs are ubiquitous and becoming an orange-robed monk for a short period, typically the three-month rainy season, is a common rite of passage for young Thai boys and men.
Situated in Southeast Asia, The geography of Thailand features many natural borders with neighboring countries; a mountainous border with Myanmar (Burma) to the north and west; a long stretch of the Mekong River separating Thailand from Laos to the north and east; and the Mekong River and the Dongrak Mountains delineating the border of Cambodia to the east.
Approximately the size of France, Thailand covers an area of 513,115 sq. Km (200,000 sq miles) and is the 50th largest country in the world, located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F).
A constitutional monarchy headed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with 76 provinces, each subdivided into amphoe (district) tambob (sub-district) and muban (village)
The red, white and blue bands symbolize the nation, Buddhism and the monarch respectively.
Nakhon Ratchasima 20,493.96 sq.km
Chiang Mai – 20,107.06 sq. km
Kanchanaburi – 19,483.15 sq.km
Phuket 543 sq.km
Koh Chang – 429 sq.km
Samui – 247 sq.km
This cotton is the best. A jacket or sweater may be necessary in the cool season. Especially in the mountainous area in the north or northeast.
220 Volts. The electrical plugs in Thailand have two round prongs. Your electrical appliances will generally work with the use of an international adaptor.
Monday-Friday: 9.30 am-3.30 pm (Banks),
9.00 am-5.00 pm (Businesses),
10.00 am-9.00 pm (Most department stores)
Thai bank hours are generally Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, though certain banks have shorter Saturday hours and currency exchange booths are open considerably longer hours in Bangkok and other tourist destinations.
ATM machines are now common place in most major centers here in Thailand. If you have a card with the “CIRRUS” or “PLUS” symbols, you should have no problem obtaining money via these service. Please note, that your bank back home will most likely have an international service charge per transaction as well, so please check that out first. Visa debit cards are also useful as they can be used at many stores. Credit cards are also widely accepted.
The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht. Baht come in both coin and banknote form. The size of Thai currency, both coins and bills increases with value and varies in color.
Don’t drink the tap water here, even in the major hotels. Most hotels provide bottled water; use it for brushing your teeth as well as drinking. Most restaurants serve bottled or boiled water and ice made from boiled water, but always ask to be sure. Purified water may not have the minerals you need to replace those lost in the heat and humidity, so check the label.
The Thailand postal service is efficient and reliable with branches in most major towns throughout the Kingdom. Thailand post offices are open M-F 8am-4:30pm and Sa-Su 9am-1pm. However, The Central GPO in Bangkok, located on New Road, is open until 6pm M-F and Sat-Sun 9am-1pm. All Thai post offices are closed on public holidays.
WEIGHTS & MEASUREMENTS
Thailand uses the metric system for all weights and measurements, with the exception for area, which Thais divide into wa and rai.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty. Born in December 1927, in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA, where his father, Prince Mahidol of Songkhla was studying medicine at Harvard University, H.M. King Bhumibol ascended the throne in 1946 and is already the longest reigning Thai monarch. As a constitutional monarch, he maintains neutrality in times of crisis.
Thai people have a deep and traditional reverence for the Royal Family. To a very large degree, H.M. King Bhumibol’s popularity mirrors his deep interest in his people’s welfare. He concerns himself intimately with every aspect of Thai life. He and his wife, H.M. Queen Sirikit devote much of their time to inspect and improve the welfare of the people.
MAJOR AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS
Rice, tapioca, rubber, coconuts, sugar, maize, pineapples, cotton and palm oil.
MAJOR MANUFACTURED EXPORT
Textiles, cement, electronics, cars, trucks, gems and jewelry.
Buddha Images are sacred and must be treated with respect. Never climb on a Buddha image, and be very careful about taking photos – some images are so sacred that photographs are forbidden. When sitting on the floor, you must be careful not to point your feet at a Buddha image. Sit with your legs crossed or with your feet tucked to the side, the soles pointing backwards.
PASSPORT & VISA
Many visiting tourists don’t need a visa to enter Thailand; others can apply for a visa on arrival.
Citizens or holders of passports for the following countries do not require a visa to enter Thailand as a visitor; those arriving without visas are given an entry stamp for 15-days (arrival by land) or 30 days (arrival at an airport) are :
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and Vietnam.
CUSTOMS: DUTIES & TAXES
Duty free allowance will be applied to accompanied personal effects up to Baht 10,000 worth if i) the items are intended for your own personal or professional uses; ii) the quantity is reasonable; and iii) the items are not subject to prohibition or restriction.
However, there are limits on the amount of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, cigars and smoking tobacco to which you may include in your duty free personal exemption as follows:
• 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of cigars or smoking tobacco; and
• 1 liter of alcoholic beverages.
Personal effects do not include motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts regardless of the length of time used and owned.
Thailand has four international airports, one each in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai, It is connected by daily flights to Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia aboard the world’s major airlines.Most people arrived in Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok which is the major air hub.
Jan. 1, New Year’s Day
Feb. 8, Magha Bucha Day
April 6, Chakri Day
April 13-15, Songkran and Family Day (Thai New Year)
May 1, Labor Day
May 4, Royal Ploughing Ceremony;
May 5, Coronation Day
May 7, Visakha Bucha
July 5, Asahala Puja Day
July 6, Khao Phansa Day (Buddhist Lent Day)
Aug. 12, HM The Queen’s Birthday
Oct. 23, Chulalongkorn Day
Dec. 5, HM The King’s Birthday
Dec. 10, Constitution Day
Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve
DO’S & DON’T
DO ensure you have adequate travel insurance and that it covers both medical treatment and unexpected losses/expenses/theft.
DON’T carry anything through customs for anyone else unless you know the contents. Penalties for drug trafficking are severe.
DO follow common sense health precautions and check with your local doctor on current vaccination recommendations for traveling within Thailand.
DO take care of your valuables at all times and report any loss immediately to the nearest tourist police office.
DON’T buy gemstones or jewelry unless it is from a reputable dealer. Many sophisticated scams have sprung up over recent years. Whether the tout is dressed as a student, a monk or a policeman, identity card and all deal only with a registered gemstone dealer.
DO be careful with your passport. Be on guard against pickpockets or inadvertent loss.
DON’T overstay. Fines are imposed for each day you stay in Thailand beyond the date of the visa expiry, currently Baht 200 per day.
DO be careful when driving in Thailand. Only use car hire companies which offer full insurance coverage.
DO dress in a manner fitting to local custom and sensibilities.
DO respect Thai customs. While Thais are generally forgiving towards visitors disrespect towards images of Buddha or the Royal Family will not be tolerated.