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Practical information about Thailand

1 The following are not included in our package tour prices

  • Local airport fees
  • Meals except those specifically mentioned
  • Cancellation and travel insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Visa
  • Vaccinations

2 The climate in Thailand

Thailand is an elongated country, with a climate that varies appreciably depending on where you are in the country and at what time. On account of monsoons, North and Central Thailand have three seasons, while the south of the country has only two.

Thailand is generally a tropical country, with temperatures of 28–30 °C all year round.

North Thailand
Summer (March–June): 20–35 °C
High temperatures during the day, falling slightly at night.
Rainy season (July–September): 20–30 °C
Risk of heavy rain, with temperatures still high.
Winter (October–February): 10–30 °C
Very little rain, but risk of a significant drop in temperature, especially at night.

Central Thailand
Summer (March–May): 25–34 °C
High temperatures during the day. Very little rain in March and April, a little more in May.
Rainy season (June–October): 24–32 °C
High risk of rain on account of the monsoon. High temperatures and elevated humidity.
Winter (November–February): 21–32 °C
Relatively high temperatures during the day, cooler in the evening and at night.

The east coast of Thailand (Trat Province, Rayong and Koh Chang, Koh Kood and Koh Mak)
Summer (March–May): 22–34 °C
High temperatures during the day, with elevated humidity.
Rainy season (June–October): 24–32 °C
Major risk of rain on account of the south-west monsoon. Some of the islands in this area can be very difficult to reach during this part of the year.
Winter (November–February): 20–32 °C
This is the dry season, when temperatures are lower – particularly in January and February.

South Thailand (East Coast)
(The eastern part of the mainland, as well as Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao)
Summer (November–May): 20–35 °C
Major risk of rain from November through March. April and May are the hottest months.
Rainy season (June–October): 20–30 °C
An excellent time to visit this part of Thailand. It does rain, but only for short periods. Otherwise, plenty of sunshine although mainly at the start of the period.

South Thailand (West Coast)
(The eastern part of the mainland, as well as, for examplePhuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe and Koh Phi Phi)
Summer (January–April): 21–32 °C
High temperatures and very little rain. This is the best time to visit this part of Thailand.
Rainy season (May–December): 20–31 °C
High likelihood of rain.

3 Form of travel

Excursions and transfers are conducted in small, international groups led by English-speaking guides.

4 When is it best to travel to Thailand?

Thailand is an all-year destination, but on account of the monsoons and the seasons, it is a good idea to plan the destination(s) you wish to visit on the basis of when you would prefer to travel.

5 Terms & Conditions

Please read our booking terms and conditions carefully. These terms and conditions constitute the basis of your package purchased from Asiatours.co.uk. Click here to read our terms and conditions of travel.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

6 Travel insurance

We are an ATOL protected agency giving you complete peace of mind. It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/traveling companions for the duration of their tour.

In cooperation with our partner we can offer advantageous travel insurances. Learn more here.

7 Language

Thai is the language spoken in Thailand. However, English is widely spoken at tourist destinations, especially among young Thai people. Of course, it is always useful to be able to say a few phrases in the local language.

8 Vaccinations

We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic.
Visit nhs.co.uk for more information about vaccinations and Thailand.

9 Visa

As a UK citizen, you will not normally need a visa for tourist visits lasting up to 30 days. If you arrive by plane, your passport will be stamped with an entrance stamp that is valid for a 30-day tourist stay.

In the same way as for other international travel, you must be in possession of a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after entry into Thailand.

Visit also gov.uk and study the visa information presented there.

10 Currency

The unit of currency in Thailand is the baht (THB).

Visit www.xe.com/currencyconverter to see the current exchange rate in both US dollars and euros. Standard credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted, and cash machines (ATMs) are common in most towns, including those on the larger islands. Please note that there are no banks on some of the small islands in Thailand, and that you will not be able to withdraw cash from an ATM either. You will therefore need to bring some baht with you in cash.

You can generally pay with a credit card at hotels and in many restaurants and shops. Once again, however, the farther out into the country you travel, the harder it may be to use your credit card.

11 Price level

Thailand is no longer as inexpensive as it once was. Things are generally more expensive in the big tourist destinations including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Koh Samui and Phuket and in tourist restaurants than they are in more rural regions and places that do not attract as many tourists. The prices quoted below are approximate prices from 2013. We accept no liability for changes in the general price level.

  • Food:
  • Food from street kitchens: THB 20–40
  • Restaurants serving western cuisine: THB 500–1,000
  • Restaurants serving Thai cuisine: THB 100–400
  • Drinks:
  • Soft drinks: THB 20–40
  • Beer: THB 80–110
  • Juice: Around THB 50
  • Water: THB 15–30
  • Other goods:
  • Shorts/t-shirts: THB 100–400
  • Medicine: Much cheaper than in most European countries.
  • Mosquito repellent: THB 60–100

12 Tipping

You are welcome to give gratuities, but it is up to you whether or not to do so and you may tip as much or as little as you like. The following suggestions are indicative only:

  • Maid: THB 50–100 per day
  • Guides: THB 150–300 per person, per day; depending on the service supplied
  • Drivers: THB 50–150 per person, per day; depending on the service supplied
  • Restaurants: In most restaurants, a service charge is included in the price so there is no need to leave an extra tip. If this is the case, your bill will state ‘10 per cent service charge’. If this – or something like it – is not written on your bill, you are welcome to add 5–10 per cent, depending on the quality of the food and the service.

13 Time difference

The difference between Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the time in Thailand depends on UK summer and winter time, as Thailand does not use daylight saving time.

Summer time: +4 hours. This means that when it is noon GMT, it is 16.00 in Thailand.

Winter time: +5 hours. This means that when it is noon GMT, it is 17.00 in Thailand.

14 Electricity

Thailand uses the same type of mains electricity as within the UK. Asiatours still recommends that you take a travel adapter with you on the tour – especially one that can accommodate a 3-pin plug (earthed computer plug) if you will need to charge your laptop, for example.

15 Telephone and Internet

The international dialling code for Thailand is +66. It can be expensive to place calls to – or receive them from – Europe while you are in Thailand. Ask your own mobile service provider about coverage and call charges.
Internet cafés are common throughout Thailand. Most hotels provide a Wi-Fi connection, but many of them charge a fee for using it.

16 Safety

Just like most countries in South-East Asia, Thailand is a safe country for tourists to travel in. There is very little crime in general, and the Thai people are very used to tourists.

The tuk-tuk drivers who ply their trade near the major tourist destinations generally charge high prices, or drive tourists to specific shops where they receive commission if the tourists buy something. As a general rule, be wary of people who approach you unsolicited and suggest that you participate in a game or visit a show. It will almost certainly be an expensive and unpleasant experience. Similarly, only attempt to buy diamonds or other precious stones if you are knowledgeable about the business.

Always follow the advice and information provided by the guides and you can be sure of staying out of danger.

17 Food and drink

Thai food is well-known all over the world and tastes delicious! A great many culinary delights await you in Thailand. The dishes are typically healthy, comprising rice, noodles, meat, vegetables and a wide variety of spices.

Don’t be afraid of eating food from street kitchens – there are often magical culinary treats in store … As a rule of thumb, eat from street kitchens where there are already many guests. This means a high turnover of ingredients, so there is less risk of the food making you ill.
For example, try:

  • Khao Man Kai (rice, garlic and fried chicken served with a spicy sauce)
  • Som Tam (spiced papaya salad)
  • Gai Med Ma Muong (chicken with roast cashew nuts, vegetables, chilli and garlic)
  • Kao Phad (the classic fried rice dish, served with meat, prawns or egg, as well as onion, tomatoes and garlic/chilli).
  • Tom Kha Gai (soup made from coconut milk, lemon grass, chicken and galangal (Asian ginger))

Only ever drink water from bottles. Bottled water is cheap and readily available everywhere. DO NOT drink water from the taps.

18 Public holidays

Thailand has a large number of public holidays, and some involve more expansive celebrations than others. They typically have to do with either the royal family or the Thai people’s Buddhist faith. A few of them are described below.

  • Songkran: Celebration of the Thai New Year, which typically lasts three days. The actual dates vary from place to place, but are usually in April. Songkran is the biggest water fight in the world – and yes, you will certainly get wet at some point!
  • Coronation day: 5 May. Celebration of the coronation of the current king.
  • Wisakha Bucha: Falls on the sixth full moon of the year, generally in May. Commemorates the birth, spiritual enlightenment and death of Buddha.
  • The king’s birthday: 5 December.

19 Flight reservations and airline tickets

We will send you your flight reservation as soon as you book your trip. You can see times and routes on the itinerary. It is important to check your name for spelling mistakes. The name on the reservation must be exactly as in your passport.  If you have any comments on the itinerary or find mistakes in the names, please contact us immediately.

Today, there are only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets), so you do not receive a physical ticket for use at the airport check-in. When you check in at the airport, you use your passport and a booking reference. The booking reference is on your itinerary.

20 Service letter

Once you have purchased a tour through us, you will receive our service letter before your departure. The service letter contains important information about online check-in, what to do in the event of a delay, our agreed guidelines for tips, etc. In addition, you will find important telephone numbers for our local agents as well as our emergency telephone number.

So it is important that you print out the service letter and bring it with you.

21 Seat reservation, upgrades and extra legroom

We recommend that you make a seat reservation on the plane. Many airlines also offer to upgrade reserved tickets for seats with extra space and comfort, e.g. Economy Comfort at KLM and Premium Voyageur at Air France. You can do this through the airline’s website. Most airlines have a point in the menu called “manage my booking”. Please note that many airlines require payment for seat reservation, so you should have your credit/debit card to hand when you get started.

Unfortunately, rules differ as to when seat reservation is opened. We recommend that you try to make a seat reservation as early as possible and you will then know when you can make a seat reservation if it cannot be done right away. It is very common for seat reservation to be opened between 72 and 24 hours before departure.

22 Checked luggage and hand luggage

We use many different airlines for our flights to Thailand, so there may be variations in the amount of luggage you are allowed to bring with you as both checked luggage and hand luggage. Check the information about this on your airline ticket, and contact us if you have any questions.

If your itinerary involves a domestic flight in Thailand, limitations apply to the amount of luggage you can bring with you.

You and your travel companion should pack your luggage so that you can both make do with one item of luggage if the other is lost or delayed. While it is unlikely to happen, the problem may arise. If it does, it may take a few days before your luggage is delivered to the hotel where you are staying.
So make sure to carry all your important, indispensable items in your hand luggage: passport, visa, plane tickets, insurance papers, credit card(s), cash, prescriptions and essential medicines. You should also carry items such as your camera, binoculars, computer, chargers and adapters with you.

You may find yourself sitting in a draught from the air conditioning in the plane, so make sure to pack a warm jumper or jacket in your hand luggage.

23 Transfers to and from airports

On arrival at the different airports in Thailand, you will be met by our local representative who will be waiting for you in the arrival hall with a sign bearing your name. You will naturally also be driven to the airport on departure. You will be informed of your pick-up time when you arrive in Thailand.

24 Etiquette and cultural differences

Experiencing differences in culture and etiquette is one of the delights of travelling, and it is essential to respect these differences. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is good advice, and the section below contains a number of useful hints and tips intended to help you make the very most of your visit to Thailand.

  • Try not to show anger. Displaying frustration or anger by shouting or acting rudely is considered extremely impolite and disrespectful – and nothing good will come of it.
  • NEVER speak disrespectfully of the royal family! This is considered a serious crime, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison!
  • You will notice that the Thai national anthem is played occasionally over loudspeakers in places where there are large crowds of people (in markets, train stations, cinemas, etc.). When the anthem is played, everyone stops what they are doing and stands still. Make sure to show respect by doing the same.
  • Do not wear shorts, short skirts or tank tops, especially close to temples and churches and out in the country where few tourists travel.
  • Always remove your shoes when you enter a private home or a temple.
  • Do not go skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing on local beaches. However, the practices are fairly common at tourist beaches.
  • Do not pose for photographs with statues of Buddha, and never climb up on them.
  • Avoid touching people (especially children) on their heads; the head is considered to be the holiest part of the body, and touching it is believed to bring bad luck. If you happen to do so by accident, apologise immediately.
  • As the feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body, make sure not to touch other people with your feet – and do not point your feet towards others.
  • Do not poke chopsticks into your bowl of rice, or leave them sticking up. Place them next to the bowl instead. If you leave them sticking out of the rice bowl they look like incense sticks, which are lit in temples in honour of the dead.

25 Donations and gifts

Some parts of Thailand are very poor, and our local partner has given us the following guidelines regarding donations and gifts.

  • NEVER give money to beggars – children in particular. Giving money to beggars reinforces the impression that begging is an acceptable way of life. If children earn money from begging, their parents will be tempted to send them out onto the streets to beg rather than to school.
  • The only exception to this rule relates to handicapped people and the elderly; it is OK to given them a few coins.
  • NEVER give sweets to children in the villages you visit during your tour.
  • Try to get out of the habit of giving material things. It is often better to share your time, give a smile and offer friendship.