|Thailand Useful Information
Bangkok International Airport is located some 22 kilometres north of Bangkok. The Domestic Terminal and Cargo Terminal are also located nearby.
Limousine, Bus, Mini-bus, and Sedan Service
A regular coach and private limousine service for transfers between Bangkok and the airport are provided. The Limousine Service Counter is located at the Arrival Hall on the Ground Floor of the International Passenger Terminal on the Southern side. All vehicles are air-conditioned and the rates reasonable. Mini-bus (joint-seat) to any hotel in Bangkok 100 baht per person Shuttle bus (to Asia Hotel and Viengtai Hotel) 60 baht per person Sedan (to downtown Bangkok) 300 baht per trip Bus to Pattaya Beach 150 baht per person Sedan to Pattaya Beach around 1,500 baht per trip.
Taxis are available for hire at the authorised Public Taxi Stand next to the Meeting Point south of the Arrival Hall in the International Passenger Terminal. Taxi drivers are only permitted to pick up passengers at these authorised stands and they are not allowed to offer their services to passengers in the terminal building. Fares are between 50-300 baht per trip depending on destinations. Fares to various destinations are posted at the taxi stand as a guideline to foreign commuters. Passengers are strongly advised not to use the services of private car drivers who may not be insured to carry passengers and are not licensed to ply for hire. All authorised taxis carry a yellow license plate and a rooftop TAXI-METER sign. No tip is expected.
Air-conditioned and regular public buses constantly travel downtown from Don Muang Airport. Passengers wishing to take the bus can do so by walking to the Bus Stop located on Vibhavadi Rangsit Highway. Fares on regular buses cost only 3.50 baht for any distance, while fares for air-conditioned buses range from 6 baht for the first eight kilometres to a maximum of 16 baht. Fares are collected onboard. Bus numbers indicate routes. Buses can be uncomfortable and crowded especially during rush hours and will therefore have very little or no room for luggage. Regular Buses from Don Muang Airport to town are buses numbers 29, 59, 95 and air-conditioned buses numbers 4, 10, 13 and 29.
Passenger Service Charge (Airport Tax)
A passenger service charge, to be paid at the Passenger Service Charge kiosks or at the automatic machines, or at the airport check-in counter, is required of all international and domestic passengers passing through Bangkok International Airport. International passengers 200 baht per person Domestic passengers 30 baht per person Please note that foreign passengers whose passports have been stamped upon arrival are considered to have entered the Kingdom of Thailand. Therefore, when leaving the country they are required to pay the passenger service charge.
The Left Luggage Room at Bangkok Airport charges 20 baht per item per day with a maximum storage allowed of 3 months.
Tel. 5351250, 5351255
On arrival at Bangkok International Airport, all international passengers are processed through immigration and passport control, then onto the baggage reclaim area where luggage is fed onto a conveyor or carousel showing the number of each flight.
Baggage Service (Lost and Found)
A Lost and Found Counter, located at the Arrival Lounge, is manned round-the-clock, seven days a week. If you leave anything on an aircraft or an airline bus, please contact the airline concerned immediately. Tel: 5352173, 5352811, 5352812
Trolleys are provided in both the Departure and Arrival Lounges of the International Passenger Terminal. No fees are charged. Passengers are free to use them.
All four of Thailand's international airports have duty-free shopping facilities. The most extensive is at Don Muang International Airport, the main port of entry. Smaller duty-free shops can be found at Phuket and Hat Yai in the south and Chiang Mai in the north.
Where to stay
Thailand has world-class accommodation which is probably unsurpassed in terms of attentiveness, courteous service and affordability. Major tourism destinations such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket and thriving commercial centres such as Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, Lampang and Nakhon Ratchasima offer modern first- class hotels with every conceivable convenience and international-standard convention facilities for groups numbering from 200 to 2,000 and upwards. Family-style hotels, bungalow complexes, guest houses, houseboats, hostels, motels, spartan but clean Chinese-style inns and hotels, and beach-side huts complete a range of accommodation costing anywhere from a few dollars daily to hundreds of dollar a night. Current listings of accommodation and rates are available from Tourism Authority of Thailand's local offices in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand:
Central : Kanchanaburi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Lopburi, Pattaya, Rayong, Cha-Am Nakhon Nayok, Trat
North : Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok, Tak
Northeast : Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Phanom, Ubon Thani
South : Hat Yai, Phuket, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathivat
Some so airlines maintain offices in Bangkok. A complete listing may be found in the English edition of the Bangkok Telephone Directory's Yellow Pages.
Tourist Information Services
Tourist information is available at the Tourism Authority of Thailand head office in Bangkok, local offices in 22 major cities (listed in the back cover of TAT brochure) and the TAT information counter in Bangkok Airport and at every airport where there is a TAT local office. They provide maps, brochures and useful information on tours, shopping, dining and accommodation. All TAT information offices are open seven days a week from 8.30 AM. to 4.30 PM.
Rail : Train tickets of all classes may be purchased 90 days in advance at principal stations and at the Advance Booking Office (in Bangkok Railway Station) during 08.30 AM. – 06.00 PM. on weekdays and 08.30 AM. - 12.00 AM. on Saturdays, Sundays and official holidays. Some major travel agents in Bangkok also provide train reservation services. To obtain further information, please contact the Bangkok Advance Booking Office Tel. 2233762, 2247788, Telex: 72242 SRT BKK TH.
Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week basis. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 AM and 4.30 PM with a noon to 1.00 PM lunch break, Monday through Friday, except on public holidays. Private businesses maintain much the same hours perhaps 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM, with certain exceptions. Many stores open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Certain major hotels provide fully equipped business centres for visiting executives. Services customarily include secretarial work, typing, photo- copying and fax facilities, conference rooms and reference libraries.
Those possessing valid International Driving Licenses may prefer to hire automobiles. English- language road signs and maps are commonplace. The Bangkok Yellow Pages list local and international automobile rental companies. Visitors are advised to shop around since most companies offer different conditions. Self-drive and chauffeur-driven automobiles are widely available. International car hire companies such as Avis and Hertz also operate in Pattaya, Hat Yai, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Samui Island.
Christian churches are found in Bangkok and most provincial capitals. Services are mostly in Thai, with certain services in English, French and German. Local English-language newspapers provide comprehensive listings of services in Bangkok.
Light, loose cotton clothing is best. Nylon should be avoided. Sweaters are needed during Cool Season evenings or if visiting mountainous areas and remote national parks. Jackets and ties are required in certain restaurants and night-clubs.
The electric current is 220 Volt AC (50 cycles) throughout the country. There are many plugs and sockets in use. Travellers with shavers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug-adapter kit. The better hotels will, make avail- able 110 Volt transformers.
Film and Photography
Major international film manufacturers maintain excellent photofinishing laboratories. Instant developing can be done within one hour. Popular films are available countrywide at reasonable prices. Still photographers are free to shoot almost everything. Movie cameras are not 'allowed without permission in Bangkok's Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Chapel complex. Photography is also prohibited in certain branches of the National Museum.
Newspaper and Magazines
Thailand's English-language newspapers, the Nation, the Bangkok Post and Thailand Times keep readers abreast of local and international events. Major English language magazines and newspapers such as International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time and Asiaweek are readily available at hotel newsagents, supermarkets, department stores and leading bookstores.
Embassies, Consulates, Diplomatic Missions
Some so countries maintain embassies, consulates or legations in Bangkok. Most are concentrated around the Sukhumwit, Phloenchit, Witthayu and Sathon Road areas. A complete list of such missions is featured in the Yellow Pages of the English edition of the Bangkok Telephone Directory.
Polite behaviour is welcomed everywhere, and what is considered polite in other countries is probably considered polite in Thailand, too. However, there and a few cultural pitfalls, mainly social and religious taboos, the breaking of which can cause offence : For example, Thais revere their royal family. Even social malcontents who ignore legal and community standards refuse to tolerate a faintly implied slight on the Thai monarchy. Outward expressions of anger are regarded as crude and boorish. The visitor who remains calm and smiles appreciatively will find all sorts of doors open to him. Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go shirtless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire.
Shoes should be removed when entering private Thai homes; chapels where Buddhist images are kept; and any of the Islamic community's mosques. Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as being a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything that might show lack of respect. Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon. Westernized Thai couples may hold hands but that's as far as it goes in polite society. It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object. Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, both literally and figuratively. Therefore, they do not appreciate anyone patting them there, even as a friendly gesture.
In 1982, the Tourist Police was set up to coordinate with the Tourism Authority of Thailand in providing safety for tourists. Its responsibilities are receiving and acknowledging claims and complaints; to conduct investigations and acting as co-ordinator of tourist security protection.
At present, some 500 tourist policemen are stationed in major tourist areas such as the Grand Palace, Phatphong and Lumphini Park. Bi-lingual Tourist Police are attached to Tourism Authority of Thailand offices in Bangkok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Pattaya, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Thani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Phitsanulok, Nakhon Sawan, Surat Thani, Phuket and Songkhla to provide speedy assistance to visitors. In case of emergency, contact the Tourist Police Centre Unicohouse Building Soi Lang Suan Ploenchit Rd., Bangkok Tel: 6521721
As when travelling anywhere in the world a good travel insurance policy is a very wise idea. Please carry the insurance policies and contact numbers of your insurance company's office with you.
All tourism destinations and provincial capitals have hospitals and clinics staffed by well-trained doctors and nurses. In case of emergencies, ambulances can be summoned from any private hospital.
Tipping (10-20 baht) is normal practice in Thailand, except taxis, where you pay according to the meter or agree on a price beforehand, and “tuk-tuks” (3-wheel motorcycle-taxis, where you agree on a price beforehand so no tip is expected. It is not necessary to tip cinema ushers. It is customary to tip porters and hotel personnel who have given good personal service. A 10%-15% tip is appreciated in restaurants, particularly where service charge is waived.
Radio and Television
AM radio is heavily commercial - there are some 200 stations nationwide - and appeals to popular taste. FM radio offers popular music, classical music, jazz, English-language news broadcasts and the original soundtracks of certain imported film shows shown on local television's five channels. Leading hotels have colour televisions in each room, offering either video features, satellite and / or cable television or tourism-related English-language programmes.
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