Amazing Thailand 13 Days

Thailand & Cambodia 15 Days

From £980  Including VAT

       Code: NHFAT14/16         

Bangkok - Ayuthaya - Sukhothai - Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai - Shanghai - Siem Reap (Optional)



Immerse in the tales of these three ancient Empires, Thailand, Cambodia, and China on this unforgettable Asia adventure. Visit famous reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok; Tour UNESCO Ayuthaya, the ancient capital with its impressive archaeological treasures and Sukhothai, first capital of the Siam Kingdom; Meet face to face with Long Neck of Salong tribes, and other colourful cultures in Chiang Mai; Enjoy the unique luxury experience and great view in 5 Star Mountain Spa Resort; See elephants bathing in Elephant Camp; and Stand in awe of the architectural achievement of Angkor Wat of Khmer Empire. Finally relax in the crossroad of modern and old on the night cruise on Shanghai Huangpu River.








Day 1 - Bangkok 

Touch down in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city. Upon arrival, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel.



Day 2 - Bangkok (B)

Bangkok radiates modernity with a deep root in Buddhist tradition. Explore the city starting with the Reclining Buddha, a signature sight representing Buddhism. Take a stroll by China town, and visit the largest local wholesale ower market at Paklong Talat. In the afternoon, take a boat ride along the Chao Phaya River and Canals by a local speed boat. Visit Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, one of Thailand’s best known landmarks built in the 17th century by King Taksin. Spend your evening at your own leisure, or enjoy an optional Thai dinner (£45) while watching classical dance at the Silom Village Restaurant.




                    



Day 3 - Bangkok (B)

Enjoy the free day at your own leisure or join our Bangkok Palace & Floating Market Tour (£85). This interesting optional tour will take you to the rural yet world-famous floating market of Damnernsaduak. Nowadays, the market is bustling with activity from very early in the morning until about 11.00 am. For those who want to buy some memorabilia here, do not forget to bargain! During this optional tour we will also visit the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha Temple, regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand, the emerald Buddha housed in the temple is a potent religio-political symbol and the palladium of Thai society. Lunch will be served at local Thai Restaurant. In the evening, you may watch an optional Siam Niramit Light & Sound Show (£60), a world class showcase of Thai culture with incredible visual effects, followed by a classic Thai dinner.



                 



Day 4 - Bangkok - Ayuthaya (B, L, D)

After breakfast, be transferred to the historic city of Ayutthaya, the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai for over 400 years, once the largest city in Southeast Asia. Start the city tour by visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Park in the city centre, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The remains, characterized by the reliquary towers and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of its glorious past, envision the grandeur and splendor that once was the Kingdom of Ayutthaya as you walk through the ancient town. After lunch, con- tinue to the Chai Wattanaram Temple, built by King Prasat Thong, a commoner who overthrew the previous king and took his throne. Here, you can enjoy the peaceful and tranquil surroundings of Siam before dinner.



                 



Day 5 - Ayuthaya - Sukhothai (B)

Start your morning with visit to a local school on the way to Sukhothai, birthplace of the Thai nation. Sukhothai is world famous its over 100 historical sites and treasures, including some of the most beautiful Thai art and architecture in the country. Visit to the Old Town of Sukhothai with its impressive Historical Park, immaculately restored and set among leafy hills and peaceful lotus ponds, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At this astonishing site, most of the remains of the original city can be seen. Marvel at the ancient Buddha gures, palaces, temples and historical monuments and feel yourself drift back in time to a bygone era.



                 



Day 6 - Sukhothai - Golden Triangel Tour - Ching Rai (B, L)

After breakfast, check out and be transferred to Chiang Rai. Our onwards trip takes us now via Phayao and Chiang Rai to Mae Sai which is geographically the most northern town of Thailand on the border to Myanmar. The two countries are connected by a bridge over the Mae Sai River, which allows a lively cross border traffic between the Thais and Myanmar. Ascend to the hilltop viewpoint to see the famous “Golden Triangle” of Southeast Asia - meeting point of the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Savor a locally prepared lunch in a nearby farming village. Continue to the dramatic Hall of Opium at Golden Trian gle Park, offering an informative exhibition on the history of opium which dates back almost 5000 years.



                 




Day 7 - Chiang Rai (B)

Enjoy your free day to explore Chiang Rai at your own leisure, or you may join in the op- tional excursion to 3 hilltribe villages and Wat Rong Khun (£50). Take this rare opportunity to visit the three hilltribe villages - Karen Hilltribes (Long Neck people), Akha hilltribe and Yao hilltribe and to see their unique way of life and learn more about their culture. Go back to Chiang Rai and move on to the majestic Wat Rong Khun – or White Temple – to wrap up your journey. The ornate structure is lime-sculpted, with Thai designs and small mirrors on the outer wall, making the building sparkle under the sunlight.



                 

 



Day 8 - Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai (B, L)

Breakfast at hotel and check-out. On the way to Chiang Mai, drive thru Mae Ka Chan, which is famous for its hot springs. Lunch at a local restaurant, then continue your trip through scenic hillsides and jungles to Chiang Mai, the “Rose of the North“. Visit Sankampang Street, center of handicrafts, for on-site demonstrations on how the silk, lacquer, silver, wood and bronze wares are made before check-in at your hotel in Chiang Mai. Enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure.



                 




Day 9 - Chiang Mai City & Temples Tour (B, D)

Breakfast at hotel. This morning, visit the most sacred temple in the North of Thailand: Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is the most sacred temple in Chiang Mai and contains a holy relic of the Lord Buddha. Drive back down to the city centre to visit Wat Suan Dok, which dates back to the 14th century when the Thai monarchy was taking leisure walks in its gardens. Nowadays, it houses several white Chedis, all containing the ashes of Chiang Mai’s former Royal family, and features one of the most famous Monk Schools in the whole locality of Chiang Mai. We will also visit Wat Jedyod, also known as The Temple of Seven Spires. Enjoy the afternoon at your own leisure, and tonight, experience the simple Lanna way of life with dinner hosted by a local family. You will also have the opportunity to join the cooking for your meal. Your evening meal will be served on the second oor terrace of the home of Raunkaew-yanon family from where you will enjoy the panoramic view of this Lanna village.This tour is designed to give you a real experience and understanding of Lanna life, the traditions and buildings, the relationship between their religions and ancestor and the way this all works together with nature.



                    




Day 10 - Chiang Mai (B)

Enjoy the free day at your own leisure or join the Elephant Kingdom Tour (£55). This morning, travel northwest through an area famous for its waterfalls and scenic views, to visit “Elephant Kingdom”, an educational Elephant Camp Program. Here, see elephants bathing in the running streams, attend a lecture on the Thai Elephant, and learn how the mahout train and command these majestic animals. You may also be able to give the elephants bananas and sugar cane, two of their favorite treats. Travel to an Orchid & Butterfly farm in the north of Mae Rim area and savor a buffet style lunch. Afterwards, explore the gardens of orchids and visit the butterfly farm. At the end of the day, pamper yourself with an optional Thai massage(£50).



                    



Day 11- Chiang Mai - Shanghai (B)

This morning, transfer to the airport for the ight to Shanghai via Bangkok. Transfer to the hotel and free at leisure for the rest of the day.



                    




Day 12 - Shanghai (B, L)

In the morning, tour Shanghai Museum, to see ancient Chinese art, furniture and jade, followed by a visit to an Emerald exhibition center. Then visit the City God Temple Bazaar, which is composed of specialty stores, selling traditional Chinese arts and crafts, medicine and souvenirs. Followed by a walk along the famous Bund, a mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River. It is the best place to capture the western in uences of the old days. In the evening, you may join the Huangpu river night cruise optional tour (£50).



                   




Day 13 - Shanghai - Hometown or extension tour (B)

Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and transfer to the airport. Fly back home or to your next destination!



                    


Extend to Cambodia for 16 Days

Extend to Cambodia for 15 Days



Day 11 - Chiang Mai - Siem Reap (B, D)

This morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor temples; arrival and transfer to your hotel. Later, walk through the city’s center with its variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and local merchants o ering handmade silk goods and the famous Cambodian puppets. This evening, enjoy a typical Cambodian dinner and a traditional Apsara show.



                    




Day 12 - Siem Reap (B, L)

Today, you’ll understand why the architectural masterpieces of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, are designated as one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”. On the visit to the fortified city of Angkor Thom visit the Elephants Terrace and Terrace of the Leper King, all adorned with dramatic bas-reliefs. Continue to the mysterious Bayon Temple, highlight of Angkor Thom, replete with beautifully preserved bas-reliefs and more than 172 giant smiling stone faces. On to the monuments of Ta Keo, Prasat Kravan and Srah Srang before arriving at Ta Prohm, where the jungle was left untouched, as it appeared to European explorers. The highpoint of the day is the vis- it to stunning Angkor Wat, a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. World-famous for its beauty and splendor, Angkor Wat has the longest con- tinuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the entire outer gallery walls, narrating stories from Hindu mythology. Stay to experience the unforgettable sunset - a view that cannot be compared to anything you have ever seen!



                    




Day 13 - Siem Reap - Shanghai (B) 

This morning, drive along the rolling verdant hills of the farm lands, stopping for a ride on an ox-cart, the vehicle still being used today by local farmers. Arrive at Tonle Sap Lake in the heart of Cambodia, with its rich and diverse ecosystem. Embark on a serene boat excursion - observe the local life unfolding and the oating shing villages that dot the shoreline. Later, visit to the National Museum with its multi-media exhibits depicting the Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom. Depart Siem Reap tonight to Shanghai(23:00 flight). Transfer to the hotel and have a good rest.



Day 14 - Shanghai (B, L) 

In the morning, tour Shanghai Museum, to see ancient Chinese art, furniture and jade, followed by a visit to an Emerald exhibition center. Then visit the City God Temple Bazaar, which is composed of specialty stores, selling traditional Chinese arts and crafts, medicine and souvenirs. Followed by a walk along the famous Bund, a mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River. It is the best place to capture the western in uences of the old days. In the evening, you may join the Huangpu river night cruise optional tour(£40).


Day 15 - Shanghai - Hometown or extension tour (B) 

Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and transfer to the airport. Fly back home or to your next destination!










Price Guide

  • Please click on your selected date/ price to book. All Price in GBP
  • Airport taxes apply to every guest
  • Prices are based on twin share accommodation 

Payment Arrangement

  • A GBP £300/person nonrefundable deposit at time of booking
  • Balance due 3 months prior to the departure
  • Last minute booking 100% payment when booking



Departure Dates   Price (double occupancy)CAD P,P
International flight included
Return Date N/A Package Price
2018/09/16 2018/09/28 N/A £980
2018/09/23 2018/10/05 N/A £980
2018/10/14 2018/10/26 N/A £980
2018/10/28 2018/11/10 N/A £980
2018/11/04 2018/11/16 N/A £980
2018/11/11 2018/11/23 N/A £980
2018/11/25 2018/12/07 N/A £980
2019/01/13 2018/01/25 N/A £980
2019/01/27 2019/02/08 N/A £980
2019/02/24 2019/03/08 N/A £980
2019/03/03 2019/03/15 N/A £980
2019/03/17 2019/03/29 N/A £980
2019/04/07 2019/04/19 N/A £980
2019/04/21 2019/05/03 N/A £980
2019/05/12 2019/05/24 N/A £980
Single Supplements +£699




Price Include
  • All transportation (internal flights, cruise, coach)
  • All 4-5 Star deluxe hotel accommodation (based on double occupancy)
  • Meals and featuring regional delicacies mentioned in the itinerary
  • All visits and admission fees including entertainment shows mentioned in the itinerary
  • English speaking guide

Price Not Include

  • £350/pp Taxes and fuel surcharges apply to all guests.
  • Chinese Visa Application fee multiple entries : GBP £180/person.
  • Prepaid Tipping: GBP £150/pp for the entire trip
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal expenditures

Day2 Thai Dinner & Classical Dances at Silom Village 

£45 Pre-book

This evening introduces you to mystical dances,Thai food and a truly Thai ambiance. During dinner feast your eyes on the grace and beauty of the dancers, elegantly performing stories from classical Thai literature and folklore. These traditional colorful costumes must be captured on camera.




Day3 Bangkok Tour with Boat Ride & Lunch

£55 Pre-book

Pay a visit to Royal Grand Palace and famous of Emerald Buddha Temple ( Wat Phra Kaeo).You will board on a motor boat to meander through winding waterway along the Chaopraya river and canal on Thonburi side. A stop will be made atWat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn and continue to restaurant. Lunch will be served at local Thai Restaurant .Then proceed to The Ananta Samakhom Thone Halll which was constructed in the Italian Renaissance and Neo classic style of architecture




Day3 Siam Niramit Light & Sound Show with Dinner

£60 min 4pax

An extravagant show about the history of Thailand that involves stunning costumes, skillful dancers, entertaining music, state-of-the-art techniques and cutting-edge light and sound system. It is a must see for all those who visit Bangkok.







Day8 Phuket Fantasea Dinner & Show

£80 

Begin your journey of enhancement with the
world’s grandest buffet.Come to the amazing Festival Village for a truly unique shopping experience!
Cultural Illusion Show is the award-winning,
Las Vegus-style production spectacle colorfully
blending the beauty of Thai culture with magical
illusions, 4-D effects, aerial ballet, acrobatics, pyrotechnics,special effects, exciting stunts and an
elephant circus featuring over 30 elephants. All
into one unforgettably unique theatrical experience
guaranteed to delight visitors of all ages.



Day 9 Full Day Phi Phi & Bamboo Islands by Speedboat with lunch

£85

Departing from the pier by speedboat, travel first to Bamboo Island to relax on the private beach with its sparkling white sand. Next, on to Hin Klang, where you can snorkel in crystal clear waters above the coral reef with its colorful marine life. Lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to Nui Bay (Camel Rock) and to Monkey Beach where you can feed the monkeys. Arrive at magnificent Phi Phi Islands, rising from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, and then give way to beach-fronted jungle. Here, discover the beautiful scenery of Maya Bay, the site where the movie “The Beach” was partially filmed.
Spend the rest of the day swimming, sunbathing or just relaxing at the beach before transferring back to the hotel.



Day 10 Phang Nga Bay - James Bond Island
£75

Phang Nga Bay is one of the most beautiful bays of Thailand. It is known for its gravity-defying limestone formations. The most famous of the many islands in the bay is the so-called James
Bond Island, a needle formed limestone rock in the sea, which featured in the movie “The Man
with the Golden Gun”. The tour starts by taking a coach bus ride to Phang Nga province, visit the Buddha Cave Temple (Suwannakuha), also known as Monkey Temple. Enjoy some fun play time with the monkeys before we depart from Kra Som Pier to Ao Phang Nga National Park by open air longtailed boat.Landing at Khao Phing Kan island and the renowned James Bond Island. Enjoy delicious Thai and seafood lunch on Panyi Island (Sea Gypsy Village), where an entire Muslin fishing village were built on stilts in the sea and connected by wooden bridges. Spend some time explore the area and browse the local souvenir shops before returning back.



Tour Extensions


Phuket 4Days/3Nights from £499


Day 1 - Chiang Mai -Phuket (B)

Depart Chiang Mai and transfer to Bangkok airport for ight to Phuket. Thailand ́s largest island of Phuket, is situated o the west coast of Thai- land in the Andaman Sea. This fun island provides an unbeatable combi- nation of perfect silky soft white palm-lined beaches, superb hospitality, along with rich and colorful history. After arrival, this afternoon is yours to relax.

Day 2 - Phuket (B)

Full day at leisure to explore Phuket independently. Spend time in Patong, the island’s center where there is always a “happening” on its busy beach. Watch the trendsetters coming in droves to the many restaurants, bou- tiques and luxurious spas. Or, join the optional excursion Phang Nga Bay - James Bond Island Tour with lunch(£75).

Day 3 - Phuket (B)

Today is yours to just relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the beautiful surround- ings. There is plenty to do and much to see in Phuket, including the Aquarium, Butter y and Orchid Gardens and the Thai Village. Or, travel by speedboat on the optional full day excursion to the magni cent Phi Phi Islands(£85). There’ll be time to snorkel in the crystal-clear wa- ters, watch the fantastic colorful marine life or feed the monkeys at Mon- key Beach. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing or just people-watching on the beach before returning to your hotel.

Day 4 - Phuket-Next destination

Explore Phuket on your own today. Then transfer to the airport and y back to your next destination.







     Weather & Climate

Thailand is relatively hot all year round, although officially it has three main seasons. In Summer (March – June), temperatures can soar above 40 degrees, particularly in the northeast and Bangkok. Thai New Year, or Songkran, falls in April, the hottest month. To relieve themselves from the heat, Thais throw water at each other during the three-day Songkran festival.

The rainy season (July – October) brings lots of downpours and heavy rainfall, usually in the late afternoons or early mornings. Temperatures are moderately high, but it can feel very uncomfortable due to high humidity level.

The most welcomed season is the cool season (November – February), which brings a relatively dry and pleasant climate. Temperatures rarely rise above 35 degrees during the day.

See Weather in PhuketWeather in BangkokWeather in Koh SamuiWeather in Chiang MaiWeather in Pattaya



When to Go


The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February, when the climate is relatively cool and dry (25-32°C). While Bangkok usually sees insignificant temperature drop, the northern and northeastern provinces can be rather cold. And if you plan to take a trip into the mountains, be sure to bring a sweater or warm jacket.

December is the festive season, like in the West. Some of the most colourful festivals, such as Loy Krathong, Trooping of the Colours and New Year’s, fall in this period. Major shopping districts, particularly those in Bangkok, add to the year-end spirit by sporting decorative lights and Christmas-theme décors. The only drawback for arriving during this period is that popular destinations are crowded, and hotel rooms are in short supply. Prices for accommodation, tours, transportation and certain goods are usually bumped up to take advantage of the tourist influx.

Arriving between March and May will put you right through Thailand’s summer, when temperatures can climb above 40°C. Coupled with high humidity, it may feel more like you are actually in a giant heated oven with no escape route, except occasional visits to air-conditioned shopping malls and dining establishments. The monsoon season (June-September) is usually very wet and humid. But the good news is that you can always hide out in a mall, spa or restaurant to escape the heavy downpours which usually don’t last more than a couple hours. Also, the rain breathes new life in the countryside, abundant with rice fields and trees. National parks and waterfalls are usually at their best.


What to Wear

Forget tight pants and clinging dresses (at least during the day) and go for light, loose cotton clothing. Formal dresses, suits and ties may be necessary for business travellers or if you plan to visit exclusive dining venues and official events. When visiting temples, certain museums and the Grand Palace, remember to dress politely; shorts, singlets, spaghetti straps, skirts, tank-tops and open backed sandals are not acceptable.


What to Bring

Though you will find most items in Thailand, it might be a good idea to bring certain personal items from home. Remember also to bring any medicine you are taking. Light cotton clothing is recommended in Thailand's tropical climate, as well as a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Your list should include:

  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun glasses
  • Foldable umbrella
  • Pain killers
  • Antiseptic lotion or spray
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication
  • Traveller's first aid kit
  • Drug prescriptions
  • Photocopies of official documents


Tourist Visas

Tourists from many countries (including the US, UK, Germany, France and Singapore) do not require a visa when entering Thailand and can stay for a duration of 30-days. In many of these countries (including the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France and Singapore) you can apply for a 60-day tourist visa before you leave. If you hold a Brazilian, Peruvian or South Korean passport, you are exempted from visa requirements and are permitted to enter and stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 90 days.

Citizens of some other countries are required to apply for a 15-day visa at immigration checkpoints on arrival, while others must apply for one before they leave. It all depends on the particular visa arrangement Thailand has with your home country. The best way to find out is to check with either the Thai Immigration Bureau or the Thai Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Coming to Thailand for business is a whole different story. Check out the Legalities section of our Business Essentials Guide for information about the visas necessary for those looking to work or gain employment here.


Getting into Thailand

Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok is the main air gateway into Thailand. It serves more than 50 international airlines, representing every major carrier in the world. Apart from Suvarnabhumit Airport, regional airports, such as Chiang Mai International Airport, Phuket International Airport and privately owned Samui International Airport, serve a small number of direct international arrivals and departures each day.



Thailand’s International Airports



Getting Around Thailand

By Air
With more than 20 domestic airports in major cities throughout the country, Thailand is well connected by air. Thai Airways has monopoly over most destinations, whereas privately owned Bangkok Airways and budget airlines, such as Nok Air, Air Asia and One-to-Go, serve fewer destinations and fly less frequently. If you are connecting via Bangkok, note that some of Nok Air and One-to-Go flights depart from Don Muang Airport.

By Train
All major rail lines originate in Bangkok, at Hua Lamphong, and cover the four regions of Thailand. Faster and more comfortable than buses, travelling by train is the second best option when commuting across the country. Basically, there are three carriage classes to choose from. First Class offers private 2-person compartment with air-condition and wash basin, although bathroom is still shared. Second Class has both air-conditioned and non-air conditioned cabins, all with upholstered seats that are convertible to bunk beds. Third Class cabins are non-air conditioned, have mostly wooden benches, and seats come on the first-come, first-served basis. Note that not all three classes are available on all routes. First Class cabins are usually available on long-distant trains, while those destined for eastern Thailand usually have only Third Class seats. Apart from the carriage type, there are various types of trains, from ordinary trains (usually with only Third Class seats and stops at every stop along the route) to Rapid, Express, Special Express and Diesel Rail Cars. When travelling by train during major festivals and holidays, always purchase your tickets well in advance.

By Bus
Long-distant buses reach where trains don’t. The government-run Bor Kor Sor is the biggest and offers a variety of bus types, although several private companies provide service to similar destinations. The ordinary buses are suitable for short trips, as they have no air-condition and make virtually every stop along the way. Superior buses range from simple air-conditioned type to comfortable tour buses with reclining seats and hostesses serving drinks. For the routes, each of the main four regional lines depart from various designated terminals. The Ekamai Terminal serves the eastern coastal routes, while Sai Tai Mai (Borom-Ratchachonnani Road) serves the southern routes. Mor Chit Song serves both the northern and northeastern routes. Like the trains, always reserve your tickets in advance when travelling during major holidays.

By Car
Renting a car is a good option for those who prefer more privacy and comfort, as well as those wishing to travel off the beaten path. Major international brands provide services in popular tourist cities. Local rental brands are often less expensive and have more flexible rental policies. Be warned, though, that driving in Bangkok is not for the faint-hearted.

Useful Information

Electric and Plugs

Voltage is 220 Volts with either 2 flat blades (NEMA 1-15 or JIS C 8303) or round 2 pin plugs (Europlug CEE 7/16). You can buy an adapter for shavers, laptop computers, mobile chargers, etc., on arrival at most department stores.


Useful Telephone Numbers

While traveling in Thailand is fairly easy, these phone numbers might come in handy. Write them down and keep them in your wallet, for peace of mind.

  • Tourist Police 1155 (English, French and German spoken)
  • Tourist Service Center 1672
  • Telephone Directory Assistance 1133
  • Thailand Yellow Pages 1188
  • Highway Police 1193
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand 1672
  • Immigration Bureau +66 (0)2 287 3101 to 10
  • Suvarnabhumi International Airport +66 (0)2 132 1888
  • Thai Airways 1566
  • Bangkok Taxi Call Center 1681, 1661, +66 (0)2 424 2222

For emergency numbers, scroll down to Emergencies section.


Currency

The official currency is the Baht. Notes: 1,000 Baht (grey); 500 Baht (purple); 100 Baht (red); 50 Baht (blue); 20 Baht (green). Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10 Baht and 25, 50 satangs (100 satangs = 1 Baht).

Tipping

Tip porters and hotel staff if you've been given good personal service - the amount varies with the kind of hotel. In restaurants around a 10 % - 15% tip is usually the norm, but you don't need to tip in small roadside eating places. Taxi fares should be rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 Baht, especially meter-taxis who don't earn a lot, are pretty knowledgeable and incredibly patient in the Bangkok traffic.


ATM

ATM machines are available at most banks and shopping centres throughout the city. Thai Baht only. ATMs generally have Thai and English language displays and will accept most internationally recognised foreign cards. Many ATM's will also accept cards under the CIRRUS, Maestro, VISA or Mastercard system.


Travellers Cheques / Credit Cards

Most traveller cheques can be cashed at banks. Take your passport or ID. Mastercard and VISA are widely accepted by major banks, restaurants and shops. AMEX and Diners tend to be accepted only at upmarket venues.


VAT Refunds

Value Added Tax (VAT) is payable on a range of goods and services at 7%. If you're visiting for less than 180 days in a calendar year, not an airline crew member, and leaving Thailand by plane, you can claim VAT refund (Non-Thais only) Tel: +66 (0)2 272 6576-79; Fax: +66 (0)2 617 3559.


Communications

Telephone Services

Since September 1, 2006 all telephone numbers in Thailand have ten digits including the area code. The international dialing code for Thailand is 66 and you must drop the 0 from the area code. International direct connections (IDD) to almost every country are provided by the Communication Authority of Thailand (CAT). For directory assistance in the great Bangkok Metropolitan area, dial 13. For directory assistance in the provincial areas, dial 183. For operator-assisted long distance calls, dial 101 for domestic calls, 100 for international calls.


Mobile Phones

Using your mobile phone in Thailand shouldn't be a problem if you arrange for international roaming in your home country. Normally the phone charge is calculated from your home country to the destination number and can be very expensive. True, AIS, DTAC are the leading service providers. If you will be staying in Thailand for a while, it is worth considering purchasing a SIM card with a prepaid option – it’s much less expensive than roaming as well as making it easier for local parties to reach you. Cards to upload credit are available from convenience stores (e.g. 7/11) nationwide. A good place to buy a local SIM card or handset is MBK, where an entire floor is dedicated to mobile communications.


IDD (International direct dialing)

Available from most hotels. Check rates, hotels often levy a surcharge. Costs vary with the time of day and charge for a minimum of 1 minute) Dial 100 for Operator-Assisted Overseas. For IDD dial 0044 followed by country and regional codes.


Public Telephones

Public telephones are found throughout town. International calls can be made at those marked as international phones which are found at the airport and most tourist areas, and generally take credit cards or calling cards which are available at convenience stores.


Internet

Most hotels and serviced apartments have internet access, either directly from the room if you plug in your laptop or from their business centre. Charges vary, additional surcharges times may apply, so check first. There are also internet cafes in most shopping areas, which are generally expensive. Connections, however, can be slower than in your home country. As for internet service providers, there are 18 commercial ISPs and a number of non-commercial providers with services ranging from 56K dial-up to ISDN broadband. Both prepaid and subscriptions options are available.


Postal Services

Thailand's postal services are generally reliant and efficient. Post offices are usually open Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 4.30pm, some are open Saturday 8.30am to 12.00. Normal postal delivery and collection services are made twice a day - morning and afternoon. However, some areas are only serviced once a day. Several individual shops offer reliable postal services, but add a small service fee on top of the regular postage. Major hotels provide basic postal services on their premises. International courier services are also available and include DHL, Federal Express, TNT, UPS and Air Borne.


Fax Service

Facsimile services are provided at major hotels and otherwise found at business service centres throughout town.



Time Zone

Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +7 hours.



Holidays

Thailand is quite generous when it comes to national holidays; many of which are regulated by the lunar calendar, meaning the actual date changes from one year to the next.

  • Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Feb (full moon) – Makha Buja
  • April 6 – Chakri Day
  • April 13-15 – Songkran (Thai New Year)
  • May 1 – Labour Day
  • May 5 – Coronation Day
  • May (full moon) – Visakha Buja
  • July (full moon) – Asanha Buja
  • Aug 12 – Mother’s Day
  • Oct 23 – Chulalongkorn (Rama V) Day
  • Dec 5 – Father’s Day
  • Dec 10 – Constitution Day
  • Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve

Business Hours

The business hours in Thailand vary according to the type of business. Shopping Malls usually open around 10:00 and close between 20:00 and 22:00. Banks open from 9:00 to 15:30 (Mon-Fri), except those located inside shopping malls which open and close a bit later, but usually no later than 10:30 – 20:00 (daily). Smaller businesses have individual hours. Pubs and bars open at different times but close at 01:00, except those located in the designated entertainment zones. Government offices open at 8:30 and close at 4:30, with one-hour lunch break from noon to 13:00.


Alcohol Sales

The sale of alcohol is heavily regulated in Thailand. You can only buy between 11:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – midnight, no alcohol sale is allowed on the King’s or Queen’s birthdays, election weekends and special religious holidays.


Health

Mosquito bites are annoying enough in themselves, but on top of that, some tropical diseases are insect borne, so applying mosquito repellent after sunset is a must. Gastro enteric problems are among the most common ailments visitors to Thailand complain about. These are generally the result of consuming contaminated food or water, so be careful about where and what you eat.

A funny stomach can also be related to the change of climate. Remember, Thailand is a tropical country and the extreme heat and humidity can affect your overall well-being. In order to avoid dehydration, make sure you drink plenty of water. You'll see that the locals love their drinks with ice, even beer! But you might want to avoid ice cubes or crushed ice, due to possible contamination, and stick with bottled drinks, which are available in most places. Alternatively carry your own.

You'll also find that there is an abundance of food at all times both at day and night. If you eat at any of the roadside stalls, check that your food is freshly prepared in front of you, and you hopefully won't have any problems.


Language

Thai (official). English is fairly widely understood and spoken in most tourist areas. Bilingual Thai / English road signs are found on all road signs, BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway stations and some local buses.


Thai Cultural Etiquette

The Thai Royal Family are deeply revered, and you will see portraits of them throughout the country. At the cinema you must stand for the royal anthem before the film is screened. Anger is regarded as crude and lacking in self discipline. Remain calm and smile and you will find all sorts of doors opened. It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object. Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body and do not appreciate anyone touching them there, even as a friendly gesture. You should dress appropriately when visiting temples. Don't go shirtless, in shorts, hot pants, short skirts or spaghetti straps. Remove your shoes when entering a Thai home or Buddhist temple. Buddha images large or small, ruined or not, are regarded as sacred. Don't take photographs or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. While on the rise in Bangkok, extreme public displays of affection are often frowned upon. By all means, hold hands if the urge takes you.

Emergencies

Emergency Phone Numbers

Let's hope you will never be in a situation where you require emergency services, but in case you do, rest assured, Bangkok's numerous hospitals can provide help in urgent situations.

  • Police: 191
  • Fire: 199
  • Ambulance: 1554
  • Bumrungrad International (emergency): +66 (0)2 667 2999
  • Samitivej Sukhumvit Ambulance Hotline: +66 (0)2 712 7007
  • Bangkok Hospital emergency room: +66 (0)2 310 3102




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