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Thailand

Why going to Thailand?

The destination has a lot to offer –  good weather, exotic temples, lush jungles and white sand beaches – not to forget hustle and bustle of its dynamic capital – Bangkok city. With its warm, welcoming people, delicious food, travellers are surely beguiled and often come back to this fascinating land more than once.

The integrity of Thailand’s culture remains mainly undamaged as the country has ever avoided colonization. Absorbing Western influences while maintaining its own cultural heritage is what makes this country unique. Even there was a lot of change and development within the last decades, the Thai community is still the farming village where is easy to reach to be part of traditional scenes and experience unforgettable moments.

Thailand is a Buddhist nation and the religion is practiced by many. A lot of tourist attractions are temples and golden-plated Buddha status, framing both the rural and modern landscape.

Divided into four zones: the exceptional fertile central, the mountainous areas in the North and the tropical Southern peninsula, the possibilities of exploration is endless. Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Samui and Phuket…etc, just to name a few of Thailand’s amazing places which are certainly worth a visit!

Quick facts

Neighbouring countries: Burma and Laos to the North, Burma to the West, Laos and Cambodia to the East.

Area: 514,000 sq km (200,000 sq miles)

Population (2016) : 68.1 million

Capital: Bangkok
94.6% of Thais are Buddhist, 4.6% of Thais are Muslim 0.7% of Thais are Christian

Language : Thai

Currency: Thai THB ($1 = 35.12 THB – May 2016).”

Visa & travel permissions

TRANSIT VISA

1. REQUIREMENTS
This type of visa is issued to applicants who wish to enter the kingdom for the following purposes:
– To travel in transit through the Kingdom in order to proceed to the country of destination or to reenter his/her own country (category “TS”) to participate in sport activities (sportmen, sportwomen, etc.)(category “S”)***
– *** Those who are scheduled to stay in the Kingdom longer than one month, a Non-Immigrant Visa category “O” can be issued to them.
– The person in charge or crew of a conveyance coming to a port, station or area in the Kingdom (category “C”)

2. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED
Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
Visa application from completely filled out
Recent (4X6 cm.) photograph of the applicant
Evidence of travel from Thailand (confirmed air ticket paid in full)
Evidence of adequate finance (10,000 Baht per person and 20,000 Baht per family)
Visa of a third country in a passport or travel document
Letter of invitation stating the application’s participation in sports activities in the Kingdom
Consular officers reserve the rights to request additional documents as deemed necessary

3. VISA FEE
800 Baht per entry
(Visa fee may be charged without prior notice)

4. VALIDITY OF A VISA
The validity of a visa is three months.

5. PERIOD OF STAY
Travelers coming to Thailand with this type of visa will be permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a period not exceeding 30 days.

6. EXTENSION OF STAY
Those who wish to stay longer or may wish to change their type of visa must file an application for permission at the Office of Immigration Bureau located on Government Center B, Chaengwattana Soi 7, Laksi, Bangkok 10210, Tel 0-2141-9889 (or at http://www.immigration.go.th). The extension of stay as well as the change of certain type of visa is solely at the discretion of the Immigration office.

7. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
Nationals of certain countries are required to apply for a visa only at the Thai Embassy of Consulate-General in their home/residence country or at the designated Thai Embassy. Therefore, travelers are advised to contact the nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate-General to find out where they may apply for a visa to Thailand before departure.

 

TOURIST VISA

1. REQUIREMENTS
This type of visa is issued to applicants who wish to enter the Kingdom for tourism purposes.

2. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED
Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
Visa application form completely filled out
Recent (4X6 cm.) photograph of the applicant
Evidence of travel from Thailand (air ticket paid in full)
Evidence of adequate finance (20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family)
Consular officers reserve the rights to request additional documents as deemed necessary

3. VISA FEE
1,000 Baht per entry
(Visa fee may be changed without prior notice)

4. VALIDITY OF A VISA
The validity of visa is 3 months or 6 months.

5. PERIOD OF STAY
Upon arrival, travelers with this type of visa will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 60 days.

6. EXTENSION OF STAY
Those who wish to stay longer or may wish to change their type of visa must file an application for permission at the Office of Immigration Bureau located on Government Center B, Chaengwattana Soi 7, Laksi, Bangkok 10210, Tel 0-2141-9889 (or at http://www.immigration.go.th ). The extension of stay as well as the change of certain type of visa is solely at the discretion of the Immigration office.

7. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
Nationals of certain countries are required to apply for a visa only at the Thai Embassy or Consulate-General in their home/residence country or at the designated Thai Embassy, Therefore, travelers are advised to contact the nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate-General to find out where they may apply for a visa to Thailand before departure.

If you overstay, you’ll be fined 500 baht per day up to a maximum of 20,000 baht. You also risk being held in detention, fined, deported at your own expense and black-listed from re-entering Thailand. The Thai authorities have stated that they will always enforce detention for overstays of more than 42 days.

The only legal way of getting a new visa, entry permit or extension of stay is from a Thai Embassy or Consulate, an Immigration Officer at a point of entry into Thailand or one of the Immigration Offices around the country. Visas issued by visa shops, travel agents or by any other means are likely to be illegal and can lead to criminal proceedings.

 

VISA ON ARRIVAL

1. REQUIREMENTS
Aim to enter Thailand for tourism for a period of not exceeding 15 days.
Does not fall into the category of aliens prohibited from entering Thailand under the Immigration law.
Truthfully notifies a verifiable place to stay in Thailand.

2. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED
Hold the citizenship of a country on the list issued by the minister under the consent of the Council of Ministers of Thailand.
Submit one 4 x 6 cm. headshot photo taken no longer than 6 months.
Possess the return ticket valid within 15 days.
Present evidence of adequate finance, not less than 10,000 Baht (250US$) per person and 20,000 Baht (500US$) per family.
Possess a passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months.

3. VISA FEE
Pay 2,000 Baht for the visa fee (Thai currency only and the price is subject to change without prior notice)

4. PERIOD OF STAY
Tourists who enter Thailand via a border by land or aboard a flight without securing a prior visa will be granted 15 days of stay in the country

5. REMARKS
If a tourist holds the passport of a country which is on the list of countries eligible to obtain Visa on Arrival in Thailand and they will enter Thailand aboard a flight, then said tourist can receive a Visa on Arrival at international airports.

If a tourist holds the passport of the country which is on the list of countries eligible to obtain Visa on Arrival in Thailand but they will enter Thailand via a land border, then in that case, we strongly recommend the tourist to obtain their Thailand visa in their departure country prior to their departure date as the regulations of obtaining VOA and the availability of designated immigration checkpoints via land borders might be changed without prior notice.

Best time to visit

Access & Transportation

TRAVELLING TO THAILAND

BY AIR
Almost 70 foreign airlines have licenses from Thai authorities to serve the country and are respecting international standards. It includes Aeroflot, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa, United Airlines or Swiss Air. Thai Airways, which is one of the most consider airline in the world, is offering the most destinations and the best services to and from Thailand.

Suvarnabhumi Airport of Bangkok is the most important international airport of the country, many flights to Thailand are leading to there. However, many flights from Asia are landing in other international airport of the country such as Chiang Mai, Phuket or Hat Yai.

BY LAND
Thailand / Lao borders

There are 8 border crossings open to all between Thailand and Laos. From north to south:
Huay Xai/Chiang Khong
Muang Ngeun/Huay Kon
Nam Hueng/Tha Li
Vientiane/Nong Khai
Paksan/Bueng Kan
Tha Khaek/Nakhon Phanom
Savannakhet/Mukdahan
Vang Tao/Chong Mek

Thailand / Cambodia borders

Aranyaprathet, Thailand/Poipet
Hat Lek, Thailand/Koh Kong, Cambodia
Chong Jom, Thailand/O’Smach, Oddar Meanchey, Cambodia
Chong Sa Ngam, Thailand/Anlong Veng, Oddar Meanchey, Cambodia.
Ban Pakard, Chantaburi, Thailand/Phsar Prom Pailin, Cambodia (Prom Checkpoint)
Ban Laem, Chantaburi, Thailand/Daung Lem, Battambang, Cambodia (Daung Checkpoint)

Thailand / Malaysia borders

Ban Ta Ba
Sungai Kolok
Betong
Sadao
Pedang Besar
Wang Prajan
Kuala Perlis
Border crossings are only daylight hours open, except for Sadao and Pedang Besar. Boat crossing is usual between Thailand and Malaysia, the most popular crossing border are Kuala Perlis, Pedang Besar, Sadao and Sungai Kolok.

Thailand / Myanmar borders

Mai Sai – Tachilek
Mae Sot – Myawaddy
Phunaron – Htee Kee
Ranong – Kawthoung
Sangkhla Buri – Payathonzu – the Three Pagodas Pas

 

TRANSPORT IN THAILAND

TAXI

Bangkok has a huge number of taxis for reasonable prices since they are equiped with meters. However, outside of the capital it is rarest to find taxis with meters. In this case, ask for the price and negociate before entering into the taxi.

Avoid taking a taxi near hotels and tourist attractions.

All the official taxis will have a yellow registration plate.

Make sure to have some small banknotes and change, in case the driver doesn’t have change.

TUK-TUK

Tuk-Tuk is classic vehicle in Thailand. They are easy to find, especially in Bangkok, due to their typical colors and the sound they make. It is a really good experience for tourists and a way to move quickly. It is better to ask the price before going in the tuk-tuk.

METROPOLITAIN RAIL LINES

Thailand has three primary metropolitan rail lines which are the BTS skytrain, MRT underground lines and airport rail link. All of these metropolitan rail lines are linked together.

Unlimited single day and various multi-day passes can be purchased for both the BTS skytrain and MRT underground, many of which are ideal for tourists wishing to explore the city, though such cards are not transferable between the two independently owned rail lines and must be purchased separately. The BTS skytrain card can buy only at the BTS skytrain station.

BANGKOK SKY TRAIN (BST)

There is two types of railroads in Thailand. The first one is the BTS skytrain composed with two lines (green), the second one is the MRT underground (blue).

The first line of the BTS skytrain is Sukhumvit Line and follows Sukhumvit road, a very busy street, with many shops, restaurants and hotels. In the north, it leads to Mo Chit, near the northern bus terminal and the JJ Weekend Market, where it is possible to change for the MRT underground. Others changes on the Sukhumvit Line are located at Asoke station for the BTS and at Sukhumvit station for MRT.

The second BTS skytrain’s line is the Silom line. This line is going through the business district and ends at the Chao Phraya River, where you can find the public boat service to cross the river. It is possible to change for the Sukhumvit line at Siam square and for the Mrt at Silom Station.

In the near future, there are approval projects to build 2 more new routes and 2 extension route on the old lines. Following the plans there will be new light red line and dark red line which are suburban railway system. These lines will reach some part of Pathum Thani province. These red lines will be finished in 2018. The extension plan for both green lines will be finished in 2021,and these extended route will reach some part of Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani.

It is possible to buy single or multi-day passes in order to explore the city easily. However, a pass can only be use for the skytrain or the underground. So, you have to buy two disctincts passes for each railroad.

BANGKOK UNDERGROUND (MRT)

MRT underground line is a completely new line of the railroad network. It has 18 stops, from Bang Sue to Hua Lumphong, where you will find the train station that will allow you to go to the countryside..

It is possible to change from the MRT to the BTS at Mo Chit, Sukhumvit (Asoke for the BTS) and Silom (Sala Daeng for the BTS)

As for the BTS skytrain, single day and multi-day passes can be bought independently for the BTS and the MRT.

In the near future, there are approval projects to build many more routes for MRT lines. According to the plans there will be more 4 new routes consisting of purple, orange, pink and yellow line and 2 more extended lines which are extended of light green (Sukhumvit line) and extended blue line. All of these new routes will reach many parts of other provinces which are Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Prakan. Some parts of the construction plans have already been completed but many are still in progress and will be finished in 2016 and 2022 according to each plan.

AIRPORT RAIL LINK (ARL)

The airport line is an express and commuter rail in Bangkok. The line provides an airport rail link from Suvarnabhumi Airport, via Makkasan, to Phaya Thai Station in central Bangkok.

The ARL operates daily from 6:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, with commuter City Line (blue) trains departing every 10 minutes during peak hours (6am to 9am & 4pm to 8pm) and 15 minutes off peak & weekends.

The extended route that links Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Muang Airport should be finished by 2016. At the moment you can take advantage from a free shuttle leaving every half an hour or use public bus # 555 or taxi service..

BUSES

In Bangkok, there are both public and private buses. As a consequence, buses can vary in size, type and cost. Taking the bus in Bangkok can be as tiring as walking to your destination.

Long distance buses are very common in Thailand, there are many bus stations in Bangkok to join destinations such as Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ayutthaya, Cha am or Kanchanaburi.

TRAIN

Passengers can travel by train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to the Laos or Malaysian borders and many places in between. . Even though the journey on a Thai train generally takes longer and can be more expensive than a voyage by bus, trains are safer and are generally more comfortable. Popular train routes include Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Surat Thani, the launching point for boats to Koh Samui.

There are three classes of Thai train service, allowing even the most budget conscious traveler to experience travel by train in Thailand. However, while first class is quite plush, featuring private cabins with twin sleeping arrangements and air conditioning on select routes, prices are often higher than flying the same route on a budget air carrier. On the other end of the spectrum, third class is cheaper than the bus but may not be the most comfortable way. Second class prices on Thai trains are equivalent to first class bus tickets, both in price and in comfort, though the train has fold down beds and it’s easier to get up and stretch your legs on the train than on a bus.

Ladies and Children’s carriage service was commenced in August 2014. These carriage are painted in pink and purple. On the carriage are served by female only staffs to ensure that the passengers will be proctecetd from any risk of assault or harassment. One ladies and children’s carriage will be attached to the first class and second class train for many routes.

Thai trains depart throughout the day, though some are express and some make frequent local stops and comprise of only third class seating. Train tickets sell out well in advance for some holidays and weekends, particularly the more limited sleeper cars and the wider, lower bunk, second class sleeper seats. Traveling by train is not the best choice if you in hurry or have an exact plan because mostly train are not arrive or depart followed the time schedule, It might talk 10 minutes to hours late.

You can check the price rates or find further information on the websites: http://www.thailandtrainticket.com/index.html or http://www.railway.co.th/checktime/checktime.asp?lenguage=Eng

CAR

Car is a good option to travel across the country, but driving can be difficult for foreigners. We advise you to rent a car with a driver or a guide, it is more expensive, but you‘ll avoid any kind of problem.

SONG THAEWS & SI LORS

In the outlying areas of Bangkok and in many other towns and cities, the main form of transport is the ‘Baht Bus’, in the form of a ‘Song Thaew’ (two-row) – a converted Hyundai or Subaru pickup truck with two rows of seats along the sides of the vehicle, or ‘Si Lor’ (four-row).

RIVERS & CANALS

Many river, like Bang Pakong river, Mae Khlong river, Ta Chin river or Kwae (Kwai) river are navigable. These rivers are perfect for trips such as on the Chao Phraya river in order to discover the Koh Kret island and an authentic way of life on the bank’s river.

In north east of the country, it is possible to sail on the Mekong river which marks the border between Thailand and Laos and that can make about 1km in width.”

Dos or don'ts

Thailand is the country of the friendliest people. Although there is some things to avoid in order to keep a smile on the Thai people’s face. Even if in case of mistakes, they will probably forgive you and act with understanding. These instructions will help you to spare yourself of this situation.

 

WHEN VISITING A TEMPLE

Do respect Buddhism
Religion is very important for Thai people, Buddhism in particular, because it is the most practiced religion in Thailand. This is why Buddhism is protected by the law.

Don’t touch
In Thailand touching a Buddha image may appear disrespectful. Even taking pictures or sitting next to it, are to be avoided. Women are not allowed to touch or to sit next to a monk, just wai in sign of respect.

Do dress conservatively
Do dress properly
Men and women must have their shoulders and knees covered. When you are entering a temple, it is better to remove your shoes.

 

WHEN GREETING A THAI

Don’t make handshakes
Physical contact with a person you don’t know well is not common in Thailand.

Do greet people with the traditional wai
Thai way to greet people is the wai. To make a wai, press your palms together near your chest and bow a little bit. The more the person is important, more your hands have to be high and your bow has to be deeper. You don’t need to wai at receptionists, chambermaids and children. To greet people women say “Sawadtii khaa” and men “Sawadtii khap”.

Do be open
Questions about marital status, age or wage are very common and not intrusive.

 

WHEN INTERACTING WITH A THAI

Don’t touch the head
According to the Thai’s culture, soul lives in the head. As a consequence, it is a sacred part of the body that only the close family can touch.

Don’t show the soles
Feet and soles must not be pointed or shown to people or Buddha figure. It could be consider as an insult.

 

IN RELATION TO THE KING

Do talk with kindness
In Thailand the King and his family are nearly sacred. People have indeed a lot of respect for their King and their monarchy. Pay attention to do the same if you prefer to avoid being persecuted by the law.

Don’t damage King images
The King’s image appears on many items like stamps or money, avoid damaging and stepping over them. It can be considered outrageous.

 

WHEN OUT IN PUBLIC

Do smile
The smile is a charming accessory of Thai personality and an unquestionable sign of respect. Use it to get out of embarrassing situations and ask for forgiveness for misunderstandings.

Don’t have close contacts
It is better to avoid demonstrations of public affection. It could feel embarrassing for Thai people.

 

WHEN IN A RESTAURANT

Don’t be surprised
Chopsticks are less common than forks and spoons in Thailand.

Don’t wave
Avoid making a wave or raising your finger to call a waiter.

 

WHEN INVITED TO SOMEONE’S HOME

Do take off your shoes
When you are entering in someone’s house, it is respectful to remove your shoes.

Don’t step on the threshold
In Thai people’s culture, stepping on the threshold bring bad luck to the people that lives in the house.

Do bring a gift
Flowers, liquors or candies are good presents to bring when you are invited at someone’s place”

Money & budget

Local currency: Thai Baht (THB)

The money in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB). 1 baht has 100 Satang.
You can find banknotes of 10 (brown), 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1,000 (grey or brown) Thai baht. The official exchange rate is 35.1 THB = 1 USD (March 2016)

Coins: 25 and 50 Satang; 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht.

ATM or bank cash machines are widely available throughout the country.

Banks and authorized money changers are allowed to change money and accept major currencies. The best exchange rate is from Us Dollar to Bath, but cheques even have a better rate.

Hotels, restaurants, travel agent, tourists shop or department stores are accepting the most common credit cards such as Visa, Master Card, Amex or Diners.

Health

First of all, make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
World Health Organization recommends vaccinations against: Hepatitis A and Typhoid that you risk to get through contaminated food or water, expecially if you are an adventourous eater, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, if you plan to visit rural areas in Thailand or will be spending a lot of time outdoors.

Malaria and Dengue fever are diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitoes, especially during the rainy season. Travelers should protect themselves regularly with repellent by smearing themselves and their clothes with it. The most efficient repellents are composed with DEET.

The sale of medicines is less regulated than in Europe, counterfeit products are common in Thailand and pharmacies are selling drugs without medical prescriptions. We advise you to see a doctor before buying any medications and to buy them in licensed pharmacies and hospital outlets.

 

HEALTH ADVISE
Eat
• Food that is cooked and served hot
• Hard-cooked eggs
• Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself
• Pasteurized dairy products

Avoid eating
• Food served at room temperature
• Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish
• Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
• Unpasteurized dairy products
• ”Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)

Drink
• Bottled water that is sealed
• Water that has been disinfected
• Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
• Carbonated drinks
• Hot coffee or tea
• Pasteurized milk

Avoid drinking
• Tap or well water
• Ice made with tap or well water
• Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
• Unpasteurized milk

Emrgency contacts

EMERGENCY NUMBERS
All markets except French (English Speaking) : +66-882 279 452 / Operation Manager French Market only (French Speaking): +66-859 186 333

 

OFFICES ADDRESSES

1. Office in Bangkok: Easia Travel – Thailand
Add: 10/80 The Trendy Building, 5th Floor, Soi Sukhumvit 13
Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana
Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Tel: + 66 (2) 168 7286
Fax: + 66 (2) 168 7285

2. Office in Chiang Mai: Easia Travel – Thailand
Add: 174/3 Sakulchai Building, 7th Floor
Chiang Klan Road T.Chang Klan A.Muang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tel: + 66 (53) 270 950
Fax: + 66 (53) 270 950

 

EMERGENCY SERVICES IN THAILAND
Mobile Police 191
Fire Brigades 199
Tourist Police 1155
Police General Hospital 0 2207 6000
Tourist Service Centre 1672
Highway Police 1193, 0 2354 6007″

What to prepare?

PRE-DEPARTURE TASKS
Your passport must be valid for minimum 6 months before the expiry date. Don’t ignore trip, baggage and medical insurance. For vaccinations and medicines visit your doctor before your travel.

 

CLOTHES
• Clothing should be lightweight and of the drip dry variety. You will be in the sun a lot so long sleeves and a wide hat would be more suitable.
• Underwear should be synthetic and easily washable.
• Sleepwear.
• Shirts should be long sleeved and lightweight with lots of closed pockets.
• T-shirts, short sleeved and again with pockets.
• Cool evenings necessitate the need for pullovers or a lightweight jacket.
• A light weight vest with lots of pockets will be handy for carrying your camera (and film) and binoculars.
• Long trousers made from a lightweight, quick drying fabric should have multi pockets for day trips. Long trousers that turn into shorts are ideal.
• For trekking lightweight long shorts (for modesty purposes) are acceptable.
• Bathing suit should be modest so as not to offend the locals.
• Hat for protection from the sun. Should have a wide brim and a strap.
• A sturdy poncho or parka will help to keep your gear dry in case of rain or waterfall spray.
• Footwear: You will need some sturdy comfortable boots for trekking or just walking around. They will need to support your ankles as well as having a non slip sole.
• Water proof sandals for those short trips and boating.
• Some smart casual clothes for the evenings and visiting restaurants.

 

PHARMACY
• Insect repellent with the percentage of DEET recommended by your travel medicine physician. It’s important that you bring an ample supply of good quality repellent.
• Antiseptic wipes for hand washing and emergency toilet paper.
• Personal First Aid Kit (bring in small amounts and in small containers)
• Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
• Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops. Adequate quantity of sweat-resistant sun screen with at least an SPF 15 rating or higher, and lip balm with sunscreen.
• Prescription medicines in their original bottles. Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for “new” flora.
• Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine. Pepto-Bismol.

 

VACCINATIONS
Vaccinations are not obligatory (visitors coming from countries with yellow fever risks are an exception) but highly recommended. In order to not being ill during your trip, check all of your vaccinations, especially Tetanus, Polio and Diphtheria. Other vaccines are recommended, such as Hepatitis A and B (for a trip of more than 3 months), Typhus, Tuberculosis, Rabies, Japanese encephalitis.

Offer suggestions