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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Thailand Travel Requirements






Getting There
Travelers can make their way into Thailand by plane, boat, or train. Most people enter Thailand by air, via Bangkok's modern Don Muang Airport. The airport has restaurants, an inoculation center, banks, and shops. There are also international airports at Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, and Chiang Rai.

Travelers are advised to use only authorized baggage handlers and taxis to get to town. In addition to the air-conditioned airport bus and limousine service, shared-seat mini-buses operate between the airport and hotels. Taxi fares are quite reasonable, and rates between Don Muang and Bangkok are fixed.

Entry by sea is likely to be via the Eastern Gulf of Thailand into Pattaya, the resort island off the southern tip of the country. Passenger ferries connect Bangkok with Samui and Songkhla and hydrofoil service with Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chumphon, Samui, and Songkhla. Cruise passengers are expected to be transported in small craft for sightseeing excursions in Bangkok or for relaxing on Pattaya's beaches. Cunard Line, Cunard/NAC, Royal Cruise, and Royal Viking Line often schedule port calls in Pattaya.

The Eastern & Oriental Express (Tel. +1 (800) 524-2520) offers luxury service linking Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. Fares for the complete three-day/two-night trip include all meals. Shorter trips can also be booked.

Getting Around
Local transportation in Thailand ranges from good to bad and can be tricky. There is excellent transportation from Bangkok to other parts of the country via bus, train, or domestic plane service, and within the cities via taxi, three-wheeled motorized tuk tuks, bicycle-powered samlors (rickshaws), or songthaews (pick-up trucks with benches for seats).

Taxi drivers keep the meter running, so each new passenger must bargain over the fare before the journey begins. Bangkok in particular, has a crazy traffic system, with noise, fumes, and heat at every curve. Many hotels suggest that their guests use the hotel taxi system. It's relatively expensive but not a bad idea for a short visit, and the air-conditioning provides a break from Bangkok's heavily polluted air. The city's thousands of tuk-tuks are less expensive than taxis.

Buses operate regularly from the city to Pattaya (21/2 hours), and to the north, east, and south. There are three different bus terminals, so make sure you have the right one for your destination. Fares are very reasonable.

Trains in Thailand are well-run and usually on time, and they're an excellent way to see the lush landscape. Three classes of service are offered on lines that run to the north, northeast, east, and south. Fares are relatively reasonable, especially in second class.

For local flights, Thai Airways is one of the best carriers in Southeast Asia, offering frequent daily flights between the capital city and popular tourist areas.

Rivers and klongs (canals) are a vital part of life in Thailand. Many picturesque klongs that once crisscrossed the country have been sacrificed to modernization, but plenty of interesting river trips are still available to visitors. In Bangkok, these trips embark mainly from the pier beside the Oriental Hotel, which operates the posh Oriental Queen riverboat on daily trips to Ayuthaya and on dinner cruises every evening.

Touring the klongs by hang yao (long-tailed motorized boats) is one of the highlights of anyone's stay, for you can view a lively panorama of typical Thai life and the daily floating markets. The price of a seat is only a few baht per person, or you can charter your own by the hour. These craft are not especially seaworthy, so children should be safely guarded. Expect to be splashed.

Water tours outside Bangkok are also popular but may be slightly dangerous. The United States State Department advises that travelers do not venture unaccompanied along the waterways of the Golden Triangle area because bandits have been known to harass and rob tourists. It is also advisable to stay away from the Cambodian border.

Business Hours
Most businesses, government offices and shops usually open from 7:30AM to 4:30PM, Monday through Friday and half days on Saturday. Many offices close for an hour or two at lunch time. Some shops and markets close at 9:00PM.

Visa
Nationals from 56 countries can now stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without an entry visa,according to a new regulation adopted by the Immigration Division in early February 1995.For visitors from 76 other countries,visas valid for 15 days may be obtained on arrival at any of the four airports at Don Muang,Bangkok,Chiang Mai ,Phuket and Hat Yai.

Categories of visas in Thailand are : Transit,Visitor Transit Tourist,Non–Immigrant and Non Quota Immigrant.

A tourist who wants to overstay his visa must apply to the immigration Division of the Police Department with the following:

The duplicate copy of his or her passport,one photograph and a medical certificate only in the case of being sick.

Clothing
Thin cotton is the best. A jacket or pullover may be necessary in the cool season, especially when you are in mountainous areas in the North or Northeast.


 

Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM








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