Thailand
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Practical information Thailand

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Thailand : Travel Information before you go!

Area

198195.0

Population

63525062

Airports

The Don Muang Airport is about 16 miles from Bangkok. There are several different ways of getting to it. The slowest but cheapest is the train (10P); then there's the bus (1.40); followed by the taxis. You should look for one on the 'Departures' level and make sure you negotiate a price before getting in (it should cost around 4).
Bangkok's second airport opened on 28th September 2006, just under 19 miles from the capital. The Suvarnabhumi International Airport has become Thailand's main airport. It has largely overtaken the Don Muang Airport, which is mainly used for domestic flights, air freight, and by the army.

Security

FCO UPDATE:The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla on the Thai-Malaysia border.
All travel to the following regions should be avoided unless urgent: the temple areas of Preah Vihear (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) and the Ta Krabey (Ta Moan) situated on the Thai-Cambodian border. There are troops along the border and a persistent risk of violent outbreaks.

Martial law has been in place following a military coup in May 2014. Various political protests have taken place since November 2013 and more are expected around Bangkok's Rachadamnoen Avenue.

Stay away from those offering too good to be true deals. Do not accept free cigarettes or food on the trains, buses and taxis, they could be drugged. Exercise caution if you plan on attending the Full Moon parties and avoid shady bars, particularly in Haad Rin on Koh Phangan, where attacks have previously taken place. Robberies and further attacks have also occured in other tourist districts, such as Chaweng, on Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai.

If you're planning on venturing into the forest, make sure you have bug spray, slacks, and high top shoes.

For the latest developments, see the FCO Travel Advice section for Thailand.

Languages

The official language of Thailand is Thai. English is spoken in the cities and tourist sites but this is rare outside of those places.

Required travel documents for

European citizens are allowed to stay 30 days in the country without a visa, on the condition that they have a passport with at least six months validity. However, those arriving at overland crossing will only be given visa-free entry valid for 15 days. Illegally overstaying your visa is a serious matter and you can be held in detention until a fine is paid. The only legal way of obtaining a new visa, entry permit or extension of stay is from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate, an Immigration Officer at a point of entry into Thailand or one of the Immigration Offices around the country. Be aware that a departure tax of THB 500 needs to be paid on your way out, which must be done so in cash and local currency.

Religion

95% of the Thai people are Buddhist. The largest of the minority groups is the Sunni Muslims (3.7%), notably in the south of the country.

Currency

The currency is the Thai baht (THB). 1 GBP is approximately 49 THB.

Make sure you always have cash in small denominations to cover everyday expenses. Cash and travellers cheques can easily be exchanged in banks and there are also plenty of cash machines in airports and major cities. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are accepted in larger hotels and upmarket shops and restaurants. Banks are open during the week only, from 8:30am to 3:30pm.

Local transportation

Use air transport to travel great distances while the railway network can be used to travel to the north, northeast and south of the country. Buses also travel throughout the country, with night voyages for those longer journeys. You can travel quite comfortably in 1st or 2nd class buses, most of which are air conditioned. Lastly, you can always hire different types of vehicles such as motorcycles (these are of course easier to come by in the tourist sites) but even if the roads are good, driving in Thailand is unpredictable. You'll need an international driver's licence to rent a vehicle.

Health

Vaccines: Generally speaking, DT-Polio, typhoid, hepatitises A and B are all recommended.

Malaria: Health authorities have listed the country's south in 'zone 1' meaning an antimalaria treatment is officially recommended. The north of the country is listed in 'zone 3' so an antimalaria treatment is recommended if you are staying in a forest area or for a stay exceeding one week.

Only drink bottled water and avoid raw vegetables, seafood and undercooked meats.

Electricity

220 V.
An adaptor is necessary and can be found easily

Taxes and tips

Most products are taxed at 7%, while luxury and imported products are taxed more heavily. Tips are appreciated by waiters and taxi drivers.

Telephone

To call Thailand from the UK: dial 00 + 66 (country code) + the area code (2 for Bangkok, 53 pour Chiang Mai) + the number you are trying to reach.
From Thailand to the UK: 001 + 44 + the number you are trying to reach, without the initial 0.

Thailand : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Royal Thai Embassy in London
29 - 30 Queen's Gate
London SW7 5JB
Tel: 020 7589 2944 Ext. 5500
Email: csinfo@thaiembassyuk.org.uk
Official Website

Tourism Authority of Thailand
1st Floor, 17-19 Cockspur Street
Trafalgar Square
London SW1Y 5BL
Tel: 020 7925 2511 or 0870 900 2007
Email: info@tourismthailand.co.uk
Official Website

At the destination

Tourism Authority of Thailand
1600 New Phetchaburi Road
Makkasan, Ratchathewi
Bangkok 10400
Thailand
Tel: + 66 (0)2 250 5500
Email: center@tat.or.th

British Embassy
14 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2 305 8333
Email: info.bangkok@fco.gov.uk
Official Website