Thailand, a mish mash of colourful traditions and cultures is discovered and rediscovered by millions every year. Be it the swanky shopping malls of Bangkok, the virginal beaches of Krabi, or the temples of Chiang Mai, Thailand offers a rich variety of experiences. Rightly called the land of smiles, the country spoils you with oodles of the famous Thai hospitality.

Spa therapy, dancing away the night in some nightclub, gorging to shopping to your wallet’s limit, spending a relaxed afternoon at the beach, or indulging in some spine tingling water sports like snorkelling or scuba diving – Thailand has all this and much more. The country is also a haven for those who seek some wicked sinful pleasures. At the same time, Thailand remains a hit among families with kids as well. The beauty is the subtle and often not so subtle changes in the characters of the different cities that you observe, while travelling further inwards from Bangkok.

It is true that Thailand gained some bad press in the recent months owing to the political turmoil in the country. However, the fact remains that whatever violence took place was by and large restricted to Bangkok and did not have a noticeable affect on other Thai destinations like Phuket, Krabi, and Pattaya. Furthermore, the administration came down with an iron hand to ensure a speedy return to peace. As of now, an uneasy calm prevails over the country. In fact, many countries have even toned down their warnings on travel to Bangkok. After all, prolonged violence does not logically stand a chance in a country where Buddhism is the main way of life and tourism a mainstay of the economy.

Go through this Thailand travel guide before boarding your flights.

Important Tourist Destinations in Thailand

Bangkok – Pattaya – Phuket – Ko Samui – Krabi – Chiang Mai – Hua Hin.

Thai Culture & Lifestyle

Thai culture is predominantly Buddhist with more than 90% of the total population practicing Buddhism. A general friendliness and informality characterises Thais. Sanuk, the Thai word for fun, characterises every aspect of life in Thailand. They also exhibit a lot of tolerance towards foreigners. Generally, Thai people have a very calm disposition but can get violent if they feel that their dignity is affronted. Thais also believe in respecting elders. Like anywhere else in the world, lifestyles are determined in accordance with one’s social status and economic power. The population is broadly divided into the classifications of Phu Yai or big people and Phu Noi or little people. The Phu Noi are supposed to defer to the Phu Yai. In return, the Phu Yai have to look after the well being of the Phu Noi.

Here are some of the pointers towards social customs and lifestyle in Thailand:

  • Talking loudly or making loud gestures are considered impolite. Similarly, dropping things and pointing towards things and people are deemed inappropriate.
  • Although, Thailand has a reputation for promiscuousness, it is best to keep such behaviour restricted to red light areas.
  • Thais lead a relaxed pace of life. For them, time is not something of paramount importance. As a result, being late for appointments or other similar aspects is pretty natural.
  • Quite often Thais eat their food on the floor.
  • Do not initiate handshakes with women. Similarly, maintaining prolonged eye contact with anyone may provoke strong reactions.
  • A Buddha image is considered highly sacred. It is only meant to be placed in an altar.
  • Buddhist monks are highly revered. In fact, even child monks command respect and Thais are very sensitive in this regard. Women are not supposed to touch monks or hand them things directly.

Best Time to Visit Thailand

Thailand has a tropical climate and usually the temperatures do not drop below 27°C.

  • Summers (March, April, and May): These months are the hottest.
  • Monsoon (June, July, August, September, and October): Usually, there are violent but short downpours. The weather is hot and humid.
  • Cool Season (December, January, February, and March): The weather is pleasantly cool.

The above information holds true for the main destinations like Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, and Ko Samui. The southern islands of Thailand are best visited during June to September.

Cheap Flights to Bangkok

Find the latest airfares and discounted offers on flights to Bangkok operating from UK.

Preferred Airlines to Bangkok from UK

Thai Airways | Air India | Oman Air | Cathay Pacific | Etihad Airways | Jet Airways | Qatar Airways | Gulf Air | Singapore Airlines | Kuwait Airways

Travel Tips for holidays in Thailand

  • Light woollens are recommended for winters. Carry rainwear if visiting during the monsoons. Summers are extremely hot and one should dress accordingly. For further information, refer to the section, ‘Best time to Visit Thailand’. Also do a little bit information hunting on the Internet before booking flights to Thailand.
  • Thailand is by and large safe for tourists. However, there are certain pockets marred by terrorist violence and recent protests. It is best to check with the FCO advice on travel to Thailand.
  • Consult your GP for all the necessary immunizations and vaccinations at least two months before your travel. The standards of hygiene in general and food in particular are not at par with European parameters. So, be careful before you over indulge with street food.
  • In Thailand, one is at an increased risk of catching AIDS or other STDs like gonorrhoea and syphilis. So, one should follow the adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’.
  • In certain regions of Thailand, one might catch dengue or malaria but the chances are pretty slim. However, be more careful in the areas bordering Burma and Cambodia.
  • There is no dearth of hotels in Thailand offer a wide range of choice. There are infinite accommodation facilities. The Internet would be one of the good resources to seek out information before booking a hotel room.
  • Use your judgement before getting drunk in unfamiliar surroundings or with strangers. There are con artists out there who might drug your drink and make off with your belongings.
  • Be wary of coming home with prostitutes or buying the sob story of some new girlfriend you make in Thailand.
  • Watch out for pick pockets and snatchers in the crowded area of Thailand.
  • Single women should keep a low profile and dress modestly.
  • Carry some sort of identification proof while moving around.
  • Avoid getting into heated arguments or brawls with local shopkeepers or hotel staff.
  • Usually, shoes are not worn inside households and shops.
  • Stepping over someone’s foot is considered quite rude. In fact, accidentally touching someone with the foot is also unacceptable. One should quickly apologise in the case of such an event.
  • For further tips on travelling in Thailand or Thailand travel advice, check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website’s following link:

Important Statistics

  • Location – South-East Asia
  • Time Zone – GMT + 7
  • Capital – Bangkok
  • Largest Cities – Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nontaburi, Udon Thani, Chon Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Pak Kret
  • Government – Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy
  • Area – 513,120 km2 / 198,115 sq mi
  • Population – 63,525,062 (2010 Estimate)
  • Currency – Baht (?) (THB)
  • Calling Code +66
  • Official Language(s) – Thai
  • Religion – Buddhism (94.6%), Islam (4.6%), Christianity (0.7%), Others (0.1%)
  • Visa information – Travellers need to check the visa guidelines from their relevant embassy/ consulates or contact their travel agents.

Money Exchange

  • Bangkok Bank
  • Kasikorn Bank
  • Siam Commercial Bank
  • Krung Thai Bank.

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