Most Googled questions: Thailand

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Thailand is an increasingly popular Aussie holiday destination. It’s full of culture, natural breathtaking beauty and incredibly intricate architecture.

Visit the Buddhist temples of Chiang Mai, experience the hustle and bustle of Bangkok or explore the exquisite limestone crags of Railay.

The only question left is where to start. We’re here to help plan your life-changing stay in this beautiful country.

What do know before you go

Is Thailand in Asia?

Yes. Thailand is located in South-East Asia.

Was Thailand called Siam?

Yes, Thailand was formerly known as Siam.

When did Thailand become a country?

Thailand was never under European colonial rule. Prior to 1932 it was an absolute monarchy. Following 1932 Thailand became a constitutional monarchy. In 1939 its name was changed from Siam to Thailand.

Is Thailand cheap?

If you compare the prices in Australia with those in Thailand, the overall costs in Thailand are significantly lower. Here are some of the examples of pricing difference for a better perspective.

In Australia it is common to pay about $80 for a three-course meal for 2 people, whereas in Thailand, you’d be looking at something closer to $22.90 for the equivalent.

Draught beer is cheaper too, as it would usually be in the region of $7 in Australia, whereas Thailand prices are more like $2.29 (averaged out).

For coffee Australians pay in the region of $4, and in Thailand you’d be more likely to pay around $2.20.

Generally, public transportation and taxi services are cheaper than back home too.

Dairy products, however, like milk and cheese, will seem incredibly overpriced compared to prices in Australia.

Is Thailand cheaper than Bali?

No. Overall Thailand is more expensive than Bali. However prices in Thailand are still substantially lower than those in Australia.

Does Thailand require a visa?

If you are visiting Thailand as a tourist, you are eligible to enter the country under the “Visa Exemption” rule. If you are eligible to enter Thailand under this rule you will be granted a stay of a maximum:

  • 30 days if you enter Thailand via an international airport ie Bangkok
  • 15 days if you arrive in Thailand via a land border checkpoint from a neighbouring country

Visa Exemption rule for Thailand:

If you meet all of the following criteria, then you do not need to apply in advance for a visa.

a) You are a passport holder from one of the 48 countries listed below:

Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam. Aussies meet criteria A

b) The purpose of your visit is strictly tourism

c) You possess a passport with at least six months validity

d) Must be in possession of a confirmed flight ticket (e-ticket acceptable) to show you will be flying out of Thailand within 30 days or 15 days of entry, as appropriate. Open tickets do not qualify. Travelling overland out of Thailand by train, bus, etc to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia (including en route to Singapore), Burma etc is not accepted as proof of exiting Thailand. You may be asked to show your flight ticket on entering Thailand. If you do not possess a flight ticket to show you will be exiting Thailand within 30 or 15 days of entry you could be refused entry and may not even be allowed to check in for your flight at your departing airport

e) When you enter Thailand, you may be required to provide proof of adequate finances for the duration of your stay (ie cash or traveller’s cheques equivalent to 20,000 Baht – or AUD 763 – per person or 40,000 Baht – or AUD 1,526 – per family). Although this seems to be rarely requested by immigration officers, it does still remain as an official requirement.

If you don’t meet all of the criteria for a visa exemption, you are advised to contact your nearest Thai embassy or consulate and apply for the appropriate visa before you travel.

Health and safety

Is Thailand safe?

Thailand is not considered a dangerous place to travel, however there are a number of hazards that you should be aware of in order to maintain your personal safety during your visit.

  • Theft and potential cons. It’s always important to express diligence where your personal possessions and valuables are concerned. Ensure your room is locked, and take anything of high importance (passports, credit cards etc) with you. When using a credit card, don’t let vendors take your card out of your sight. Beware of over-friendly natives, especially in Bangkok. They might lead you to believe you’re getting a bargain, when the reality is you’re being extorted.
  • Drug possession. It is completely illegal to possess drugs of any description throughout Thailand and will result in severe punishment.
  • Assault. Assault on travellers is rare, but you should exert caution and maintain a good level of sobriety. Especially if you’re a female travelling alone and consorting with a male.Thailand - dos and don’ts?

Culturally different to Australia, there are a few dos and don’ts to bear in mind during your trip to Thailand.

  • Visiting religious sites. You should not wear beach clothes to a temple and shoes should be removed before entering any building containing an image of Buddha. Men will need to wear hats and women should cover their heads with a shawl. Women should not touch monks or hand anything directly to a monk.
  • The monarchy. Thai people hold the monarchy, and in particular the King of Thailand, in the greatest respects. As a visitor, you are also expected to demonstrate respect, for example, by standing for the royal anthem before a movie at the cinema. Disrespectful comments towards the monarchy are not tolerated at all, and considered to be a serious crime.

Other important etiquettes:

  • Thais greet each other by pressing their palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. The younger person greets the older, who then returns it. However, an adult should not wai a child. Thais will greatly appreciate it if you adopt this part of their culture during your visit.
  • The feet are considered the lowest part of the body by Thais, both physically and spiritually, and are therefore not to be used for anything other than walking on. They are not to be used for pointing at anything. The head is the highest part of the body so refrain from patting children on the head. One of the worst things you can do is to point your feet at someone’s head, even accidentally.
  • Shoes should be removed before entering a Thai person’s home. It is also quite common to remove shoes before entering some shops and offices. If there is a pile of shoes outside, that is indicative that you are expected to remove your shoes before entering.

Getting around and things to do

Does Thailand have Uber?

Uber is available throughout Bangkok. Your Uber options include uberFLASH, uberX, UberBLACK and UberSUV. Uber is not only one of the safest Bangkok travel options, but also one of the easiest. Uber is available in other regions of Thailand too, however, not readily due to local taxi services resisting their competition.

Culture and lifestyle

Does Thailand celebrate Christmas?

Christmas isn’t an official public holiday in Thailand as only a small minority of the Thai population is Christian (the majority being Buddhist). However, at Christmas time hotel staff can be seen wearing Christmas hats, shopping centres and malls are adorned with decorations and Christmas trees appear amongst the palm trees. Thai schoolchildren, practising their English, can also be heard singing familiar seasonal Christmas carols. All of these typical Christmas touches help to create a welcoming atmosphere during the spike of tourism that occurs over the Christmas and New Year period.

Where was The Beach filmed?

The Beach, which was released in 2000 and starred Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed in Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Leh Island in the Krabi Province of Thailand. Krabi is one of the southern provinces of Thailand.

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