Thailand Travel Notes
The Land of Smiles offers easy going travel with few concerns, such as visas or immunizations. Read on for basic and essential travel information for Thailand.
for Thailand Travel
Thailand requires no visa in advance for U.K., Canadian and North American travelers, who are allowed up to 30 days visa-free travel in the Kingdom of Thailand. Please note: Your passport must be valid for six months after the ending date of your trip; please check your passport is indeed valid for this amount of time.
Vaccination & IMMUNIZATION INFORMATION FOR THAILAND
Note: Health requirements in the region may change with only short notice and we recommend you also check with your medical professional and other up-to-date resources, such as the Centers for Disease Control. In general, Thailand is risk-free of contagious disease. However, travelers should to be up-to-date with the usual schedule of recommended vaccinations which include coverage against the childhood diseases (Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and protection from food borne diseases Typhoid and Hepatitis A. For travel in rural areas of Thailand or staying for longer periods, Hepatitis B and Rabies are also recommended for consideration. Malaria is rare and does not typically occur in most places where you will likely be traveling in Thailand. For an incidence map, please search on the world map of malaria by country.
Cancellation, Delay and Travel Insurance
Indochina Travel recommends travelers be covered by some form of trip cancellation and delay insurance. Over the years we have experienced many travelers have to cancel or have their trip delayed for the most unexpected reasons. Such insurance will likely include additional medical, lost baggage, and other coverage. We are a longtime provider and have a good relationship with CSA Travel Protection, one of the major insurance companies and would be happy to provide a quote.
Similar to Japan, English is widely spoken in all major Thailand tourist locations though less so in rrual areas, and much signage is is Thai only. Other languages spoken in Thailand are Chinese, Lao, Malay and Mon-Khmer, while English use is becoming more prevalent in government and commerce.
Security, CRIME & SCAMS
Despite the region's history, Thailand is amongst the safest places in the world to travel, where physical crime against travelers is rare. When traveling with us, please entrust your your possessions and valuables to your vehicle, always carefully watched by your driver. When not with us, please leave your valuables and travel documentation in your hotel safe. Although crime is rare, Thailand is legendary for confidence and other scams, from innocent offers to visit a relative's tailoring shop to sophisticated gem fraud. In fact, some scams are so common they have their own colorful names such as the "Jet Ski Scam," the "Sombondee Seafood Market Scam" and "Lamphong Train Station Scam," to name a few. Be especilly wary of tailoring and gem offers (we will send a list of reputable vendors with your pre-trip packet). Caveat emptor in the Land of Smiles.
Weather IN THAILAND
It is a well-worn travel industry cliche that claims a destination is suitable any time of year... Definitely not true. Read below for a more accurate gauge of when to visit The Land of Smiles.
November to February: The best time to visit Thailand
March to May is hot (April hottest) with temperatures ranging from 80ºF to 95ºF (27ºC up to 36ºC)
July through October: Rainy season (but often with plenty of sun - see below).
June through August in Thailand
The Thais enjoy June, July and August, since the weather is typically fine, if a bit wet and hot, but favorite locales are now without crowds. The weather pattern are brief, heavy showers, but with plenty of sunshine between showers. Temperatures range between 70ºF and 90ºF (20ºC to 33ºC).
September and early October
The wet season in Thailand. A consolation for travelers during this period is beaches, restaurants and streets are uncrowded. Even at this time, there are still long intervals of sunshine between the heavy rainfalls.
Please see our general weather page for overall climate information on Thailand and the region. For travel to the Thai islands, there is typically a better time to travel to either the Andman Sea (Phuket-area) or Gulf of Thailand (Samui-area) by the time of year (see below for the Gulf of Thailand). For specific information on when to go, check our pages for Koh Samui, Krabi, and Phuket.
Beach Meter Climate chart for the Gulf of Thailand
Check-in luggage on most international carriers is now restricted to one bag weighing no more than 50 lbs. (23 kg). For Thailand regional and domestic carriers, bags are restricted to 40-44 lbs (18-20 kgs) and you may be charged hefty overweight fees, a procedure that may also delay your check-in. There is no limit to hand luggage or carry-on luggage weight as it is not typically checked except for size.
Thailand regional and domestic airlines restrict luggage to one piece with a weight of no more than 20 Kilograms (44 pounds) per person. Your passport, travel documents, jewelry, money, camera, fragile items and any medication should be hand-carried and not checked in. On domestic flights, each passenger is allowed one piece of hand luggage. When planning your packing, please bear in mind on your trip may be constantly on the go, staying in a new hotel at least every other day and you'll want to pack lightly for mobility and convenience as well as have a day pack for your van. Checked luggage is required by the local authorities to be at the airport two hours prior to your flight departure. If we are arranging check-in for you, then we need to arrange collection of all bags before your departure in order to complete all check in formalities for you. Please remember to retain your travel documents and any hand baggage.
ATMs are everywhere in Thailand, including ubiquitous 7-11s, and you may load up on Baht (the official currency) at the airport right after arrival (unlike Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, U.S. dollars are not widley accepted in Thailand). Credit cards (except AMEX, which is rarely accepted in Asia) may be used almost everywhere.
In recent years the Thai Baht (100 note right) has converted at about 30 Baht to 1 US dollar.
The Thais, as many Asians do, often bargain, though there are Western oriented tourist shops and malls where prices are set and marked. The bargaining in Thailand is typically good natured, reasonable, with a friendly smile.
A rough estimate for tipping is $25-50 per day for your Thai guide, based on a couple or family and about half that aount for your driver. For portage and other services we suggest 60-150 Baht, or about $2-5 range.
MOBILE PHONES & Internet
Wifi or wired Internet is now ubiquitous in Thailand's regional hotels, airports and even cafes. More remote areas in Thailand may have reduced speeds, but connection is still reliable. Your mobile phone, regardless of carrier, should work fine with Thailand's modern and extensive 2G, 3G and 4G mobile networks. Coverage excellent in cities), even in remote areas. Activate your roaming plan before you arrive in Thailand. You will have your Thai guide's telephone number in addition to your local tour manager's before arrival, which you may pass on to anyone who may need to reach you.
E L E C T R I C A L
Electricity in Thailand is typically 220-volt although 110 volts can found as well. What does this mean for you? Not much... your iPad, Kindle, mobile phone, digital camera, laptop adapter, etc. will automaticallty adjust t the higher voltage without any issue (however, check the fine print just to be sure). As a rule, devices and gadgets with motors (and no adapter), such as hairdryers, will fry (note that almost all hotels do provide hairdryers). Electric power sockets come in varieties, including a common and clever round two-prong with dual US style outlets (at most luxury and boutique hotels) so you will not need to depend on any outlet adapters. Please note sporadic power outages are common, especially in remote areas.
Note that with the exception of Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, all tipping in Thailand and Myanmar tipping is preferred in US dollars. Tipping is not expected in restaurants, where like in Europe a service charge is typically included in the bill. For informal, street cafes a small tip is appreciated. An appropriate tip for hotel porters and other service providers is $1-2. Cleaning staff get about $2 a day, left at the end of your stay on the nightstand, where it's easily visible. Masseuse, $5 to $10. For guides, the range for tipping, dependent on your satisfaction of course, is from $20-100 per day for a couple (double this amount for families or small parties). For larger groups, an appropriate range is $100 and up for your entire party/per day. Drivers are tipped about half the guide rate. Two dollar bills are valued souvenirs in Vietnam. In Vietnam, baseball caps and hometown collegiate t-shirts are also prized gifts.
BANGKOK ARRIVAL PROCEDURES
Any arrangements for your arrival in Bangkok by Indochina Travel are noted below.
: Upon exiting aircraft, an agent will escort you and your bags from the arrival gate, with transport (International Terminal only) through the airport to your connecting flight.
For any issues upon arrival in Thailand, please contact Bangkok Tour Manager, Mr. Supakorn Saripha at (66-81) 797-1722 (24-hour), or Ms. Ruay Kirana at (66-81) 455-9990 (24-hour), if you have questions or concerns.
Please check your trip documents for the following arrangements made for your arrival in Bangkok:
- Private Charter Landing and Ground Services with Transport
- Fastrack Immigration. Upon exiting aircraft, an agent will escort you through expedited immigration.
- Private Car or Helicopter Transfer to Hotel: Upon exiting aircraft, an agent will escort you and your bags from the arrival gate, through expedited immigration with your luggage delivered and portaged to your car.
- Intra-Terminal Airport Escort
- Airport Lounge or Short Stay: Airport lounge services have been reserved for your party. Please proceed to any of the lounges noted on map
- Airport Hotel (Novotel): Accommodation has been arranged at the Novotel Airport hotel, located 300 yards from the main terminal A hotel shuttle bus also operates every 10-15 minutes. Refer to your tour itinerary for your reservation number.
-Private Car Transfer (without Fast Track service): After immigration and custom procedures, exit terminal at GATE 6 to meet your car and driver who will be holding a placard with your name.
Novotel Airport Hotel
The Bangkok Airport Novotel is within walking distance of the terminal (about 300 yards via the underground walkway) or by hotel shuttle service running every 10-15 minutes located at Gate 4. The hotel operates as a “24-Hour Flexi,” with no set check in time, arrive and checkout within a 24-hour window.
Novotel Map & Directions (pdf)
Airport Lounge and Short Stay
Louis' Tavern Transit Hotel and lounge offers six locations at the airport. LT offers lounge (with Internet), dayroom (with shower), meal and snack service, overnight superior and suite rooms, massage and sauna. Website: www.dayrooms-ciplounges.com/. Your reservation number is listed in your itinerary.
Indochina Travel Bangkok Contacts:
Thailand Tour Manager Supakorn Saripha at (66-81) 797-1722 (24-hour) or Ruay Kirana at (66-81) 455-9990 (24-hour).
Suvarnabhumi International Airport Web Site: www.suvarnabhumiairport.com/
EmergencY & MEDICAL
We have planned your trip carefully to be as safe as possible. The information and procedures below are what we may use with your or an authorized person’s permission in the event you require medical treatment and/or evacuation. Travelers may follow these procedures independently if needed.
In an emergency, we may attempt to contact doctors at International SOS in Thailand. If necessary, you may be transported to the nearest medical facility for treatment. An air ambulance jet may also evacuate you to Bangkok or Singapore, if necessary. Evacuation service is provided through SOS International (www.sosinternational.com) a long time emergency medical response outfit with offices and clinics throughout the region. We highly recommend you take out this insurance out through us for your trip rather than third parties like TravelGuard.
In Laos, emergency transport will be made to the closest clinic in either Vieng Xai (or air evacuation from nearby Xam Nuea), or if closer, to Luang Prabang or Vientiane with air evacuation from those respective cities. Myanmar evacuation is through Yangon to Bangkok.
Note: After arrival at a clinic or hospital, Indochina Travel cannot be responsible for medical treatment decisions on your behalf. In addition, Indochina Travel assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any emergency medical or evacuation or services ultimately provided.
EMERENCY & INTERNATIONAL SOS CONTACTS
Emergency in Bangkok number to call: 191
B A N G K O K
Bumrungrad International Hospital (โรงพยาบาลบ�ำ รงุ ราษฎร ์
33 Soi Sukhumvit 3 (Soi Nana Nua), Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110
Tel: (66 2) 667 1000 24-hours
INTERNATIONAL SOS SERVICES THAILAND LIMITED
93/1 GPF Witthayu Towers, Tower B, 14th Floor
Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok10330
Tel: +66 2 205 7777
V I E T N A M
1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Lake (24-hour)
Tel: (84-4) 3934 0666 (24-hours), Fax: (84-4) 3934 0556
L A O S
SOS International Emergency Telephone: (66-2) 205 7777 (Bangkok Alarm Center)
C A M B O D I A
SOS Clinic, Home 161, Street 51, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (855) 12 816 911Emergency: callingwithin
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR THAILAND TRAVEL
Is Thailand safe for travel?
Very much so. Thailand has been a top traveler destination for centuries. With a robust and hgh-quality tourist infrastructure, travel is effecient and reliable. Our past travelers always cite how warm and friendly people are, always one of their strongest impressions. Tourists have now visited going on two decades without any issues of violence. Rather, almost every traveler on our tours in the region have been struck how tranquil the country is and how warm and gracious people are to visitors and whose hospitality we've been enjoying since 1994. We'd be happy to put you in contact with our past travelers for their impressions of their Thailand trips.
What to Wear?
Light, cotton (not polyester) clothing is adequate for warmer Thailand in most low-land tourist areas. Revealing clothing is not welcome in this conservative and largely Buddhist region. When visiting religious shrines and temples, modest dress is required and easily removable footwear is recommended since such sacred grounds must be visited only in bare feet (no socks). A sarong is handy for covering up before entering religious sites, such as temples. Bring a hat and sunglasses, and umbrella if traveling during rainy season.
What to Expect?
The Thais are pleasant and warm people, and Thailand features divine cuisine, along with a fascinating culture and reliable infrastructure. You will be safe, always looked after, can expect wonderful service, and a comfortable and a typically pleasant if not exceptional trip. However, soem rural places in Thailand remain a primitive and undeveloped country, with the inconveniences are random issues that arise with travel in such places such as delays and lack of infrastructure.
No doubt you will be moved by the wonderful people you meet along the way, some who live in poverty. It may be hard not to feel compelled to give something, but think about doing so will change the dynamic of your people encounters and those who follow you. If you do feel compelled to give, we recommend pens, simple to carry with you, useful and beyond the budget of most families. We never encourage giving money, candy or the like. For giving before or after your trip, we recommend these charities.
Pleasee note that your pre-tour packet will include more Thailand travel information than posted here. Considering a Thailand holiday with us? With 20 years experience in Indochina, we know our stuff! Please contact us with any questions you may have, either in our San Francisco reservations office at (415) 680-3788 or our Bangkok office at (66-81) 797-1722.
Our 23rd Year © 1993-2016 Indochina Travel | Calif. Seller of Travel: 2090856-50