Airport Taxes

Thailand airport tax is not included in your international ticket. A 700 baht tax is paid at the airport check-in counter when departing Thailand.

Inside the country, for most airports, the tax is 100 baht, and will be added to the price of the fare when you buy your ticket. Exceptions are Samui Airport tax, 300 baht, and Sukothai airport tax, 200 baht, since both airports belong to Bangkok Airways. You will have to pay these taxes separately when you check in.

Baggage

On Domestic flights, passengers are allowed 44 pounds of luggage per person. On International flights, passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Excess luggage fees will be charged if you check more than the stated allowances, and these charges are your responsibility.  At most major airports, baggage carts are available for your luggage, usually for a small additional fee.

Climate and Clothing

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 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.

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.

Communications

Telephone services : Long Distances calls can be made from hotels or via calling cards which are widely available.

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.

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.

Currency

The Thai unit of currency is the baht. 1 baht is divided into 100 satang. Note are in denominations of 1,000 (brown), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), 20 (green) and 10 (brown) baht. Coins consist of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht.

Major currency bills and travelers cheques are cashed easily at hotels, tourist shops, all provincial banks, shopping centers and money changers. Travelers cheques are best changed in banks (you will need your passport). Rates of exchange at banks or authorized money changers are better than those at hotels and department stores.

Thai banks honor all internationally recognized travelers' checks such as American Express and Thomas Cook. Credit cards and debit cards are a safe and convenient way to manage your funds, and provide you with certain consumer rights. Western Union Money Transfer has offices in many major department stores. ATMs are available throughout Thailand.

Customs Regulations

According to related laws and regulations, the luggage of inbound and outbound passengers must come under customs supervision and control. Passengers should make accurate declarations to customs officials regarding the luggage they carry into or out of the territory.

Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. Visitors may take foreign currency out of Thailand, but no more than the amount stated in the customs declaration made on arrival. Travelers leaving Thailand may take out no more than 50,000 baht per person in Thai currency.

Buddha images, antiques and objects of art cannot leave Thailand without a Fine Arts Department permit, although the rules for this are unclear. It is unlikely that cheap souvenirs fall under such restrictions, but expensive pieces from select showrooms may do so: ask the salesperson and get a receipt. Take note: Illicit drugs, pornography and firearms are forbidden, and penalties for lawbreakers are often severe.

Electricity

Voltage in Thailand is 220 volts, so a transformer will be needed to operate 100-volt appliances. Electrical appliances will require an adapter that can change the shape of the plug prongs, as well as an electrical voltage converter that will allow a normal 110-volt American appliance to take 220 Volt current.  Most major hotels provide hair dryers and other amenities.

Food and Water

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

Health Matters

There are no vaccinations required for entering Thailand from anywhere around the world. All tourism destinations and provincial capitals have hospitals and clinics staffed by well-trained doctors and nurse. In the case of an emergency, an ambulance can be summoned from any private hospital.

Holidays

New Year's Day : Jan 1st

Makha Bucha Day : late January to early March

Chakri Day : Apr 6th

Songkran Day : Apr 13th

National Labour Day : May 1st

Coronation Day : May 5th

Visakha Bucha Day : May

Asanha Bucha Day : Jul

Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent) : Jul

HM the Queen's Birthday : Aug 12th

Chulalongkorn Day : Oct 23rd

HM the King's Birthday : Dec 5th

Constitution Day : Dec 10th

New Year's Eve : Dec 31st

Passports and Visas

According to the Interior Ministerial Announcements, passport holders from 39 countries, including the US, do not require a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes if their stay in the Kingdom does not exceed 30 days. Any foreigner seeking entry into the Kingdom of Thailand for business, investment, study, medical treatment, mass media, religion, employment and other purposes is required to apply for a visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate-General.

Time Difference

The time in Thailand is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 hours GMT) and 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Tipping

Tipping is a customary practice in Thailand. Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but the gesture is appreciated. On tours with private sightseeing, gratuities of $5-$10 for travel guides, $2-$3 for drivers per person per day is customary.

Transportation

All airport and sightseeing transportation are included in our tours. Airport transfers and most sightseeing (except in Bangkok) are provided via private cars. While on your own,  you are free to explore on your own through a variety of transportation. Thailand is generally safe for tourists.

Taxis: Only the towns of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Hat Yai have metered taxis. For taxis in other towns, the fare must be negotiated BEFORE getting in. Fares in towns other than Bangkok should never exceed 200 Baht, unless going to remote villages beyond the town's perimeters.

Songthaews: These are vans with 2 rows of seats in the back, thus the literal translation of "2 rows". In towns outside of Bangkok, these are equivalent to city buses, running along popular routes at fixed fare prices, normally in the range of 20-40 Baht. If you're traveling in a large group, it might be worthwhile to hire the songthaews as taxis.

Rickshaws/ Samlors: These three-wheeled bicycles are used to transport 1-2 people a short distance. Prices should be negotiated BEFORE getting in. Roughly 30-60 Baht is reasonably for those few kilometers.

Tuk-tuks: The motorized version of the samlors were introduced here by the Japanese during WWII. These are always popular with tourists, though they are uncomfortable in heavy traffic (carbon monoxide indulgence) and the rainy season, and are extremely noisy. Prices should be negotiated BEFORE getting in. Roughly 30-60 Baht is reasonably for those few kilometers.

Car Rental: If you wish to explore on your own, there are many car rental companies in Thailand, including international rental companies such as Hertz and Avis. The road system is good and well sign - posted. An international driving license is required.

Hired Mopeds: Mopeds and motorbikes are extremely popular and highly available in most provincial towns, especially the seaside resort towns. Average price for one day's rent may be as low as 200-300 Baht, depending on the type of moped/motorbike.

What to Pack?

Bring light clothing that is easy to wash and iron. Sandals and light shoes are adequate. A sweater is handy for cool season nights and drastically air-conditioned buildings. Top hotel restaurants usually require a tie, sometimes a jacket.

Other essential items include: Valid Passport. Travelers Checks. Copy of Your Airline Ticket. Your Medicines. Departure documents. Voltage converter. Travel alarm clock. Camera(s), batteries & films. Sunscreen/Tan lotion.  Pocket size Kleenex. Extra luggage locks/keys. First Aid kit. Soft, foldable slippers. Extra set of eyeglasses. Folding Umbrella.  Comfortable walking shoes.