English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Thai Baht (BAH)
Like most of Southeast Asia, cash is king. You’ll always need to carry cash to shop in local markets, pay for tuk tuks and buy street food. ATMs are easy to find towns and cities but will charge 150BAH – 180BAH. In busier tourist destinations larger businesses will accept cards.
Validity of at least six months after your arrival back in the UK.
Tourist Visas are granted on arrival. You’ll need to apply for an extension if you’re staying longer than 30 days.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
High Season : November – March
Cool and dry weather with the bulk of tourists staying over Christmas and New Year.
Shoulder Season : April – June / September – October
Low Season: July – October
What to Wear
Thailand has been more exposed to western tourism than its neighbours so locals are more indifferent to what you wear. Dressing modestly is strictly observed in temples and you will not be allowed to enter if your shoulders, knees and chest are not covered. Buddhist Temple Etiquette. When in cities and the countryside it’s recommended that you dress modestly all the time, not just for visiting temples to respect local customs. Keeping covered will protect you from sunburn in the day and insect bites at night. Beaches and islands are very laid back. Swimwear is fine for the beach but you should dress again before walking round towns and going into shops. Nude and topless sunbathing are not okay.
Head & Feet
The head is considered the most sacred part of the body in Buddhism and the feet the most impure. It’s therefore considered to be extremely improper to touch someones head. Likewise, pointing at things with your feet, putting your feet on furniture or pointing towards people with feet are rude gestures. If you drop any coins do not stop them from rolling with your feet as they feature the image of the king. You shouldn’t be surprised or offended if shop owners ask you to remove your shoes before entering and this is required when visiting a temple.
As with many Southeast Asian nations, if there isn’t a marked price it’s appropriate to barter. At first you might feel uncomfortable but soon you’ll enjoy it. You should always look to pay in the local currency and have a maximum price you’re willing to pay in mind – it can be very easy to get carried away! You’re more likely to get a good price if you’re friendly and keep smiling. Rudeness and aggression are not good tactics for negotiation and are generally seen as embarrassing.
FOOD & DRINK
Thai food is regional. You’ll be able to find Pad Thai anywhere but it’s good to try some of the regional specialties.
Northern Thailand is more seasonal with influences from Myanmar and Laos, using more rustic cooking techniques, particularly in the Northeast. Pork is heavily used. Sticky rice is a staple of dishes here.
Much of the food found on the standard menus in the west are from the central plains and adjusted to suit the western pallet. Bangkok’s proximity to the coast means you’ll find a fair amount of seafood.
Spicy with lots of seafood.
You’ll arrive into Suvarnabhumi International Airport (Bangkok), Chiang Mai International Airport or Phuket International Airport.
Buses and mini buses are a cheap way of getting around the country.
Slower than buses but more scenic. Overnight sleeper train between Chiang Mai and Bangkok is comfortable.
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In the early morning, locals sit on the side of the street to give alms to monks and novices. This peaceful ceremony is conducted in silence where Buddhists gain spiritual merit by the act of giving. The traditional offering is sticky rice but any type of food can be offered. Participants keep their heads bowed…
Exploring Thai Cuisine
KEY FEATURES OF THAI CUISINE RICE Like other Southeast Asian countries, eating is synonymous with eating rice. There are generally two cooking techniques used depending on the region and type of rice. Khao hom mali (Jasmine rice) fragrant long grain found in most western supermarkets and more favourably used in southern Thai cooking. Khao niao…
Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
FINDING YOUR WAY The Old City is the heart of Chiang Mai, framed by an ancient wall and moat, where you can explore Lanna style temples and enjoy some of Northern Thailand’s famous cuisine. Outside of the walls Chiang Mai is a modern metropolis. The riverside area has its own pace with restaurants and a…
Etiquette For Visiting Buddhist Temples & Religious Sites
What to WearDressing modestly is strictly observed in temples and you will not be allowed to enter if you’re showing too much skin. It is recommended that you dress modestly all the time, not just for visiting temples to respect local customs. Keeping covered will protect you from sunburn in the day and insect bites…