What To Bring
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya are modern destinations
with most amenities found in Europe or North America. Lip
balm and moisturizers are needed in the north during the
cool season ( November/December). Sunglasses and hats are
useful items to protect eyes and sensitive skin from tropical
What To Wear
Clothes should be light and loose; natural blends that breathe
are preferable to synthetics. The cool season in the north
can be chilly; a sweater will be welcome, especially when
travelling in the hills. Suits are worn for business and
in many large hotels, in general, Thailand lacks the formal
dress code of Hong Kong and Tokyo. Open shoes (sandals during
the height of the rainy season, when some Bangkok street
get flooded) and conservation dresses (with sleeves) for
women or short-sleeved shirts for men are appropriate. It
is not appropriate for men to walk around cities and towns
without a shirt.
The clothing code for Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques
is more conservative than on the street. Shorts are taboo
for both women and men wanting to enter some of the important
temples. Those wearing sleeveless dresses may also be barred
from certain temples. Improperly dressed and unkempt visitors
will be turned away from large temples like the Wat Phra
Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and from the Grand Palace
in Bangkok. Dress properly in deference to the religion
and to Thai sensitivities.
Health / Hygiene
Thais place high value on personal hygiene and are aware
of the danger of germs and infections. Establishments catering
to foreigners are generally careful with food and drinking
preparation. They do not, however, place such as high priority
on keeping the environment clean.
Bangkok water is clean when it leaves the modern filtration
plant; the pipes that carry it into the city are somewhat
less than new, however, and visitors are advised to drink
bottled water or soft drinks. Both are produced under strict
supervision, as is the ice used in large hotels and restaurants.
Most street side restaurants are clean; a quick glance should
tell you which are and which are not.
First class hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket have
doctors on call for medical emergencies. The hospitals in
these three destinations are equivalent of those in any
major Western city. Intensive care units are fully equipped
and staffed by doctors to handle emergencies quickly and
competently. Nursing care is generally superb, because there
is a high staff-to-patient ratio. Many doctors have been
trained in Western hospitals, and even those who have not
spoke good English. Most small towns have clinics which
treat minor ailments and accidents. In the unlikely event
that you suffer a criminal attack in Bangkok, you must go
to a police hospital situated at Ratchaprasong intersection.
Most banks now have ATM machines outside, open around the
clock. Currency is dispensed in Baht only. Occasionally,
an ATM card may not work at one machine for some specified
reason; try another branch of the same bank and results
may be different. Alternatively, Master Card and Visa debit
cards (as distinct from credit cards) are also accepted
at many ATM machines and increasing in large number of local
merchants. Most banks have signs with an array of symbols
indicating which cards are accepted at the machine. Periodically,
cards are accepted at machines in spite of the fact that
no related sign appears out front. When in doubt, give it
a try, but be prepared to be flexible.
American Express, Master Card, Visa and Diners Club are
widely accepted in tourists area. In provincial destinations,
it is better to check that credit cards are accepted, and
not to count on using them.
If you lose your credit card, notify the relevant company
at one of the following offices in Bangkok:
388 Phaholyothin Road
Tel : 0 2273 0033 ( customer service )
Tel : 0 2273 0022 ( 24 hour emergency )
Fax : 0 2273 0464
Open : 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. ( Monday-Friday)
Master Card International
Sermmitr Tower, 11th Floor, Soi 21 (Asoke), Sukhumvit Road
Tel : 0 2260 8572-3
Fax : 0 2260 8574
Global Service Center 001-800-118 870 0063
Australia Center, Building One, 11th Floor, 99/38 Witthayu
Tel : 0 2256 7326
Fax : 0 2256 7151
Australian Head Quarters : 00 61 2 9223 9606
Toll free : 001 800 441 3485
Silom Complex, 12th Floor, 191 Silom Road
Tel : 0 2238 3660
Fax : 0 234 4523
Open : 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. ( Monday-Friday)
Thailand has comprehensive and reliable postal service.
All major towns offer regular air mail service, and a global
express courier service.
In Bangkok, the General Post Office (GPO), on Charoen Krung
Road open at 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. (Monday-Friday) and 8 a.m. -
1p.m. on weekends and holidays. It has a useful and inexpensive
parcel packaging service.
There are branch post offices throughout Bangkok, many of
which stay open until 6p.m. Kiosks along some of the busier
streets sell stamps and aerograms and ship small parcels.
The main post offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket
have special facilities where stamp collectors can browse
and buy from a wide selection of beautiful stamps.
A separate building located to the right of the main post
office (GPO) provides telecommunications services around
the clock, including telephone, telegram, fax and telex.