- Thailand is a Buddhist country where Buddha images are held sacred. Sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors.
- Thai people hold their King and Queen and the Royal Family in great reverence, and so won't tolerate foreigners showing disrespect to them.
- Generally Thai women are conservative. So don't touch them without their consent.
- Dress properly when entering a Buddhist temple. Miniskirts and shorts are not allowed. Take your shoes off before going inside the hall of worship. Ladies must not on any account touch a Buddhist monk, give things direct to him or receive things direct from him.
- Intimacies between man and woman should not be shown in public. Sunbathing in the nude is prohibited.
- Call Thais their first names; use the title "Khun" for adults.
- Normally, Thai people address others by their first names and with the title 'khun'. So don't be surprised if you are addressed as 'Khun Mary' or 'Khun John' instead of by your surname.
- Traditionally, Thais greet each other with a wai (by pressing the palms together at the chest). If someone wais you, you should wai back (except waied by a child).
- Thai people smile to express gladness and happiness, to thank for small services, to return the wai of children and inferior persons, and even to excuse small inconveniences.
- Don't touch a person's head, nor ruffle his hair. The head is the noblest part of the body. A sincere apology should be offered immediately if you touch someone's head unintentionally.
- Avoid placing your feet on the table while sitting. Never use your foot to point things out or to touch any part of the body of anyone, which is considered rude.
- Entering a Thai house, you're expected to remove your shoes.
- Drink only bottled or boiled water.
- You can find places to eat 24 hours a day, but better avoid sidewalk stalls where, though food is cheap and palatable, hygienic conditions may not be up to standard.
- Most Thai food is already cut into small pieces before serving or made soft enough to be cut with a spoon or fork; thus, a knife is unnecessary.
Saltshakers are rarely found on Thai dining tables, so add a little caramel-colour fish-sauce (called nam-pla in Thai) instead, if you find your food not salty enough.
- English is spoken in large restaurants in tourist provinces and most establishments have menus in Thai and English.
- Beckon waiters with a wave of a hand. Don't clap, snap fingers or hiss.
Normally most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bills but a tip for waiters is appreciated. For porters, a tip of 20-40 baht is acceptable.
- Be careful with your bag and valuables while shopping in a crowded area.
- After buying and before leaving the shop, check that the goods are the same that you bought. Some shops do not exchange or give refunds, and make sure you keep the receipts.
- In the case that you have the shop send the goods by mail, ask for a receipt for sending the goods, so that you can be certain that there is an actual mailing service.
- Bargaining is an art long practised in Asian countries including Thailand. So feel free to ask for a proper discount when shopping in places where prices are not marked.
- Be careful in dealing with sidewalk vendors who may not offer genuine goods at fair prices.
- Souvenir stores in hotel arcades and department stores may ask for higher prices than general souvenir stores and street shops for they have to pay high rents. Yet these shops mostly offer high quality goods.
- To shop gems, make sure that you shop from a specialist in that field instead of buying from a simple souvenir store.
- Before making your decision to buy, especially precious objects, compare prices at several shops.
- Receipts should be obtained for the goods you buy. For jewellery you must get a certificate of guarantee as well.
- Some shops can offer a money-back guarantee but you should clearly determine all conditions with the shopkeeper beforehand.
- Ask for a written agreement to full refund on any goods returned within 90 days.
- Do not let a new acquaintance take you to shopping, for he or she is very likely to get a commission from the store. And the commission will be added to your payment.
- Don't get involved with any kind of narcotic drugs, gambling, child prostitution or other illegal activities that violate the law.
- Don't walk in isolated places.
- Strictly observe the warning signs at tourist attractions. Don't violate the law, as this may result in severe consequences.
- Be careful with your bags and valuables when travelling. Don't leave them unattended.
- Don't accept any complimentary tour offered by a stranger. Reliable tourist information and safe tours are only provided by a tour agency with a license.
- Before using any service, check the information before making a final decision and keep all the important related documents in case a problem should arise after using the service.
- Don't take any foods, drinks, or candies offered by a stranger.
- Don't spit saliva or phlegm, discard cigarette stubs, or throw away any garbage in public areas, on the streets, or on the ground. Offenders are subject to a maximum fine of 2,000 baht.
- Consult Thaiways web or Thaiways magazine, the most comprehensive guide to Thailand , or obtain information about the tourist destination from the Tourism Authority of Thailand before travelling. Check the weather conditions, especially when going to the sea, and your health, so that your trip will go smoothly.
If you have any problems while travelling, please contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Centre tel. 1672 (08.00-20.00 hrs) or Tourist Assistance Centre Call Centre & Tourist Police tel. 1155 (daily/24 hrs)
- Foreign Currency: The travelers bringing foreign currency more than USD 20,000 or its equivalent into or out of Thailand are required to make a report to Customs.
The Regulation and Notification require that the trav elers bringing foreign currency into or out of Thailand, both a bank note and a coin, with the total aggregate value exceeding USD 20,000 or its equivalent, must report it to a Customs officer at a port/airport of entry or exit, using the given Foreign Currency Declaration Form. The travelers must complete, sign, and submit the Form to report their foreign currency where such currency are physically carried by a person arriving in or departing from Thailand.
- Thai Currency: The amount of 50,000 baht or more in Thai currency must be reported on departure, except those traveling to Lao PDR., Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam are allowed to take out Thai currency not exceeding 500,000 baht.
- The basic monetary unit in Thailand is the Baht. A baht is divided into 100 satang. The following coins and notes are currently in use:
- Coins: 25 and 50 satang; 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht.
- Bank notes: 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1,000 (brown) baht.
- Major foreign currencies can be exchanged for Thai baht with banks and authorized money changers. Major credit cards are also widely accepted in tourist centres.
Prohibited goods and restricted goods
Prohibited goods are goods for which either the import into or export out of the Kingdom is prohibited, e.g., drugs, pornographic materials, counterfeit goods and pirated items, counterfeit notes, coins, bonds, Royal Seals and official seals, goods with the image of the Thai national flag, protected wild animals or related products, etc. Violators of laws related to illicit drugs, e.g., having and holding, holding for use, or being a producer, seller, or transporter are subject to the death sentence.
Restricted goods are goods the import and export of which are restricted by law and therefore require a permit from the related government agencies. The following items require a permit from the government agency concerned in order to go through the Customs formalities.
- Buddha images, religious or ancient arts, and antiques (Department of Fine Arts)
- Weapons, bullets, and explosive devices (Ministry of Interior)
- Plants and planting materials (Department of Agriculture)
- Live Animals, pets and animal products (Department of Livestock Development)
- Food, drugs, and supplementary products (Food and Drug Administration)
- Automobile parts (Ministry of Industry)
- Cigars, cigarettes, smoking tobacco and alcoholic beverage (limited amount) (Excise Department)
If you are bringing in with you the items with total combined value more than 10,000 baht, these items are subject to import taxes and duties. A flat rate of duty will be applied on the dutiable items provided that:
- The dutiable items are intended for personal use.
- They are at a reasonable quantity and not intended for commercial use, business, or trade purposes.
- The total value is not exceeding 80,000 Baht.
- Passengers are able to pay taxes and duties in cash on the date of arrival.
For further inquiry and information, you may contact the Customs ports of entry/exit or contact the Customs Call Center at Tel. 1164 or the Customs Clinic at Tel. 0 2667 7880 to 4 Fax: 0 2667 7885
As the environment has become more polluted and many wildlife species have become extinct, or are in danger of extinction, partly due to the development of tourism, visitors are requested to help keep the environment clean and protect wild animals for the benefit of the later generations.
- Styrofoam and other types of plastics thrown into the sea or discarded in the forest are harmful or even deadly to animals.
- Never buy and keep wild animals as pets in which condition they are never meant to be. Never purchase any product or souvenir made from wild animals or their organs.
- Avoid patronizing restaurants that serve food consisting of any wild animals. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.
- Clothing 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.
- Electricity 220 v 50 cycles throughout the country.
- Measurement of area Thailand has its own system of area measurement. The basic units are square wa (= 4 sq m) and rai (= 400 sq wa or 1,600 sq m or 0.16 hectare).