Information
Bangkok  September 04, 2009 10:59 PMSunny83°
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
 

 1. Do I need a visa to enter Thailand?
 U.S. citizens may enter and stay in Thailand without a visa for a maximum stay of 30 days, for the purpose of tourism only. For more information, please visit:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Royal Thai Embassy, Washington DC
1024 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington D.C. 20007, Tel: (202) 944-3600, Fax: (202) 944-3611
www.thaiembdc.org

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, Los Angeles
611 N. Larchmont Blvd., 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90004, Tel: (323) 962-9574, Fax: (323) 962-2128
www.thai-la.net

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, New York
351 East 52nd St., New York, NY. 10022, Tel: (212) 754-1770, (212) 754-1896, Fax: (212) 754-1907
www.thaiconsulnewyork.com

The Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chicago
700 North Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, Tel: (312) 664-3129, Fax: (312) 664-3230
www.thaichicago.net

 
 2. Do I need vaccines or any shots before going to Thailand?
 You do not need vaccines or any shots before going to Thailand.

 
 3. What is the climate like?
 Thailand enjoys one of the most pleasurable tropical climates in the world with three distinct seasons:

Summer (March to May): hot and dry weather throughout Thailand, with temperatures averaging 82 – 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rainy (May to September): perhaps the driest monsoon period of any country in Southeast Asia, with plenty sunshine and temperatures averaging 80 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cool (November to February): mild and very sunny with temperatures averaging 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The average annual temperature in Thailand is 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

During the months of July to November, we recommend that you pack a light waterproof jacket and a pair of closed shoes.

 
 4. When is the best time to visit Thailand?
 Thailand's rainy season arrives around July and lasts into November. These months can be unpredictably wet and humid. This is followed by a dry, cool period from November to mid-February, then followed by relatively much higher temperatures from March to June.

By far the best time to visit is from February to March when the weather is kind and the beaches are at their finest.

The peak seasons are August, November, December, February and March, with secondary peak months in January and July.

It is not difficult to avoid crowds, even during peak months, if you simply steer clear of some of the more popular destinations (e.g., Chiang Mai, Phuket, etc.).

If your main objective is to avoid crowds and to take advantage of discounted rooms and low-season rates, you should consider traveling during the least crowded months (April, May, June, September and October).

 
 5. What is the voltage of electricity? Do I need to take a converter?
 The electricity in Thailand is 220 volts, 50 cycles per second.

Most outlets in Thailand have two prongs, missing the third earth prong at the bottom. However, the newest offices and condominium dwellings usually offer the third prong due to increased awareness of the importance of grounding for both safety and equipment damage reasons.

 
 6. Do’s and Don’ts
 

Thai people are extremely polite and their behavior is controlled by etiquette and influenced by Buddhism. Thai society is non-confrontational, so avoid confrontations at all costs.

Never lose your patience or show your anger no matter how frustrating or desperate the situation becomes, as it is considered a weakness in the Thai society. It is important to cultivate the art of diplomacy when traveling in Asia. Conflicts can be easily resolved with a smile.

Appropriate clothing is also important. Thais like to dress smartly and neatly. Do not wear revealing clothing such as shorts, low cut dresses, or bathing suits as they are considered 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 the monks, she must do so indirectly by placing the item within the monks 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, 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.

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. 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, just smile or ‘Wai’ and you will be forgiven.


 

 7. What is the currency of Thailand? What hours are banks open in Thailand?
 The Thai unit currency is the baht, divided into 100 satangs. Notes are in denominations of 1,000 (grey), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), and 20 (green). There are also coins of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 2 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht.

Major currency bills and traveler’s checks are cashed easily at hotels, tourist shops, all provincial banks, shopping centers and moneychangers. Traveler’s checks are best changed in banks (you will need your passport). Rates of exchange at banks or authorized moneychangers are better than those at hotels and department stores.

Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. Visitors may take foreign currency out of Thailand but no more than the amount stated in the customs declaration made on arrival. Travelers leaving Thailand may take out no more than 50,000 baht per person in Thai currency.

Business hours for banks in Thailand are generally as follows:

Commercial Banks
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday (9:30am-3:30pm, except bank holidays)

Currency Exchange Service
Hours of Operation: 7 Days (8:30am-10:00pm)

Authorized Money Changers in hotels
Hours of Operation: 24 hour service


 
 8. Can I use credit cards/ATM cards in Thailand?
 You can get Thai baht from the ATM machines using your major credit card. They are located just about everywhere, from shopping malls to small towns and villages. The exchange rate is automatic and roughly as good as you would find anywhere in the world.

MasterCard and Visa are most commonly accepted, but other kinds of major credit cards are accepted as well. Some carry a sizeable surcharge per withdrawal, e.g., $1, so check with your credit card company beforehand if this is a concern.

There are also Currency Exchange outlets, particularly in tourist areas. These are especially useful if you forget your PIN number or if you can't find a working ATM near you which will accept your particular card for some reason.

You should always keep a small amount of cash on you at all times because not all venders accept credit cards. Also, ATM machines often stall late at night and are not reset until the morning.

Not all ATM machines take every kind of card. Look for a machine with your credit card’s logo on it. ATM machines offer both Thai and English language options.

You may be better off paying cash than using a credit card. While it is technically against the law for the Thai vendor to pass onto you the fee that the credit card company charges them (approximately 2.25% to 3.5%, depending upon card type), it is quite common for them to do so, and it is usually not negotiable--you either pay the surcharge or do not use your credit card. These vendors often charge 4 or 5% instead of the 2.25% to 3.5%.

You should also be aware that many vendors use a third party to bill your credit card. Thus, your credit card number may not be safe. Any time your credit card number goes down on paper, you could possibly be at risk.

If you lose your credit card or have other problems, you can reach  the following credit card companies in Bangkok:

MasterCard
Unit 2903, 29th Floor, Empire Tower, 195 South Sathorn Rd., Bangkok, 10120 Thailand, Tel: (662) 670-4088

Visa
You can call Visa Global Customer Assistance at 001-800-441-3485.

American Express
S.P. Building, 388 Phaholyothin Road, Samsennai, Phayathai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand, Tel: (662) 273-5544

 
 9. What is the Exchange Rate for the US Dollar?
 1 U.S. Dollar fluctuates around 33 Thai Baht, although it also varies with time and the market. For more information on exchange rates, please visit: www.bot.or.th

 
 10. Where are the US embassies?
 

Embassy of the United States, Bangkok, Thailand
120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Tel: (662) 205-4000, Fax: (662) 205-4131
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday (7:00am-4:00pm, except national holidays)
bangkok.usembassy.gov

U.S. Consulate General, Chiang Mai, Thailand
387 Wichayanond Road, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Tel: (66-53) 107-700, (053) 107-700 (within Thailand)

Fax: (66-53) 252-633, (053) 252-633 (within Thailand)

Emergenies: (66)-81-881-1878 (from overseas), 081-881-1878 (within Thailand)
chiangmai.usconsulate.gov
 

 

   

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