Thailand FAQ

There are 3 major suppliers in Thailand: True, DTAC and AIS. All of them have pros and cons, but their signal and 3G coverage is nowadays everywhere the same. So if you are going to the major touristy spots and you are not interested in 4G internet speed then simply choose the cheapest option of one of these 3 mobile companies. You will see signs everywhere saying: 'Thailand SIM card for tourist'.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Practicalities

The official Thai language is widely spoken throughout Thailand, many Thais also speak and understand English, though more so in Bangkok and the major tourist areas. The Thai language itself is challenging to master, but Thai people are happy to help foreigners learn a few words to help them get around.

However, English is typically the common currency for cross-cultural conversation as Thailand hosts visitors from around the world.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Like anywhere in the world, Thailand has thieves. Robberies happen, though they tend to be snatch and grabs rather than muggings. 

The golden rule is don't take anything out with you that you can't afford to lose, and keep copies of all important documentation such as your passport and credit cards.

Keep a list of important phone numbers somewhere too. Most guesthouses and hotels offer safety deposit boxes. Use them. 

As well, it’s wise to use a money belt; avoid leaving your mobile phone or camera sitting on a restaurant table or bar; and avoid putting anything in the front basket of a motorcycle.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

You'll also find free WiFi in many cafes and restaurants, especially in major urban centre and anywhere popular with tourists.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Very good. There are 3 major providers and it is straightforward to buy a prepaid SIM card on arrival to slot into your phone.

Cards are inexpensive to buy and domestic calls and sms messages are very cheap.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Most of the tourist SIM cards sold at airports in Thailand offer “unlimited” data packages. Speeds are typically restricted, either from the beginning or after you’ve used a certain amount of data. A small amount of call credit may or may not be included as well. Other options to buy SIM card are 7 Eleven and official mobile operator shop.

So be sure to buy enough data if you are a heavy user and we would suggest not using a SIM to download a movie — use your hotel or guesthouse WiFi for that.

If you’re buying your SIM through a kiosk or outlet, the staff member will ask for your ID (passport is the standard) as they’ll need this to activate your service. It is not possible to activate a SIM card without ID in Thailand. You can though buy multiple SIMs on one ID without problem.

Prices are broadly similar to the competition, so for the majority of visitors to Thailand, AIS SIM cards are the best option. 3G/HSPA+ is available on the 900 and 2100Mhz bands, while 4G/LTE is provided on 1800 and 2100Mhz (LTE bands 1 and 3.)

True and DTAC’s Happy prepaid services also provided good coverage and speeds in towns and cities. They did have noticeable service gaps in rural areas and on less-populated islands, however.

All providers offer LTE service in 80-90% of the country, including all major cities and towns.

SIM card price is around 500 baht (US$ 15)

Important note: The following assumes that your phone is unlocked. If your phone is locked to a provider in your home country, you’ll need to investigate their roaming plans as a foreign SIM card will not work in your phone.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Thailand's voltage is 220-240AC, 50 Hertz. The plugs in Thailand are not standardised -- there are at least three different types, some two pin and some three, so be sure to either bring a universal adapter or buy one once you arrive in Thailand.

Note that especially in older buildings, the earth pin may not actually be wired in correctly. Make no assumptions with regard to grounding.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Thailand uses the metric system such as:

  • Kilometers for road distances
  • Kilometers per hour for speed limits
  • Meter or centimeter in length
  • Kilogram for mass
  • Degree Celsius for temperature
on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Food and health issues

It is very important to stay hydrated while you are in Bangkok, because the Thai capital can be sweltering hot and humid. The temperatures can reach 40 degrees at the hottest point of the year and along with the pollution it is very important to avoid dehydration. But do you need to keep yourself stocked up with bottled water at all times-- that will cost around 40-60B a day.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Although the water that is produced by the water authority in Bangkok is perfectly drinkable when it leaves the plant, it will usually travel through old, dirty and broken pipes before it reaches your tap. This is how the water in Bangkok can become contaminated and not safe to drink.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Thais use peanut oil in a lot of their cooking. While you can try to explain to your waiter that you can't come near peanuts in any form before you order, to be sure they really understand, we'd suggest getting staff at your guesthouse or hotel to write you a note in Thai explaining your requirements. Select wisely has some rather neat pre-printed cards to deal with various allergies.

Aside from peanut oil, peanuts are also used in some of the cold salads, satays and pad thai -- the latter sometimes more as a garnish than as a part of the dish.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

You should probably be fine, though you will need to take more care with you're eating. Select wisely has some rather neat pre-printed cards to deal with various allergies. 

If you are allergic to a wider range of foods and don't have enough Thai language to make your requirements clear, you may be better off to take advantage of the fact that Thailand has a fine selection of international eateries so you should be able to find what you'd normally be eating at home. Even in upcountry provincial Thai capitals you should be able to get pretty basic Western staples.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Absolutely, though you'll need to look around a bit to find it sometimes - especially in the smaller rural centre.

Chiang Mai has a particularly good reputation for vegetarian food with Bangkok running a close second. You'll also find a pretty good range of western vegetarian outlets in most tourist centre like Ko Samui or Phuket.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus
  • Tourist Police (TAT Police): 1155
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Center (TAT Call Center): 1672
  • Police: 191
  • Ambulance: 1669
  • Fire: 199
on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

The climate/ weather

The climate in Bangkok is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate. This means the city has three main seasons: hot season from March to June, rainy season from July to October and cool season between November and February. The daytime temperatures will be excess of 30 degrees centigrade throughout the year. The possible exception to this is in late December and early January. In March 2020, expect the daytime temperature to be excess of 35 degrees centigrade.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

The best things to wear in Thailand are polo shirts, button-down collared shirts, and golf or Bermuda shorts. Even good quality t-shirts and cargo shorts will do. Packing a pair of semi-casual pants will come in handy for an evening out.

Because of the heat and humidity, you should avoid wearing tight clothing. Choose breathable and loose clothing instead.

You can dress whatever colors you want, and you won’t offend anyone.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

You may find yourself walking a lot before you get comfortable using the local transportation. The more comfortable and easier to wear shoes you have, the better.

Comfortable shoes are a must. Since it rains often in Thailand, anything made of rubber or a plastic composite is a great choice. Flip flops are totally acceptable but flat, slipper-like shoes are much more convenient.  The latter protects your feet from street grime and there are no laces to wrestle with when taking off your shoes. 

Always take your shoes off before entering someone’s house 

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Shopping

Major credit cards are accepted across Thailand in most establishments, shopping centers, major hotels and large restaurants. Smaller businesses will expect to be paid in cash, as will taxi drivers. 

So it is a good idea to bring some Thai Baht along. Foreign credit cards are charged an exchange fee and ATM machines may also have fees. You can change most foreign currencies at money changers in cities around Thailand. 

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Yes, ATMs are everywhere excepting truly remote areas not easily reached by sealed road. 

Most ATMs now accept debit cards as well as credit cards and the CIRRUS and MAESTRO symbols are the most widely accepted. The withdrawal limit ranges from 20,000 to 100,000 baht depending on the bank.

ATMs typically dispense 100, 500, and 1000 baht notes, up to 20 notes per transaction. If you choose to use an ATM instead of currency exchange booth, it is suggested that you withdraw 9,900฿ instead of 10,000฿ (for example) as this forces the ATM to dispense several smaller denominated notes. Be aware that most ATM's now charge 150 baht for all withdrawals using foreign cards. 

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

In most places in Thailand, tipping is not expected though as always is appreciated. 

If you want to tip, 10% percent is regarded as a reasonable tip to give. It is common to round up taxi fares to the closest ten baht (half the time they profess to not having change anyway!)

Many places do charge a service fee anyway, but there is no legal requirement that this money does actually go to the staff.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Visitors entering the Kingdom on a tourist visa are entitled to a 7% VAT refund on goods purchased at registered retail outlets and Thailand duty free stores. The VAT refund may be claimed on a minimum total of purchases worth 5,000 baht from receipts totaling no less than 2,000 baht/receipt/day.

After purchasing goods at a store, visitors must fill out VAT refund paperwork at the store, providing passport and travel information at that time.

At the airport, paperwork must be presented to customs officers before passing through immigration at the VAT refund office; at Suvarnabhumi the VAT refund office is near the entrance to Domestic Departures.         

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

It depends a lot on what type of traveler you are and how much travelling you plan to do.

If you're eating on the street, three meals a day, then 200-300B per day is adequate. If you're eating three staple meals in a backpacker style restaurant, you'll be spending more like 250-400B a day. If you're eating dinner at proper restaurants, then you could easily be spending 300B or more a meal.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

You can buy top-ups pretty much anywhere in Thailand, including many convenience stores.

No matter how you top up, you may then need to purchase or renew the actual package you want to use. Be sure to do this, as the default call, text, and data rates aren’t particularly cheap.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Visa requirements and Custom rules

Thailand is forever "fine tuning" its visa regulations. Rules continue to change, and you're best to either contact a Thai consulate or embassy or else consult with a specialist visa.
Generally speaking, two main visas are available for travelers. The first is actually a "visa free" stay of 30 days, the second is a tourist visa valid for two months. 

Both can be extended, for varying lengths, varying number of times and varying costs. 

For more information and update, please visit:

http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/services/4908

https://www.thaiembassy.com/

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Thailand customs allows visitors to enter Thailand with personal effects, the value of which does not exceed 80,000 Baht, without paying import fees as long as: 1) the items are specifically for personal or professional use; 2) the amount of goods are reasonable; and 3) the items are not subject to restriction or prohibition.

There are restrictions on the amounts of alcohol and tobacco products; only the following amounts may be transported into Thailand under duty free regulations:

    * 250 grams of cigars or smoking tobacco, or 200 cigarettes

    * 1 litre of wine or liquor.

PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED GOODS: The Thailand Customs Department is responsible for stemming the illegal transport of illicit drugs into and out of Thailand.  Consequently, Thailand Customs officials do occasionally ask to search passengers’ bags.  If you have nothing to declare, simply walk through the Green Channel, stopping only if asked to do so by a customs agent.

If you have goods to declare, you should hand a customs form to the Thailand Customs Department agent at the Red Channel marked “goods to declare”.

It should be noted that plants and animals, as well as products made from such, may be subject to restrictions and quarantine.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

Cultural - good to know

Thai people really are *that* nice. Don’t be surprised if strangers offer you advice or strike up a conversation with you.

  1. Thai people really are *that* nice. Don’t be surprised if strangers offer you advice or strike up a conversation with you.
  2. In some places, people don’t stand in lines. Instead of queuing up, Thais form a crowd. Stand your ground, and get used to a lack of personal space in public places.
  3. Eat as many mangoes as you possibly can. The mangoes in Thailand are the most delicious in the world. Even try all kinds of fruits.
  4. BYOT (Bring your own toilet paper)
  5. The ICE is okay.
  6. Dining out in Thailand is much, much different from dining out in the West. In Thailand, everyone shares the dishes ordered. Everyone at the table will discuss which dishes to go for and then everyone agrees on a selection of meals to share.
  7. Invest in bug spray
on Monday July 08 by Luculentus

The Summit

Sorry, there is no kid program in this summit.

on Monday July 08 by Luculentus
For security reasons and to avoid persecution, please refrain from taking photos of either the events or the participants and posting your personal social network. We will have our assigned official photographer to do the job. If you need to do so, please remember to ask for permissions from those people who might appear on your photos. 
on Tuesday July 30 by Luculentus