Foreign visitors from 57 countries can enter Thailand without a visa for a period not exceeding 30 days or get a Tourist Visa on Arrival for a period not exceeding 15 days.
Transit Visas allow up to 30 days of travel in the kingdom with proof of an onward ticket. Tourist Visas permit a stay of up to 60 days and can be extended once by 30 days. Non-Immigrant Visas allow a stay of up to 90 days.
As in most countries, vaccination certificates are not required for people unless coming from or passing through a designated "contaminated" area. Some border areas of Thailand are malarial and appropriate precautions should be taken if visiting there. Bangkok, major cities, and resorts have excellent medical facilities and most hotels have doctors on 24-hour call. Thailand has a total of 455 private hospitals—121 in Bangkok, 165 in the Central region and East Coast, 62 in the North, 57 in the Northeast, and 50 in the South. Visitors can be assured of round-the-clock international standard medical services.
The electric current is 220-volt AC (50 cycles) throughout the country. Many different types of plugs and sockets are in use. Travelers with electric shavers, hair dryers, tape recorders, and other appliances should carry a plug adapter kit. The better hotels will make available 110-volt transformers.
CURRENCY, MONEY EXCHANGE & ATM
The Thai unit of currency is the Baht. Credit cards are widely used at hotels, tourist shops, all provincial banks, shopping centers, and money changers. There are ATMs everywhere.
For spending small amounts, you are recommended to change to Thai Baht, since only Thai Baht is accepted for taxis and small shops.
Light, cool clothes such as light cotton shirts and t-shirts are recommended and a jacket is needed for formal meetings and dining in top restaurants. Shorts (except knee-length walking shorts), sleeveless shirts, tank tops and other beach-style attire are considered inappropriate dress when not actually at the beach or in a resort area.
A good pair of shoes is recommended if you are island hoping or participating to an adventure trip, or even going from one temple to another as the paths can be rough.
A hat, sunblock and sunglasses are absolute necessities as the tropical sun can be very intense and can leave you with very painful sunburns.
Thailand is a Buddhist country for most of its population and it is forbidden for monks to be close to women so women shouldn’t touch them. While visiting pagodas, women shall dress modestly and be covered from shoulders to below knees. In general, Thai population is very modern, but in rural areas women shall prefer to dress modestly at all times, especially in presence of monks and ethnic minorities.
TIME ZONE & WORKING HOUR
Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Government offices are generally open between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, except on public holidays.
MUSEUMS OPENING TIME
Thailand’s museums cover every possible subject – the country’s monarchs, hill tribes, etc. There is even a forensic museum in Bangkok housing corpses of infamous murderers! Of course serious history and culture buffs will want to visit Bangkok’s National Museum, but it’s worth noting that almost every province has a National Museum covering important aspects of that area’s past. Thailand has an abundance of museums for you to discover.
Spoken and written Thai is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language. English and some European languages are spoken in most hotels, shops, and restaurants in major tourist destinations, and Thai-English road and street signs are found nationwide.
Broadband Internet is readily available in major cities and towns, but is still to be sought after in smaller villages and in the countryside.
POST AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The telephone system in Thailand, operated by the government-subsidized Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) under the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) is quite efficient, and from Bangkok you can usually direct-dial most major centers with little difficulty. The telephone country code for Thailand is 66.
If your phone is not locked, you can buy a SIM for 100 baht and then buy phone cards as you need.
If your phone is locked, you can easily buy a second-hand cellphone or a cheap cell phone in any major city and then buy a SIM.
DOMESTIC FLIGTS & AIRPORT TAXES
Thailand currently has seven international airports, in Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi airport & Don Muang Airport, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Ko Samui and Phuket. Domestic airports are at Mae Hong Son, Nan, Lampang, Phrae, Mae Sot, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Sakhon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Phetchabun, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchasima, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Trang and Narathiwat.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Thailand's cuisine is regarded by many people as one of the best in the world. And, if variety is the spice of life, you can literally have a different meal every day of the year. Almost all Thai food is cooked with fresh ingredients, including vegetables, poultry, pork, fish and some beef. Lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander give the food its characteristic tang, while liberal helpings of fresh chilies are used to add some fire to many dishes. Other common seasonings include black pepper, ginger, tamarind, and coconut milk, which is often added to curries.
Beers, wines, and spirits are readily available but the imported items can be a little expensive. A big favorite among Thai people is rice whisky. It has a sharp, sweet taste similar to rum. Several brands of beer are produced in Thailand. The most popular is the local Singha beer.
SHOPPING & BARGAINING
Thai silks, cottons, silverware, bronze ware, pottery and celadon, precious stones, finished jewelry, and a dazzling range of folk handicrafts make memorable gifts and souvenirs. International standard ready-made sports and leisurewear is inexpensive and quality tailors and dressmakers offer reliable 24-hour services in Bangkok and major tourism destinations.