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Thailand Basic Info

The Country

Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Thailand is a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and South China. The country consists of 76 administrative provinces or changwat each of which is divided into districts or amphoe, sub-districts or tambon and villages or mu ban. Bangkok is the capital city and center of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the seat of Thailand?s revered Royal Family. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty. The national flag is in horizontal red, white, and blue stripes symbolizing the nation, Buddhism, and the monarchy.

The People

The people of Thailand are 80% Thai, 10% Chinese, 3% Malay. The remainder are ethnic communities such as Mon, Khmer and several small hill tribes. Buddhism is by far the most important religion with 95% of the population. Four per cent of Thais are Muslim with one percent Christian and other faiths.


Spoken and written Thai is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor, English is widely understood, especially in Bangkok where it is probably the major commercial language. English and some European languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants in major tourist destinations, and road and street signs are in both Thai and English throughout the country.


Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons:

  • Summer: from March to May brings hot and dry weather throughout Thailand with temperatures averaging 28 degree Celsius to 33 degree Celsius and 75% humidity.
  • Rainy: from May to September is perhaps the driest monsoon period of any country in Southeast Asia with plenty of sunshine and temperatures averaging 27 degree Celsius to 30 degree Celsius and 87% humidity.
  • Cool: from November to February is mild and very sunny with temperatures averaging 24 degree Celsius to 27 degree Celsius with a drop in humidity.

The average annual temperature in Thailand is 28 degree Celsius (82.4 degree Fahrenheit)


Time in the Kingdom of Thailand is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+7)


The Thai unit of currency is the baht, divided into 100 satangs. Notes are in denominations of 1,000 (grey), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), 20 (green) and 10 (brown) baht. There are also coins of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht. For current exchange rate, please visit


The electric current is 220 volts AC (50 cycles) throughout the country. Many different types of plugs and sockets are in use, and travelers with electric shavers, hair dryers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug adapter kit. The better hotels will provide 110-volt transformers.

Tap Water

Tap water is clean, but drinking it directly is not advisable. Bottled water is recommended.

Weights & Measures

The metric system is used throughout Thailand, and numerals on speedometers, highway markers and speed limits are all in kilometers.


Light, cool clothing advisable and a jacket may be needed for formal meetings and dining in top restaurants. Shorts (except knee length walking shorts), sleeveless shirts, tank tops and other beach-style attire are considered inappropriate dress when not actually at the beach or in a resort area.

Business Hours

Most commercial concerns in Bangkok work a five-day week, usually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. with a noon to 1 p.m. lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. except on public holidays. Many stores are open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Postal Services

Thailand’s mail service is reliable and efficient. Major hotels provide basic postal services on their premises. Provincial post offices are usually open from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Telephone Services

At present, home telephone numbers for local calls and long distance calls within the country have nine digits while mobile phone numbers have 10 digits. Bangkok calls are prefaced by the numbers 02.

For provincial calls, an area code is added to the existing numbers. For example, area code for Chiang Mai is 053 followed by the number. The area code for Phuket is 076 followed by the number.

The international dialing code for Thailand is 66. When making international calls to Thailand, add 66 and omit the leading 0. When making international calls from Thailand, first dial 001 then the country code, area code and the telephone number.

  • For calls to Laos or Malaysia there is a special code which is charged at a semi-domestic rate.
  • When calling Laos, first dial 007+856+area code + telephone number.
  • When calling Malaysia, first dial 09+06+area code + telephone number.
  • For direct assistance, call 1133 for local numbers, 100 for overseas.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phone numbers begin with 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09. With the new 10-digit system, users of all mobile phone systems must now dial the prefix 08, followed with the existing numbers. For example: the number 01 123 4567 changes to 081 123 4567 and 09 123 4567 changes to 089 123 4567.

A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is available for Thai and foreign customers whose work requires travel. The SIM Card must be used in conjunction with a Digital GSM mobile phone within the 900-MHz range or a Digital PCN mobile phone within the 1800-MHz range.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

  • Central Emergency (Police, Ambulance, Fire): 191
  • Highway Patrol 1193
  • Crime Suppression 195 or 0 2513 3844
  • Tourist Police (English, French and German spoken) 1155
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Call Centre 1672
  • Immigration Bureau 0 2287 3101-10

Fax and E-Mail

All of Thailand?s leading hotels offer fax and e-mail services. Numerous private businesses also offer these facilities, most often in conjunction with translation services.

Internet Services

Thailand has been expanding its information service for residents and tourists alike through the Internet system. Services are now available at Thailand’s leading hotels and at the many cyber-cafes that have opened up in all major tourist destinations.


Tipping is not standard practice in Thailand, although it is becoming so. Most larger hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but the gesture is always appreciated. A tip of 20-50 baht is acceptable for porters.

Shopping Tips

  • Bargaining: Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other places bargaining is to be expected. Usually you can obtain a final price of between 10-40% lower than the asking price. Much depends on your skill and the shopkeeper?s mood, but remember that Thais appreciate a sense of humor. With patience and a smile, you will not only get a better price, but you will also enjoy making a purchase. Providing you have the time, it is best to shop around at different places selling the kind of items you want before making a final decision.
  • Gems & Jewelry: Remember there is no such thing as a bargain when buying gems or jewelry, there is only good value. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Choose jewelry stores carefully and do compare prices from shop to shop.
  • Touts: Avoid touts or unsolicited new-found friends who offer to take you shopping. Stores give commissions to such people and the cost is reflected in the price you pay.
  • Receipts: When purchasing gems, jewelry or other luxury items, obtain a receipt and check it is correct before leaving the shop.

VAT Refund

Visitors entering the Kingdom on tourist visas are entitled to refunds of the 7% value-added tax (VAT) paid on goods purchased at shops and department stores displaying a VAT Refund for Tourists sign. The refund may be claimed on purchases amounting to 5,000 baht or more. Tourists will receive a form P.P.10 when purchases of 2,000 baht or more are made at the same store on the same day.

Before checking in at an international airport (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Phuket, U-Taphao), visitors must show their purchases, with the completed P.P.10 form and tax invoices to the Customs officer for inspection. Refunds may be in the form of a bank draft or credited to a credit card.

Two of the VAT Refund Offices at Suvarnabhumi Airport are located on concourse D, Gate D1-D4 and D5-D8, 4th Floor. The Customs Office is at the Passenger Terminal, 4th Floor, behind check-in counter, Row H near Gate 4th.

For more information, contact the VAT Refund for Tourists Office, Tel: 0 2272 9388, 0 2272 8195-8 or visit

Traveler’s Check & Credit Cards

Traveler?s checks in US dollars can be cashed at provincial banks and authorized money changers, but the best rates can be obtained in Bangkok. Hotel rates are usually lower than those offered by banks and authorized money changers.

Major credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Master Card and VISA) are accepted at all major banks, restaurants, hotels and shops.

Thai and foreign banks provide a standard service nationwide. Opening hours are from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on bank holidays and public holidays. The currency exchange service of major banks such as Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn, Krungthai and Siam Commercial operate every day including holidays.

Many first-class hotels provide 24-hour money exchange services, but only for major currencies such as US dollar, pound sterling, German marks and Swiss francs. Traveler?s checks are generally accepted at all hotels.

Source. Tourism Authority of Thailand

Thailand Info : Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Do I need a visa to enter Thailand?
2. Do I need vaccines or any shots before going to Thailand?
3. What is the climate like?
4. When is the best time to visit Thailand?
5. What is the voltage of electricity? Do I need to take a converter?
6. Do?s and Don?ts
7. What is the currency of Thailand?
8. During what hours are banks open in Thailand?
9. Can I use credit cards/ATM cards in Thailand?
10. What is the Exchange Rate for the US Dollar? The Canadian Dollar?
11. Where are the US and Canadian embassies?

1. Do I need a visa to enter Thailand?

U.S. and Canadian citizens may enter and stay in Thailand without a visa for a maximum stay of 30 days for the purpose of tourism only. For more information, please visit:

The Royal Thai Embassy, Washington DC
1024 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington D.C. 20007, Tel: (202) 944-3600, Fax: (202) 944-3611
Official website

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, New York
351 East 52nd St., New York, NY. 10022, Tel: (212) 754-1770, (212) 754-1896, Fax: (212) 754-1907
Official website

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chicago
700 North Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, Tel: (312) 664-3129, Fax: (312) 664-3230
Official website

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, Los Angeles
611 N.Larchmont Blvd., 2nd Floor , Los Angeles , CA 90004, Tel: (323) 962-9574, Fax: (323) 962-2128
Official website

The Royal Thai Embassy, Ottawa
180 Island Park Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 0A2, Tel: (613) 722-4444, Fax: (613) 722-6624
Official website

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, Toronto
17 Isabella st. Unit 100, Toronto, ON M4Y 1M7, Tel: (416) 850-0110, Fax: (416) 850-1431
Official website

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, Vancouver
1040 Burrard St., Vancouver, BC V6Z 2R9, Tel: (604) 687-1143, Fax: (604) 687-4434
Official website

2. Do I need vaccines or any shots before going to Thailand?

You do not need vaccines or any shots before going to Thailand.

3. What is the climate like?

There are three seasons in Thailand

Summer Season runs essentially from March through to June, with temperatures between 91? F and 118? F in the day, while not falling below 80? F at night.

Rainy Season runs from July through to November. Temperatures range from 89? F during the day to 60? F at night.

Cool Season runs from November through to February with temperatures at 90? F during the day, to a bearable 60? F at night, although in the North, it could be as low as 54? F.

During the months of July to November, we recommend that you pack a light waterproof jacket and a pair of closed shoes.

For an up-to-date weather report, please go to the Thai Meterological Department’s website

4. When is the best time to visit Thailand?

Thailand’s rainy season arrives around July and lasts into November. These months can be unpredictably sticky. This is followed by a dry, cool period from November to mid-February, followed by relatively much higher 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.

It is not difficult to avoid crowds, even during peak months, if you simply steer clear of some of the most popular destinations (e.g., Chiang Mai, Phuket, etc.).

If your main objective is to avoid crowds and to take advantage of discounted rooms and low-season rates, you should consider traveling during the least crowded months (April, May, June, September and October).

5. What is the voltage of electricity? Do I need to take a converter?

The electricity in Thailand is 220 volts, 50 cycles per second.

Most outlets in Thailand have two prongs, missing the third earth prong at the bottom. However, the newest offices and condominium dwellings usually offer the third prong due to increased awareness of the importance of grounding for both safety and equipment damage reasons.

6. Do?s and Don?ts

Thai people are extremely polite and their behavior is controlled by etiquette and also influenced by Buddhism. Thai society is non-confrontational, and so avoids confrontations at all costs.

Never loose your patience or show your anger no matter how frustrating or desperate the situation because it is considered a weakness in the Thai society. It is important to cultivate and art of diplomacy when traveling in Asia. Conflicts can be easily resolved with a smile.

Appropriate clothing is also important. Thais like to dress smartly and neatly. Do not wear revealing clothing such as shorts, low cut dresses, or bathing suits as they are considered improper attire in Thailand. Keep in mind that this type of clothing is only acceptable in the beach. It is advisable to wear long skirts or long trousers when entering a temple.

Women should not touch Monks. If a woman wants to hand something to the monks, she must do so indirectly by placing the item within the monks reach. Remove shoes when entering houses and temples. Public display of affection between sexes is frowned upon.

Avoid touching people. The head is the highest part of the body, so avoid touching it. The feet are the least sacred, so avoid pointing it at anyone, as it is extremely insulting to do so. Thais usually do not shake hands.

The ?Wai? is the usual greeting. The hands are placed together and raised upwards towards the face while the head is lowered with a slight bow. The height to which the hands are held depends on the status of the people involved.

In case of monks, higher dignitaries, and elderly, hands are raised to the bridge of the nose, while with equals only as far from the chest. Young people and inferiors are not Wai?d but a slight nod is acceptable.

Do not blow your nose or lick your fingers while eating. The right hand must be used when picking up food eaten with fingers. When entering a foreign culture for the first time, it is highly likely to make a mistake. If you do so, just smile or ?Wai? and you will be forgiven.

7. What is the currency of Thailand?

The currency of Thailand is the BAHT

Currency Notes: Paper baht comes in denominations of 10 (brown), 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1000 (beige).

Currency Coins: There are 100 satang in one baht; coins include 25-satang and 50-satang pieces and baht in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10.

8. During what hours are banks open in Thailand?

Business hours are generally as follows:

Commercial Banks
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday (9:30am-3:30pm, except bank holidays)

Currency Exchange Service
Hours of Operation: 7 Days (8:30am-10:00pm)

Authorized Money Changers in hotels
Hours of Operation: 24 hour service

9. Can I use credit cards/ATM cards in Thailand?

It may be best to avoid bringing too much money into Thailand, or even carrying it on you while traveling around the Country. You can get Thai baht from the ATM machines using your major credit card. They are located just about everywhere, from shopping malls to small towns and villages. The exchange rate is automatic and roughly as good as you would find anywhere in the world.

MasterCard and Visa are most commonly accepted, but other kinds of major credit cards are accepted as well. Some carry a sizeable surcharge per withdrawal, e.g., $1, so check with your credit card company beforehand if this is a concern.

There are also Currency Exchange outlets, particularly in tourist areas. These are especially useful if you forget your PIN number or if you can’t find a working ATM near you which will accept your particular card for some reason.

You should always keep a small amount of cash on you at all times because not all venders accept credit cards. Moreover ATM machines often crash late at night and are not reset until the morning. Just in case your credit cards are stolen or lost, it also proves prudent to have a small amount of cash on hand. While Thailand is a relatively safe country, theft can happen anywhere in the world.

Not all ATM machines take every kind of card. Many will not take Visa or MasterCard, or will take one but not the other. You have to look for the credit card logos on the ATM signs. Withdrawal options also exist for credit card groups such as Plus and Cirrus. If you look around, you will usually find a machine with your insignia on it. ATM machines offer both Thai and English language options.

You may be better off paying cash than using a credit card. While it is technically against the law for the Thai vendor to pass onto you the fee that the credit card company charges them (approximately 2.25% to 3.5%, depending upon card type), it is quite common for them to do so, and it is usually not negotiable — you either pay the surcharge or do not use your credit card. They often want to charge 4 or 5% instead of the 2.25% to 3.5%.

You should also be aware that many vendors use a third party to bill your credit card. Thus, your credit card number may not be safe. Any time your credit card number goes down on paper, you could possibly be at risk.

If you lose your credit card or have other problems, you can reach credit card companies in Bangkok on the following numbers.

Unit 2903, 29th Floor, Empire Tower, 195 South Sathorn Rd., Bangkok, 10120 Thailand, Tel: (662) 670-4088

You can call Visa Global Customer Assistance at 001-800-441-3485.

American Express
S.P. Building, 388 Phaholyothin Road, Samsennai, Phayathai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand, Tel: (662) 273-5544

10. What is the Exchange Rate for the US Dollar? The Canadian Dollar?

1 U.S. Dollar fluctuates around 33 Thai Baht, while 1 CAD Dollar is about 31 Thai Baht, although it also varies with time and the market. For more information on exchange rates, please visit:

11. Where are the US and Canadian embassies?

Embassy of the United States, Bangkok, Thailand
120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10500,Thailand
Tel: (662) 205-4000, Fax: (662) 205-4131
Hours of Operation: Monday ? Friday (7:00am-4:00pm, except national holidays)
Official website

U.S. Consulate General, Chiang Mai, Thailand
387 Wichayanond Road, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Tel: (6653) 107-700, Fax: (6653) 252-633
Hours of Operation: Please check the official website

Embassy of Canada, Bangkok, Thailand
15th Floor, Abdulrahim Place, 990 Rama IV Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Tel: (662) 636-0540, Fax: (662) 636-0566
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday (7:30am-4:15pm), Friday (7:30am-1:00pm)
Official website

Source. Tourism Authority of Thailand

Sa Kaeo Travel information, Sa Kaeo Map

Located in the eastern border of Thailand, facing Cambodia at Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo is a popular province known as a trading centre.

In the past, Sa Kaeo was a major civilized community. Its long history had dated back since the Suwannaphum and Dvaravati Periods. The archeological sites of Khmer arts and stone inscriptions are the outstanding examples of this civilization.

Administratively, Sa Kaeo has been a district of Prachin Buri Province for a long period, and has officially been upgraded as a province since December 1, 1993.

Sa Kaeo is 245 kilometres, east of Bangkok, with the area about 7,195 square kilometres. Sa Kaeo is divided into 7 Amphoes (districts) and 2 King Amphoe (sub-districts): Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Watthana Nakhon, Amphoe Aranyaprathet, Amphoe Ta Phraya, Amphoe Khao Chakan, Amphoe Wang Nam Yen, Amphoe Khlong Hat, King Amphoe Khok Sung, and King Amphoe Wang Somboon.

Geographical Location

Sa Kaeo has its border facing Cambodia of approximately 165 kilometres. Generally, the area varies from plains to highlands. Highlands and mountains are in the north where Pang Sida National Park is located, while the south is covered with wavy plains and hills. Also, there are evergreen forests along the Chanthaburi mountain range. In the central, there are plains and hills, with Amphoe Watthana Nakhon as the highest area when compared to the other Amphoe Mueang in the west, and Amphoe Aranyaprathet in the east.


North: Amphoe Khon Buri of Nakhon Ratchasima, and Amphoe Lahan Sai of Buri Ram
South: Amphoe Soi Dao of Chanthaburi
East: Cambodia
West: Amhoe Kabin Buri, Na Di of Prachin Buri, and Amphoe Sanam Chai Khet of Chachoengsao.

Distance from Amphoe Mueang to nearby districts :

  • Amphoe Khao Chakan 19 kms.
  • Amphoe Watthana Nakhon 38 kms.
  • Amphoe Wang Nam Yen 50 kms.
  • Amphoe Aranyaprathet 54 kms.
  • Amphoe Khlong Hat 65 kms.
  • Amphoe Ta Phraya 100 kms.

Sa Kaeo City Map

Sa Kaeo Tourist Map

Source. Tourism Authority of Thailand

Ratchaburi Travel information, Ratchaburi Map

Ratchaburi, a glorious town during the Dvaravati period, is located on the bank of the Mae Klong River. The provincial area abounds in natural attractions and historical sites. It is located 80 kilometres west of Bangkok and borders on Myanmar to the west having the Tanaosi Range as a borderline.

Ratchaburi occupies an area of 5,196 square kilometres and is administratively divided into nine districts: Muang Ratchaburi, Photharam, Damnoen Saduak, Pak Tho, Chom Bueng, Bang Phae, Wat Phleng , Suan Phueng, and Ban Pong, and one sub-district: King Amphoe Ban Kha.

Ratchaburi Tourist Map

Ratchaburi Tourist Map

Source. Tourism Authority of Thailand

Prachuap Khiri Khan Travel information, Prachuap Khiri Khan Map

The provincial capital is a fishing port with a superb location beside beautiful curving bays and amongst steep mountain outcrops.? About 100 kilometres to the north of Prachuap Khiri Khan is Hua Hin, Thailand?s first beach resort which is renowned for golf and spa.? Between Hua Hin and Prachuap Khiri Khan are Pran Buri with many boutique resorts and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park with soaring peaks, numerous caves and exotic bird life.

Hua Hin

281 kilometers south of Bangkok, Hua Hin, which literally means stone head in Thai, is the oldest beach resort of the country and is still very popular. Clean white sand, crystal clear water and a tranquil atmosphere has continued to attract tourists in search of peaceful and relaxing holidays.

The town was originally known as Ban Samoe Rieng, or Ban Laem Hin (Stony Point Village). The construction of a railway station in the city as part of the Southern Railroad in the reign of King Rama VI resulted in making Hua Hin stand out from many quite fishing villages. In addition, the construction of a Summer Palace of King Rama VII totally transformed the village into a high-society resort town for royalty. Even today, the Royal Family continues to reside at the Palace for part of the year.

Hua Hin?s consequence came with the opening of the Railway Hotel (known today as the Sofitel Central Hotel), an elegant Victorian-style resort hotel, and also the countrys first standard golf course. A cluster of royal and high-society residences gradually became more visible resulting in the transformation of the whole village into the first seaside resort of the country, where visitors could enjoy swimming, fishing, and golfing in the country?s first standard golf course.
Today, Hua Hin is a well-established beach destination with word-class facilities coupled with a true sense of Thai hospitality. Despite its expansive growth and development as a luxurious destination, the splendor of Hua Hin remains intact. Remaining content in itself, Thailand?s oldest seaside resort has never sought international recognition. It has continued to provide a peaceful and relaxed sanctuary in a picturesque environment that comes with a true sense of historical identity.

Prachuap Khiri Khan City Map

Prachuap Khiri Khan Tourist Map

Source. Tourism Authority of Thailand