Travel Tips And General Information For Your Trip To Thailand
The Kingdom of Thailand, covering an area of 514,000 square kilometers, lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, roughly equidistant between India and China. It shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Lao P.D.R. to the north and northeast, Cambodia to the east and Malaysia to the south.
Thailand is divided into four distinct areas: the mountainous North, the fertile Central Plains, the semi-arid plateau of the Northeast, and the peninsula South, distinguished by its many beautiful tropical beaches and offshore islands.
Very Hot Season: March to May
Hot & Rainy Season: June to October
Less Hot Season: November to February
The average temperature in Bangkok ranges from a low of about 68°F and a high of about 88°F in December/January, to a low of about 77° and a high of about 95°F in April/May. NOTE, it can get cool at the higher elevations in the north, especially at night.
The unit of currency is the Baht. 1 USD = approximately 39 Thai Baht (as per March 2006). 1 Baht = 100 satangs. Airports, hotels and many tourist facilities have a currency exchange counter where you can exchange travelers checks and/or cash. Some larger cities also have ATMs; you may wish to check with your bank before departure to find out whether or not your ATM card will work overseas. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and many shops.
Thai silk and cotton are well known. Niello and silverware are attractive and reasonably priced as is bronzeware. Teakwood carvings and bowls make wonderful gifts. Thailand is famous for good buys in precious and semi-precious stones, such as sapphires, rubies, zircons, and pearls. Leather products are also reasonably priced.
Your tour guide might not be an expert on gemstones, etc., so if you intend to purchase items of this nature, please do some research before departing and have an idea of what you are looking for as well as the price you are prepared to pay. In addition, please carefully check the quality of the products, and always ask for a receipt with product descriptions.
Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other places bargaining is to be expected. Generally, you can obtain a final figure of between 10-40% lower than the original asking price. Much depends on your skills and the shopkeeper's mood. But remember, Thais appreciate good manners and a sense of humor. With patience and a broad smile, you will not only get a better price, you will also enjoy shopping as an art.
PASSPORT & VISAS:
Visitors entering Thailand must be in possession of a valid passport. U.S. citizens staying in Thailand not longer than 30 days (29 nights) do not generally require a visa but need an air ticket with a confirmed onward reservation.
No actual vaccinations are presently required by the Thai government, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control does recommend various vaccinations. You may obtain up-to-date information on their web page at www.cdc.gov. Persons suffering from leprosy, trachoma, tuberculosis, AIDS and plague are forbidden entry into Thailand.
"Travel Light" is the best advice we can give you. Most inter-asia and domestic flights within Asia allow only 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of checked luggage. Internationally you are permitted two pieces of checked luggage per person weighing up to 50 pounds per piece. Hence, you might want to do your souvenir shopping around the end of your trip.
When visiting The Grand Palace it is necessary to dress conservatively – visitors wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts will not be allowed admission. Casual and comfortable is recommended elsewhere, although please dress respectfully when entering Buddhist temples. Due to the hot and humid climate natural fabrics such as cotton are best. Comfortable and reliable walking shoes are a must to enjoy the sightseeing tours. You will need to remove your shoes to enter temples, so footwear which is easy to slip on and off is more convenient. A collapsible umbrella or raincoat is also advised although these items are easily purchased in Asia.
Breakfast is served in your hotel as either western buffet or Asian buffet style. Lunches and dinners which are included (check your itinerary to see which meals are included) are served in a local restaurant during your day of sightseeing. A fixed supply of beverages is served with the meals at no charge. Additional beverages, including alcoholic beverages, are available at a modest additional charge.
Do not drink tap water, not even to brush your teeth! Some hotels provide thermos bottles or pitchers of safe drinking water. Purified bottled water is readily available in your hotel mini-bar, at restaurants and at many shops for an additional charge.
Laundry and dry-cleaning services are available at each of the hotels. It's fast and of high quality. Items collected in the morning are returned the same evening. Charges are included in your personal room bill for payment upon checking out.
Electric current in Thailand is 220 V, 50 cycles. and wall plugs vary. Some hotels supply a plug with a 110 current adapter in the bathroom, but we suggest you bring along your own adapters and converters for your electrical appliances.
Tips for tour guides and drivers are not included in the tour price. Each traveler should budget $5-8 per day for tipping. The people expecting tips include: local guides and drivers (you may tip them before you leave each city), bellboys and luggage person (you may tip them when they move your luggage). Tips to restaurant and hotel waiters are not expected. Chambermaids and porters should also be tipped when appropriate and are not included and is the same as going on any trip worldwide. If you are in a hotel bar, tipping is customary.
We hope you have a wonderful trip and thank you for choosing China Travel Service Inc. for your travel arrangements!