Siam is the original name of Thailand, and it's the native home to Siamese cats.
Thailand only has one time zone.
The country follows UTC + 7 hours, so all cities in Thailand are 6 hours ahead of London, 11 hours ahead of New York/Toronto, 12 hours ahead of Chicago, and 14 hours ahead of Los Angeles/Vancouver.
To travel to Thailand, U.S., E.U., and Asian citizens will need a valid passport with six months validity.
- A visa is not required as long as the duration of the stay is under 30 days.
Bangkok is Thailand’s biggest city by far and the chief metropolitan center of the country. Thus, the major city is a big market to fly into, and has two international airports, unsurprisingly the two busiest in the country.
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok is the newer of the two airports, and is the busiest in the country. The airport services flights from within the country and from nearby cities and countries in Asia. There are nonstop options from London, but most other cities in North America require connecting flights to reach BKK.
Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) is the other airport in the Bangkok area. It is an older airport, but still the second busiest in the country. It is currently undergoing expansion projects to accommodate more passenger traffic in the future. DMK services domestic flights and flights from within Asia. For travelers from North America and even London, connecting flights are the best option to fly into DMK, but sometimes flights to DMK are not even offered from these locations. BKK is a stronger option when flying into Bangkok from anywhere outside Asia.
Phuket International Airport (HKT) in Phuket is the third busiest airport in the country and is located in Southern Thailand. Phuket is a large tourist destination full of beaches and resorts and services connecting flights from London and major North American markets.
Aside from domestic flights, there are other ways to explore Thailand.
Trains are available for travel throughout the country. They are convenient, spacious, and safe to use. Tickets can be bought at a station or booked online. Most trains usually depart or arrive in Bangkok. More information can be found on the State Railway of Thailand website.
In order to drive in Thailand, foreign travelers need an International Driving Permit. However, driving in Thailand can be difficult and it is advised to hire a driver or take public transport.
The bus system in Thailand is expansive, and tickets are affordable. Most bus stations are found in Bangkok. However, buses are not as spacious as trains and bus crashes are frequent.
Taxis are common throughout Thailand as well and can provide great transport service. As a foreign traveler, make sure to ride only in a taxi where the meter is showing. This way, you get an honest price and the driver does not have a chance to charge an absurd amount.
Thailand is a safe place to visit, and travelers from different countries visit Thailand annually. That being said, foreign travelers should follow the same procedures as any other country to stay safe, especially in Bangkok or Phuket.
In case of need, the phone number for the police is 191. The number for police for tourists is 1155. The phone number for an ambulence is 1554. The number for a fire is 199.
- Be wary of pickpockets and keep an eye on your belongings, especially purses, money, and phones.
- Lock hotel rooms before sleeping at night.
- Always let someone know where you are when venturing into more mountainous or rural areas.
- Be aware of scams that target your money. This can happen through trying to sell fake items and charging unusually high rates.
- When at beach resorts in a place like Phuket, be wary of rip currents and ocean waves. Assess your swimming abilities and know your limit when it comes to venturing into the ocean. Your judgment is the strongest measurement of ocean safety.
Safety Tips for Nighttime
- Do not walk alone at night, especially on deserted city streets or empty beach areas.
For Female Travelers:
Female Travelers should follow the tips above in addition to these:
- Foreign women may receive attention from Thai men, but it’s important to not show any signs of distress or disturbance. Stay about your business, and keep moving forward.
- Keep an eye on drinks, especially when going to any sort of club or party.
- Try not to dress provocatively, as that is not common in Thailand.
Thailand as a whole generally experiences similar weather. It has a tropical climate.
The year-round average weather for Thailand is as follows:
Nov- Mar: A chilly and dry spell of weather, with general temperatures ranging from 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Apr-Jun: Heat and humidity is present, with temperatures reaching 85-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jul-Oct: This is monsoon time, so it’s hot, extremely humid, and constantly raining with many torrential downpours. Temperatures will still be in the 80s.
Visiting Thailand would be ideal from November through March, when the weather is more mild compared to other months, coupled with the absence of heavy rainfall.
Thai is the primary spoken language in Thailand, although there are regional Thai dialects in various cities across the country. This may create a language gap for foreign travelers. However, for travelers visiting tourist areas, English is more frequently spoken.
For courtesy, men should use the phrase khrup at the end of sentences and women should use kah. When saying “I” in a sentence, men should say phom and women should say deeshan.
Thank you: khop khun khrup/kah
Hello: Sawadee khrup/kah
My name is: Phom/Deeshan chue (your name) khrup/kah
Yes: Chai khrup/kah
No: Mai chai khrup/kah
You’re welcome: Mai pen rai khrup/kah
Where is?: Yoo tee-nai khrup/kah
Do you speak English? Khun pood pa-sa ung grid dai mai khrup/kah?
Here are some etiquette rules you should follow during a visit to Thailand:
- Take your time, Thais don’t like rushing, so the need to be prompt is a loose standard.
- Do not wear clothing that is too revealing.
- Always look peaceful/happy and have a peaceful mindset in interactions.
- Keep PDA minimal.
- Take off shoes when entering someone’s home.
- Smoking and drunkenness is not acceptable in public locations.
- Don’t point feet, touch anybody’s head, or point at a person.
- Respect the King.
- Use your right hand.
- Know the wai: The wai is a form of greeting in Thailand where one puts their hands together and bows their head.
Thailand’s currency is the baht (THB). 1 USD is equivalent to 30.6 baht.
While baht may represent the bills, satang are Thai coins. 100 satang is equivalent to one baht. However, satang are infrequently used. The baht bills come in various colors, and they come in 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 baht.
Exchanging money in Thailand can be done at at banks, hotels, or a currency exchange. Rates apply.
Tipping should be done as a traveler at 10-15 %, but only under service you feel has been good. If you feel service has not been up to your standards, then you don’t have to tip. Tipping in Thailand is infrequent, however travelers are expected to tip for taxis, and at dining and lodging establishments.
The standard voltage is 220 volts. You will need a voltage convert if bringing electronics with 110 voltage. Your converter should look like this:
Tap water is not safe for drinking in Thailand. Stick to drinking water from bottles or boiled water that has been heated for over 20 minutes.
For brushing teeth and showering, using bottled water is the best scenario. Do not drink anything with ice either.
WiFi can be found across much of Thailand, even more rural areas, though expect a more faulty connection. Public places such as hotels, resorts, and coffee establishments offer WiFi. WiFi ranges from free to charged rates, depending on the place.
It’s recommended to travel via tuk tuk or the phone app Grab. Tuk tuks are used to travel to popular tourist sights such as the night market. Grab costs around the same price as a tuk tuk and is the Thai equivalent to an Uber.
Thailand is a great place to visit, and for LGBTQ travelers, it is welcoming. In big cities such as Bangkok, along with tourist-inhabited areas, LGBTQ travelers should have no issues. There are resorts and clubs for LGBTQ travelers as well in tourist heavy areas.
In more rural areas or smaller towns, LGBTQ travelers should minimize overt PDA. In these areas, heterosexual couples should also minimize overt PDA.
Thailand is still working on becoming an eco-friendly country. Pollution is an issue and recycling is not a common practice. As a foreign traveler, it is best to use reusable products to eliminate the increase in waste.
That being said, there are plenty of eco-tours and eco-friendly lodging options in Thailand. There are also national parks and wildlife conservations.
Several Malay states occupy the region that will become Thailand.
Tai Peoples migrate into Thailand from China’s modern-day Yunnan Province.
The Kingdom of Sukhotai emerges. It will enjoy prosperity until the 14th century, when it will be overtaken by Ayutthaya.
Foundation of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, the second of Thailand’s great medieval empires. It is notable for its openness to both trade and European influence.
Ayutthaya fights several wars with Burma, the last of which will put an end to the kingdom in 1767.
Thailand (then known as Siam) and Great Britain sign the Bowring Treaty, liberalizing trade in the country.
Gradual loss of Siamese lands to European powers.
Thailand’s absolute monarchy is overthrown in a coup and replaced by a constitutional monarchy.
An increasingly militaristic Thailand allies with Japan and the Axis powers.
Thailand’s military dictatorship under Thanom Kittikachorn ends in the wake of widespread protests. Despite several coups and crises, an uneasy democracy will slowly emerge.
Thaksin Shinawatra comes to power in Thailand; his term as prime minister is mired by controversy and corruption.
Widespread unrest occurs throughout Thailand, leading to various episodes of martial law and a 2014 coup.
The first democratic elections since the 2014 coup are held.