Travel Destinations / Thailand
Ten million people a year visit Thailand, because it has an unbeatable combination of Eastern exoticism and Western modernism. That, combined with its gorgeous beaches and magical country side provides visitors with of the most unique and memorable holiday experiences you’re likely to find. The Thai people are very friendly and hospitable, in spite of the massive influx of foreign visitors over the last few years.
Known as the “Land of Smiles”, Thailand has an extraordinary diversity of flavours and sights to experience. The country is very modern, with up-to-date facilities, which make a lot of people pleasantly surprised. This is most visible in the capital Bangkok, where a burgeoning 21st century city is growing around centuries-old relics and icons.
Thailand is known for its amazing beaches from the secluded sands of Koh Chang near Cambodia, to the world-famous full-moon parties of Koh Phang-Nga and the luxury of Phuket’s beach resorts.
Thailand offers a rich and accessible culture to enjoy, from exploring the temples of Bangkok to the hill tribes of Chiang Mai, there are surprises around every corner.
The country is an inexpensive destination with something to offer travellers of every budget. The tourists that descend on the country are often every bit as varied and interesting as the colourful inhabitants. You will fall in love with this exciting and hospitable country, especially when you try the delicious food and enjoy the perfect climate.
The Thais are justly known as a laid back and friendly people who are enthusiastic about life and hospitable to foreigners. Evidenced by the many wats and temples, as well as valuing mutual respect and an appreciation for the present moment, Thai culture is largely underpinned by Buddhism. Thai people have great respect and reverence for the monarchy. Ninety per cent of the Thai population, which consists of 61 million people, practise Theravada Buddhism.
Thailand is a highly rated shopping destination, with competitive prices and an astounding range of merchandise from computer software to unusual souvenirs and handcrafts. If you visit one of the colourful markets, your haggling skills will be tested at every transaction. At markets and shops throughout the country you can buy Thai silk of a very high quality. Thai silk sarongs make an ideal gift. Rattan and wicker work may not fit in your suitcase, but most dealers will be able to ship your purchases home for you.
You can buy gemstones for an exceptionally good value, whether bought uncut or set in fine jewellery, but it is advisable to keep to licensed shops and retailers in Bangkok.
Within 48-hours tailors of Bangkok and Chiang Mai can create good quality suits and dresses according to your style and specification. If you take in a magazine, they will be able to copy the design perfectly. Prices are only a fraction of the European or American equivalent. You should bargain hard, but expect to pay in the region of THB4000 for a suit.
Shops are generally open every day from 10h00 to 22h00. When you leave Thailand, all non-Thai visitors who have been in the country for less than 180 days and who depart by air from one of the International airports can apply for a tax refund on goods bought.
Currency: Bath (THB). THB1 = 100 satang
Notes: ThB 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000
Coins: THB1, 5, 10 and 25 and 50 satang
Credit cards: Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. The use of Diners Club is more limited.
If you are resident in or have travelled in yellow fever affected areas, the yellow fever vaccination and vaccination certificate is required. Carriers of infectious diseases including AIDS, are not allowed entry into Thailand. In some rural areas malaria is present, especially along the borders near Cambodia and Myanmar. You should consult your doctor about anti-malaria prophylactic treatment before you travel to rural areas in Thailand. You are not at real risk from malaria in cities or tourist resorts.
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Thailand has a tropical climate and the average temperature is 28°C throughout the year. Between June and late September it is the monsoon season. The best time to visit Thailand is between November and March.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February because it’s not too hot and it is also the driest time of year. It is also the peak season for Thailand, so expect crowds and more crowds during this time, but at the same time, the atmosphere and list of things to do is almost unimaginable. If you are planning on travelling through the northern provinces the hot season, from March to May, and the start of the wet season, June and July, are also worth investigating.
If you want to avoid the crowds of Thailand, then April to June, and again from September to October are the best times to visit. The beaches have more space, hotel and resort rates are lower and temperatures are more tolerable. Sure, it might be the rainy season from July to October, but the landscape is green and lush, making it a very rewarding experience.