THAILAND

Essential Travel Information

Entry/Exit Requirements

If you are a U.S. citizen tourist staying in Thailand for fewer than 30 days, you do not require a visa to enter the country, but your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your entry into Thailand. Thai Immigration officials may ask for your onward/return ticket, and airlines may ask for this information when you book or check in.  If you are a tourist entering Thailand by air or land without a visa, you are allowed to stay in Thailand for 30 days per visit.  Note that Thai Immigration authorities are closely scrutinizing travelers who receive a 30 day visa through the visa exemption program, and who then attempt to reenter Thailand repeatedly for an additional 30 days under the same program. If it appears individuals are entering and reentering Thailand to reside rather than for tourism, they are being denied reentry and referred to the nearest Thai embassy to apply for a regular Thai tourist visa.  The U.S. Embassy and Consulate are not able to intervene with Thai Immigration or the airlines regarding their regulations and policies. Business travelers should check with the Royal Thai Embassy about visa requirements. You must pay a Passenger Service Charge in Thai baht (Thai currency) when you depart from any of Thailand’s international airports; this charge is included in the ticket price for flights from Bangkok’s main airport, Suvarnabhumi International.

For more updated and other information please visit: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/thailand.html

Please note: Each traveler is fully responsible for bringing and acquiring travel documents (e-tickets, hotel and travel vouchers, etc.) necessary for his or her itinerary. If you are not a citizen of the United States, your entry requirements may vary— please contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the country or countries to be visited and obtain the specific requirements for entry.

 

 

Arrival Information

A GLOBOTOURS local representative will meet you at the arrival hall after customs and immigrations, holding a placard with a Globotours Signboard and your name. If in the event that you are unable to locate our representative, please call the local contact number as specified on your voucher or confirmation itinerary.

Map of Thailand

Country Information

 

Capital: Bangkok

Population: 66,720,153

Location: South East Asia

Religion: Buddhism (mainly Theravada), Islam in the south

System of Government: Constitutional Monarchy

Timezone

 

Thailand operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), plus 7 hours.

 

At 9:00 am anywhere in Thailand, it is:

  • 9:00 pm the previous day in New York- Eastern Standard Time (EST).
  • 8:00 pm the previous day in Chicago- Central Standard Time (CST).
  • 6:00 pm the previous day in San Francisco- Pacific Standard Time (PST).
  • 4:00 pm the previous day in Hawaii- Hawaii Aleutian Standard Time (HAST).

 

*Note: Add one hour to local time during Daylight Savings Time.

Practical Information

A good source of health information for travelers is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

 

You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Please be advised that high-standard medical care is not available in the more remote areas of Thailand. Please ensure that we are aware of any physical disability or frequent of ongoing medical requirements. Sightseeing may require, at minimum, the ability to walk at a moderate pace for a mile or two, and the balance and agility necessary to climb stairs, enter and exit buses and boats, and navigate uneven or cobble-stoned streets. Some sightseeing stops do not have elevators or wheelchair access. Bring medications in their original, clearly labeled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your med­ical conditions and medications, including generic names, is also a good idea. If carrying syringes or needles be sure to have a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity. When on vacation, it is always wise to watch what you eat and drink, but please do not drink the tap water while traveling in Thailand. Most hotels will provide complimentary bottled water and additional bottled water can be purchased throughout your trip.

The basic unit of Thai currency is the baht. There are 100 satang in one baht; coins include 25-satang and 50-satang pieces and baht in 1B, 2B, 5B and 10B coins. Older coins have Thai numerals only, while newer coins have Thai and Arabic numerals. The 2B coin was introduced in 2007 and is confusingly similar in size and design to the 1B coin. The two satang coins are typically only issued at supermarkets where prices aren’t rounded up to the nearest baht, which is the convention elsewhere. Paper currency is issued in the following denominations: 20B (green), 50B (blue), 100B (red), 500B (purple) and 1000B (beige). In the 1990s, the 10B bills were phased out in favour of the 10B coin but occasionally you might encounter a paper survivor. For changing money, banks or the more rare private moneychangers offer the best foreign-exchange rates. When buying baht, US dollars are the most accepted currency, followed by British pounds and Euros. Most banks charge a commission and duty for each travellers cheque cashed.

For the most updated exchange rate, please check http://www.xe.com.

Electrical service in Thailand is supplied at 220 volts and 50 hertz. Bringing an adaptor is a good idea if you are planning on using electronics (i.e. cell phones, laptops, cameras, etc.) during your trip.

Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge. It is known for its complex interplay of at least three and up to four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. Thai cuisine is more accurately described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country: Northern, Northeastern, Central, and Southern, each cuisine sharing similar foods or foods derived from those of neighboring countries and regions: Burma to the northwest, the Chinese province of Yunnan and Laos to the north, Vietnam and Cambodia to the east, Indonesia and Malaysia to the south of Thailand. In addition to these four regional cuisines, there is also the Thai Royal Cuisine which can trace its history back to the cosmopolitan palace cuisine of the Ayutthaya kingdom (1351–1767 CE). Its refinement, cooking techniques and use of ingredients were of great influence to the cuisine of the Central Thai plains. Western influences from the 17th century CE onwards have also led to dishes such as foi thong and sangkhaya.

The official language of Thailand is Thai. Like Mandarin and Vietnamese, Thai is a tonal language (think about the difference in your voice when saying “yes.” versus “yes?” – that’s tonal) which can make it tricky for speakers of non-tonal languages to learn quickly, but despite this, everyone will appreciate any attempt you do make so pick up a phrasebook and give it a go. Thai is a language with many dialects, though the Bangkok dialect, also known as Central Thai, is used as the standard and is taught in all schools. Language schools can be found in all larger Thai cities, including Bangkok and Phuket. Various dialects of Chinese are spoken by the ethnic Chinese community, with Teochew being the dominant dialect in Bangkok’s Chinatown, and Cantonese speakers also forming a sizeable minority among the Chinese community. Down south in Hat Yai, Hokkien is also widely understood due to the large number of tourists from Penang. Mandarin is taught in most Chinese schools while Cantonese is commonly heard in the mass media due to the popularity of TVB serials from Hong Kong among the Chinese community, so many are conversant in both, in addition to their native dialect.

Weather

The best time to visit most of Thailand is between November and February, because it rains the least and it is not too hot. This period is also Thailand’s main season for festivals, like Loi Krathong.

If you plan to focus on the northern provinces, the hot season (March to May) and early rainy season (June to July) are not bad either, as temperatures are moderate at higher elevations. Northeastern and central Thailand, on the other hand, are best avoided from March to May, when temperatures may climb over 104°F. Because temperatures are more even year-round in the south (because it’s closer to the equator), the beaches and islands of southern Thailand are a good choice for respite when the rest of Thailand is miserably hot.

Thailand’s peak tourist season runs from November to late March, with secondary peaks in July and August. If you want to avoid crowds and take advantage of discounted room rates, consider travelling during the least crowded months (typically April to June, September and October).

Although the rainy season (roughly July to October) gets a bad reputation, there are some bonuses: temperatures tend to be cooler, tourists are fewer and the landscape is lush and green. Depending on the region and the month, the rains might be hour-long downpours in the afternoon. October, however, tends to be the wettest month.

Average Temperatures


All temperatures in Fahrenheit (°F)

Month/CityJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Bangkok90/7091/7393/7795/7993/7991/7991/7991/7990/7790/7788/7588/70
Chiang Mai86/5991/6195/6899/7395/7591/7590/7590/7590/7388/7286/6682/59
Ko Samui84/7586/7788/7990/7991/7990/7990/7790/7790/7788/7586/7584/75
Phuket90/7291/7393/7391/7590/7790/7788/7788/7786/7588/7588/7388/73

Other Information

This will be contingent on your own personal preference and the time of year you are traveling. Generally, we suggest that travelers pack lightly and to bring comfortable, casual clothes in natural, “breathable” fabrics because of the humidity. Choose versatile styles that can be layered. A lightweight (preferably non-plastic) raincoat or poncho is a good idea, as well as a sweater or lightweight jacket for early morning/evenings and air-conditioned buildings.  A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must, as sandals may not be comfortable for some sightseeing activities. Some hotels have pools, so you may want to pack your swimming suit. Do not forget to bring sun block, sunglasses, insect repellent, pocket packs of tissues, a sunhat, an umbrella (for both the sun and rain), and any medications you may need. Most hotels offer reliable laundry and dry cleaning services.

Always wear what you are most comfortable traveling in, but a reasonable amount of modesty ought to be exercised. In most areas, comfortable, casual clothes such as short sleeved shirts, polo shorts, etc., are great for sightseeing. Remember that temperatures are likely to be hot and humid so wearing light, loose fitting fabrics is a good idea.

 

When visiting temples in Thailand, bear in mind that they are places of worship, so one should dress politely in modest and conservative clothing as they would at any other religious place. Clothing such as short sleeved shirts, polo shirts, and bottoms or skirts that cover the knees are acceptable. You will need to cover one’s shoulders, and women will need to wear long sleeved tops to cover their arms. Often times, those that are not dressed properly will be turned away.

Hotels may impose a hefty charge on international calls. Check your hotel’s policy before placing any calls. To avoid hotel markups you can use a calling card from your local long-distance carrier. A number of United States cell phones manufactured today have the ability to operate overseas on the GSM (Global System for Mobile) standard. We recommend that you contact your cell phone service provider to determine if your phone operates on the GSM and what, if any, activation may be required. In Thailand, reception on any cell phone can be unreliable and unpredictable. In some locations, transmission is not possible at all. If access to e-mail is of critical importance during your trip, please check availability in advanced. Most hotels have business centers or in room WI-FI service, surcharges may apply.

The nationwide emergency phone numbers are:

Tourist Police: 1155

Ambulance and Rescue:  1554

Fire: 199

Police (General Emergency Call): 191

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