Thailand

Thailand

“Put gold leaf on the back of a Buddha statue.” – Thai Proverb

Canal Near Traimit Station

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Getting In

  • Thailand has a strict Visa policy. Travelers are granted a 30-day Visa on Arrival, but may opt to extend up to 60-days. After that you must leave, barring special circumstances. A new program allows for up to 6 months at a time, but you must still leave the country every 60 days.
  • Thailand is serviced by several international airports. Suvarnabhumi International Airport services Bangkok and Chiang Mai International Airport services Chiang Mai. Islands such as Phuket and Ko Samui are also serviced by their own IA. Check here for a full listing.
  • Convenient bus services operate out of Bangkok and Chiang Mai that will take you to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Malaysia. There are land border crossings for each country. Entering by land will reduce your visa to a 15-day visa.
  • Taxi are numerous and convenient in Bangkok. Look for the bright pink cars. Ask to use the meter or set a price beforehand.

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Money

  • Thailand is relatively cheap. Local meals only run a few dollars, and transportation is cheap enough to never worry about. Stay away from tourist traps and you will be fine.
  • ATMs are widespread, but all will have a 200฿ foreign exchange charge.
  • Credit cards are not widely accepted. You can use them in upscale establishments and some grocery stores. Otherwise, expect to use cash.
  • Tipping is not necessary, but it is appreciated. Consider tipping by rounding your bills.

$1USD = 33฿ (THB) Baht

A local meal will cost 60฿

A mid-range meal for 2 will cost 600฿

A 1 room apartment in the city center will cost 14300฿

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Climate

  • Thailand is influenced by monsoon winds. The southwest monsoon last from May to October, bringing abundant rain, while northeast monsoon is from October to February bringing cold dry air from China.
  • Most of the nation is tropical savannah while the southern peninsula is a tropical monsoon climate.
  • Inland areas can reach temperatures of 104F (40C) in the summer and drop to freezing during the winter.
  • Avoid travel in the northern regions of Thailand from March – April. This is burning season, when farmers burn their lands to prepare for the next season. Unfortunately, this produces heavy smog and pollution which can be very irritating and is unhealthy to breathe.

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History

Evidence of human settlement in Thailand goes back as far as 40,000 years. The first civilizations emerged around the 1st century CE with the Funan and Khmer Empires. The Khmer Empire fell in the 13th century, leading to the rise of the Sukhothai. Within a century, the Ayutthaya empire gained prominence. In 1767, Burma gained control of Thailand and moved the capital to Bangkok.

Thailand resisted colonialism by European powers, although it did cede some territories in the south to Britain, in what is today Malaysia. From 1932 to 1973, Thailand was ruled by military dictators. Thailand has had numerous revolts, and a back and forth between citizen controlled government and military rule. As of 2014, the Thai government has come back under military rule.

 

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Need to Know

  • Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a fast-paced and busy city with a lot to see and do. Chiang Mai is far more laid back, serving as a great Digital Nomad hub.
  • Eat from your spoon, not from your fork. Eating from the fork is rude, you should push food onto your spoon with the fork.
  • Thailand is a Buddhist nation with numerous temples. Dress modestly by covering to your elbows and knees when visiting religious sites.
  • Don’t participate in most animal tourism. Riding elephants and petting tigers seems fun, but is abusive to the animals. Instead, try visiting rescue sites such as Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary  where you help in caring for rescued elephants.
  • When eating street food – go where the locals go, and only eat from carts where you can see the food being prepared in front of you.

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Warnings

  • While generally safe, Thailand is subject to bouts of unrest, political upheaval, and terrorism. Bombings have occurred in Bangkok in the past. Avoid all travel to the provinces bordering Malaysia. Exercise caution at all times.
  • You must be respectful towards the Monarchy. Criticizing the government, the King, or the royal family can result in severe jail time. Avoid wearing the color yellow, it is the royal color.
  • Zika virus is present in Thailand. Take all necessary precautions against mosquitos and pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant women may want to reconsider travel.

We recommend reviewing safety guidelines by various state departments: – we make no guarantees to your safety!

US State Department – Moderate to High bias, with moderate levels of broad information. We advise checking against other sources to confirm veracity of statements.

British State Department – Low bias, and very thorough information. We recommend checking with the FCO for tourist warnings.

Canada State Department – Low bias, with thorough information. We advise using as an additional resource for tourist warnings.

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Explore

We spent a total of 25 days in Bangkok. 10 days in one AirBNB and a little over 2 weeks in another. Both were in the Hua Mak district.

Video:
Our Bangkok Travel Video

Activities:
Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute (Snake Farm) 
Wat Hua Lamphong
Wat Vachira Dhammasatit
Wat Traimit Quiet Temple Tour
Wat Pathum
Hello Kitty House
Caturday Cat Cafe
Lumphini Park 

Other:
Siam Digital Store: Developing 35mm film
Beer Review
Navigating Bangkok

Also see:
Monthly Round up 13Monthly Round up 14