Things to see and do - Thailand
Leaving for Thailand
Where to go?
Thailand Leisure tips
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Practical A to Z
Practical A to Z
- Eating out
- Embassies and consulates
- Getting around
- Public holidays
- Social etiquette
Stalls and booths line the pavements, restaurants are open all day long, itinerant street sellers jostle for space by the roadside and food centres are a feature of every open-air market, the choice is endless.
Bills and tipping
In average and upmarket restaurants, a 10% tax is added to all bills. This does not include service and it is customary to leave a tip roughly equivalent to 10% of the bill.
The voltage in Thailand is 220V. The variety of plug sockets means that an adaptor may be necessary. They can be bought easily in Thailand.
Embassies and consulates
British Embassy – 14 Wireless Road - Lumpini - Pathumwan - Bangkok 10330 - t 02 305 8333 - http://ukinthailand.fco.gov.uk/
Consulate of Ireland – 1 South Sathorn Road - Tungmahamek - Sathorn - Bangkok 10120 - t 02 677 7500 - firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to buses, taxis and collective taxis, a wide range of other more picturesque forms of transport exists in Thailand ranging from public motorbike taxis to vanpools, samlors, songthaews and tuk-tuk. Negotiate the fare beforehand. Keep your hotel’s card with you to facilitate explanations.
Also see Know before you go.
Turista, the bane of many tourists, is more or less serious diarrhoea. Mosquitoes are responsible for Japanese encephalitis, malaria and dengue fever. Rabies is transmitted by stray dogs, squirrels and monkeys. If bitten by a snake, improvise a splint around the wound, kill the snake and take it to the hospital (however a photo may suffice ) but don’t suck the venom.
Health care, particularly in Bangkok, is of extremely good quality. Whether publicly- or privately-run, there are lots of hospitals, many of which are new and spacious, even luxurious.
Counterfeit medication is a problem in Thailand: always get a medical prescription and check use-by dates.
There is no nationwide emergency number. Contact the Tourist Assistance Center (t 02 282 81 29) that will give you the appropriate number.
Tourist Police – t 11 55
Fire brigade – t 199
Police Hospital (for accidents) – t 02 252 81 11/25.
The currency is the Baht (THB), subdivided into 100 satangs.
Banks / Exchange
Banks are open Monday-Friday, 8.30am-3.30pm and in major towns, on Saturdays 9am-12noon. Bahts can only be bought in Thailand. Banks and exchange offices are available pretty much everywhere.
They are accepted by most banks and provide the security of insurance. A commission is charged on every transaction.
ATMs are available all over Thailand.
Budget / cost of living
The cost of living in Thailand is very cheap and it is possible to find accommodation for less than 500 bahts in a guesthouse.
Post offices are generally open Monday-Friday from 8.30am-4.30pm, Saturday 9am-12noon. Mail will take between 5-8 days to reach Europe.
Fixed public holidays
1 January – New Year
6 April – Chakri Dynasty Day
1 May – Labour Day (for workers)
5 May – Coronation Day
12 August – Queen Sirikit’s birthday and Mother’s Day
23 October – Chulalongkorn Day, commemorating the death of Rama V
5 December – King’s Birthday and Father’s day
10 December – Constitution Day
31 December – New Year’s Eve
Moveable public holidays
Chinese New Year, Buddhist New Year and several religious festivals.
The political situation in Thailand has led to unrest that is particularly prevalent in the far south and at the borders with Burma and Cambodia, but also in other parts of the country. Consult your Foreign Affairs website before leaving .
Shops: daily from 10am-9pm or 10pm (department stores), sometimes later.
Night markets: 5-11.30pm.
Bartering is de rigueur and only a very few shops have fixed prices.
VAT (7%) refunds – If you have purchased goods in excess of 5000 bahts (in approved shops) and filled in a customs form each time.
Works of art – It is forbidden to export statues of Buddha. A permit from the National Museum of Bangkok is required to export antiques or works of art. “Certificates of authenticity” issued by dealers have no legal tender.
Souvenir ideas include ceramics and porcelain, silver, teak and lacquered objects, boxes and decorative objects inlaid with black enamel on engraved metal (Nielle), masks and puppets, silk and cotton fabrics, without forgetting gold jewellery, with or without precious stones.
Monuments and archaeological sites are generally open daily from 8am-4pm. Museums are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Thais attach great importance to social etiquette and to beliefs and bans regarding honour and spirits. Some do’s and don’ts: to greet someone, put your hands together at chest level and slightly incline the head. Women may not touch monks. Do not criticise the royal family. Avoid mentioning religion or sex. Modest clothing is essential in temples and in the countryside. Remove shoes on entering temples or homes.
To call Thailand from abroad
Dial 00 + 66 + number of the person (without the 0).
To call home from Thailand
Dial 009 (or 001 + 809) + country code (UK 44 and Ireland 353) + the number of the person (without the first 0).
Thai numbers have 9 digits, preceded with a 0 and an area code.
Mobile phone numbers start with 081, 086, 087 or 089.