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Thread: Guide to Thailand - DRAFT!

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Guide to Thailand - DRAFT!

    Ok so 11 pages and 5000 words later I think this is ready to go up for discussion as this is not my guide but the boards guide so I'm looking for constructive feedback and to fill out some content with the knowledge of the users of this board, it is intended that this will generate traffic, new users and discussion. I'll agree to act as editor. This is the first paragraph which sets the theme for the guide:

    "This guide is intended to be a brief guide to the basics and essentials for visitors to the Kingdom of Thailand. It is not a comprehensive guide, if you have any specific queries after reading this please post in the forum. There are many people on this board who have visited these places a lot or who are living there so there will be someone to guide you "

    So if you want to add something please bear this in mind. Also if you do want something changed/added let me know either on thread or by pm what section it's in, it just makes it easier to edit. The section names are highlighted in different font, text and colour.

    In the event of a dispute that's going nowhere I'll let the mods and LIL have the final call if they're agreeable to this.

    Lastly an honour code will be in place for people who may wish to copy some or all of the material here, it's not copyrighted but it is mostly my work which I've done gladly for free for this site. So please link to the thread or ask permission to re-use please.

    With that in mind I'll post the first few sections shortly.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Nice.. Let's use this as a discussion thread.. Then whip it into a final version that gets posted uninterrupted.. And edited if there's revisions.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Part 1

    Contents
    Introduction.
    General FAQ..
    To and from Airports.
    Popular Destinations.
    Hotels.
    Thailand information.
    Weather.
    Electricity.
    Religion.
    Dangers and annoyances.
    Phones.
    Thai money.
    Nightlife.
    Thai Language.
    Day time Stuff




    Introduction


    This guide is intended to be a brief guide to the basics and essentials for visitors to the Kingdom of Thailand. It is not a comprehensive guide, if you have any specific queries after reading this please post in the forum. There are many people on this board who have visited these places a lot or who are living there so there will be someone to guide you

    General FAQ


    Getting there - Most people will get to Thailand by plane usually to Suvarnabhumi international airport (BKK)(Suvarnabhumi Airport | New Bangkok Airport Guide )in Bangkok. This is a major hub in South-East Asia and you can get to several other Thai and Asian destinations from here. Be aware it is a large airport and can take some time to walk to your connecting flight. If you are connecting to another destination make sure your baggage is checked through. You will have to pass security and immigration in Bangkok before connecting to your next flight. All of these can be busy depending on how many flights are arriving when you are.

    There is another airport in Bangkok called Don Meuang(DMK) ( Don Muang Airport (DMK) Bangkok Thailand | Don Muang Airport Guide) this is known as the domestic airport but also does short haul flights around the region. Flights can be a lot cheaper leaving from here but it can take a lot of time to get here from Suvarnabhumi with traffic so best not to risk it if you are tight for time with a connecting flight. If youíre in Bangkok for a few days itís a great option.

    Cheap flight operators in the region include, Air Asia, Nok Air, Bangkok Air, Angkor Air, Lao air.
    Skyscanner and kayak are good independent options for checking prices of flights. Anything under Ä700 return from Europe is pretty good value. As ever it pays to book ahead and be flexible with your dates. You may have to take two or more flights to get to Thailand, make sure to check your connection times as cheaper flights often have longer times between connections.

    Most major airlines have in seat entertainment with plenty of movies, tv shows, music and games to keep you occupied for your trip.
    A lot of western countries operate a 30 day visa on arrival. This is easily checked on the internet here Who Needs a Visa | ???????????????????? ? ?????????? You will be given a form on the plane for arrival and departure, make sure you fill out both for inspection by an immigration officer. You must keep the departure page in your passport, itís usually stapled in, if you lose it donít worry just get one when you check in for your return flight. You will have your photo taken and passport stamped. Do not overstay as there is a fine for this.

    There are two immigration sections, depending on what gate you arrive at if the first one is busy then keep walking towards/away gate D6 and thereís another one up there. After that, collect your luggage, you may get asked to put it through an x-ray machine when you leave the luggage collection area and welcome to the Kingdom!

    To and from Airports


    Bangkok international has several options to get to your accommodation. There are regular buses and a skytrain(over-road rail link) to get you to the city fairly cheaply. Taxiís are your best bet although there can be a bit of a scrum for your business. Lots of drivers will arrange to meet you in the airport at a designated gate usually 3 or 4 with your name on a card. These are typically unlicensed taxi drivers but there are lots of recommendations the internet to help. Or you can get an official taxi-meter(yellow and green with a taxi sign), these will have a sign on top of their car and have a meter, donít take one of a tout as it will be more expensive (he has to get his cut), simply follow the signs for public taxi in the airport which is one floor down from arrivals, get in the queue and tell the person at the top your destination. It helps if you have the address in Thai, usually available from the hotelís website. You can use the meter or you can agree a fee and that he will pay tolls if any, thereís also a 50 baht charge for using the airport service payable to the driver upon reaching your destination. BKK-City hotels should cost 250-400 baht depending on traffic.

    Thailand can be a difficult place to find your way around at first but addresses will usually have a Soi(street) and an area, e.g. Sukhumvit . You may also see Moo which is like a city block but knowing the soi and area should suffice. For example, the Grand Majestic hotel in Bangkokís address is 12 Sukhumvit,Soi 2, Bangkok. This means itís number 12 on Street number 2 in Sukhumvit. You may also see Thanon(avenue) on maps for the more major roads and thoroughfares.

    If youíve got a connecting flight then you will have a bit of a walk/run to your transfer gate, airport staff are usually waiting when you disembark to get you to the gate for flights to Samui/Phuket. You will have to pass security again and try to ensure your bags are checked all the way through to save you some time as flight connections can be tight.

    Popular Destinations

    Some of these need some a little more padding I think

    Bangkok Ė The nationís capital, Krung Thep as the locals call it translated as the city of angels.A modern vibrant city with something to appeal to every traveller. Exotic temples, unique nightlife, an abundance of shopping, food, street stalls, markets and a modern transport system. Bangkok is an assault on your senses, most travellers to Thailand will spend some time here whether to do the whistle stop tour of the Grand palace, reclining Buddha and Chao Praya river tour or maybe spend a little longer exploring this unique city. Bangkok is Thailandís most expensive city but it caters for all budgets and tastes

    Chiang Mai Ė The northern and ancient capital of the Sukothai period and a centre of Buddhism, covered in temples and national parks. Chiang Mai can be cooler than other parts of Thailand, it also has a vibrant nightlife but is sometimes the forgotten city for foreign tourists.

    Pattaya - Located on the gulf of Thailand just 150km from Bangkok Pattaya has an infamous reputation as sex city but due to an influx of Russian, Arabic and Indian families it has changed to accommodate the new sources of income, although the nightlife is still there and itís easy to find there are lots of other things to do in Pattaya these days. Loaded with affordable hotels and over 1000 bars and gogoís it offers a cheaper alternative with city conveniences such as large shopping malls mixed with beaches, islands and bars.

    Phuket Ė For those more into a get away from it all paradise holiday then Phuket is one of the top choices, with miles of beaches it appeals to the divers and sun seekers alike. With the main nightlife area of Bangla road in Patong changing all the time Phuket still has mass appeal and only an hourís flight from Bangkok.

    Samui Ė Similar to Phuket it offers an island paradise destination, also known for its full moon parties on nearby Koh Phangan it is also a popular destination for backpackers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Just a thought... what about a guide to Asia thread?

    Then you can break down the countries within it?

  5. #5
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    I think there'd be an awful lot of reading in it, this one is 11 pages as is and will probably be 13 pages when complete and there's a brief Cambodia one too. If it's too long it will put people off reading, also it keeps it relevant to the forum it's posted in. Maybe we can have a master document when more come online, my feeling is it would be an overload for the newbie reader.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waharoa View Post
    Just a thought... what about a guide to Asia thread?

    Then you can break down the countries within it?
    Lets work with this excellent start.. and build on it..

    I actually had (have) a related idea thats much more this way than forum style.. But not to distract from this.

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    "Some of these need some a little more padding I think"

    Not sure that I would pad them out. You cover them quite neatle in a sentence / paragraph. You could always link out from them into another thread if there's more info somewhere else.

    Succinct can be good.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Agree with the above.. Also think linking to discussion threads is a good way to have a single static thread, probably a sticky and locked (with a discussion thread linked) and yet still allow talk and chat in topics..

    A forum I was on maintained a locked meta FAQ.. And very good threads or posted info would get nominated for the meta FAQ and simply be linked in... It gave a newbie a single first point to look, then directing them off to sub threads to ask questions.

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    Senior Member MrDK's Avatar
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    555 Reinventing the wheel methinks ... and OP will have no way of updating his own OP.
    A guide is very fluid and subject to frequent updates.
    Anything posted 1-3 years earlier is subject to obsolescence.

  10. #10
    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Pretty sure LivinLOS could make a secondary forum group, call it like "editors", that allows them to edit their own posts for as long as they want.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Such sour grapes.. You really carry that butthurt around that much ??

    Of course it's possible to achieve that in a miryad of ways, from making the primary maintainer a mod, or part of a custom usergroup who do have admin privs, or changing the post edit timeout setting for the subforum the FAQ resides in or simply sending a current admin a revised version to edit in.. Which takes all of a few seconds.. There's so many options it's irrelevant.

    The fact is it was decided that we do not want TRs or any other form of post added purely as linked embedded image files, it denies the mods any ability to edit it, outside of total deletion, and presents an issue where images can be swapped at the remote server later passing mod notice. Secondly link farming to someone's own blog or site is discouraged.

    As it is I hope these kind of FAQs are a group collaboration, not a single maintainer. Those are the reasons and decisions, deal with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDK View Post
    555 Reinventing the wheel methinks ... and OP will have no way of updating his own OP.
    A guide is very fluid and subject to frequent updates.
    Anything posted 1-3 years earlier is subject to obsolescence.
    It depends how detailed the guide is. A guide including places like Scruffy Murphy's or go-go clubs in Patong will need frequent updates. A more overall guide - like what you see above - will not have the same problem.

  13. #13
    Senior Member MrDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatdane View Post
    It depends how detailed the guide is. A guide including places like Scruffy Murphy's or go-go clubs in Patong will need frequent updates. A more overall guide - like what you see above - will not have the same problem.
    Never referenced a specific venue, and I understand that delima.

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Hotels

    There is loads of choice of accommodation in Thailand, 4* & above hotels can be very reasonably priced so it can be a good chance to treat yourself. Location depends on what you’re looking for, some of the plusher hotels may not be near the nightlife or the shopping or the sea so do ask for recommendations and tell us what your budget is.

    Hotel prices can vary a lot from High season to low season. High season usually runs from November to April, Low season runs from April to October, this can also be rainy season which means it’s not as warm and it might rain. April is usually when Songkran(Thai new year) happens, this is always a very busy time.

    Hotels in Thailand are usually charged by the room, not by how many people stay in it, so if you’re staying alone you may be allowed bring a guest back. These hotels are called Guest Friendly or GF, other hotels usually more family oriented charge upwards of 1000 baht for a guest per night. Usually only one guest is allowed and there may be age restrictions, some hotels insist on the guest being over 20 and separate rules may apply to couples. If in doubt send the hotel an email to check, don’t be shy they’ve heard it all before.

    There’s plenty of good hotel sites on the net but booking.com usually doesn’t charge you until you check in for a lot of its deals so it’s good for spreading out costs. Other sites may take a deposit, others charge you when you book. Read the small print.

    If booking a holiday be aware that there are public holidays in Thailand that by law prohibit the selling of alcohol. This is strictly enforced so check these dates don’t interfere with your plans. Some dates can change as they are influenced by the occurrence of lunar patterns. Bars also close on election days. This is the latest list, bar closures in BOLD but you can also check your dates online. This is Thailand so the bar closures are not exactly black and white and may vary, the official line is that they close.

    1 January : New Year’s Day
    14 February : Makha Bucha Day
    7 April : Chakri Day
    13-16 April : Songkran festival
    1 May : National Labour Day
    6 May : Coronation Day
    13 May : Visakha Bucha Day
    11 July : Asarnha Bucha Day
    12 July : Wan Khao Phansa (Start of Buddhist Lent)

    12 August : Queen’s Birthday
    23 October : Chulalongkorn Day
    5 December : King's Birthday
    10 December : Constitution Day
    31 December : New Year’s Eve


    Thailand information


    Thailand (formerly called 'Siam') is a country that lies in the heart of Southeast Asia. It is bordered by Burma,Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. It is a constitutional monarchy with a King who is very revered and elected government. Prime minister at time of writing is Ms. Yingluck Sinawatra. The Thai King Bhumipol Adulyahdej is the longest reigning monarch in the world having ascended to the throne in 1946. The population is about 65 million and about 8-10 million live/work in the capital Bangkok.

    There is no way we can over emphasize how much Thai’s revere their King, never ever do anything that could be possibly construed as insulting the King or royal family, in fact it’s illegal in Thailand to do so and people are in prison for violating this law. There will be pictures of the royal family absolutely everywhere from roadside advertising boards to the bars. The walkways in the airport are adorned with banners stating Long live the King. Always stand and show respect for the Thai national anthem which is played before any films are shown in the cinema.

    Weather – Thailand enjoys a typical tropical climate where it is warm all year around with temperatures rarely dropping below 20įc and usually around 30įc, it’s a big country so temperatures can vary quite a bit from north to south. There are 3 main seasons, Hot from March to June, rainy from July to October and cool from November to February. Few things to note here, these are general guidelines, the seasons can vary from coast to coast, rainy season just means it might rain but when it does it buckets down and can get quite humid as it will still be warm. The rain goes away usually quite quickly.

    Electricity – 220volts at 50 cycles which is UK compatible but not American, the outlets are usually made for 2 pronged flat plugs so bring an adapter to charge your phone/laptop.

    Religion - Thailand is 95% Buddhist, it is adorned with temples and shrines everywhere. Temples are nice peaceful places to visit but people must dress and act respectfully when visiting. This means dressing modestly, covering your shoulders, chest and legs. A t-shirt and jeans will suffice, ladies may consider wearing a small silk scarf in addition to this. You will be told in no uncertain terms if you are dressed inappropriately and won’t be allowed inside temples. When entering temples you will be required to take your shoes off, you’ll see shoes piled up outside so take the hint. If you’re worried about an expensive pair of shoes then bring a bag to put them into when entering the temple. Also shouting and horseplay are definitely a no-no. Buddhists are happy for other people of other religions to visit their temples, if you talk to a monk or receive a blessing you may consider a small donation or gift which can be bought on site. Thais are very religious and devout so respect their beliefs and you’ll enjoy your temple visit a lot more.

    Respect to other people in Thai society is also very important, this is most often seen with the famous Thai greeting called the Wai. This youtube video gives a good explanation of it, have a go, the Thais will be happy to show you and help.

    How to Wai - YouTube

    Keeping face is an important but often confusing part of Thai culture. You should never lose your cool especially in public, if you start shouting or accusing someone of something it will go down very badly. You’ll notice that Thais smile and laugh a lot even when something is going wrong, this is all part of saving face. A smile will go a long way in a lot of situations, that’s why Thailand is called the Land of Smiles.

    The timezone for Thailand is GMT+7
    Last edited by dontpanic; 10th March 2014 at 16:08.

  15. #15
    Senior Member MrDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
    1 January : New Yearís Day
    14 February : Makha Bucha Day
    7 April : Chakri Day
    13-16 April : Songkran festival
    1 May : National Labour Day
    6 May : Coronation Day
    13 May : Visakha Bucha Day
    11 July : Asarnha Bucha Day/ Start of Buddhist Lent
    12 August : Queenís Birthday
    23 October : Chulalongkorn Day
    5 December : King's Birthday
    10 December : Constitution Day
    31 December : New Yearís Eve
    I will help you a little.
    11 July is not the start of Buddhist Lent (Wan Khao Phansa) that is 12 July (this year).
    Both days are back-to-back days with alcohol and music restrictions, AKA bar closure.
    Since they are both based on the lunar calendar, which will be different the next year and any following year.

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    Koh Samui include Koh Tao as popular diving destination? also Koh Samui has two high seasons with one in July and August.
    Koh Samet nice relaxed beach destination not far from Pattaya which makes a nice getaway, maybe avoid weekend tourists from Bangkok.
    Koh Chang? not in wet season.

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDK View Post
    I will help you a little.
    11 July is not the start of Buddhist Lent (Wan Khao Phansa) that is 12 July (this year).
    Both days are back-to-back days with alcohol and music restrictions, AKA bar closure.
    Since they are both based on the lunar calendar, which will be different the next year and any following year.
    Thanks, updated, the lunar changes is noted in the guide we can probably do a yearly post with these as they change.

  18. #18
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdickgus View Post
    Koh Samui include Koh Tao as popular diving destination? also Koh Samui has two high seasons with one in July and August.
    Koh Samet nice relaxed beach destination not far from Pattaya which makes a nice getaway, maybe avoid weekend tourists from Bangkok.
    Koh Chang? not in wet season.
    Ok so how far to Koh Tao from Samui? Day trip or is it a ferry and night over?

    Same with Koh Samet?

    Koh Chang is where? Nearest major tourist spot and how to get to.

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    Senior Member Snakebite911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
    Koh Chang is where? Nearest major tourist spot and how to get to.
    Koh Chang is off the coast of Trat, down by the Cambodian border. Nearest major tourist spot would be Pattaya. Taxi from Bangkok would be about 4000-4500 fixed price. Never been, but it is not to far from Chanthaburi where I stay most of the time.

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snakebite911 View Post
    Koh Chang is off the coast of Trat, down by the Cambodian border. Nearest major tourist spot would be Pattaya. Taxi from Bangkok would be about 4000-4500 fixed price. Never been, but it is not to far from Chanthaburi where I stay most of the time.
    Thanks I'll include as a day trip from Pattaya around 3k taxi to the pier and a short ferry ride.

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