• The Monarchy : Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.
• Religion : Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attireIt is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.
• Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect.
• Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.
• Social Norms : Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called ' Wai '. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.
• Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude.
• Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.
• Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit Thailand ?
During the cool season between November and March.
What vaccinations do I need before coming to Thailand ?
There are no required vaccinations, unless you are coming from an infected area. Yellow fever certificates are required for those who are coming from an infected area. Please check the latest regulations with your local health office.
Do I need a visa ?
Temporary visitors who are exempted from applying for an entry visa must be of the nationality of and holding a valid passport or travelling documents issued
What are the major events to see in Thailand ?
Take a look at Festivals and Events for 2003.
Where can I learn Thai cooking ?
Take a look at our page on Thai Food.
Where can I get information on the Orient Express?
Eastern & Oriental Express Train Prince, contact :
- Sea Tours Co., Ltd
Suite No.88-92, 8th floor., Payathai Plaza 128 Phayathai Rd,
Rajathevee, Bangkok 10400
Tel: +66 2216 5783-93
Fax: +66 216 5757-58
Where can I find out more about Thai Boxing ?
Thai boxing is both a sport and a means of self-defense. Contestants are allowed to use almost any part of their body: feet, elbows, legs, knees, and shoulders are all 'weapons.' The playing of traditional music during bouts adds to the excitement. The three main venues in the Bangkok area are:
- Ratchadamnoen Stadium: Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue, Bangkok
Tel: +66 2281 4205
- Lumphini Stadium : Rama IV Rd., Bangkok
Tel: +66 2251 4303
- Samrong Stadium : Samut Prakan
Tel: +66 2393 3592
Where can I find information on exporting and importing?
Department of Export Promotion,
22/77 Ratchadaphisek Road, Lad Yao, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900
Tel: +66 2511 5066 to 77, +66 2512 0093 - 0104
Fax: +66 2512 1079, +66 2513 1917
What are the customs regulations ?
Prohibited items: All kinds of narcotics (hemp, opium,cocaine, morphine, heroin), obscene literature, pictures or articles.
Firearms: Importation of firearms and ammunition can be done only after a permit has been obtained from the Police Department of the Local Registration Office.
Personal effects : A reasonable amount of clothing for personal use, toilet articles, and professional instruments may be brought in free of duty.
Cameras : One still-camera or one movie camera can be brought in without duty. Five rolls of still-camera film or three rolls of 8 or 16 mm movie-camera film may be brought in free of duty.
Tobacco, alcoholic beverages : Cigarettes,cigars,or smoking tobacco each or in total must not exceed 250 grams in weight. Cigarettes not exceeding 200 in quantity. One litre each of wine or spirits may be brought in free of duty.
Household effects : A reasonable amount of used household effects, accompanied by the owner on change of domicile are also free of duty.
Plants and animals: Certain species of fruits, vegetables and plants are prohibited. Please contact the Agricultural Regulatory Division, Bangkhen, Bangkok, Tel : +66 2579 1581, +66 2579 3576. permission of entry for animals coming in by air can be obtained at the airport. If entering by sea, the application must be made at the Department of Livestock Development, Bangkok, Tel: +66 2251 5136, +66 2252 6944. Vaccination certificates are required.
What are the regulations regarding the export of antiques from Thailand ?
Buddha images, Bodhisattva images or fragments thereof are forbidden to be taken out of Thailand. A license must be obtained from the Department of Fine Arts in order that such objects of antiquity or objects of art, irrespective of whether they are originals or reproductions, may be taken out of the country. For a license application, contact the National Museum, Tel. +66 2226 1661, +66 2281 0433.
• Business Hours: The private sector operates from 9 am to 5 pm, while the public sector operates from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays. General banking hours are Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 3.30 pm.
• Currency: Notes are issued in denominations of B1000 (gray), B500 (purple), B100 (red), B50 (blue), B20 (green), and B10 (brown). There are 10, 5 and 1 baht coin, and 50 and 25 satang. There are 100 satangs in 1 baht.
• Credit Cards: All major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the kingdom. Most foreign currencies and traveller cheques are easily changed at banks, hotels or moneychangers in cities mainly.
• Tipping : Tipping is not a usual practice in Thailand although it is becoming more common. Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but the gesture is appreciated.
• Bargaining : Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other places bargaining is to be expected. Generally, you can obtain a final figure of between 10-40% lower than the original asking price. Much depends on your skills and the shopkeeper's mood. But remember, Thais appreciate good manners and a sense of humor. With patience and a broad smile, you will not only get a better price, you will also enjoy shopping as an art.