On your way to Siam?
Here is an overview page about Thailand practical travel information.
Get time-saving tips on
• how to get a visa
• what passport information you need
• getting around
• watching your health in Thailand
• weather and weather forecast for what to bring
getting to Pattaya and elsewhere
• which money issues you'll face
• what maps to bring and more...
Rest easy - In each section you find links you can follow to detailed information on a topic.
Thailand's visa requirements and Passport Information can be pretty tricky. What's more, they can change, and do.
Passport required - which must be valid at least 6 months and in good condition.
Also depending on the Airline you are flying with, they may not let you board if you carry a passport with a validity of less than 6 months. If you plan on staying in Thailand for longer it may be a good idea to make sure to carry a passport with sufficient validity for the duration of your stay.
Most travelers and visitors to Thailand will be issued a "visa on arrival". Please make sure in advance that your country of origin is on the visa exempt list before leaving your home country.
Most foreign nationals entering Thailand without a visa will be granted a 30 day Visa exemption when arriving by air and 15 days visa on arrival when entering Thailand via overland border checkpoints. Also see Thailand Visa requirements.
Make sure you know about this because if you mess up you will have to pay a fine for each day missed. In fact at the airport there is a special desk and officer waiting for people who've forgotten how long their stay is valid for.
"Where is your embassy?"
Whether you are just visiting Thailand, have a personal or business relationship in Thailand, money matters. The Thai currency is the Thai Baht.
At the time of this writing the exchange rate is about 30 Baht to 1 $ US.
Check the current rate at a downtown bank or online. There are several ways you can bring money with you, withdraw at an ATM machine, have the money transferred to your Thai bank account, or have it send to you.
Unless you are entering Thailand from Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, or Myanmar (Burma), flying is the only way to enter Thailand.
There are many airlines that fly to Thailand and BKK Airport is a hub to many South East Asian countries. See 'Getting to Pattaya' if you are visiting Pattaya.
Here is an overview of the means of transport within Thailand. Getting around Thailand is very easy and there are numerous means of transportation for any and all budgets. Thailand is not known for being the safest country when it comes to driving.
There is an excellent nation-wide network of cheap buses and V.I.P buses, taxis and a limited railway system. Also visit Bell Travel Bus Service for bus service in the Bangkok Pattaya area.
Domestic flights are available, are very good, and inexpensive compared to many other countries but if you visit 'out of the way places' you may not be able to get there by plane.
Have The Tourist Information Handy
Time In Thailand or, Thailand's Standard Time is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Thailand does not have a DST or daylight saving time scheduled and the time will not change like it does in other parts of the world. All of the above is the same for the time in Pattaya.
The weather in Thailand is tropical and can be divided into 3 seasons and these can vary from the north to the south of Thailand.
Also see Pattaya's Weather if you are coming to Pattaya.
Electricity in Thailand is 220V - 50Hz. If your electrical device does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz you will need a voltage converter. Before you pack your electrical or electronic devices for your trip to Thailand and plug them in read the Electricity in Thailand page.
Thailand has long enjoyed an unsavory reputation for "sex tourism" that begun during the Vietnam war and grew with world wide affordable world travel. Sensationalist Western Media "Reporters" love to concentrate on Bangkok and Pattaya on the well-known "tourist Sex" industry.
Prostitution is a very old, even ancient phenomenon, and is not something that begun with tourists in Thailand and South East Asia.
However, a more than unpleasant by-product of the new "sex tourism" is AIDS which has been brought to Asia. Reduce the risk of getting AIDS or other STD's by using condoms (properly).
Use condoms and you'll save yourself from getting most STD's. Be sure to watch your health in Thailand.
Many stores and street vendors are selling pirated (enterprise-level software license infringements a.k.a. piracy) Music CD's, DVD's and Software.
Be aware of the fact that even though you may have no problem with the purchase but you have problems with the custom of your home country when importing the items (especially in bulk). It is not uncommon to find software worth hundreds of dollars for 400 Baht.
Thousands of tourists have reported that they have been cheated when purchasing expensive items. Beware when buying Jewelry, gem stones, antiques, and even a certificate of authenticity does not guarantee that the item is what you have been told.
Beware of pick pockets in crowded places and transportation i.e buses, songtaews, trains etc. just as you would anywhere in the world.
Beware of Taxi drivers or "friendly" strangers who want to take you to any place of business. They usually will take you to places where they will receive a commission and the price may be inflated. Credit card theft and Credit Card fraud is increasing.
Try to pay with cash whenever you can and only use your credit card at very well established businesses.
Thai police have long warned tourists against accepting food and drink from strangers because of the risk of being drugged and robbed. 'But now we are adding one more warning for tourists: Don't rush to kiss a stranger on the mouth or you will end up in a deep sleep,' Lt-Col Akachai said.
Several years ago - members of a transvestite gang in Pattaya admitted to applying strong tranquilisers to their nipples to drug and then rob unsuspecting men!
Thailand is a relatively safe country. Crime against foreigners is low. Violent crime is relatively low as well compared with many other countries yet it does happen in touristy places at times.
Pattaya has its share of violent crime and mostly it involves individuals who are involved in illegal activities. Common sense should suffice to keep anybody safe.
If you are the victim of crime, immediately report to the local police and also the Tourist police. Usually the tourist police speak very good english.
One of the greatest hazards in Thailand and especially in Bangkok and Pattaya is the chaotic traffic. Motorcycle and Scooter drivers are an excellent source of income for the orthopedists and neurosurgeons in Thailand.
Even while wearing helmets (which are sometimes nothing more than a plastic bucket made out of thicker plastic), accident victims still make up a large proportion of hospital "visitors".
Most foreigners are accustomed to look to one side only (depending on what side of the road traffic in their home country drives) before stepping off the sidewalk to cross the street.
This is somewhat of a suicidal habit and you may end up being hit by a motorbike from the other side.
This holds especially true for people coming from the Americas or many European countries since in Thailand driving is left-sided. However you can never be sure because oftentimes people drive on the wrong side of the road!
Tourist Information in Thailand
Overseas offices of Thai tourist information
Thailand Tourist Information
Tourist offices in the Kingdom