The country of Thailand, officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand, is situated in Southeast Asia, with coastlines on the Gulf of Thailand, and the Andaman Sea. It shares borders with Laos to the east, Malaysiato to the south, Myanmar to the northwest, and Cambodia to the southeast.

There is a very good reason why Thailand is the most popular country for tourists in Southeast Asia. Travelers flock here year after year to sample the great food, enjoy the tropical climate, learn about the fascinating culture, enjoy the majestic mountains, and of course, take great pleasure in lazing on the fantastic beaches which are only found in this exotic country.

Languages in Thailand

Thai is the official language of Thailand, and just like Vietnamese and Mandarin, is an extremely tonal language, which makes it somewhat hard for foreign visitors to learn during their stay. Even so, the locals appreciate it immensely if you learn a few phrases and at least try to say a word or two in their mother tongue.

There are several different dialects in the Thai language, but it is the Bangkok dialect, which is also known as Central Thai, which is used primarily and taught in all schools.

Currency of Thailand

The Baht is the official currency of the country, and consists of six notes and six coins namely, 25 and 50 Satang, which aren’t worth much, and only accepted and handed out on buses, 7-11s, and supermarket, 1.5, 2, and 10 Baht coins, as well as 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 Baht notes.

20 and 100 Baht notes are most frequently used, because most shops don’t carry much change. Beware of taxi drivers who very often claim to have no change, and also, be careful of 1000 Baht notes, because counterfeits are pretty common.

ATMs are found in all major cities and large towns, and there is no problem with making international withdrawals.

Airports in Thailand

Thailand has two main international airports, situated in Phuket and Bangkok with both of them being very well served by intercontinental flights. Just about every flight going to Asia stops at Bangkok, which means that there are plenty of companies working in competition with each other, so ticket prices are always reasonable.

Documentation for travelers to Thailand

Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Korea and Peru, do not need visas for stays of up to 90 days.

The following countries and territories do not need visas for stays of up to 30 days when entering the country by air, and 14 days, when entering across the border:

  • Australia, Austria
  • Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei
  • Canada, Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland, France
  • Germany, Greece
  • Hong Kong, Hungary
  • Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Laos, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg
  • Macau, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia
  • Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway
  • Oman
  • Philippines, Poland, Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States
  • Vietnam

Cambodia and Ukraine do not need visas for stays of up to 14 days.

Overstaying your visa in Thailand is possible, but it will set you back 500 Baht in fines for every day extra that you’re in the country. Do note too, that as from 22 July 2014, regulations regarding overstaying visas have become harsher, with even heavier fines, in an attempt to stop people from overstaying in the country.

Weather in Thailand

November through to February is considered to be the best time to visit Thailand, because it is not too hot during these times, and there is also less rain. This is also the main season in Thailand for festivals such as Loi Krathong.

The south of Thailand is near the equator, and temperatures remain comfortable all through the year, which is when most travelers hit the islands and beaches, to keep cool when the rest of the country is experiencing blistering heat.

Although Thailand has a somewhat bad reputation during the rainy season, which runs more-or-less between July and October, there are several bonuses to visiting at this time of the year; temperatures are cooler, the landscape is lush and green, and there are fewer crowds around.

Beach destinations in Thailand

Thailand’s beaches and islands draw millions of tourists every year, from all over the world.

Thailand’s oldest resort, Hua Hin, which was discovered in the 1920s by King Rama VII, is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, but things have changed significantly these days.

Ko Samui, Phuketand, and Pattaya, even though they were only discovered as recently as the 1970s, are now by far, the most developed and most popular of beach resorts in the country.

There are also some really beautiful spots in Krabi Province, and the famous island paradise of Ko Phi Phi, has been undergoing enormous development, ever since the movie The Beach, was released in 2000.

Pros and cons of visiting Thailand

The highest cause of deaths to visitors to Thailand is motorcycle riding, especially on the narrow, twisting roads on the mountains in Samui and Phuket. When traveling by motorbike, always wear a helmet, drive defensively, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking, and where possible, don’t drive after dark.

Under no circumstances should you write or say anything against the Thai royal family, because the locals will not hesitate to assault you or attack you verbally. You will also end up behind bars, and there will be little that your Embassy can do to get you out of prison.

Thailand has its fair share of theft and scams, but if you simply use your common sense, then you should be able to avoid becoming a victim of these crimes. Drugs are not tolerated in Thailand, so if you are involved in any way, and are caught, you could end up spending the rest of your life here in prison, or even face the death penalty.

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