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 glare.
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
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
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
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 Road
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
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.