Thailand, a country resplendent in its colourful mix of ancient culture, breathtaking natural environments and mysterious archaeological wonders, never ceases to amaze those who visit. With its spectacular mountainous scenery and archaeological wonders of the northern regions to the unspoiled beaches and pristine islands of its south, Thailand abundantly combines ancient culture with natural wonders.
As the heart of South East Asia, Thailand is a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar, Malaysia and Southern China. Consisting of 76 provinces and embracing a rich diversity of cultures and traditions, The Kingdom of Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty the King recognised as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions.
Bangkok, Thailand's capital city and political, commercial and cultural heart, showcases as a modern and cosmopolitan city steeped in ancient traditions and stunning sights. With a population of ten million people residing in this vibrant city, Bangkok offers world class hotels, sensational restaurants, together with modern and vibrant shopping experiences.
With some 400 glittering Buddhist temples, traditional dance extravaganzas, timeless canals and endless nightlife, Bangkok presents a host of cultural activity. Why not visit the old city centre with its Grand Palace, steeped in history from when King Rama I took the throne as the first monarch of the Chakri Dynasty in 1781, or explore the Royal Chapel, Wat Phra Kaeo, housing the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha image in Thailand.
Interested in shopping, Bangkok has never looked so good. From the Siam Square Area, the main shopping district of the Thai capital with its myriad of large department stores to Bangkok's vibrant and lively market experiences, you are sure to enjoy its value and range.
Tempted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, then Thailand is naturally divided into four main regions. The mountainous North offers a wealth of stunning scenery combining magnificent forests, waterfalls and caves, with ancient culture and fascinating people. From its tourism epicentre of Chang Mai, this region envelopes visitors in its indigenous culture, ancient architecture and temples, to colourful handicrafts and pristine natural resources.
The high Northeast Plateau guards many of Thailand's archaeological and anthropological wonders with world heritage sites like Ban Chiang at Udon Thani believed to be where the world's first Bronze Age civilization flourished more than 5,000 years ago, to the ancient city of Fa Daet Song Yan with the largest concentration of dinosaur fossils in Thailand.
Thailand's Central Plain offers visitors a wide array of activities. From its picturesque East Coast including favourite beachside playgrounds like Pattaya, today a vibrant beachside destination from dawn to dust, to its capital city Bangkok, a vibrant and sophisticated city.
The peninsular South is an area saturated in unspoiled beaches and island discoveries. Here you will find tourism meccas like the world famous Phi Phi Islands located in the Krabi region with its idyllic beaches and islands, complemented by the warmth of village communities.
Whatever you choose, we are sure Thailand will be a memorable experience. Enjoy!
Thailand's primary language is spoken and written Thai, although English is widely understood, with Thai-English road and street signs found nationwide.
Thailand's electrical current is 220 volt AC and utilises different plugs and sockets, therefore travellers should carry a plug adapter kit.
Major currency bills and travellers cheques (passport required) can be cashed at hotels, banks, tourist shops, shopping centres and money changers, with banks or authorized money changers usually offering the best conversion rates.
Tipping is not required, but seen as a complimentary gesture in Thailand. Some hotels and restaurants add 10% service charges to bills.
Thailand is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 hours GMT).
As a tropical climate, November to January offers cooler temperatures, ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius with lower humidity.
Standard commercial business hours are Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
Banks are open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.30pm (except public holidays).
General Government Departments hours are Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm (12-1pm lunch break).
Many of Bangkok stores are 7 days a week 10am to 10pm.
All local calls within Thailand begin with a 0, include the regions prefix, and have nine digits in total.
Local directory assistance: 1133
To dial Thailand the international dialling code is +66.
To dial internationally from Thailand, dial 001 + country code + number.
International directory assistance: 100.
The King, the Queen and the Royal family are highly respected by Thai people.
"Wai" is a prayer-like gesture with palms pressed together and it is how Thai people greet. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.
Affection is not displayed between men and women in public in Thailand.
The head is the highest part of the body with Thai culture. Touching people on their head is considered rude in Thailand.
Please do not use feet to point to something or someone. It is also considered rude.
Buddhist monks can not be touched directly by a female or offered something directly by a woman. A woman should place the object onto the provided plate or via a man for offering.
Visiting Wats, temples and other religious shrines requires adherence to cultural dress standards and Buddhist traditions. These include removing shoes in temples, not stepping on temple doorsills, and refraining from climbing onto temple Buddahs.
Visitors needing assistance relating to safety, unethical practices, or other matters, should contact their local embassy where appropriate or:
Tourist Assistance Centre - Tel: 02 36 0650, 02 356 0655
Tourist Police - Tel: 678-6800-9 or 1699 or 1155 (English, French & German spoken)
Central Emergency - Tel: 191 (Police, Ambulance, Fire)
Penalties for drug offences are very severe in Thailand.
Goods purchased in Thailand include VAT. Visitors to Thailand can receive a 7% VAT refund on certain goods purchased from those shops participating in the 'VAT Refund For Tourists' scheme. Conditions apply.
For more information please contact your travel agent.