Thailand travel hints - Indochina Travel

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

Passengers arriving in the Kingdom of Thailand have to fill in the “Passenger Declaration Form” (Form No.211) and submit it to the Customs officer while bringing their luggage or belongings through the red or green channel. In case there are no dutiable, prohibited or restricted goods, please mark “nothing to declare” on the Passenger Declaration Form and submit it to the Customs officer at the green channel.
In case there are dutiable, prohibited or restricted goods or the passenger is unsure whether or not goods are subject to any of the three aforesaid categories, the passenger should mark “goods to declare” on the Passenger Declaration Form and submit it to the Customs officer at the red channel.

CLOTHING & LAUNDRY

In towns and at religious sights, it is courteous to avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops. Visitors who are inappropriately dressed may not be allowed into wats (temples); make sure your shoulders and knees are covered up and avoid wearing flip-flops. The same is true of mosques (in the Muslim-dominated far south). This does not apply on beaches and islands where (almost) anything goes and sarongs, flip-flops, etc are de rigueur. However, topless sunbathing or nudity is still very much frowned upon by Thais, especially in Muslim areas in the south. Bring a hat and
Laundry is not too expensive in Thailand. Most every hotel has the laundry service and you can find a cheaper choice by the local laundry services

PACKING ALONG

Light cotton or other natural-fiber clothing is appropriate for Thailand; drip-dry is an especially good idea, because the tropical sun and high humidity encourage frequent changes of clothing. A sweater is welcome on cool evenings or in overly air-conditioned restaurants, buses, and trains.
UV-protection sunglasses and use them. The tropical sun is powerful, and its effects long-lasting and painful.
Thailand has a huge range of clothing options at good prices, though it may be difficult to find the right sizes if you’re not petite. Basic toiletries and household items are sold in convenient shop in every corner. So pack light! Your don’t need too much

BOOKS & COPIES

Reading materials are easy to find in Bangkok and main tourist area, you can find a new book in the Shopping centre or a second hand book in Khaosan, JJ market and many locals book stores.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Traveler arriving by air needs only a valid passport, not a prearranged visa, to visit Thailand for less than 30 days. Tourists who arrive in Thailand by land from a neighboring country are now granted only a 14-day visa. As of this writing, tourists are not allowed to spend more than 90 days of any six-month period in Thailand, and immigration officials sometimes opt to count days and stamps in your passport.
Tourist visas can also be extended one month at a time once you’re in Thailand. You must apply in person at a Thai immigration office; expect the process to take a day. You application will be granted at the discretion of the immigration office where you apply.

LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE

Depending on route and class of travel, Thai Airways offers up to 30kg (66 pounds) if you possess a Royal Silk class. Otherwise, a 20kg (44 pounds) regulation is applied in all domestic flights and for the Economy class. Carry-on bags should weigh less than 7 kg and have a size limit of 56 x 45 x 25 cm (22″ x 18″ x 10″), total sum of the three dimensions must not exceed 115 cm (45″).
When you take the flights out or within Vietnam, locking your suitcases or the duffel bags is legal and advisable.

IMMUNIZATIONS

The following are the recommended vaccinations for Thailand:
– Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all travelers over one year of age. It should be given at least two weeks (preferably four weeks or more) before departure. A booster should be given 6-12 months later to confer long-term immunity.
– Typhoid vaccine is recommended for all travelers, with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels, such as business travelers.
– Japanese encephalitis vaccine is recommended for those who expect to spend a month or more in rural areas and for short-term travelers who may spend substantial time outdoors or engage in extensive outdoor activities in rural or agricultural areas, especially in the evening.
– Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all travelers if not previously vaccinated.
– Rabies vaccine is recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, for travelers at high risk for animal bites, such as veterinarians and animal handlers, for long-term travelers and expatriates, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats.
– Tetanus-diphtheria vaccine is recommended for all travelers who have not received a tetanus-diphtheria immunization within the last 10 years.
– Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine: two doses are recommended (if not previously given) for all travelers born after 1956, unless blood tests show immunity.
– Yellow fever vaccine is required for all travelers greater than one year of age arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas and for travelers who have been in transit more than 12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of yellow fever transmission, but is not recommended or required otherwise.

LOCAL CURRENCY

The official currency of Thailand is the Thai BAHT (pronounced – baaht). One baht is divided into 100 satangs. Coins come in denominations of: 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht, as well as 25 and 50 satang. (You may get some 25 or 50 satang coins in change at a supermarket.). Banknotes come in denominations of: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht. The most commonly used coin is the 10 baht and the most commonly used note is the 100 baht.
Travelers’ Cheques are generally accepted only at dedicated foreign exchange shops or banks. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are plentiful throughout Thailand, and most will accept cards issued by any of the major international banking networks (Plus, Cirrus, etc.) Since April 2009, most foreign debit and credit card withdrawals from Thai ATMs MAY incur a 150 baht fee levied by the local ATM owner, in addition to any fees added by your home financial institution.
Major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, JCB and American Express, are readily accepted at most hotels, airlines, restaurants and upscale merchants. To prevent your credit/debit card from being declined, it is important to advise your card issuer of your travel plans in advance. Some institutions routinely block/deny unexpected charges from Thai merchants for fear of possible fraudulent use.

ELECTRICITY

The electric current in Thailand is 220V and the cycle is 50Hz. The sockets in Thailand will take both the flat and round prongs but an adapter may be necessary.

MOBILE & TELEPHONE

International Roaming Mobile Phone: A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for Thai and foreign customers who are travelling around for work. 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. Thailand is incredibly easy to get phone service in. Just go to any phone shop or any 7-11 and buy a SIM card. You can choose AIS, DTAC, True or any other cell phone company. SIM cards are usually around $5 and they often come with 15-30 minutes telephone time. Also, buy a phone card for the same company as you bought the SIM card from. Phone cards come in denominations of 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 baht (around $3, $5.50, $9, $11.50 and $16)
International phone calls can be made quite easily from mid- to upper-level hotels. There is direct dialing to and from more than so countries on five continents. Rates for calling out of the country are normally considerably higher than for calling in so if you expect a long conversation you might save some money by having your party call back if possible. If you can’t call from your hotel, go to the General Post Office (GPO) on New Road, or major post offices, and call from special booths for overseas calls.
All better hotels will offer complete email and facsimile (“fax”) services. Numerous private businesses offer such facilities; most often in conjunction with translation services. The GPO offers telex and telegraph service around-the-clock.

INTERNET

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 are cropping up in all major tourist destinations.

SHOPPING & SHIPPING

Bargaining is to be expected in many places you will shop in Thailand. The only places you are not expected to bargain are the shopping malls or high-end stores. In most other places the storekeepers expect it and, if you are polite, welcome it.
Expect to be able to bargain for a lower price anywhere from 10% to 40% off, but don’t be too insulting and begin your bargaining at 80% of the original asking price. I have seen some tourists do this and the shopkeeper immediately closes off to any further bargaining attempts.
Many tourists purchase things in Thailand that even the smallest shops and market stalls now can either arrange to have things shipped home for you or can point you in the direction of a place that will. The larger shops will often do it for you and will organize all the relevant paperwork, customs slips, insurance etc. The shipping businesses that are set up to do this will also do everything for you.

TIPPING

Most restaurants and hotels include a ten percent service charge in the bill, this surcharge already acts as a tip of sorts, which is combined and shared among all employees at the end of the month in addition to their meagre monthly salary.
Tipping in hotels is not expected, but again is always appreciated. i.e. 20 – 50 baht for the porter that carried your bags up to your room, or leave a small tip on your bed for the cleaning lady is also appreciated.
In all restaurants it is customary to leave behind any coins from your change as a tip. Of course, if the service is unacceptable or ordinary then don’t tip.

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