Thailand Travel Advice
What To Bring
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya are modern destinations
with most amenities found in Europe or North America. Lip balm
and moisturizers are needed in the north during the cool season
( November/December). Sunglasses and hats are useful items to
protect eyes and sensitive skin from tropical glare.
What To Wear
Clothes should be light and loose; natural blends that breathe
are preferable to synthetics. The cool season in the north can
be chilly; a sweater will be welcome, especially when travelling
in the hills. Suits are worn for business and in many large
hotels, in general, Thailand lacks the formal dress code of
Hong Kong and Tokyo. Open shoes (sandals during the height of
the rainy season, when some Bangkok street get flooded) and
conservation dresses (with sleeves) for women or short-sleeved
shirts for men are appropriate. It is not appropriate for men
to walk around cities and towns without a shirt.
The clothing code for Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques is
more conservative than on the street. Shorts are taboo for both
women and men wanting to enter some of the important temples.
Those wearing sleeveless dresses may also be barred from certain
temples. Improperly dressed and unkempt visitors will be turned
away from large temples like the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the
Emerald Buddha) and from the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Dress
properly in deference to the religion and to Thai sensitivities.
Health / Hygiene
Thais place high value on personal hygiene and are aware of
the danger of germs and infections. Establishments catering
to foreigners are generally careful with food and drinking preparation.
They do not, however, place such as high priority on keeping
the environment clean.
Bangkok water is clean when it leaves the modern filtration
plant; the pipes that carry it into the city are somewhat less
than new, however, and visitors are advised to drink bottled
water or soft drinks. Both are produced under strict supervision,
as is the ice used in large hotels and restaurants. Most street
side restaurants are clean; a quick glance should tell you which
are and which are not.
First class hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket have doctors
on call for medical emergencies. The hospitals in these three
destinations are equivalent of those in any major Western city.
Intensive care units are fully equipped and staffed by doctors
to handle emergencies quickly and competently. Nursing care
is generally superb, because there is a high staff-to-patient
ratio. Many doctors have been trained in Western hospitals,
and even those who have not spoke good English. Most small towns
have clinics which treat minor ailments and accidents. In the
unlikely event that you suffer a criminal attack in Bangkok,
you must go to a police hospital situated at Ratchaprasong intersection.
Most banks now have ATM machines outside, open around the clock.
Currency is dispensed in Baht only. Occasionally, an ATM card
may not work at one machine for some specified reason; try another
branch of the same bank and results may be different. Alternatively,
Master Card and Visa debit cards (as distinct from credit cards)
are also accepted at many ATM machines and increasing in large
number of local merchants. Most banks have signs with an array
of symbols indicating which cards are accepted at the machine.
Periodically, cards are accepted at machines in spite of the
fact that no related sign appears out front. When in doubt,
give it a try, but be prepared to be flexible.
American Express, Master Card, Visa and Diners Club are widely
accepted in tourists area. In provincial destinations, it is
better to check that credit cards are accepted, and not to count
on using them.
If you lose your credit card, notify the relevant company at
one of the following offices in Bangkok:
388 Phaholyothin Road
Tel : 0 2273 0033 ( customer service )
Tel : 0 2273 0022 ( 24 hour emergency )
Fax : 0 2273 0464
Open : 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. ( Monday-Friday)
Master Card International
Sermmitr Tower, 11th Floor, Soi 21 (Asoke), Sukhumvit Road
Tel : 0 2260 8572-3
Fax : 0 2260 8574
Global Service Center 001-800-118 870 0063
Australia Center, Building One, 11th Floor, 99/38 Witthayu Road
Tel : 0 2256 7326
Fax : 0 2256 7151
Australian Head Quarters : 00 61 2 9223 9606
Toll free : 001 800 441 3485
Silom Complex, 12th Floor, 191 Silom Road
Tel : 0 2238 3660
Fax : 0 234 4523
Open : 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. ( Monday-Friday)
Thailand has comprehensive and reliable postal service. All
major towns offer regular air mail service, and a global express
In Bangkok, the General Post Office (GPO), on Charoen Krung
Road open at 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. (Monday-Friday) and 8 a.m. - 1p.m.
on weekends and holidays. It has a useful and inexpensive parcel
There are branch post offices throughout Bangkok, many of which
stay open until 6p.m. Kiosks along some of the busier streets
sell stamps and aerograms and ship small parcels.
The main post offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket have
special facilities where stamp collectors can browse and buy
from a wide selection of beautiful stamps.
A separate building located to the right of the main post office
(GPO) provides telecommunications services around the clock,
including telephone, telegram, fax and telex.