Thailand - getting there
Travellers 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 centre, banks,
and shops. There are also international airports at
Hat Yai, and
|Travellers 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
|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
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.
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
|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 travellers 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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| Chakri Dynasty |
| Thai History