Information about Thailand
Geography: Thailand occupies a land area of 513,114 km and shares its borders with Malaysia,
Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.
Population: The Kingdom has population of 62.3 million. More than 10% live in the capital city, Bangkok, which means the “City Of Angels”.
Climate: Temperature ranges from 19 C. to 38 C. with a relative humidity varying from 66% to 82.8%.
The hot season is from April to May, The rainy season is September, October, November and beginning of December.
Local time: GMT +7 hours.
Religion: The national religion is “Theravada Buddhism” which is branch of Hinayana Buddhism, which is practiced by more than 92% of population. The rest of it adheres to Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and others. Buddhism continues to cast a strong influence on daily life. Senior Monks are highly revered.
In towns and villages, the “Wat” (Temple) is the heart of social and religious life.
Meditation is one of the most popular aspect of Buddhism, practiced regularly by many Thais,
promoting inner peace and happiness.
Business Hours: Most offices are open from 09:00 to 17:00. Monday to Friday except on Public Holidays. General banking hours are Monday to Friday 09:30 to 15:30.
Many stores open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Tipping: Tipping is not a standard practice in Thailand, although it is becoming more common.
Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill.
Taxi drivers do not require a tip.
Travel Documents: Those who are entering the Kingdom of Thailand must have valid passports. Since February 1995, the nationals from 57 countries are permitted to stay in the Kingdom without a pre arranged Visa for maximum of 30 days. Visas can be obtained from Thai Embassies in most capital cities and immigration offices.
Currency: The local currency is Thai Baht. There are many foreign money exchanges.
Bargaining: Fixed prices are the normal fact in department stores, but at most other places, bargaining is to be considered. Generally, you can obtain a final price between 10 to 50% lower than the original asking place.
Customs regulations: Travellers are allowed the following duty free concessions:
200 cigarettes, 1 liter of spirit, 1 bottle of wine, 1 camera, and 6 rolls of film.
Controlled drugs, weapons and pornography are prohibited. Export of antiques and genuine works of arts require appropriate licenses, issued by the Fine Arts Department. Up to 50,000 Baht per person may be taken out of the country.
Social: Thais believe the head is the most sacred part of the body. Avoid touching a Thai on the head. The feet are considered the basest part of body. Do not rest your feet or put your shoes on a table, Do not point at people or objects with your foot.
Thais feel strongly about their religion, so do not wear beach clothes to a temple.
Do not climb over Buddha images and always remove your shoes before entering a temple.
The traditional Thai greeting is the “Wai”, where the hands are brought together in front of the chin. The younger or the lower-ranking person should “Wai” first. The Royal family is deeply loved and respected in Thailand. Do not speak ill of any of its members. Public displays of affectionate behavior between couples are frowned upon. Do not sunbath topless.