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Thailand

THAILAND : THE LAND OF ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES

If you ask 100 people about their favorite place or thing to do in Thailand, you may as well get 100 different answers. For some it is the nice weather and the beaches, for others it is shopping and entertainment. Others again may mention the culture and the food and again some others may talk about the natural beauties. From the green hills of the North to the brusque beauty of the Isan, from buzzing Bangkok to the islands of the South, Thailand has a lot to offer for almost any kind of holiday dreams. If you want to be active and go snorkeling, diving, cycling, hiking or even climbing or you just want to relax with a nice traditional Thai massage on the beach, you name it and you can have it all !


THAILAND DESTINATIONS

bangkok thailand informationBANGKOK: Bustling Bangkok is surely one of the hot spot cities all over Asia. This mega city is rich in diversity and history, magnificent golden temple and stupa, shopping centers, famous for a notorious nightlife and the delicious Thai cuisine. If Frank Sinatra sings "New York never sleeps", Bangkok doesn't even take a nap and has all what it takes. Best time to travel: all year round.


ayutthaya thailand information

SUKHOTHAI and AYUTTHAYA: If you are into the history of "Old Siam", you can not afford to miss these cities. Impressive sites, which are all part of the UNESCO World Heritage and will stun you with a mass of temple- ruins and photo opportunities. Best time to travel: all year round.



kanchanaburi thailand information

KANCHANABURI: take a trip back into the younger history of Thailand and visit the notorious "Bridge on the River Kwai" and take a ride on the "Death Railway", that was built in WW2 under Japanese occupation and cost the lives of thousands of prisoners of war. On top of all that, there is the River Kwai Valley, several national parks, with beautiful waterfalls and vast areas of jungle for trekking. Best time to travel: all year round.


chiang rai, chiangmai tour in thailand

CHIANG RAI & CHIANG MAI: the sister- cities in the North are most famous for the beautiful surrounding nature, the many temples and the ethnic minorities, who have managed to keep many of their traditions and add enormously to the culture of Thailand. Best time to travel: all year round.


isaan thailand travelISAN: the northeastern region of Thailand is not yet (touristic) fully discovered, although the saying is "You have not been to Thailand, if you have not been to Isan". Given that there are fewer important sights to see compare to other popular destinations but Isan makes up for that with a special type of cuisine, a beautiful, seasonally changing scenery and some of the most genuine people in the country. If you give Isan a chance, it sure will win your heart. Best time to travel: all year round.


pattaya beach guideTHE GULF OF THAILAND: this is usually the name for a whole region of very different seaside resorts. Pattaya and the never ending party, the quieter version in Jomtien, the fairly undiscovered area around Rayong and the small island- pearl of Samed to the East. The rather quiet and family- friendly destinations of Cha Am, Hua Hin and Pranburi with some excellent national parks, to the South. This destination caters to very different audiences. Best time to travel: though the mainland resorts are marketed as "all year round"- destinations, the weather is slightly better from October to April.


koh chang beaches

KOH CHANG: Thailand's second biggest island is kind of a "sleeping beauty". Although the infrastructure is well developed and some of the beaches are really nice, the nature is stunning and although Koh Chang has it's own airport to provide guests with a rather short journey from Bangkok, the island never made it "big time". Families, couples and nature lovers should find ideal possibilities on the jungle- covered island. Best time to travel: November to end of March. The rest of the year often sees torrential rain and strong winds.


koh samui, koh phangan, koh tao partyKOH SAMUI, KOH PHANGAN & KOH TAO: Three names and three very different destinations. Samui - Thailand's 3rd biggest island- is fully developed and offers everything from entertainment and shopping to quiet beaches and luxury accommodation. Koh Phangan is famous for the Full Moon Parties and has some stunning nature on display, especially in the rather undeveloped inner parts. Koh Tao is an Eldorado for divers, with most likely the best dive spots on Thailand's east coast. You could even go island hopping and spend your holiday in altogether different places. Best time to travel: from February to October. Especially November and December often see heavy rain and strong winds.


phuket tour holiday

PHUKET & KOH PHI PHI: Phuket is basically the most popular and the "all-in-one"- destination. Thailand' s biggest island offers everything, from breathtaking nature over party and shopping to some of the best beaches in Thailand. Nearby Phi Phi Island is still very popular for day trips, but also becoming a full grown holiday destination on it's own. Both islands can be perfectly combined and are a popular spot for divers and other water sport- enthusiasts. Best time to travel: end of October to April. Phuket, with it's perfect infrastructure, is being discovered as a destination for all year round, more and more.


khao lak beach activities

KHAO LAK & KOH KHO KHAO: the almost 40 km's of beach in Khao Lak are an extremely popular destination. So popular in fact, the reputation as a perfect holiday resort for families and people who seek peace and nature still remain even after attached by Tsunami in year 2004. The infrastructure is very well developed, but doing fine without large shopping centers, bars or jet-skies. Khao Lak and the small and very quiet island of Koh Kho Khao are literally surrounded by national parks, like the famous Khao Sok. Best time to travel: November until April. During rainy season, one of the main attraction, the divers favorite Similan Islands are closed but  Khao Lak might reward you for taking a risk, with low prices and a lot of tranquility.


krabi excursions thailand

KRABI & KOH LANTA: Krabi offers the most spectacular landscape in all of Thailand. Hundreds of limestone rock- formations and islands define the scenic panorama. The beaches in Aonang or Nopparatthara are arguably not among Thailand's greatest, but if you take a "watertaxi", it will take you to some of the whitest, most pristine beaches you have ever seen. Koh Lanta could be defined as the perfect family destination: long, shallow beaches and a well developed infrastructure without some of the negative "effects", guarantee a nice and quiet holiday in beautiful surrounding.

 

THAILAND : GENERAL INFORMATION


IMMIGRATION
: Thailand issues “visa upon arrival”. If you enter the country by plane, your tourist visa will allow a 30 day stay. By land, the length of stay is limited to 15 days. Please note: different visa terms may occur for your nationality. To be sure and safe, please check with the Thai Embassy in your specific country (www.thaiembassy.org)

HEALTH: at the moment there are no compulsory vaccinations required. Before traveling, please check with your doctor. The medical facilities in Bangkok, all major cities and in the bigger tourist destination are excellent and up to international standards.

TIMEZONE: Thailand is 6 hours ahead of UTC (7 in the wintertime).

CURRENCY: Thai Baht (THB)  / 1 US$ = approx. 30 THB.

LANGUAGE: Thai/ English is widely spoken and understood.

TRAVELLING: the safest and most time saving way to travel is by plane. All bigger cities and the major tourist destinations are well connected. Most popular airlines are Thai Airways (TG), Bangkok Airways (PG) and the low cost airlines are Air Asia (FD) and Nok Air (DD). Train travel in Thailand is also safe, cheap and unlike taking a plan, it's a chance to have genuine Thai experience which is making the journey as much a part of your trip, though a train schedule can be unreliable from time to time. Another faster and popular alternative ways to travel are by public buses or mini vans, although the safety standards are often not at international standard.

Traveling in Bangkok, the most convenient way to travel in downtown area, you should take BTS (skytrain) or MRT (metro) to avoid traffic jam. If you are taking a taxi, insist on the meter and don't take taxis, waiting outside hotels, entertainment- areas or shopping centers (except signed taxi- areas). If you want to take Tuk Tuks, negotiate a price beforehand and don't take any offers of the driver, to get you to tailors shop or other similar venues. If you want to travel by rented car, you should be an experienced driver and be aware of left sided-traffic and adventurous driving skills of local drivers.

PUBLIC HOLIDAY:  many holidays are depending on the lunar calendar or Buddhist - believe and are changing from year to year. Some of the fixed holidays are the Thai New Year (Songkhran) from April 13th- 15th, Mother's Day (August 12th), the King's birthday (December 5th), New Year (January 1st), Chulalongkorn Memorial (October 23rd), Constitution Day (December 10th), Chakri day (April 6th), Labor Day (May 1st) and the Crowning Day on May 5th. A novelty in Thailand: if the holiday falls on a Sunday, the next Monday will be given as a substitute- holiday. Banks and offices remain closed.

TAKING PICTURES: it is prohibited to take pictures of any kind of military- facility. As much as Thais love to have their picture taken: please remain civilized and ask for permission.

INTERNET & NEWS: Internet is available in hotels, internet-cafes or some public areas through out the country. International news are available in nearly all hotels and the foreign language papers “The Nation" or “Bangkok Post" provide the necessary information.

ELECTRICITY: 220 Volt with flat 2 pin pligs. Take an adapter, just in case...

TAXES: In most of proper restaurants or hotels, 7% of Vat, 10% of service charge and provincial tax (depend on each province) might be applied on top of the net price.

ATTIRE: Thailand has a tropical climate with strong sunlight. Even on cloudy days, you may get sunburned. Pack mostly light fabrics like linen or cotton. Don't forget sun-protection and cap to cover your head. Have a light jacket or sweater at hand, if you are traveling to the north.

MISC: as soon as you arrive, get a sim- card at your local convenient store. If you are scared of theft: almost all major shopping centers (especially MBK) offer cheap brand mobile-phones for your temporary using purpose.
Thai food is spicy and this kind of spicy is often unbearable for western taste. Especially if you are ordering (cheap and delicious) street- food, you should order “mai pet” (not spicy).

TRAVELERS ESSENTIALS : DOS & DON'TS

(Information from : Tourism Authority of Thailand) 

Thai culture
Thai culture is incredibly warm and welcoming; Thai people are both open to other people’s religious and political beliefs and very proud of their own culture.  However, while sensitive to the behavior of others, Thai people follow some cultural practices that can be awkward for some visitors.  Typically, Thais will not show overt displeasure at someone violating these Thailand cultural norms.  Such behavior is actually an important aspect of Thai culture: Thais do not get visibly upset at others!  That said, it’s better to be aware of these aspects of Thai culture and behave accordingly.
The Monarchy
In Thai culture, people have a deep, traditional reverence for the royal family, and visitors should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the royal family, as well as any image of royal family members.  It is unacceptable to speak ill of the royal family and it is required by both the standards of Thai culture as well as Thai law to stand in honor of the King prior to movie screenings and other public events.
Religion
Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never enter a temple topless, or in shorts, sleeveless shirts, or other unsuitable attire.  It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.
Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph nor do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. 
Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she should first hand it to a man, who can then present it to the monk or she should place it on the ground or table within reach of a monk.
Social Norms of Thailand Culture
Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press their palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally, a younger person or person of lesser social status wais an elder or more senior person, who then returns the gesture.
Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body and the feet as the lowest, both literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home and some places of business.

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