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.
The Thai unit of currency is the baht with 1 USD = approx 36 baht.
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.
General Business/Trading hours
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.
Departing Bangkok & VAT refunds
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.