About Thailand

About

Thailand


Geography

Thailand has a land area of 513,115 sq.km. (approx. 127,008 acres) bordered by Malaysia (South), Myanmar (West & North), Laos (North & East) and Cambodia (Southeast). The country's east coast borders the Gulf of Thailand and the west coast abuts the Andaman Sea. The country is divided geographically into four main zones - the fertile central plains, dominated by the Chao Phraya River; the 300-metre-high northeast plateau, the kingdom's most barren region; the mountainous North; and the tropical southern peninsula.

Capital

Bangkok


Local time

GMT + 7 hours.


Weather

The temperature varies from 38°C to 19°C with the annual average at about 29°C. The humidity is from 66% to 82.8%.


Seasons

There are three seasons in Northern, Northeastern and Central Thailand - hot (March to May), rainy (June to October), and cool (November to February). And there are two seasons in the South - rainy (April to November) and hot (December to March).

In February, the average temperature in Bangkok City is 21-35°C.


Religion

Buddhists 95%, Muslims 4%, Christians 0.5%, and others 0.5%


Language

Thai is the national language. English is widely understood in Bangkok and other big cities.


Telephone Country Code

Thai telephone country code is +66.


Electricity

The electric current in Thailand is 220 Volts (50 cycles/sec.) throughout the country. Better hotels will provide 110 Volt transformers. Power sockets in Thailand are both flat prongs and round prongs. Below you can find pictures of these power sockets and corresponding plugs.


Cost of Living

The average price for a cup of coffee is around 25-50 Baht and is 25 Baht or above for a sandwich. The average price for a meal in town is around 50-100 Baht. The average price for a bus ride in Chiang Mai is around 20-80 Baht.


Restrictions on Smoking and Drinking

Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are prohibited for those under 20 years of age. Smoking is banned on public transportation and in some public areas.


Manners / Customs

Show respect to religious images and do not climb or sit on them. On public transportation such as subway trains or bus, eating and drinking are considered bad manners. There are some traditional customs such as taking off shoes before entering a private home.


Business hours

  • Government offices: open from Monday to Friday, from 08.30 to 16.30.
  • Banking: most banks are open from Monday to Friday, from 08.30 to 15.30. Some bank branches, particularly in shopping malls, are also open on weekends. Currency exchange booths in Bangkok and other tourist destinations are open on weekends and evenings.
  • Clinics or Doctor’s surgeries: major hospitals in Bangkok have 24 hour emergency rooms, but typical doctor appointments should be scheduled between 08.00 and 18.00, Monday – Friday. Some larger hospitals offer after-hours and weekend services. If you have a medical emergency, you should go to the accident and emergency department of the nearest hospital. Emergency services can be reached by dialing 191 on any phone and are generally available 24 hours.
  • Museums and Galleries: Thai museums and galleries are typically open from 09.00 to 16.00 daily. Time may vary and some museums and galleries may be closed one day a week and/or on public holidays.
  • Shops and Department Stores: most shops are open seven days a week from 10.00 to 22.00. Convenience stores may be open earlier and remain open until after midnight. Thai markets are open various hours depending on products they sell, with markets selling fresh food products from 06.00 until around 20.00, while night markets are typically open around sunset and remain open until 22.00 or occasionally midnight. Convenience stores e.g. 7-11, Family Mart, are located throughout Thailand and are generally open 24 hours.
  • Post offices: Thailand postal service is reliable and efficient. Thailand post offices are open from Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 16.30 and Saturday from 09.00 until noon. All Thai post offices are closed on public holidays, though most major hotels can arrange to mail letters and parcels on your behalf.
  • Restaurants: restaurant opening hours are highly varied and street-side restaurants frequently stay open well past midnight. Restaurants typically have later closing hours in Bangkok and at tourist destinations than in rural provinces.
  • BTS Skytrain: BTS skytrain runs daily between 06.00 to midnight with frequent service throughout the day, which is increased during rush hours.
  • MRT Subway: MRT underground operates from 06.00 to midnight daily. The frequency is less than 5 minutes during the peak hours 06.00 – 09.00 and 16.30 – 19.30.
  • Most business offices are open from 08.30 to 18.00, from Monday to Friday. Some work on Saturdays.

Money and Financial Matters

  • Thai currency is called the “Baht” or “Thai Baht”. The currency code for Baht is THB. There are several currency exchanges at Bangkok’s international airport, and around most major tourist areas.
  • The currency exchange rate is 1 US Dollar to approximately 31 Thai Baht (THB) (as of August, 2018)
  • You can check out http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter to get more information about the exchange rate.
  • There are 5 kinds of banknotes: 1,000 Baht, 500 Baht, 100 Baht, 50 Baht and 20 Baht. Also, there are 6 kinds of coins: 10 Baht, 5 Baht, 2 Baht, 1 Baht, 50 Satang and 25 Satang (1 Baht = 100 Satang).
  • It may be best to not carry too much money into Thailand, or even to carry while traveling around within Thailand, because you can get Thai Baht from ATMs using your major credit card, even in most small towns around Thailand. The exchange rate is automatic and roughly as good as you’ll find. Withdrawal fees are usually around 150 Baht per transaction, which is roughly $ 5 US, and you can withdraw up to 20,000 Baht from some ATMs, and more from others (150 Baht is 1% of 15,000 Baht).
  • Major credit cards — Visa, Mastercard and American Express — are accepted at most hotels and restaurants. Department stores and other large shops will also generally accept all cards. However, smaller merchants may not accept any cards, or add on the credit card processing fee (3% for Visa and Mastercard, 5% for American Express) to the price of items purchased.