USEFUL LINKS & INFO FOR THAILAND:
We have made a selection for you to make your life a little easier if you as looking for something specific.
/// PHUKET – USEFUL LINKS THAILAND
- Snorkel Tours:
- La Moet ( Scandanavian website – but you can email them for info in English) Purpose built 20 meter wooden crusiing boat catering to adults and children and specialising in snorekling trips to Phi Phi islands and around Phuket Island
- Airport Bus Phuket
- Phuket Shuttle
- Phuket Airport Transfer
- Multi-National Rental Companies operate out of Phuket like Avis and Budget .
/// MISCELLANEOUS USEFUL LINKS THAILAND
- Tourist Authorities Thailand
- Immigration Thailand
- Phuket News – English news papers
- Phuket Events
- Phuket Night life
- Phuket Dining
Hepatitis A vaccination: Recommended for all travelers
Typhoid vaccination: For travelers who may eat or drink outside major restaurants and hotels
Yellow fever vaccination: Required for all travelers greater than one year of age arriving from a yellow-fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas. Not recommended otherwise.
Japanese encephalitis vaccination: For long-term (>1 month) travelers to rural areas or travelers who may engage in extensive unprotected outdoor activities in rural areas, especially after dusk
Hepatitis B vaccination: For travelers who may have intimate contact with local residents, especially if visiting for more than 6 months
Rabies vaccination: For travelers who may have direct contact with animals and may not have access to medical care
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination: Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given
Tetanus-diphtheria vaccination: Revaccination recommended every 10 years
All travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure.
HOSPITALS IN THAILAND
Excellent medical care is available in Bangkok. Many physicians have been trained in the United States and other Western countries and many speak English. Outside Bangkok, medical care may be variable, and it may be difficult to find an English-speaking physician. Many expatriates go to one of the following, all of which provide 24-hour emergency care:
* Global Doctor Clinic (Sumait Premmanisakul MD, Medical Director; G Floor, Holiday Inn Silom, Bangkok; ph. 66-2236-8444, mobile 661 8379957, email [email protected] Consultation by appointment or walk-in; also house calls; all medications made by international drug companies; most major credit cards accepted)
* Bumrungrad International Hospital (33 Sukhumvit 3 (Soi Nana Nua), Wattana, Bangkok 10110; ph. 66-2-667-1000 – general, 667-2999 – emergency; website http://www.bumrungrad.com)
* Samitivej Hospital (133 Sukhumvit 49, Vadhana, Bangkok 10110; ph. 66-2-392-0011 – general, 712-7007 – emergency; website http://www.samitivejhospital.com)
* BNH Hospital (9/1 Convent Rd, Silom, Bangkok; ph. 66-2-686-2700; website http://www.BNHhospital.com; also offers an international travel clinic) For infectious diseases, travelers can also go to the Thai Travel Clinic at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Mahidol University (420/6 Rajvithi Rd, Rajthewi Bangkok 10400; ph. 66-23549100 x1420, x1225; website www.thaitravelclinic.com) For a guide to physicians and other hospitals in Thailand, go to the Welcome to Thailand document (Appendix K) on the U.S. Embassy website.
Many doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance. Life-threatening medical problems may require air evacuation to a country with state-of-the-art medical facilities.
Ambulance: For a public ambulance in Thailand, call 1669. Response time is usually 10 minutes in cities and 30 minutes in rural areas. For a private ambulance in Bangkok, call 66-2-667-2999 (Bumrungrad International Hospital) or 66-2-712-7007 (Samitivej Hospital)
Airports in Thailand
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Location: The airport is situated 19 miles (30km) east of Bangkok. Time: GMT +7. Contacts: Tel: +66 (0)2 132 1888 or +66 (0)2 132 3888. Transfer between terminals: Shuttle buses provide a free service between the main terminal and the transport centre, as well as connecting other airport facilities.
Transfer to the city: The free shuttle bus (Express route) transports passengers to the Transport Centre from where public buses, taxis and rental cars can be found. Taxis can also be found on Level 1 at Arrivals. Public buses run several routes from the Transport Centre to Bangkok, while the Airport Express provides air-conditioned coaches between the airport and first-class hotels in downtown Bangkok.Car rental: Car rental companies are represented by local and international operators. The Car Rental service counter at Arrivals will make bookings, and the shuttle bus will transport customers to the Transport Centre to pick up rental cars.
Facilities: Currency exchange is available on Level 2 at Arrivals, and ATMs are located throughout the terminal building. Public telephones are widely available. A tourist information service is located in the Arrivals hall on Level 2, duty free shopping and a myriad of restaurants, wine bars and fast food outlets are also available. Departure Tax: None. Website: www2.airportthai.co.th
Don Mueang Airport (DMK) Location: The airport is situated 15 miles (24km) north of Bangkok. Time: GMT +7. Contacts: Tel: +66 (0)2 535 1254 or 1123. Transfer to the city: Taxis are available from the stand in front of Arrivals. An airport surcharge of 50 Baht is added to the fare. Airport buses are available for 100 Baht and take you downtown. They leave from the platform in front of the Arrivals hall at Terminal 1 and from below ‘Bus Stop Airport Bus’ signs. Trains at Don Muang Railway Station (500 meters from the Arrivals hall) run from 6am to 8pm. The fare to Bangkok with an ordinary diesel train is 5 Baht. Public buses to Bangkok railway station and other main destinations in the city are also available. Facilities: Facilities include three banks, ATMs, bureaux de change, restaurants, supermarket, CIP lounge, medical facility, children’s play area and a tourist information desk. Departure Tax: None. Website: www2.airportthai.co.th
Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) Location: The airport is situated 2 miles (4km) from Chiang Mai. Time: GMT +7. Contacts: Tel: 05 327 0222 33. Transfer to the city: Taxis are available for travel to Chiang Mai, 100 Baht/15 minutes. A shared taxi will cost 40 Baht. Fares should be agreed in advance. The Airport does not allow public tricycle and pick-up cars to enter the airport area; those can be accessed outside the airport area. Many hotels arrange transport and public buses are only advised for serious budget travelers. Car rental: Avis and Budget are represented at the airport, as well as some local car rental companies. Facilities: Facilities include a bank, bureaux de change, ATMs, bars, restaurants, shops, a tourist desk on the first floor, first aid on the second floor and a left luggage office. There are limited facilities for disabled travelers; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance. Departure Tax: None. Website: www2.airportthai.co.th
Airport Phuket (HKT) Thailand
Phuket International Airport (HKT) Location: The airport is situated 20 miles (32km) northwest of Phuket. Time: GMT +7. Contacts: Tel: +66 (0)76 327 2307. Transfer to the city: Taxis are the most convenient way to Phuket, but fares should be agreed in advance. An Airport Bus also offers transfers to town. Many hotels also offer transport. Car rental: Avis, Budget, Hertz and National are represented at the airport. Facilities: Facilities include bureaux de change, post office, duty-free shops, restaurant and snack bars and a tourist information desk. Departure Tax: None. Website: www2.airportthai.co.th
Travelers to Thailand do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 250g tobacco or equivalent amount of cigars; alcohol up to 1 liter; 1 camera with 5 rolls of film or 1 movie camera with 3 rolls of 8 or 16 mm film. Goods to the value of Baht10,000 per person for non-residents with transit visas and Bt20,000 per person for holders of tourist visas. Family allowances are double the individual allowances. Prohibited items include firearms and ammunition without licenses, fireworks, and drugs.
Trafficking in drugs carries the maximum penalty. Restrictions apply to meat imported from any country affected by BSE or mad cow and foot-and-mouth diseases. Antiques or objects of art and religious articles may not be exported without a license.
The most important tools of your success in Thailand will be patience, patience, and more patience. In Thailand, a person who lets irritation or aggression pass or forgives easily is respected, whereas one who gets angry or shows aggression will have no respect at all. Even small children are taught not to show anger or emotions, especially by crying. A well known phrase is “mai pen rai”, which means “it’s OK.” Say it with a smile, walk away and you will make no enemies.
Social inferiors generally put their palms higher and keep their heads to a lower level than those they regard as superior. Younger people wai first. The wai is also used when saying “thank you,” or kop khun kha/khrap, when receiving a gift or special favour.
Thai society, like many others in Asia, is very hierarchical. People earn more respect with increasing age, wealth, and education. As a general rule, a subordinate listens to, serves, and follows the directions of his or her superior without comment or question. In return, the superior takes care of the subordinate as a mentor of sorts. To place you in relation to themselves, Thais will ask you questions that may seem rude, but aren’t meant to be; for example, you may be asked about your age, salary, and marital status. The social structure is often revealed in restaurants when either the oldest or wealthiest person in the group pays for everyone.
In the business world, most Thais use the Western tradition of handshaking. The traditional greeting is the wai, a prayer-like gesture in which the palms are pressed together and the fingers held upward with the thumbs almost touching the nose.
When eating a meal with Thais, try to use the correct utensils. Spoons, forks, and chopsticks all have their appropriate (and inappropriate) uses. Knifes are hardly used as most Thai food is scoop food. Rice dishes are eaten with a fork and spoon only, and noodles are eaten with chopsticks. When a group of people order food in a restaurant, it is usually served “share style” with common serving platters in the middle of the table. Instead of heaping the food all at once onto your plate, follow the example of your Thai hosts: they will take a spoonful or two from the serving platter, put it next to their rice on their personal plates, then eat it slowly. Be sure to leave a little food on your plate to show that you have had enough, and never take the last bite.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Walking hand in hand is as far the Thai people go with showing affection.
Culture Thailand: Dress is informal, although beachwear should be confined to the beach only. It is disrespectful to wear your beachwear (bikini, Speedos and board-shorts without t-shirts) in areas like streets, supermarkets and shopping malls towards the Thai people. Bathing topless is strictly forbidden even at the beaches in tourist areas like Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Phuket and Koh Phangan.
When you are going to visit one of the fantastic, cheap and modern Movie cinema’s in Thailand, please be aware that before the movie starts there will be a short movie shown about the King of Thailand. When this starts, stand-up and do not speak or laugh. The Royal Family is highly respected and showing any disrespect will make you end up in jail.
You probably know that bargaining is a common practice in Thailand, and should always be employed when hiring vehicles or shopping at open-air markets. There is no bargaining in restaurants, supermarkets, major shopping malls, hotels or when the price is indicated on a label or sign. Tipping generally isn’t necessary, especially at less expensive restaurants, but always appreciated (never tip more than 15%, even when 500 baht doesn’t sound much to you). If you don’t mind paying for a ride in a tuk tuk please go ahead, but do not, especially in Tourist areas, go into a discussion with a tuk tuk driver…ever!
Thailand’s hierarchical system is not limited to social structure, it also affects personal clothing. The feet, and therefore the shoes, are the lowest part of the body and are often dusty. This is why shoes are always removed when entering a home or temple, so be sure you always have clean feet or an extra pair of socks that you can put on just before reaching your destination. When sitting in a chair, avoid crossing your feet, as this may result in pointing your foot at someone, which is considered to be rude. When sitting on the floor, follow the example of your host: crossed legs are fine for men, but women usually bend their knees and tuck their feet under and to one side. The head, being the highest part of the body, is revered. Never touch a Thai person’s head.
Drugs are illegal and travelers should know that possession of even small quantities can lead to imprisonment, and that drug traffickers risk the death penalty.
To make a good impression on your superiors and subordinates, bring them small gifts, particularly after trips.
SAFETY AND TRAVEL ADVISE FOR THAILAND
Safety Thailand: The vast majority of visits to Thailand are trouble-free, but travelers should be aware that there is a continuing threat to westerners from terrorism throughout South East Asia and should be particularly vigilant in public places, including tourist resorts. Visitors are advised to avoid the border areas and not camp in rural areas in national parks.
Visitors to major cities are advised to keep an eye on their passports and credit cards and ensure they don’t carry around too much money or jewellery. In Bangkok visitors should be aware of scams, often involving gems recommended by kind strangers. In tourist areas, and in particular at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, visitors should be careful about accepting drinks from strangers, as there have been
Several reported incidents of drinks being heavily drugged. Incidents of sexual assault, on women in particular, continue to occur, and female travellers should be cautious. The security situation in the southern provinces closest to the Malaysian border is unstable and travel to Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat and Songkhla is to be avoided; recent bomb explosions and fighting have killed and injured many people in public places and the government has announced a state of emergency in the area. Further attacks could take place in areas frequented by foreigners, although the Thai authorities have put additional security measures in place throughout the country, including in Bangkok.
Several explosions have occurred in Bangkok. The political situation remains unstable and numerous demonstrations have taken place in Bangkok with a risk of violence; visitors are advised to avoid all political demonstrations.
Cities/Islands like Phuket, Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan are free and safe of demonstrations or other attacks regarding the unstable political unrest.
Since 2005 there have been several sinkings of passenger boats and speed boats causing loss of life, thought to have been caused by overloading.
The height of the monsoon season in September and October (November to March on Koh Samui) brings about routine flooding in the north, north east and central regions, often causing mudslides and flash floods; visitors planning to trek in the jungle during this time should check conditions with licensed tour guides before leaving.
Travel Advice Thailand: It is safe to enter Thailand and there are no current incidents towards tourists in Thailand. Bangkok is safe in all areas. Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai are safe places to travel to. There have been no reports about Krabi, Koh Phangan and Koh tao regarding unrest towards tourists.
Please check your local foreign affairs regarding travel advise to Thailand. This is a major issue for some travel insurance companies.