Thailand has a land area of 513,115 sq.km. (approx. 127,008 acres) bordered by Malaysia (South), Myanmar (West & North), Laos (North & East) and Cambodia (Southeast). The country's east coast borders the Gulf of Thailand and the west coast abuts the Andaman Sea. The country is divided geographically into four main zones - the fertile central plains, dominated by the Chao Phraya River; the 300-metre-high northeast plateau, the kingdom's most barren region; the mountainous North; and the tropical southern peninsula.
GMT + 7 hours.
The temperature varies from 19°C to 38°C with the annual average at about 29°C. The humidity is from 66% to 82.8%.
There are three seasons in Northern, Northeastern and Central Thailand - hot (March to May), rainy (June to October), and cool (November to February). And there are two seasons in the South - rainy (April to November) and hot (December to March).
In July, the average temperature in Bangkok City is 23-34°C.
Buddhists 95%, Muslims 4%, Christians 0.5%, and others 0.5%
Thai is the national language. English is widely understood in Bangkok and other big cities.
Telephone Country Code
Thai telephone country code is +66.
The electric current in Thailand is 220 Volts (50 cycles/sec.) throughout the country. Better hotels will provide 110 Volt transformers. Power sockets in Thailand are both flat prongs and round prongs. Above you can find pictures of these power sockets and corresponding plugs.
Cost of Living
The average price for a cup of coffee is around 25-50 Baht and is 25 Baht or above for a sandwich. The average price for a meal in town is around 50-100 Baht. The average price for a bus ride in Chiang Mai is around 20-80 Baht.
Restrictions on Smoking and Drinking
Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are prohibited for those under 20 years of age. Smoking is banned on public transportation and in some public areas.
Manners / Customs
Show respect to religious images and do not climb or sit on them. On public transportation such as subway trains or bus, eating and drinking are considered bad manners. There are some traditional customs such as taking off shoes before entering a private home.
- Government offices: open from Monday to Friday, from 08.30 to 16.30.
- Banking: most banks are open from Monday to Friday, from 08.30 to 15.30. Some bank branches, particularly in shopping malls, are also open on weekends. Currency exchange booths in Bangkok and other tourist destinations are open on weekends and evenings.
- Clinics or Doctor’s surgeries: major hospitals in Bangkok have 24 hour emergency rooms, but typical doctor appointments should be scheduled between 08.00 and 18.00, Monday – Friday. Some larger hospitals offer after-hours and weekend services. If you have a medical emergency, you should go to the accident and emergency department of the nearest hospital. Emergency services can be reached by dialing 191 on any phone and are generally available 24 hours.
- Museums and Galleries: Thai museums and galleries are typically open from 09.00 to 16.00 daily. Times may vary and some museums and galleries may be closed one day a week and/or on public holidays.
- Shops and Department Stores: most shops are open seven days a week from 10.00 to 22.00. Convenience stores may be open earlier and remain open until after midnight. Thai markets are open various hours depending on products they sell, with markets selling fresh food products from 06.00 until around 20.00, while night markets are typically open around sunset and remain open until 22.00 or occasionally midnight. Convenience stores e.g. 7-11, Family Mart, are located throughout Thailand and are generally open 24 hours.
- Post offices: Thailand postal service is reliable and efficient. Thailand post offices are open from Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 16.30 and Saturday from 09.00 until noon. All Thai post offices are closed on public holidays, though most major hotels can arrange to mail letters and parcels on your behalf.
- Restaurants: restaurant opening hours are highly varied and street-side restaurants frequently stay open well past midnight. Restaurants typically have later closing hours in Bangkok and at tourist destinations than in rural provinces.
- BTS Skytrain: BTS skytrain runs daily between 06.00 to midnight with frequent service throughout the day, which is increased during rush hours.
- MRT Subway: MRT underground operates from 06.00 to midnight daily. The frequency is less than 5 minutes during the peak hours 06.00 – 09.00 and 16.30 – 19.30.
- Most business offices are open from 08.30 to 18.00, from Monday to Friday. Some work on Saturdays.
Money and Financial Matters
- Thai currency is called the “Baht” or “Thai Baht”. The currency code for Baht is THB. There are several currency exchanges at Bangkok’s international airport, and around most major tourist areas.
- The currency exchange rate is 1 US Dollar to approximately 31.40 Thai Baht (THB) (as of March, 2020)
- You can check out http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter to get more information about the exchange rate.
- There are 5 kinds of banknotes: 1,000 Baht, 500 Baht, 100 Baht, 50 Baht and 20 Baht. Also, there are 6 kinds of coins: 10 Baht, 5 Baht, 2 Baht, 1 Baht, 50 Satang and 25 Satang (1 Baht = 100 Satang).
- It may be best to not carry too much money into Thailand, or even to carry while traveling around within Thailand, because you can get Thai Baht from ATMs using your major credit card, even in most small towns around Thailand. The exchange rate is automatic and roughly as good as you’ll find. Withdrawal fees are usually around 150 Baht per transaction, which is roughly $ 5 US, and you can withdraw up to 20,000 Baht from some ATMs, and more from others (150 Baht is 1% of 15,000 Baht).
- Major credit cards — Visa, Mastercard and American Express — are accepted at most hotels and restaurants. Department stores and other large shops will also generally accept all cards. However, smaller merchants may not accept any cards, or add on the credit card processing fee (3% for Visa and Mastercard, 5% for American Express) to the price of items purchased.
Bangkok, The City of Angels or "Krungthep" in Thai, is the capital city of Thailand.Bangkok is the hub for most of the commercial and economic activities of the kingdom. At the same time, the city is very famous and appreciated by visitors for its versatility and multiple points of interest. From temples and the Grand Palace, through some of Asia's largest shopping centers and the largest outdoor market of Asia (Chatuchak), Bangkok definitely has what it takes to entertain visitors from all walks of life, either first time or return travellers. Whilst taxi fares are very reasonable, most of the sightseeing can comfortably be reached by Skytrain (BTS) or underground train (MRT). Apart from the sightseeing and shopping, Bangkok has developed into a magnet for food lovers of all cuisines. The same range of choice applies to the accommodation options all over town, from high end international chain hotels to family run guesthouses; the needs of all travellers are guaranteed to be met.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Bangkok international airport is located 16 miles outside town, but it is easy to get to Bangkok city centre, either via the airport link or taxi. Transit passengers will need to proceed to the airline checkpoints located on the same floor of Bangkok Airport. All departures at Bangkok Airport are handled at the airline check-in counters located on the fourth floor of the Departure Terminal. Domestic check-ins are from Rows B to C. Row A is dedicated to Thai Airways’ Royal First Class and Royal Silk passengers. For international departures, proceed to Rows D to W. Always be prepared to arrive at least two-and-a-half hours before international departures or 80 minutes before domestic departures.
Don Mueang International Airport
Don Mueang International Airport has a simple layout, with two levels. The Departure Hall is on the second floor, and all airlines have their check-in counters there. Other facilities on this floor include money exchange counters, restaurants, souvenir shops and VIP lounges. On the first floor is the Arrivals Hall. There are also a few fast food outlets, snack bars, an internet café, banks, money exchange counters, souvenir shops, medical service, airport limousine service and car rentals by major brands.
From the Arrivals Hall on the second floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport and on the first floor of Don Mueang International Airport, you will find the designated taxi stands at Entry Gate 4. Simply queue up and tell your final destination to the booth officer, then a taxi driver will escort you to his vehicle. Please note that you need to pay the driver an extra 50 baht courtesy fee, on top of all toll way fees and the final taxi fare. Taken all these fees into account, it should cost you a total of 350-400 Baht for a 40-minute ride to downtown Bangkok. Service is available 24 hours.
From other areas, not the airport, the starting price is 35 Baht. The cars are painted in different color combinations but the prices are the same as long as the taximeter is turned on.
There are many public bus routes in Bangkok and the bus tickets are very cheap. However, during rush hours, a bus trip can be rather time-consuming and it is also easy to get confused by the different bus routes. To ensure you board the right bus, ask at a tourist information office, a travel agency or a Thai citizen waiting at the bus stop. Most often, they will do their best to help you.
More information: www.bmta.co.th
By Motorcycle Taxi
The price for a trip on a motorbike taxi is very low (at least if you negotiate with the driver in advance) and it can be a fast alternative at peak hours.
By Sky Train – BTS (Rot Fai Fah)
BTS Skytrain has now two lines; the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line, with a total of 35 stations. The two lines cross at Siam Station, which is the central station of the BTS Sky Train. The cars are air-conditioned and have both seats and standing areas. The price for a ticket starts at 15 Baht up to 42 Baht per journey.
More information: www.bts.co.th
By Bangkok Metro – MRT
One of the two end stations is located close to Hualamphong Railway Station (the main train station in Bangkok), which is practical if you are going to continue to travel with a long-distance train. The prices are rather low and the design and system are modern.
More information: www.bangkokmetro.co.th
By Tuk-Tuk (Sam-Lor)
This three-wheeled taxi has definitely become an icon and symbol of Bangkok. The vehicle is not that environmentally friendly, but is often a little faster than a taxi cab at rush hours.
Try to confirm the price before taking a ride. The starting price for a ride is usually not less than 30-40 Baht. The price for a 20-30 minute ride is normally 100-200 Baht.
Airport Rail Link (ARL)
The Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link service between Phaya Thai Station to Suvarnabhumi Station.
The services are comprised of 2 lines, non-stop Express services and City Train services. Both lines operate from 06.00 to midnight. Non-stop Express services start at Suvarnabhumi Airport and terminate at Makkasan Station. The journey takes only 15 minutes and runs every 30 minutes. City Train or Commuter services run between Suvarnabhumi Airport and stop at Lat Krabang, Ban Thap Chang, Hua Mak, Makkasan, Ratchaprarop and Phaya Thai. The journey takes 27 minutes and runs every 15 minutes.
To help tourists and commuters to travel to other parts of Bangkok, both lines have an interchange at Makkasan Station for MRT (Underground train) at Phetchaburi Station. The City train line is linked at Phaya Thai station for BTS Skytrain, Phaya Thai Station.