What is Living in Thailand REALLY Like?

Thailand FAQ

Scenic vista overlooking Thalen Bay in Krabi, Thailand.
From the top (almost) of Ngorn Nak Mountain Trail in Krabi overlooking Thalen Bay and Ao Luk in the background. Krabi and Phuket have so many things to do, you won’t be bored.

[Last updated: 16 October 2019]

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

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Thailand Frequently Asked Questions


  • 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. You can extend it for 30 more days at an immigration office in-country. There are longer multi-entry tourist visas available that can keep you in the 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 29 THB to 1 USD. The rate changes constantly, but usually between 30 – 33.
  • 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. You can request that your Visa or MC is valid for overseas transactions. It’s sometimes tricky transferring money from overseas to TH. Some in-depth research will be required.

Cautions to be Aware Of:

  • There is a book out – Thailand Black Book or Thai Black Book. It is sometimes available, other times not. This lists all major cautions for Thailand visitors. Contact us here to see if it’s available.
  • Here are some ThaiPulse articles about specific cautions to be aware of in Thailand. Here are some blogs at Thaipulse about things you should be aware of in Thailand.
  • Are there any venomous or otherwise dangerous animals in Thailand? Many snakes, scorpions, and centipedes. You’re not likely to see any unless you’re sleeping outside.

See ThailandSnakes.com for snake identification, information, and snake removals in Phuket, Krabi, Bangkok, Hua Hin, and Koh Samui.

  • 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, Pattaya, Samui and the other islands, and Patong Beach and other tourist areas are less safe than a place like Ubon or Khon Kaen.
  • Do’s and Don’ts – there are many. Thailand Black Book has the best ones but requires some Google searching. Our Moving to Thailand book is available if you write us at the contact page.
  • Do I need inoculations? None are compulsory for entering Thailand, however, there is Dengue fever, Malaria, and Encephalitis, all passed by mosquitoes here. Ticks with typhus are also a problem.
  • Crime in Thailand? Yes, sure. I’ve written about some of it.

Thailand in General

  • What’s the climate like? Hot, humid, rains often. Never snows. It’s covered well in our “Moving to Thailand” book.
  • What is the word for hello in Thai? Sawasdee (pronounced sa wad dee)
  • What is the biggest island in Thailand? 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 March, gets hot in April and May. For low season and few people: May to October.
  • What is the voltage of electricity supply? Do I need to take a converter? 220v. Check your electronics before you come. Blow dryers and other heating units cannot be used, they’ll burn up.
  • What is the capital of Thailand? Bangkok. Thais call it, “Groong Tep.” The true name is VERY long, Groong Tep is the shortened version.
  • Are there any international schools in Thailand? Many in Bangkok, Phuket, Hua Hin, 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? Moving to Thailand by Vern Lovic, and Thailand Black Book if you can find it (email us).
  • 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. We only tip at restaurants where we know the staff and return there often.
  • What side of the road do Thais drive on? Left side. Opposite from the USA, the same as the UK (England).
  • What is the predominant religion? Buddhist – about 97-98%. Some Muslims in the south near the Malaysian border.
  • Thai Politics – what’s going on? Some old (2008) posts about political crisis and more. Today there is a faux democracy. Thailand is peaceful at the moment, this could change within a year.
  • 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? There was, but an adult site took it over!

Food and Dining

  • What is Thai food like in Thailand? Thai food is amazing in taste and variety.
  • Key Thai food phrase: “Mai Pet” – means, less spicy. It may still be spicy, but not overwhelming.


  • What types of accommodation are available in Thailand? Everything from 5-star hotels to bamboo bungalows on Ko Tao island. Oh, and tents in some of the national parks.


  • 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, so many festivals – be sure to check out TourismThailand.org to see what’s coming.


  • Are the beaches clean? Beaches across the country are littered with trash – and sometimes it is hidden in the forest, like nobody is going to see it. Thais don’t see garbage laying around in the same negative way that foreigners do.


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


Travel Times

  • Planes from Bangkok to every major city – about 1 hour.
  • 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 the 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.


  • Hospitals in Thailand – If you’re anywhere near Bangkok you’ll want to go to one of the International Hospitals 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, including head injury.
  • Chikungunya – a debilitating, mosquito-borne virus.

Videos of Thailand

Photos of Thailand

Thailand EBooks

  • Meditation without Religion, a 22-day program. 75 pages, illustrated.
  • Living in Thailand, An expat going from USA to Thailand. 77 pages, many photos. Free  – Page 1 here >
  • Moving to Thailand (contact us)
  • The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Thailand. (free here)
  • Making money in Thailand (free here)


Grab your copy of the book above in PDF format by contacting us here and we’ll send a Paypal invoice for $5. Or, buy at Amazon for your Kindle or in Paperback.

If you haven’t heard our PODCAST yet – tune in here for NOT SAME SAME Episode #1 | Backstory

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