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Thailand - Frequently Asked Questions

From local currency and visas to weather and appropriate attire, we answer all your most frequently asked questions on travelling in Thailand.

Table of contents

  1. When is the best time to go?
  2. Do you need a visa?
  3. How can I get there?
  4. What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
  5. What is there to see and do?
  6. Where are the best beaches?
  7. What is the best way to travel around the country?
  8. What should I wear when visiting ancient temples and Buddhist pagodas?

When is the best time to go?

Thailand's tropical climate means it experiences both sunshine and showers throughout the year depending on where you go. But, generally the best time to visit the country is between December and April, when the weather is warm but not oppressively hot, and there is little rain and less humidity.

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Do you need a visa?

Tourists arriving by air or land can spend up to 30 days in Thailand without a visa. For stays of longer than 30 days, tourists must get a visa before travelling.

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How can I get there?

Thailand is one of the most accessible destinations in south-east Asia, with direct flights from key UK airports.

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What is the local currency and what currency should I take?

Thailand's national currency is the Thai Baht. One baht is divided into 100 satang. The exchange rate is roughly 52 baht to the pound. Bank notes come in denominations of 20,50,100, 500 and 1,000 baht, with 100 baht being the most commonly used. Coins come in 25 and 50 satang, as well as 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht. There are no fees or charges to exchange currency into baht in Thailand, so it's usually cheaper to wait until you arrive before changing your sterling. Look out for FOREX exchange booths, which accept all major currencies. There are lots of ATM machines throughout Thailand and you can use debit or credit cards in most mid-range and high-end hotels.

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What is there to see and do?

Historic ruins, ornate temples, floating markets and breathtaking scenery are the main attractions in Thailand. In Bangkok, the old town, is home to some of the city's most interesting landmarks including heavily-gilded temples and the ornate royal palace. Former royal capital Ayutthaya is just north of Bangkok and its centre, rimmed by rivers and waterways, is crammed with 400-year-old temples and palace ruins. South-west of Bangkok, you can explore the famous floating markets to get a flavour for local Damnoan Saduak is the most popular. In northern Thailand, experience, the bustling night bazaar in Chiang Mai and sample some of the best curries in South-east Asia. Chiang Mai is also a good base to visit the lush mountains and colourful hill-tribe villages. Head south to explore Thailand's idyllic palm-fringed beaches and islands. On the western seaboard, Phuket and Khoa Lak offer powdery sand and lush landscapes, while the islands of Ko Samui, Ko Tao, and Ko Phangan, in the east, are just as appealing. For remote beauty, the islands in the national marine parks are a Ko Similian and Ko Surin off the west coast, or Ang Thong National Marine Park in the east. For pristine nature and wildlife, the area of Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand has one of the oldest rainforests in the world harbouring monkeys, clouded leopards, tapirs and sun bears.

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Where are the best beaches?

Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia, and with a long coastline stretching along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, not to mention numerous islands, there are plenty of idyllic stretches of sand to choose from. But for the best slices of paradise, head to the Thai islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. On the western seaboard, the largest Thai island of Phuket has beaches to please all tastes - from quiet, remote stretches of sand to bustling coves with plenty of watersports and great tourist facilities. Ko Phi Phi Don and its smaller sister island are known for their picturesque scenery, with fine white sands backed by limestone karst peaks. Ko Samui, in the Gulf of Thailand, is said to have some of the most stunning beaches in Thailand - Chaweng and Lamai are the most popular.

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What is the best way to travel around the country?

There are domestic flights between the capital Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui but many travellers choose to make use of the trains, buses or ferries. Trains connect many of the Thailand's key areas and buses serve much of the country and are very cheap - although journeys can be long. Another option for road travel is a shared taxi, which will often be faster than going by bus and can be very cost effective for small groups. Ferries operate to the major islands, with some of the most popular routes being between Don Sak and Ko Samui, and Krabi??? to Phuket. Within the major cities and towns you can hire taxis or tuk-tuks to get around. You can also hire a bike in places like Ayutthaya and cycle your way around. If you don't want the hassle of arranging your own transportation, organised tours are an excellent way to go. There are many of these available, so speak to us about arranging any special tour or excursion.

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What should I wear when visiting ancient temples and Buddhist pagodas?

It's best to show respect for the local religions and culture, especially when you're visiting temples and pagodas, with the general advice being to dress conservatively. This means wearing long trousers (at least three-quarter length) and a top that covers your shoulders. You may also be required to remove your shoes when entering a temple or pagoda. Clothing that's lightweight and breathable will prevent you from becoming too uncomfortable in the hot and humid climate. You may also be required to remove your shoes when entering a temple or pagoda.

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