The national language is Thai, a tonal language with its own alphabet. If you wish to take a taxi to a specific destination, you need to be equipped with the Thai language, as taxi-drivers who speak and understand English are few and far apart! Bilingual Thai / English road signs are found on all road signs including BTS and some local buses.
Travellers should check the visa regulations at a Thai Embassy/Consulate prior to their journey. All foreign nationals entering Thailand must hold valid passports. At the airport, citizens from most countries will be granted a free transit visa valid for a period of up to 30 days, provided that they have a fully-paid ticket out of Thailand.
The unit of currency is Baht(Thb). ATMs generally display both Thai and English info signages and will accept most internationally recognised foreign cards. Many ATMs also accept cards under the CIRRUS, Maestro, VISA or MasterCard system. Most traveller cheques can be cashed at banks with proof of passport or ID.
Bangkok is the paradise for shoppers. From high fashion outlets to bargain hunting markets and specialty stores, shoppers will be spoilt for choice with the extensive range of products on offer.
Browse for trendy buys in one of the many well-known shopping malls, such as Central Chidlom and stop for lunch or dinner in one of the many eating pots. Walk along Rama IV Road or Sathorn Road and find inexpensive delectable treats around every corner.
Take a trip to the famous Chatuchak market and be amazed at the selection of wares available. From clothing to accessories, art to pets, Chatuchak market embodies the variety of Bangkok’s shopping. Chinatown Centre, located on Yaowarat Road and Sampheng Lane boasts a variety of gold shops and traditional shopping places such as Ban Mo Jewellery Street and Phahurat Cloth Market. Other sites for jewellery and gemstones are situated along Mahesak Road and Charoenkrung Road.
Located on Maharat Road, near the Memorial Bridge, Pak Khlong Talat is an ideal place to buy all kinds of cut flowers and vegetables for the household. About 80 kilometres west of Bangkok, is the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. It is accessible by bus from the Southern Bus Terminal. The variety of wares and the busy atmosphere is indeed a worthwhile experience.
Goods purchased in Thailand are inclusive of VAT 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 for VAT refund (Non-Thais only).
Tipping is not expected, but is increasingly more common. A 10% service charge is normally added to the total bill at most hotels and restaurants. In restaurants, tipping is usually between 10 % - 15% but at small roadside eating places, it is not necessary for tips. Taxi fares should be rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 Baht, to 'reward' the knowledgeable metered taxis-drivers who remain incredibly patient even in the midst of the infamous Bangkok traffic!
Banks and Government offices:
In general, banking hours are from 9.00 am to 3.30 pm Monday to Friday, and 9.30 am to 11.30 am on Saturdays.
Most offices open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday, and 8.30 am to 12.00 pm on Saturday.
Shops (Hours vary):
Shops generally operate from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm from Monday to Sunday.
Bangkok is a city brimming with exotic taste experiences and innovative food sensations. Apart from renowned Thai cuisine with its blend of spicy, sour, sweet and salty taste, there's also many other national dishes from every country to be found. Dining options are as unpredictable as some of the cuisine on offer; from great-value food courts, riverside bar-restaurants, Thai-style dining in teak pavilions, air-conditioned fine dining to international and local fast food chains. Bangkok offers a total eating experience even forthe fussiest gourmet foodie!
Travellers can move around Bangkok by buses, private cars and vans, taxis, tuk tuks, motorcycle taxis and ferry services. A little knowledge of the widely spoken Thai language is helpful when asking for directions or bargains. Bring along your accommodation card when heading out as it usually comes in handy.
There are 3 mobile telephone service providers - Tue Move, AIS and DTAC.
Travellers should seek medical advice at least three weeks prior to their trip to Thailand. Protect yourself against mosquito bites at all times and be careful about what and where you eat. On the whole, if you follow the general guidelines, you should not experience any major problems. Should medical attention be required, rest assured that Thailand provides excellent health services. In fact, the medical services are regarded as being so exceptional, that the Kingdom is increasingly becoming popular as a health tourism destination.
Voltage is 220 Volt AC with flat 2 pin plugs. You can buy an adapter for shavers, laptop computers, mobile chargers, etc., on arrival at most department stores.
New Year's Day; Chinese New Year; Makha Bhucha Day; Chakri Memorial Day; Songkran Festival; National Labor Day; Coronation Day; Visakha Bucha Day; Buddhist Lent Day; HM The Queen's Birthday; Rama V Memorial Day; HM The King's Birthday; Constitution Day