Printable travel guide for Thailand
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Thailand that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main Thailand Page.

Basic Facts

Full Country Name: Thailand (Prathet Thai, meaning "land of the free")

Capital: Bangkok (Krung Thep, meaning " city of angels")

Neighboring countries:

1) Myanmar - west and north,

2) Lao P.D.R. - north and northeast,

3) Cambodia - southeast and

4) Malaysia - south.

Area: 513,115 sq. km.

Topography:

Thailand is divided into 4 natural regions:

1) The mountainous North, with its profusion of multi-coloured orchids, fastinating native handicrafts and winter temperatures are sufficiently cool to permit cultivation of temperate fruits such as strawberries and peaches;

2) The high Northeast Plateau, which still jealously guards its many archaeological and anthropological mysteries;

3) The Central Plain, one of the world's most fertile rice and fruit-growing areas with colourful traditional culture and way of life as well as the sandy beaches of the East Coast and vibrant cosmopolitan Bangkok;

4) The peninsular South where the unspoiled beaches and idyllic islands complement economically vital tin mining, rubber cultivation and fishing.

Population: Thais are wellknown for their friendliness and hospitality. A large majority of over 62 million citizens of Thailand are ethic Thai, along with strong communities whose ethnic origins lie in China, India and elsewhere. About 7 million people reside in the capital city of Bangkok.

People: Thai (80%), Chinese (10%), Malay (3%), and the rest are minorities (Mons, Khmers, hilltribes) Ethnic Thais form the majority, though the area has historically been a migratory crossroads, and has thus produced a degree of ethnic diversity. Integration is such, however, that culturally and socially there is enormous unity.

Language: Spoken and written Thai is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language. English and some European Languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants in major tourist destinations, and Thai-English road and street signs are found nationwide.

Religion: Buddhism (95%), Muslim (4%), others (1%)

Government: Thailand has had a constitutional monarchy since 1932. Parliament is composed of 2 houses, The House of Representatives and the Senate. Both representatives and senators are elected by the people. A prime minister elected from among the representatives leads the government. The country is divided into 76 provinces. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration comes under an elected governor. Appointed provincial governors administer the other 75 provinces (Changwat), which are divided into districts (Amphoe), sub-districts (Tambon) and villages (Mu Ban).

Head of State: H.R.H. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty)

Prime Minister: Thaksin Shinawatra

Administration: 76 provinces, each subdivided into amphoe (district), tambon (sub-disrict) and muban (village)

National Flag: The red, white, and blue stripes symbolize the nation, Buddhism, and the monarchy, respectively.

Time: The time in Thailand is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 hours GMT).

Climate: Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons-hot and dry from February to May (average temperature 34 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity); rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to October (average day temperature 29 degrees Celsius and 87% humidity); and cool from November to January (temperatures range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20 degrees Celsius with a drop in humidity).

Much lower temperatures are experienced in the North and Northeast during nighttime. The South has a tropical rainforest climate with temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius almost all year round.

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

Tap water : Tap water is clean but drinking from it directly should be avoided. Bottled water is recommended

Clothing : Light, cool clothes are sensible and a jacket is 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.

Weights & measures : The metric system is used throughout Thailand. Numerals on vehicle speed ometers, highway markers and speed limits all indicate kilometres.

Business hours : Most comercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm except on public holidays.

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 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

International Roaming Mobile Phone : A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for Thai and foreigh 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.

Fax and E-mail : All of Thailand's leading hotels offer facsimile (fax) and e-mail services. Numerous private businesses offer such 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 " cybercafes " that are cropping up in all major tourist destinations.

Telephone services : At present, all telephone numbers (for local calls and long distance calls within the country) have nine digits.

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Maps

Here you can include references to maps that are somewhere on the internet. Two conditions apply: they cannot be protected by copyright, (or you have to make sure that we are allowed to use them), and you have to make sure that it is ok if we call them up from here. If that is a problem, you can also send us the image file and we will upload it to our server.

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

We visited Nakhon in the South and were probably among with one other couple the only tourists in the whole town. Peoble were friendly, often stared at us and invited us to take part in a buddhistic temple ritual. Our big hotel room with bath was 170 Baht per night. (tealow)

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

Getting there and away

Getting around by Air, Train

Bus Local busses are cheap and have different levels of comfort. See also Money and Costs below.
For longer distances book bustours from Bangkok to nearly everywhere in the region. When you book accomadation from one of the little tourist offices around Kao-San road, it's often cheaper than on the spot and you should often get the transport for free.

Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Hitchhiking, Bicycle ...

Accommodation


Rather than hotels or resorts, try a vacation villa or holiday home in the countryside. These offer value for money, and in particular an excellent way to get to know the locals and to be invited to particpate in traditional ways of life. Thai holiday homes such as this include Gecko Villa (www.geckovilla.com), off the beaten path in rural isan (or northeast) Thailand.
thailandtravel

Check out the brand new holiday 3 bedroom teak wood homestay in Bangkok Taling Chan district. It's by Thanon Wongwan Rob Nok and by the Klong Bang Tal - 5 minutes drive to South Bus Terminal (towards Kanchanaburi, Cha Am, Hua Hin, Phuket, Krabi and Malaysia) on Thonburi & 15 minutes to Chao Phraya River, Khaosan Rd, the Old King's Palace & the Wat Pho. There is also a frequent bus to Suvarnabhumi Airport. check it out on google maps: lat=13.79381307 latitude lon=100.408499781 longitude Around are traditional houses with orchards, gardens, peace and clean air. Suit family with children and animals as the place is safe and has a terrace under the elevated on stilts house. Goes cheap, even short let. A much better option of staying in Bangkok than the town centre, with it's noise, pollution, traffic jams and crowds of tourists. In a Taling Chan home-stay you will immerse yourself in a traditional lifestyle and learn a little bit about Thai culture and customs. Walks through the fruit orchards and flower groves make a very challenging experience. You can feel here like living in the traditional thai willage - yet 5 minutes walk is 7/11 shop, cash machine and a daily street market. A short ride there is a famous traditional thai floating market in Taling Chan by the Chakphra Canal. There are several nice homestays in that area - old thai teak wood houses on stilts just overlooking slowly moving canals. You are in the middle of verdant and vast, lush gardens. There is nothing comparable to it in the whole of Thailand - a dream student home stay or a holiday accommodation. Contact: massagelondon@gmail.com thai massage London & Bangkok homestay
If you´ll go to South Thailand I just can recommand to stay at Runs`n Roses.It´s in Chumpon Phato district. It´s ecotourismplace founded by two nice and friendly dutch woman who already live some years in Thailand.You can stay there or ask for homestay in a thaifamily. And they also have workshops and corses there, like cooking, thailanguage, yoga,.... It´s perfect place to relax, calm down, live as enviromentelfriendly as possible and dive into thaiculture.

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Restaurants, Supermarkets, Street Food, Local Specialties ...

Money and Costs

Currency, Exchanging Money, Credit Cards, Tipping, Bargaining, Costs... The unit of currency is Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB). As of 1st March 2004, €1 is equivalent to 49 Thai baht. $1 is equivalent to 39 Thai Baht. Costs for travelling with the public buses in Thailand. When travelling with a non-airconditioned public buses (BMTA red Buses) it costs around 3.50 Baht for the whole length of the bus route. When travelling with a non-airconditioned public buses (non BMTA buses) it costs around 5 baht for the whole route. When travelling with the airconditioned BMTA buses (blue buses) it costs around 8-16 Baht depending on the length of travelling. When travelling with the airconditioned EURO buses (BMTA, orange colored it can be from 12-24 Baht also depending on the length of travel.

Visa and Documents and Embassies

Who needs a visa? How to get it? Embassies & Consulates, of the country abroad and in the country

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Have you written a story about a trip to this country? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with other members.

Photos

Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas...

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

Language and Useful Phrases

Events and Holidays

Festivals, Sports, Concerts, Public Holidays...

Climate and When to Go

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

Bangkok
Don't buy any jewellery or other expensive stuff in Bangkok unless you're an expert!
Be aware of Tuktuk Tours in Bangkok, they're a cheap way to get aroung the city for several hours, but expect to be brought to at least 1 or 2 shops without asking for. If you're fine with that, enjoy a cheap city tour.

Health

History

Government and Politics

Economy

GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

Media

Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...

Religion

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

Could not fit it into any of the categories above? Put it here...:-)

External Links

Official Country Website:
Only add really valuable resources here. Also, please ask the webmaster of the site you link here to add a link back to the Hospitality Club. If the link exists, please add (L) behind the URL of the link.

Offtopic Messages


I have to rent out my brand new holiday 3 bedroom teak wood home in Bangkok Taling Chan district. It's by Thanon Wongwan Rob Nok and by the Klong Bang Tal - 5 minutes drive to South Bus Terminal (towards Kanchanaburi, Cha Am, Hua Hin, Phuket, Krabi and Malaysia) on Thonburi & 15 minutes to Chao Phraya River, Khaosan Rd, the Old King's Palace & the Wat Pho. There is also a frequent bus to Suvarnabhumi Airport. Pictures on request. check it out on google maps: lat=13.79381307 latitude lon=100.408499781 longitude Around are traditional houses with orchards, gardens, peace and clean air. Suit family with children and animals as the place is safe and has a terrace under the elevated on stilts house. Goes cheap, even short let - as I can't go on holidays to Bangkok as often as I use to go. At the moment stays there my daughter with her children, but she can move to my sister in law house just the next door. A much better option of staying in Bangkok than the town centre, with it's noise, pollution, traffic jams and crowds of tourists. In a Taling Chan home-stay you will immerse yourself in a traditional lifestyle and learn a little bit about Thai culture and customs. Walks through the fruit orchards and flower groves make a very challenging experience. You can feel here like living in the traditional thai willage - yet 5 minutes walk is 7/11 shop, cash machine and a daily street market. A short ride there is a famous traditional thai floating market in Taling Chan by the Chakphra Canal. There are several nice homestays in that area - old thai teak wood houses on stilts just overlooking slowly moving canals. You are in the middle of verdant and vast, lush gardens. There is nothing comparable to it in the whole of Thailand Contact: massagelondon@gmail.com thai massage London & Bangkok homestay
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