Gateways, Visa & Border crossings
Forty nationalities are given a free tourist visa upon arrival in Thailand for 30 days when entering by air, 15 days overland.Visitors who overstay their visa must pay a 500 Baht fine per day.Other nationalities, or for visa extensions, business visa, etc, should consult the Thai embassy in their country, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) , Tourism Thailand and Thailand Immigration Bureau , as well as for regular updates on border crossings.
Getting to Thailand
Thailand has international airports in Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, Hat Yai, and Chiang Mai. Tourists can also cross into Thailand overland by bus, train, or boat from Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia. Travel direct from southern China by rail and road will also be possible in the near future. You need to cross at an authorised border checkpoint:
Poipet / Aranya Prathat is also the most direct road to Siem Reap & Angkor Wat.
Koh Kong / Hat Lek (in Trad southern Province)
Chom Som /Kap Choeng, Anlong Veng / Chong Sa Ngam; Ban Laem/Daun Lem and Pailin/ Ban Prakard.
Laos / Thailand
Tha Na Leng (near Vientiane)/ Nong Khai
Further south Savannakhet / Mukdahan.
Paksan / Beung Kan, Tha Khaek / Nakhon Phanom and Huay Xai /Chiang Khong,.
Malaysia / Thailand
There are many forms of transport running between Hat Yai in Thailand and various destinations in Malaysia, which include immigration stops at the border.
Myanmar / Thailand
It is still difficult to enter Thailand from Myanmar. Most travellers arrive from Myanmar by air.
China / Thailand
The China-Thailand highway will shortly link Kunming in China to Bangkok. Rail travel to Bangkok is planned. It is also possible to travel along the Mekong River from the northern Thai town of Chian Saen to Jinghong in China’s Yunnan Province.
Local time & working hours
Thailand Standard Time is GMT +7. Thailand does not observe daylight saving.
Thai bank hours are typically Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Some bank branches (e.g. in shopping malls) are open on weekends. Currency exchange booths in most tourist destinations are open on weekends and evenings.
Clinics and Doctors’ Surgeries
Major hospitals in Bangkok have 24-hour emergency rooms. Non-emergency doctors’ appointments should be scheduled between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm, Monday – Friday. Some larger hospitals offer off-hours / weekend services. Check charges.
For emergency services dial 191 on any phone.
Shops, Markets, Supermarkets and Department Stores
Thailand is a shopping country; most shops are open seven days a week, 10 am to 10 pm. There are day markets and night markets in all towns. Convenience stores such as 7-11 are located throughout Thailand and are generally open 24 hours. You can find food outlets any time of the day or night almost in every town.
Thai currency is the baht, one Thai baht is divided into 100 satang, one US$ is approximately 30 Thai Baht, one € is around 45 Thai Baht. Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. Travellers leaving Thailand may take out no more than 50,000 Thai baht per person in Thai currency.
Traveler’s checks are cashed easily almost everywhere; exchange rates at banks or authorised money changers are the best.
Credit cards are widely accepted, though there may be a fee of 2-3% on top of your credit card company charges.
Tipping is not usual practice in Thailand, but it is becoming more common and most welcomed by all. 20 baht is acceptable for porters at hotels and parking attendants.
Bargaining is common in many places; you can drop the price up to 10-40% lower, but fixed prices are the norm in department stores, and most shops. With patience and a smile, you will not only get a better price, you will also enjoy shopping as an art.
Overall, Thailand is a safe country for tourists. Most Thais feel responsible about taking good care of guests, and care about health and personal hygiene. Cooking areas are usually clean, and food is cooked fresh. You are unlikely to become ill or to feel unsafe during your visit, even if you are travelling alone.
Nevertheless, travellers should respect common sense precautions of hygiene and security to keep safe, fit and healthy: avoid walking alone at night in remote areas, refuse gifts or drinks from strangers, keep an eye on valuables, drink bottled or filtered water (please avoid plastic bottles as much as possible) and eating fresh, made-to-order food.
Travellers may be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases: malaria in border areas and forests, dengue fever in cities, so use mosquito nets and protect yourself by using mosquito repellent, and wear light, long-sleeved clothing in infested areas.
If you do need to go to a Thai hospital, there are many hospitals with world-class service, particularly in Bangkok. Samitivej Hospital, Bangkok Hospital and Burumgrad are the most famous among foreigners but also the most expensive ones; Chulalongkorn is a good alternative for emergencies.
You will find police stations and tourist police booths located around major tourist areas.
For tourist police: 1155
For emergency services dial 191 on any phone.
Bangkok’s central immigration office has been relocated from Suan Phlu road to Chaengwattana Road (MAP).