Thailand

The friendliness of the people in Thailand is one of many thrills you will get when you visit this exciting country. The many shrines, historic monuments, prime shopping locations and white sandy beaches provide the setting for an idyllic vacation.

Bangkok

Known as the Venice of Southeast Asia and the City of Angels, Bangkok is the first place you should visit when you choose to visit Thailand. Read our Luxury Travel Guide to Bangkok.

Ko Samui

A playground of the monied Bangkok set, Ko Samui is a luxury resort destination in the Gulf of Thailand. It is reached by many daily flights from Bangkok. See Luxury Travel Guide to Ko Samui.

Travel to Thailand

The best way to travel to Thailand is to go as part of a tour. The flight and the hotel reservations are included and you have knowledgeable guides to take you to all the popular destinations.

Food and Drinks

Experience the delight of tasting traditional Thai foods, such as Phad Thai (stir fried noodles). Thai food is known to be very fresh, very healthy and often spicy. If you are new to it, the best way is to order a few dishes and share them between all. Lime juice; lemon and coriander are regularly used as flavorings.

Rice whiskey is the preferred drink of the people, which has a taste quite similar to rum. There are also several brands of beer produced here, the most popular one being Singha. You will be able to remember its name by the many tourists wearing Singha t-shirts.

Language and Currency

The main language is Thai, which consists of five tones of monosyllables. In the tourist areas, most of the hotel staff and guides speak English. And in contrast to other regions of the world, they invariably smile while doing so.

The currency used in Thailand is the Baht. One US dollar buys about 40 Baht. There are banks and moneychangers where you can exchange money for your country currencies and all major credit cards are accepted. Cash points/ATMs abound.

Safety

When eating and drinking in Thailand, you have to make sure you only drink bottled water. It is best not to buy food from the street vendors, but rather rely on the food served at your hotel. (Although typically anything fried is ?safe? from contamination.)

As a rule Thailand is a very safe country to visit. You do have to lock your hotel room door and keep your valuables in the safe, but you do this wherever you go. When travelling in some parts of Thailand, you do have to be extremely careful, such as near the Cambodian and Myanmar borders. The number of wars in this area in the past means that there could be land mines and it is now the Golden Triangle where drugs are grown. It is best to stay with your group and not travel off the beaten path.

In early 2005, the far south of Thailand had inter-religious troubles but these have quieted since.

Visas

All visitors to Thailand are required to have a passport that is valid for six months longer than the expected departure date from the country. If you have a ticket for an onward journey and you will not be staying longer than 30 days, then you can enter the country without a Visa. If you stay longer than you limit, you will be subject to a fine of B200 per day that you exceed your limit.

Shopping

The avid shopper will surely have an exquisite experience in Thailand. There are large malls as well as small specialty stores. Most of the businesses open at 10 A.M. and stay open until 9 P.M. The markets have different hours, often opening before dawn. All the areas of Thailand have major shopping districts where you can buy just about everything under the sun. More interesting is when the sun goes down and the famed night bazaars sell under moonlight.

Whether day or night you can almost always find Thailands shopping specialty -- ?quality counterfeits?. Ranging from Rolexes that tick (a real one should have a smooth sweep), to custom made Armani suits anything you would find in a luxury boutique at home, is on sale here, for a 1/10th the price and 99% the quality.

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