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Climate of Thailand

Thailand has a tropical climate which sees two monsoons in the south and one in the north – ultimately meaning wet and dry seasons. The north of Thailand sees the longest dry season, and the best time to visit is between October and January December when temperatures are cooler and rainfall is at a minimum. At all other times of the year the weather tends to be humid, with Bangkok seeing the highest humidity. March and April are the hottest months throughout the country and best avoided. Dressing for the weather is essential when visiting Thailand, with lightweight, slack cotton clothing being the best bet. The Northern highlands get chilly in the winter, but otherwise it’s usually warm across Thailand.

The busiest season is from December to April, when people are escaping the Northern winters, thus prices are higher and demand greater – especially over the Christmas period. Although the rainy season extends from May to October it consists of tropical showers interspersed with sunshine. During this time the heat disappears under clouds but humidity can be extreme. However, it’s the prettiest time of the year to witness the countryside.

Summer: March to May Hot & Dry Weather throughout Thailand with temperature 28°C to 30 °C
Rainy: from May to September is perhaps & driest monsoon period with temperature 27°C to 30 °C
Cool: from October & November to February is mild and sunny with temperature 24°C to 27 °C
Highest temperatures from March to May and the lowest in December and January.

 

Currency

The currency of Thailand is the baht (THB, ฿), written in Thai as บาท or บ. There are six coins and six notes:

  • 25 and 50 satang (cent, copper colour) coins - nearly worthless and only readily accepted (and handed out) by buses, supermarkets and 7-11s
  • 1, 5 (silver colour), 2 (gold) and 10 baht (silver/gold) coins
  • 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1000 (grey-brown) baht notes
1 Thai Baht = 1 Thai baht = 1.7223 Indian rupees (as on 18 Oct 2012)

 

 

Clothing

To sum it up - This is a conservative country - dress respectfully

  • There is an amazing choice of very smart hotels, bars and restaurants often with a very western feel and it is easy to forget that whilst the hotels may look the same as in the west the Thai people are conservative people.
  • They are quite modest dressers and it's an integral part of their culture, not a fashion statement.
  • No matter how hot it is, don't wear sleeveless tops or short shorts when in public areas.
  • Showing cleavage is also a bad idea and is thought to be in bad taste.
  • Neat, clean clothing makes you look good and is the best bet for good respect from the Thais'.
  • If you are staying in an hotel it's as well to take a light weight cardigan or pashmina shawl as the air conditioning can at times be fierce.
  • People seem to make more of an effort to dress smartly for dinner in the hotels and a smart top or dress and shoes will be useful.
  • If you are going to visit any temples wear shirts or blouses with sleeves and carry a sarong or wear a skirt. Also remember that you will have to take off your shoes. Wear shoes that can be easily removed because you cannot wear shoes in the Buddhist temples. Socks are considered poor form and tacky. Comfortable flip flops or sandals work well if trainers or walking shoes don't appeal.
  • Northern Thailand enjoys a hot daytime temperatures throughout the year although evening temperatures are a good deal lower from October - March when you will need to pack warmer layers or a pashmina for the evenings. Good sturdy walking shoes are vital. Make sure you take plenty of sun cream and bug spray with you as it is very difficult to buy locally in the north and if you do happen to find some - it will be expensive.
  • If you're planning Elephant trekking or even a short ride on one – make sure you have long trousers because you will get dirty and dusty – if not wet.
  • If your trip includes Thailand's islands the key word here is ‘relaxed'. All types of dress are acceptable here and you'll see a huge variety. The weather's always hot, so you really don't need much and if you're backpacking, it pays to pack light. Our advice is to take a day pack with you and buy everything there – clothes and toiletries are just so cheap that it's really not worth carrying them from one country to the other and then back again.
  • If you're here on business then a smart suit is the order of the day, Thai women would normally where a skirt suit rather than a trouser suit.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What's Thailand’s climate like?

There are three seasons in Thailand, although what they are called and when they start is subject to much debate. The Summer “hot” season runs essentially from March through to June, with temperatures between 33 C – 48 C in the day, and not below 27 C at night. The Monsoon “rainy” season runs from July through to November with frequent heavy rain around 5.00pm. The temperatures range from 32 C during the day to 16 C at night.

The winter “cool” season runs from November through to February with temperatures at 32C during the day, to a bearable 16 C at night, although in the North, it could be as low as 12 C. This also doubles up as the dry season During the rainiest months of July to November, we recommend that you pack a light waterproof jacket and a pair of closed shoes.

For an up to date weather report, go to the Thai met-office website http://www.thaimet.tmd.go.th

Are there any poisonous/dangerous animals in Thailand?

Mostly, poisonous animals are found in forests. While participating in an adventurous trip in or near the forest you should be aware of dangerous animals, such as snakes and centipedes. While there certainly are deadly snakes in Thailand it is extremely uncommon for visitors to see one, let alone be attacked and killed by one. Furthermore, there are no man-eating sharks endemic to Thai waters and one’s risk of being killed by a wild tiger is far lower than a road accident.

Dangerous wild animals are not a serious concern for travelers to Thailand. The following are the most dangerous animals you may come across.
Thailand has poisonous snakes, scorpions, centipedes and jellyfish. If you see a centipede, do not try to hold it or touch it, they have an extremely painful sting and if you are stung by one, you will be off your feet for days. Scorpions like to hide in clothing that's been left on the floor, in shoes, under logs etc.

Snakes can turn up anywhere, even in the cities. If you are bitten, call for help immediately but try not to panic as snake bites are easily survivable and treatments are available everywhere. You should use caution when bathing in the sea. Swimmers have received fatal stings from jellyfish. Certain varieties are very dangerous and are found in coastal waters all around Thailand.

Generally, jellyfish stings are just painful and don't pose a threat to life. but you should be aware of the dangers.

Is it safe to drink the water?

Despite the fact that the authorities have made efforts to make tap water meet World Health Organization standards, very few people drink tap water in Thailand, even the local population. Bottled water is widely used instead. Some people actually boil tap water before use, but this will not remove chemical toxins or remnants of whatever else was there before boiling. You should also be careful with ice, as freezing does not protect you from bacteria, viruses or chemicals.

Brushing your teeth with tap water is considered to be safe, although those with very sensitive stomachs may occasionally experience problems. In restaurants, you will find the water to be generally safe. You can always buy small bottles if you like but make sure the seal has not been broken. However, you should be very careful with street vendors and street food stalls. The biggest risk is actually from the cleanliness of the glasses themselves.

You can become very ill indeed if you are not careful. Drink directly from the bottle if you are in any doubt. Don't worry too much about the ice that is served in cafes etc as they usually have the ice delivered to them from government inspected ice factories.

What is the voltage of electricity supply? Do I need to take a converter?

The electricity in Thailand is 220 volts, 50 cycles per second. Most receptacles in Thailand have two prongs, missing the third earth prong at the bottom. However, the newest office and condominium dwellings usually offer the third prong due to increased awareness of the importance of grounding for both safety and equipment damage reasons.

Is it safe to walk the streets at night?

Thailand has more than its fair share of scams, but most are easily avoided with a modicum of common sense.

More a nuisance than a danger, a common scam by touts, taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand is to wait by important monuments and temples and waylay Western travelers, telling them that the site is closed for a Buddhist holiday, repairs or a similar reason.

The 'helpful' driver will then offer to take the traveler to another site, such as a market or store. Travelers who accept these offers will often end up at out-of-the-way markets with outrageous prices - and no way to get back to the center of town where they came from.

Always check at the front gate of the site you're visiting to make sure it's really closed.

Avoid any tuk-tuks in Bangkok. Tuk-tuk drivers might demand much higher price than agreed, or they might take you to a sex show, pretending they didn't understand the address (they get commissions from places). For the same reason, avoid drivers who propose their services without being asked, especially near major tourist attractions. Don't buy any sightseeing tours at the airport. If you do, they will phone several times to your hotel in order to remind you about the tour. During the tour, you will be shortly taken to a small temple, without a guide, and then one shop after another (they get commission). They might refuse to take you back home until you see all the shops. On your way back, they pressure you to buy more tours. Terrorism: National security is currently at the top of the agenda of countries around the world and Thailand is no exception. The insurgency in southern Thailand is limited to the country’s three southernmost provinces and has thus showed no signs of having an effect on the capital.

Nonetheless, Thailand’s tourist destinations are not entirely unlikely targets as they do host millions of international tourists each year. Use whatever caution and common sense you would use a tourist destination in your home country. Drugs: While the situation has lightened somewhat since the severe crackdown of the infamous ‘war on drugs’ in 2003, Thai authorities still draw a hard-line on drugs and possession of even a small amount of marijuana may result in a hefty fine or even jail time and/or deportation.

Foreigners caught trafficking drugs are likely to end up living a hellish existence at the infamous ‘Bangkok Hilton’, Bangkwang prison. Do not be drawn into any suspicious deals, no matter how financially rewarding it may sound to a desperate soul. Furthermore, those offering drugs are not likely to provide guarantees of the content of those drugs and overdoses and adverse reactions to illegal narcotics consumed in Thailand are not uncommon. Be smart and avoid getting involved in illegal drugs in Thailand. Violence: Thais, on the whole, are passive people and manage to maintain a passive environment. However, there is the odd occasion when alcohol fuelled fights break out and the aggressor will stop at nothing with his rage.

Thai men are proud and controlled, but some are known to get drunk easily and if their national or self pride is insulted by an insensitive foreigner they can really ‘lose it’! Some men have also reported rather destructive jealousy-fueled tantrums from their Thai female companions which have left their hotel rooms trashed.
Politically motivated violence, an unfortunate consequence in Bangkok, is not directed in any way at foreigners. While standing in between protesters and riot police to get some photos would not be safe idea, it is unlikely that foreigners would otherwise be injured in politically motivated violence. Women alone: Thailand is generally a safe country for women to travel alone, but there have been a few cases of rape by taxi drivers or women lured by local men into fatal or fearsome situations, particular late at night on the beaches and islands. As with all strange countries, keep your wits about you and be wary of befriending strangers too quickly. Hustlers and touts: Pushy touts are likely to be among the first Thai people you meet upon landing in the Bangkok airport and you are likely to meet many more during your stay.

They will all want to cart you off to some destination or other, all the time with an eye on making a bit of extra money from someone unfamiliar with the city.
Relative to other tourist destinations in developing countries the Thai are generally quite polite and, apart from market vendors and tuk tuk or taxi drivers, they respect your privacy.
A firm ‘Mai ow krap/ka’ (not interested thanks!) will serve you well in most cases and if it does not simply ignoring the persistent pleas and continuing on your path will cause the tout to move on to the next person. Motorcycles: Many consider motorcycle taxis so dangerous in Bangkok that there used only as a last resort when you need to beat the traffic. They can be particularly dangerous for those who have much larger body types than Thai people.

Remember that a motorcycle driver is accustomed to having a thin-framed Thai person on the back of his bike and may at times not leave too much room to negotiate himself through a tight traffic squeeze, including while riding on sidewalks or into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road. Motorcyclists can also be a hazard to pedestrians. Be careful when jaywalking as motorbikes drive quickly through lanes between cars and drive on sidewalks and the wrong side of the road. Finally, it is extremely important never to open a taxi door without looking through the rear window to see if a motorbike is about to speed past, even if you are parked near the curb.

If you hit a motorbike with the taxi door you will be expected to pay damage to both the bike and the taxi as well as medical costs for the injured bike rider.
Buses: getting off and on the buses in Bangkok is not a simple matter. You must be sure that it has come to a full stop, and as such it is best to get off with a group of people and be careful about doing so. Numerous terrible injuries occur every year due to people falling off buses. Construction: Bangkok is one big ongoing construction project and much of the work that was abandoned after the 1997 financial crisis is now being finished off. Sidewalks are a particular hazard, full of holes and sometimes loose debris. Safety laws in Thailand are rather loosely applied and falling masonry and collapsing walls and billboards are a hazard from time-to-time, but seldom cause any widespread casualty. Scams: Tuk tuk drivers, especially those who congregate in tourist areas, are notorious for offering ‘tours’, even on occasion bringing you to the famous site of your choice for free, provided you stop off at look at a jeweler or suit shop along the way.

These scams are arranged with the owner of the shop and making purchases during such a trip is not a good idea as you will be paying far higher rates than you would normally and quite possibly receiving goods of dubious quality. Also be aware of recommendations from taxi drivers when it comes to jewel shops, suits shops, bars and restaurants. Gem scams are the most prolific and every week someone lodges a complaint about losing larges sums of money buying what they thought were cheap ‘illegally smuggled’ Burmese gems, only to discover the goods are fake and the shop gone when they return. The solution to this one is simple; don’t be greedy, and imagine you are scoring a bargain illicitly.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon in tourist areas for travelers to be approached by a clean cut, well dressed man who often will be toting a cell phone. These scammers will start up polite conversation, showing interest in the unsuspecting tourist's background, family, or itinerary. Inevitably, the conversation will drift to the meat of the scam. This may be something as innocuous as over-priced tickets to a kantok meal and show, or as serious as Bangkok’s infamous gem scam.

Once identified, the wary traveler should have no trouble picking out these scammers from a crowd. The tell-tale well pressed slacks and button down shirt, freshly cut hair of a conservative style, and late-model cell phone comprise their uniform. Milling around tourist areas without any clear purpose for doing so, the careful traveler should have no difficulty detecting and avoiding these scammers. Many visitors will encounter young Thai ladies armed with a clipboard and a smile enquiring as to their nationality, often with an aside along the lines of please help me to earn 30 baht.

The suggestion is that the visitor completes a tourism questionnaire (which includes supplying their hotel name and room number) with the incentive that they just might win a prize - the reality is that everyone gets a call to say that they are a winner, however the prize can only be collected by attending an arduous time-share presentation. Note that the lady with the clipboard doesn't get her 30 baht if you don't attend the presentation; also that only English-speaking nationalities are targeted. Another recurrent scam involves foreigners - sometimes accompanied by small children - who claim to be on the last day of their vacation in Thailand, and having just packed all their belongings into one bag in preparation for their flight home, lost everything when that bag was stolen. Now cash is urgently needed in order to get to the airport in a hurry and arrange a replacement ticket for his/her return flight in a few hours time.

What languages are spoken in Thailand?

he main language spoken in Thailand is Thai.
Different parts of Thailand have different dialects and different ways of speaking, so it can be quite difficult to understand Thai speakers from another part of the country. Hill tribes and other ethnic groups have their own languages; for instance there are villages of Chinese settlers in Thailand where little Thai is spoken, or on the islands where sea gypsies have settled. English is the most common second language, and many Thais have studied some level of English either at school or through practice with foreign friends.

Are Internet and email facilities widely available in Thailand?

Internet services are now available at Thailand's leading hotels and at the many “Cyber-Cafes” that are cropping up in all major tourist destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai, Ko Samui, Hua Hin and many more.

When is the best time in the year to visit Thailand?
The best time to visit Thailand is during the winter and summer seasons which run from November to April each year. This is the time when we consider a high season. However, the low season from May to October which coincides with the rainy season features much cheaper accommodation.

As Thailand is full of activities, festivals, shopping malls and markets, cultural places, amusement parks to entertain visitors all year round, it is needless to say that Thailand is the place anyone can enjoy at any moment of the year.

Can I buy a SIM card for my cell phone?
SIM cards of local Thai network providers are widely sold and may be used to call/text both local and internationally.

What should I do if I lost my passport while traveling in Thailand?
In case you lost your passport, make file a report at the nearest police station immediately. Take a copy of FIR report to your national embassy in Thailand in order to issue a new travelling document.

What important phone numbers should I be aware of?
Tourist Police (English, French and German spoken) : 1155
Central Emergency (Police, Ambulance, Fire) : 191
Crime Suppression : 195 or (662) 513 3844
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Call Centre : 1672
Immigration Bureau : (662) 287 3101-10

What are some cultural Do’s and Don’t in Thailand?
Thai people are extremely polite and their behavior is controlled by etiquette and influenced by Buddhism. Thai society is non-confrontational, and as such, you should avoid confrontations at all costs. Never loose, your patience or show your anger now matter how frustrating or desperate the situation because this is considered a weakness in Thai society. It is important to cultivate an air of diplomacy when traveling in Asia. Conflicts can be easily resolved with a smile.

Dress code is also important. Thais like to dress smartly and neatly. Do not wear revealing clothing such as shorts, low cut dresses, and bathing suits as they are considered as improper attire in Thailand. Keep in mind that this type of clothing is only acceptable in the beach. It is advisable to wear long skirts or long trousers when entering a temple. Women should not touch monks. If a woman wants to hand something to a monk, she must do so indirectly by placing the item within the monk’s reach.

Remove shoes when entering houses and temples. Public display of affection between sexes is frowned upon. Avoid touching people. The head is the highest part of the body, so avoid touching it. The feet are the least sacred, so avoid pointing it at anyone or kicking them as it is extremely insulting to do so. Thais usually do not shake hands. The ‘Wai’ is the usual greeting. The hands are placed together and raised upwards towards the face while the head is lowered with a slight bow. The height to which the hands are held depends on the status of the people involved. The higher, the more polite.

In case of monks, higher dignitaries, and elderly, hands are raised to the bridge of the nose, while with equals only as far from the chest. Young people and inferiors are not Wai’d but a slight nod is acceptable. Do not blow your nose or lick your fingers while eating. While Thai people may commonly pick their noses they have high table manners. The right hand must be used when picking up food eaten with fingers.

When entering a foreign culture for the first time, it is highly likely to make a mistake. If you do so in Thailand, just smile or ‘Wai’ and you will be forgiven.

What is the capital of Thailand?
Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (the rough translation of Krung Thep is “City of Angles”) is the capital city of Thailand. It is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand, and is the 22nd most populous city in the world. Bangkok has a recorded population of about 7 million, but the actual number is thought to be much higher. The city is a major economic and financial center of Southeast Asia. Bangkok has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Bangkok became the capital around 1782 when “King Rama I” decided to move across the river from Thonburi, as he thought it was a better place to defend the city from invaders.

Former Capitals include the cities of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, now both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

What is Thailand's premier international air travel gateway?
SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT: GATEWAY TO A GOLDEN LAND
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand’s premier international air travel gateway and a regional center for aviation, links all aspects of air travel and transport. It also supports the country’s travel and tourism development, as befits its auspicious name, “Suvarnabhumi”, (Golden Land), which was bestowed upon it by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Suvarnabhumi Airport was built on 3,100 hectares of land in the Bang Phli District of Samut Prakan Province, about 25 kilometres east of Bangkok. The main access road is an elevated 10-lane highway connected to the outer ring road network. It also connects directly to the Bangkok-Chon Buri (Pattaya) Motorway. The beach resort of Pattaya is an hour and a half’s drive away.

Designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, the airport has the world’s tallest control tower (132.2 metres), and the second largest single building as an airport terminal (563,000 square metres), slightly smaller than Hong Kong International Airport’s 570,000 square metres. It replaces the old Don Muang International Airport which is only being used for select domestic travel and charter aircraft. Built at an estimated cost 155 billion baht, Suvarnabhumi has two parallel runways and two parallel taxiways accommodating simultaneous departures and arrivals. Suharnabhumi has a total of 120 parking bays, five of them capable of handling the Airbus A380. The main passenger terminal building can handle 76 flight operations an hour adding up to 45 million passengers and three million tones of cargo per year.

Above the underground rail link station (scheduled to open in Fall 2009) and in front of the passenger terminal building is the 612-room Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, a member of the Accor Group. The Airport Hotel is a five-minute walk from the airport along a 300-metre underground walkway. The hotel has four restaurants, two bars, a swimming pool, business centre, fitness centre and health spa. Between the hotel and the terminal building are two five-storey car parks with a combined capacity for 5,000 cars. Plans for additional runways and two terminals capable of handling up to 100 million passengers and 6.4 million tonnes of cargo a year are on the drawing board.

Rail networks: A 26.6-km high-speed rail link from the airport to the City Airport Terminal in Makkasan is currently being built, with November 2009 as its planned completion date. The City Airport Terminal network is connected to BTS Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Sukhumvit Line and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Blue Line at Phaya Thai and Phetchaburi stations. The total journey to the airport will take approximately 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) provides a suburban commuter train service between Hua Takhe, the nearest station to Suvarnabhumi on the East line, and the northern suburb of Rangsit through Bangkok and the old Don Muang Airport. A shuttle bus service linking the airport with Hua Takhe railway station is provided by the Bangkok Mass Trasit Authority (BMTA) for 15 baht. The train service is less popular than the bus service as it requires a shuttle bus connection, and it will be phased out when the Airport Express Link is completed.

Departure tax: International travelers departing the airport must no longer pay a departure tax levied by the airport operator, Airports of Thailand. The tax is now included in the price of airline tickets.

 

 

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