Thailand FAQ

This is a collection of answers about the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Thailand from ThaiPulse and other leading Thailand-based sites.

Immigration

  • Do I need a Visa to enter Thailand? Yes of course. There are many visa options, the best of which is the tourist visa which you can get being a citizen from most countries. Fly into Thailand and you’ll get 30 days. Come across a land border and you’ll get 15 days. There are longer multi-entry tourist visas available that can keep you in country for 90 days at a time.
  • Where is the best information about getting a visa in Thailand? Thailand’s Embassy in USA, UK, AUS, CA.

Money & Currency

  • What is the currency of Thailand? Thai Baht. Currently it’s at about 30 THB to 1 USD.
  • Credit cards – ATM cards in Thailand? Yes of course, there are many ATMs and every bank has a credit card (debit card) you can use. It’s sometimes tricky transferring money from overseas to TH. Some in-depth research will be required.
  • What is the rate of exchange? Usually it’s between 25 baht and 40 baht to the dollar. Currently in December, 2008 it is at 35 baht to the dollar. Update – 4-24-10 it’s at 32 THB/Dollar. Update 6/7/11 it’s at 30 THB to 1 USD.

Cautions to be Aware Of:

See ThailandSnakes.com for snake identification.

  • Is it safe to drink the water? Probably in most places, but don’t. Always drink bottled water with a seal. If using ice – make sure the ice is round, not chips. Round ice at restaurants is almost always safe.
  • Is it safe to walk the streets at night? If you’re in a crowd – yes. If you’re alone – maybe. If you’re drunk, no. Bangkok and the high-tourist areas are less safe than a place like Ubon or Khon Kaen.
  • Do’s and Don’ts – there are many. Thai Black Book and Moving to Thailand books are available at Amazon.com
  • Do I need innoculations? None are compulsory for entering
    Thailand, however there is Dengue fever, Malaria and Encephalitis all passed by mosquitoes here.
  • Crime in Thailand? You betcha… the link to left is about crimes I’ve blogged about.
  • Don’t miss Mike Fook’s “Thai Black Book,” a Thailand guide to staying safe. Essential reading if you’re visiting or staying long-term in Thailand.

Thailand in General

  • What’s the climate like? Hot, humid, rains often. Never snows. It’s covered well in “Moving to Thailand” book at Amazon.com.
  • What is the word for hello in Thai? Sawasdee (pronounced sa wad dee)
  • What is the biggest island? Phuket
  • Where was “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio filmed?
    Maya Bay, off Krabi province in Phi Phi
  • When is the best time to visit Thailand? For weather: December to May. For low season and few people: June to November.
  • What is the voltage of electricity supply? Do I need to take a converter? 220v. Check your electronics before you come.
  • What is the capital of Thailand? Bangkok. Thais’ call it, “Groong Tep.”
  • Are there any international schools in Thailand? Many in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya. Even one in Krabi now.
  • What languages are spoken in Thailand? Thai and in the tourist areas – English. English is not spoken well outside tourist areas, and sometimes there are few signs in English in the Northeast especially.
  • Where are the foreign embassies? Bangkok.
  • What should I read about Living in Thailand? Go to ThailandeBooks.com and take your pick!
  • Should I tip? Maybe. If you are on vacation and you can afford it – then tip. If you are on vacation and you spent your last $1000 to make it to Thailand, then I wouldn’t worry about it. If you feel great about the service you can offer a tip. Sometimes I tip at two different restaurants I like. Usually, I don’t tip.
  • What side of the road do Thais drive on? Opposite from USA, same as UK (England).
  • What is the predominant religion? Buddhist – about 99%. Some Muslims in south near Malaysian border.
  • Thai Politics – what’s going on? Some recent (late 2008) posts about political crisis and more.
  • Where can I learn about Buddhism and meditation retreats in Thailand?
  • Is there a site dedicated to Wat Suan Mokkh meditation retreats at the International Dhamma Hermitage in Chaiya? Yes, click this link.
  • Is there good information about Suan Mokkh on the Thai side? Yes, click that link.

Food and Dining

  • What is the food like? Thai food is amazing. Read this blog to get an idea:
    Joy’s Thai Food!
  • Key Thai food phrase: “My Pet” – means, less spicy. It may still be spicy, but not overwhelming I hope.

Accommodation

  • What types of accommodation are available in Thailand? Everything from 5-star hotels to bamboo bungalows on Ko Tao island. Oh, and tents in Krabi at the Ko Phi Phi National park.

Entertainment

  • What kind of night-life is available in Thailand? Outrageous and insane (Pattaya, Patong Beach, Patpong in Bangkok)
  • Where are the Thai Boxing stadiums? Bangkok, Patong Beach, Pattaya, Krabi, most big cities have them. Many smaller cities have them.
  • Do they have festivals in Thailand? Yes, many festivals – be sure to check out TourismThailand.org to see what’s coming.

Beaches

  • Are the beaches clean? In Pattaya – generally, no. In Ko Lanta during off-season, no. Most other beaches I’ve been to around Thailand have clean beaches.

Technology

Where can I find out about technology in Thailand?
ThaiPulse Blog’s Technology Category >

Adventures

Travel Times

  • Bangkok to Hua Hin – approx. 2/3 hours by road
  • BKK to Pattaya – approx. 2 hours by road
  • BKK to Phuket – approx. 1 hour by air
  • BKK to Samui – approx. 1 hour by air
  • BKK to Chiang Mai – approx. 1 hour by air
  • BKK to Surat Thani by train – overnight sleeper 10 hours.
  • BKK to Ubon Ratchathani in northeast – overnight sleeper train,
    10-12 hours
  • Surat Thani to Ko Samui – overnight by ferry 7 hours.
  • Surat Thani to Phuket by van – 2.5 to 3 hours.

Health

  • Hospitals in Thailand – If you’re anywhere near Bangkok you’ll want to go there for anything major. If you’re in the south of Thailand then Phuket has a nice International hospital that’s about $300 per night, but they speak great English and will make you feel like they know what they’re doing. For bang up jobs or serious injuries that can’t wait – try the emergency room at the biggest local hospital you can find. They have a LOT of experience treating motorbike accident wounds.
  • Another perspective on Thailand hospitals >
  • Chikungunya – a debilitating, mosquito born virus – FAQ.

Videos of Thailand

Photos of Thailand

Thailand EBooks – many ebooks here >

Ultimate Thailand Guide

  • Thai Black Book – Thailand guide for visitors looking to stay safe and have the best vacation possible.


Miscellaneous

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