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Thailand Tourist Information : Tips & Facts

Custom

Thailand is a Buddhist country where Buddha images are held sacred. Sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors.
Thai people hold their King and Queen and the Royal Family in great reverence, and so won't tolerate foreigners showing disrespect to them.
Generally Thai women are conservative. So don't touch them without their consent.
Dress properly when entering a Buddhist temple. Miniskirts and shorts are not allowed. Take your shoes off before going inside the hall of worship. Ladies must not on any account touch a Buddhist monk, give things direct to him or receive things direct from him.
Intimacies between man and woman should not be shown in public. Sunbathing in the nude is prohibited.
Call Thais their first names; use the title "Khun" for adults.
Normally, Thai people address others by their first names and with the title 'khun'. So don't be surprised if you are addressed as 'Khun Mary' or 'Khun John' instead of by your surname.
Traditionally, Thais greet each other with a wai (by pressing the palms together at the chest). If someone wais you, you should wai back (except wai-ed by a child).
Thai people smile to express gladness and happiness, to thank for small services, to return the wai of children and inferior persons, and even to excuse small inconveniences.
Don't touch a person's head, nor ruffle his hair. The head is the noblest part of the body. A sincere apology should be offered immediately if you touch someone's head unintentionally.
Avoid placing your feet on the table while sitting. Never use your foot to point things out or to touch any part of the body of anyone, which is considered rude.
Entering a Thai house, you're expected to remove your shoes.



Visa

The following information about Thailand's visa information is obtained from the Office of the Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Tourist Visa Exemption
The Thai government allows nationals from 41 countries and 1 special administrative region to stay in Thailand for tourism purpose for up to 30 days without an entry visa.

List of 41 countries are as follows:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam,
Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan,
Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands,
New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar,
Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland,
Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam.
 
Temporary Tourist Visa : Visa on Arrival
Passport holders from 21 countries may apply for visas at the immigration checkpoints for the purpose of tourism for the period of not exceeding 15 days.
Documents required: Valid passport, visa application form completely filled in, confirmed air ticket paid in full, one recent photograph
(4x6 cm), and application fee of 1,000 baht.
Validity of stay: 15 days
The visa is granted by Immigration officers at 24 designated international checkpoints located in Thailand's international airports -- Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hatyai, and at other points of entry into the country.

List of 21 countries are as follows:
Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mauritius, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan, Ukraine
 
Transit Visa
Documents required:
1. Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
2. Visa application form completely filled out
3. One recent photograph (4x6 cm)
4. Confirmed air ticket paid in full
5. Evidence of adequate finance
(20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family)
6. Visa of a third country in a passport or travel document

Visa fee : 800 baht per entry
(The fee may be changed without prior notice.)
Validity of stay: 30 days
 
Tourist Visa

Documents required:
1. Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
2. Visa application form completely filled out
3. One recent photograph (4x6 cm)
4. Confirmed air ticket paid in full
5. Evidence of adequate finance
(10,000 Baht per person and 20,000 Baht per family)

Visa fee: 1,000 baht per entry
(The fee may be changed without prior notice.)
Validity of stay: 30 days or 60 days for nationals of countries on Thailand's Tourist Visa Exemption List

 
Extension of Stay

Those who wish to stay longer or may wish to change their status of visa must file an application form at the Office of Immigration Bureau located on Soi Suan Plu, off South Sathon Road, Bangkok. The extension of stay as well as the change of certain type of visa is solely at the discretion of the Immigration officer.

The above information is subject to change. For more details, contact the Immigration Bureau, South Sathon Road, Bangkok,
tel. 0 2287 3101 to 10
or visit www.immigration.go.th

Embassies & Consulates in Thailand



Health Regulations

In Thailand, as in most countries, vaccination certificates are not required for foreign visitors except those from or passing through a designated contaminated area. Anyway, there is a risk of malaria in some forested and hilly areas. If you plan to travel in endemic areas, it is highly recommended to take tablets to prevent the onset of this desease.

Currency & Money Exchange

For Currency Declaration: As from 24 February 2008, under the relevant Thai law, any foreigner who brings or takes an aggregate amount of foreign currency exceeding USD 20,000 or its equivalent into or out of the Kingdom of Thailand shall declare such amount of foreign currency to a Customs officer. Failure to declare upon bringing foreign currency that exceeds the amount restricted by law or its equivalent out of or into the kingdom or making any false declaration to a Customs officer is a criminal offence.

For Thai currency, the amount of 50,000 baht or more must be reported on departure to customs, except those travelling to one of Thailand’s neighbouring countries are allowed to take out Thai currency not exceeding 500,000 baht.
(Source: www.customs.go.th, retrieved 26 Sep 2009)

The basic monetary unit in Thailand is the Baht. A baht is divided into 100 satang. The following coins and notes are currently in use:
 

Coins : 25 and 50 satang; 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht
Banknotes : 10 (brown), 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1,000 (grey or brown) baht
see pictures of Thai Banknotes

Major foreign currencies can be exchanged for Thai baht with banks and authorized money changers. For buying baht, US dollars are the most readily acceptable , though travellers' cheques get a better rate than cash.
Major credit cards are also widely accepted in tourist centres. The most commonly accepted cards are Visa and Master Card, followed by Amex, Diners and JCB.
Bangking hours: Monday to Friday, 08.30 - 15.30 hrs. (except public and bank holidays)
Major banks such as Bangkok Bank, Thai Farmers Bank and Siam Commercial Bank operate currency exchange centres in most tourist areas from 07.00 - 21.00 hrs., seven days a week, including holidays.
  20 Currency  Exchange Rates



Customs Clearance for Passengers

Passengers arriving in the Kingdom of Thailand have to fill in the "Passenger Declaration Form" (Form No.211) and submit it to the Customs officer while bringing their luggage or belongings through the red or green channel. In case there are no dutiable, prohibited or restricted goods, please mark "nothing to declare" on the Passenger Declaration Form and submit it to the Customs officer at the green channel.
In case there are dutiable, prohibited or restricted goods or the passenger is unsure whether or not goods are subject to any of the three aforesaid categories, the passenger should mark "goods to declare" on the Passenger Declaration Form and submit it to the Customs officer at the red channel.

  • Green Channel (Nothing to Declare)

    For a passenger who has the following only:
    - Personal belonging in reasonable amount for owner’s use and the total value   not exceeding 10,000 baht (not restricted/prohibited items or provision)
    - 200 cigarettes or 250 gm of tobacco or cigars, or altogether weight not more   than 250 gm at the maximum
  • The exceeding amount must be dropped in the Customs boxes to avoid being prosecuted.

  • Red Channel (Goods to Declare)
    1. Dutiable Items
      - Items that you did not have when you left Thailand and their quantities are not reasonable for personal use or/and the total value of belongings is more than 10,000 baht
      - Items that are intended for commercial use, business, or trade purposes e.g. molds
    1. Prohibited Items
      They are goods for which either the import into or export out of the Kingdom is prohibited, e.g.,
      - Narcotics
      - Obscene items, and publications
      - Counterfeit goods and pirated items
      - Counterfeit notes and coins
      - Protected wildlife

    Violators of laws related to illicit drugs, e.g., having and holding for use, or being a producer, seller, or transporter are subject to the death sentence.

    1. Restricted Items

    The following examples require a permit from the government agency in order to lodge the Customs formalities:
    - Buddha images, religious or ancient arts, and antiques (Department of Fine Arts)
    - Weapons, bullets, and explosive devices (Office of National Police)
    - Plants and planting materials (Department of Agriculture)
    - Live animals, pets, and animals products (Department of Livestock Development)
    - Food and drugs (Food and Drug Administration)
    - Automobile parts (Ministry of Industry)
    - Cigars, cigarettes, and alcoholic beverage (Excise Department)
    - Wireless transmitters ad receivers, telecommunication equipments (The National Telecommunications Commission)

    If the total value of a passenger’s accompanied items is more than 80,000 baht, the passenger is required to do the Customs formalities at Customs Formality section.




    Customs Formality (Outbound Passengers)

      If you are departing Thailand with certain items e.g. cameras, video cameras, laptop computers, tape recorders, etc. and you are intended to bring them back in Thailand, register these item—as long as they have serial numbers or other unique, permanent, marking items—to Customs at the departure airport after checking in and receiving a boarding pass. The Customs officials will record the exportation of such personal items intending for re-importation. All items registered will be allowed duty free entry when you return to Thailand.
      Outbound passengers carrying jewellery intended for export themselves are required to complete Customs formalities before their departure at the Customs Airport Office.
      Outbound passengers carrying export goods under tax and duty compensation/drawback scheme or with “Re-Importation Certificates” are required to complete formal Customs formalities before their departure at the Customs Airport Office.
      It is illegal to take or send out of Thailand restricted and/or prohibited items. If outbound passengers convict any of these offences, they will be subject to fine and imprisonment.
     

    (Source: www.customs.go.th, retrieved 26 Sep 2009)




    Dining

    Drink only bottled or boiled water.
    You can find places to eat 24 hours a day, but better avoid sidewalk stalls where, though food is cheap and palatable, hygienic conditions may not be up to standard.
    Most Thai food is already cut into small pieces before serving or made soft enough to be cut with a spoon or fork; thus, a knife is unnecessary.
    Saltshakers are rarely found on Thai dining tables, so add a little caramel-colour fish-sauce (called nam-pla in Thai) instead, if you find your food not salty enough.
    English is spoken in large restaurants in tourist provinces and most establishments have menus in Thai and English.
    Beckon waiters with a wave of a hand. Don't clap, snap fingers or hiss.
     
    Tipping
    Normally most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bills but a tip for waiters is appreciated. For porters, a tip of 20-40 baht is acceptable.

    Shopping

    Be careful with your bag and valuables while shopping in a crowded area.
    After buying and before leaving the shop, check that the goods are the same that you bought. Some shops do not exchange or give refunds, and make sure you keep the receipts.
    In the case that you have the shop send the goods by mail, ask for a receipt for sending the goods, so that you can be certain that there is an actual mailing service.
    Bargaining is an art long practised in Asian countries including Thailand. So feel free to ask for a proper discount when shopping in places where prices are not marked.
    Be careful in dealing with sidewalk vendors who may not offer genuine goods at fair prices.
    Souvenir stores in hotel arcades and department stores may ask for higher prices than general souvenir stores and street shops for they have to pay high rents. Yet these shops mostly offer high quality goods.
    To shop gems, make sure that you shop from a specialist in that field instead of buying from a simple souvenir store.
    Before making your decision to buy, especially precious objects, compare prices at several shops.
    Receipts should be obtained for the goods you buy. For jewellery you must get a certificate of guarantee as well.
    Some shops can offer a money-back guarantee but you should clearly determine all conditions with the shopkeeper beforehand.
    Ask for a written agreement to full refund on any goods returned within 90 days.
    Do not let a new acquaintance take you to shopping, for he or she is very likely to get a commission from the store. And the commission will be added to your payment.

    Related Link : VAT Refund for Tourists



    Travelling

    Don't get involved with any kind of narcotic drugs, gambling, child prostitution or other illegal activities that violate the law.
    Don't walk in isolated places.
    Strictly observe the warning signs at tourist attractions. Don't violate the law, as this may result in severe consequences.
    Be careful with your bags and valuables when travelling. Don't leave them unattended.
    Don't accept any complimentary tour offered by a stranger. Reliable tourist information and safe tours are only provided by a tour agency with a license.
    Before using any service, check the information before making a final decision and keep all the important related documents in case a problem should arise after using the service.
    Don't take any foods, drinks, or candies offered by a stranger.
    Don't spit saliva or phlegm, discard cigarette stubs, or throw away any garbage in public areas, on the streets, or on the ground. Offenders are subject to a maximum fine of 2,000 baht.
    Consult Thaiways web or Thaiways magazine, the most comprehensive guide to Thailand , or obtain information about the tourist destination from the Tourism Authority of Thailand before travelling. Check the weather conditions, especially when going to the sea, and your health, so that your trip will go smoothly.

    If you have any problems while travelling, please contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Centre tel. 1672 (08.00-20.00 hrs) or Tourist Assistance Centre Call Centre & Tourist Police tel. 1155 (daily/24 hrs)

    Related Links : For a Safe Road Trip

    About Wildlife & Environment

    As the environment has become more polluted and many wildlife species have become extinct, or are in danger of extinction, partly due to the development of tourism, visitors are requested to help keep the environment clean and protect wild animals for the benefit of the later generations.
    Styrofoam and other types of plastics thrown into the sea or discarded in the forest are harmful or even deadly to animals.
    Never buy and keep wild animals as pets in which condition they are never meant to be. Never purchase any product or souvenir made from wild animals or their organs.
    Avoid patronizing restaurants that serve food consisting of any wild animals. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.
       
      Related Links :
      Tips for Tourists : Regarding Coral Reefs
      Some Hints for Swimmers & Boat Passengers
      Jungle Trekking Regulations
      Prepare for Jungle Trekking
      Guidelines On Visiting Waterfalls

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