Thailand Travel Guide
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Things to know about Thailand

Thailand
Important Informations
Population:
68,740,000

Capital of Thailand:
Bangkok

Flag of Thailand:
The flag of Thailand has five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white and red (bottom).

Shop Hours:
Stores are generally open Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm. Larger shops are open from 10am to 10pm.

Banking Hours in Thailand

Bank hours are usually open Monday-Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm. They are usually closed Saturdays and Sunday but Bank of Asia has several branches

If you need to wire money to Thailand, make use of Western Union and ignore local banks. In most Central Department Stores, you will find a Western Union office.

Thai Holidays

January 1 - New Year's Day
February 14 - Makha Bucha (Full Moon Day)
April 6 - Chakri Memorial Day
April 12-14 - Sonkran Festival (Thai New Year)
May 1 - National Labor Day
May 5 - Coronation Day
May 13 - Wisakha Bucha (Full Moon Day)
July 11 - Asanaha Bucha (Full Moon Day)
July 12 - Buddhist Lent Day
August 12 - H.M. The Queen's Birthday
October 23 - Chulalongkorn Day
December 5 - H.M. The King's Birthday
December 10 - Constitution Day
December 31 - New Year's Eve

Time

Thailand has one time zone. It is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. It is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 11 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary, except in big hotels. If a service charge has been added to the bill, tipping isn't necessary.

Visas & Passports

All visitors must have a passport valid at least six months beyond than their intended stay in Thailand. Those who are staying for 30 days or less and have a ticket for an onward journey may enter the country without a visa. Visitors who stay longer than their limit are fined Baht 400 for each day upon departure at the airport. Foreign nationals who intend to stay more than 30 days must obtain a visa in advance from a Thai diplomatic mission abroad.

Several companies that handle visa extensions can be found in the Bangkok Post.

Customs Regulations - Duty-Free Items

ThailandCigarettes, cigars or smoking tobacco must not exceed a total of 250 grams in weight. Cigarettes not exceeding 200 in quantity and one liter of wine or spirits may be brought in free of duty. One still camera or one movie camera, five rolls of still camera film or three rolls of 8 to 16mm movie camera film may be brought into the country. All kinds of narcotics and obscene literature, pictures or articles are prohibited.

Sport

ThailandThe Thais have adopted several such modern forms of recreation as golf, tennis and bowling, but the local sports of boxing and kite fighting are still very much enjoyed in the country.

Kick boxing is one of the most popular and exciting spectator sports as well as a means of self defense for the Thai people. Unlike the Western-style boxing, kick boxers are allowed to use their feet, elbows, legs and shoulders. Bouts are held at the Ratchadamnoen Stadium and Lumpini Stadium.

An ancient local sport played and patronized by the kings of Thailand for centuries is kite fighting, a contest which is held from March to April at the Sanam Luang in Bangkok. The Thais make kites in hundreds of different forms and colors. Each kite is huge in size and requires several people to fly it. Kites are classified as "chulas" (male) or "pukpaos" (female). The object of the contest is to force the opposition's kite to land in your half of the field while thousands of people cheer.

ThailandTakraw is another traditional Thai game. It involves the use of Takraw ball, five to six inches in diameter, made of rattan. Using their head, feet, knees or elbows, players hit the ball over a net to another team.

Entertainment

Cinemas in Thailand are inexpensive, with daily scheduled showings and matinees on weekends and holidays. There are several cinemas that show American or French movies. Remember to stand when the National Anthem is played at the beginning of every performance.

Thai classical dances are very elegant and considered to be the country's highest form of art. Influenced by the great Indian epic called Ramayana, the country's famous masked dance drama or "khon" is a form of entertainment that requires strict discipline from the performer.

Nowadays, khon performances are very rare, but there are occasional performances at the National Theater. Sometimes performances are held at several Thai restaurants catering to tourists. "Lakhon" and "likay" are very famous dances similar in costume and movements to khon without the use of face masks.

Aside from the theaters and cinemas, nightlife in Thailand includes bars and nightclubs such as in Patpong, Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza.


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