Visas: Visitors to Thailand who hold valid passports or traveling documents issued by any country included in an officially issued list of eligible countries are permitted one-month visa-free visits. If planning a longer stay, a Tourist Visa valid for 60 days must be obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad. Visa extensions can be applied for at the Immigration Department in Bangkok.
Climate: We enjoy a tropical climate with 3 distinct seasons - summer from March through May, rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to September and cool from October through February. The average annual temperature is 28C (83F), ranging from in Bangkok, for example, from 30C in April to 25C in December.
What to wear: Light, loose cotton clothing is best. Nylon should be avoided. Sweaters are needed during cool season evenings or if visiting mountainous areas or national parks. Jackets and ties are required in a few restaurants and nightclubs. Neat clothes are required for entering temples or palaces.
Language: Thai, mainly. English is widely understood in hotels, gift shops and restaurants especially in Bangkok and other major tourist areas.
Local time: GMT + 7 hours.
Business hours: Most offices open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays. General banking hours are Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. Many stores open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Currency: The basic unit of Thai currency is the baht. One US dollar = approximately 40 baht.There are 100 satangs in 1 baht. (B=baht) Notes are issued in denominations of B1000 (gray), B500 (purple), B100 (red), B50 (blue) and B20 (green). There are 10,5 and 1 baht coins and 50 and 25 satangs. Most foreign currencies and traveler's cheques are easily changed at banks, hotels or money changers. All major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the kingdom.
Electricity: The electric system is 220 Volt AC (50 cycles). There are many plugs and sockets in use. Travelers with shavers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug-adapter kit.
Water: It is advisable to drink only bottled or boiled water.
Driving License: International driving license is required.
Dos & Don'ts in Thailand
- Thai people hold their King and Queen and the Royal Family in great reverence, and so they won't tolerate foreigners talking about them in disrespect.
- Thailand is a Buddhist country where Buddha images are held sacred. Sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors. Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect.
- Dress properly when entering a Buddhist Temple. Take your shoes off before going inside the hall of worship. Ladies must not on any account touch a Buddhist monk, give things direct to him or receive things direct from him.
- The head and the feet are two symbolic parts of the body. The head, being the highest part, is treated with great respect. It's taboo to touch a Thai on the head, even to express fondness. In the same light, it is considered rude to point one's feet at anyone. When sitting on the floor, Thai men usually sit cross-legged, while women fold their feet under their legs.
- Generally Thai women are conservative. So do not touch them without their consent.
- Intimacies between man and woman should not be shown in public. Sunbathing in nude is prohibited. Public displays of affection, such as hugging and kissing, are frowned upon.
- Thai people smile to express gladness and happiness, to thank for small service, to return the wai ( a way of greeting) of children and inferior persons, and even to excuse small inconveniences.
- Using Narcotics (e.g.,marijuana, opium, cocaine, morphine, amphetamine, heroin); is illegal and strong penalties fine up to 500,000 bahts and five to years up in prison.
Save Wildlife of Thailand
- Many wildlife species are becoming extinct or wiped out by man's insatiable greed. The sad trend will continue unabated unless every effort is made to check or reverse the process. We must together put a stop to all the harmful practices and cruelties.
- The time to do so is right now. The only place where wild animals belong is their natural habitation, Thailand's magnificent forests and clear blue seas. Will zoos and aquariums be the only place your children can go to watch the few creatures that are left but were once unique and roamed free in this area?
- Join us now. Help protect life in all its forms. Keep the environment clean. Styrofoam plastics and other synthetics thrown into the sea or discarded in the forest are harmful or even deadly to animals. When styrofoam is eaten by turtles, e.g., its buoyancy keeps them from diving and they starve to death.
- Do not support all manners of wild animal abuse-as pathetic pets trinkets or so called intricacies. Never buy or keep wild animals as pets in the condition they are never meant to be.
- Never purchase any product or souvenir made from wild animals including reptiles like crocodile, snake, monitor lizard. and also turtle shell, tusk, etc.
- Avoid patronizing local restaurants and joints that specialize in or serve wild animal intricacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand especially many endangered species. Take no part in it.
- Help us save them by reporting these illegal activities to the wildlife Conservation Div. Royal Forestry Dept Tel: 579-1565.
- DO NOT Ride a motorbike if you never ride it before.
- The maximum speed limit for motorbikes in town limit is 60 km/hr and 80 km/hr for outside town limit.
- Always drive on the LEFT SIDE of the road.
- Always wear a HELMET.
- Always slow down to a safe and reasonable speed when driving on a narrow road especially on the mountain dirt roads or when approaching curves, intersections, business or residential areas, road construction zone and oncoming vehicles.
- Always pass other vehicles on the right. Never pass other vehicles on the left except when the leading vehicle is making a right turn or when there are two or more lanes for traffic in the same direction.
- When riding at night, always turn on headlights and taillights.
- Give the right-of-way signal to vehicles coming from main roads.
- Never ride while under the influence of drugs or intoxication liquor; or while being sick or dizzy.
- Always take safety precautions while in control of a vehicle.
- When getting involved in an accident which causes injuries or property damages, always provide assistance wherever it is necessary. Immediately notify the nearest police station and identify yourself as well. The driver who fails to stop at the scene of the accident which he is responsible for would be considered guilty and might be sentenced to imprisonment.
Diving & Snorkeling
When Scuba Diving
- Pick an instructor who stresses safety and eco-diving techniques, especially the one who is environmentally aware and use safe mooring and anchoring procedures.
- Practice your basic scuba diving skills on a regular basis and follow your instructor strictly. If it has been more than 12 months since your last dive, you should consider taking a scuba review class from a reputable instructor.
- Always observe- surf, current, wave sets, surge on reefs/rocks.
- Your snorkel first-aid kit would include, peroxide, aspirin for sunburn, & cigarettes. Tobacco kills most stings.
- Enter and exit from a sandy beach area.
- Never swim against a current, swim diagonally across it.
- Avoid snorkeling at dusk.
- Do not snorkel drunk.
- Don't snorkel in a strong offshore wind.
- Wear t-shirt and sun goop while snorkeling in the intense island sun.
The marine environment is a very fragile place. Many coral reefs around the world are in decline. Observing the reef by scuba diving or snorkeling is fine as long as you don't touch and destroy anything. Here are some few tips that you can help:
- Do not step on coral and use the paths through the reef.
- Do not drop anchors on coral.
- Do not touch the coral.
- Do not shoot fish with the spear gun. (Besides, it's illegal.)
- Corals and shells belong to the sea so don't keep them for yourself.
- Keep trash in the boat and dispose of carefully.
Take only pictures and leave only bubbles!
Tips to Full Moon Party
- Do not bring your valuables to the party. Thousands people there, you'll never catch the thieves.
- Keep away from DRUGS, no matter what anyone says. Someone might try to sell them to you but remember DRUGS are ILLEGAL in Thailand and VERY STRONG PENALTIES.
- Do not eat or drink anything that is offered by strangers.
- If you don't plan to stay up all night at the party, you are advised to stay in bungalow facilities outside Haad Rin (unless you think you can sleep with that very loud party noise). Besides, there are more than hundred bungalow places to choose and you can go back to your bungalow anytime you like by all night taxi service.