HOME EXPEDITIONS MEDIA ELYSIUM STRAND CONTACT & SUPPORT
 Pages in this section → Articles Videos Photographs Product Catalogue

Thailand Travel Guide    

ประเทศไทย

THE PROJECT OCEAN VISION THAILAND TRAVEL GUIDE

This is a collection of useful information about Thailand, its people, places and language. It is a wonderful country, with some important differences for westerners to be aware of. Bangkok is a very big place that is somewhat confusing to the first-time visitor. This is our Thailand travel guide, compiled for anyone travelling to this beautiful country.

Every travel guide requires regular updates and personal experiences. This page is under constant development so please feel free to send us your contributions and knowledge - click here to contact us.

Thai Flag - Thailand Travel Guide

Our Thailand Travel Guide deals with 12 main topics. As this page is rather long, we have provided links below to the sections.

CONTENTS (Links to sections within the article)

Thailand and The Regions

Buddhism

Climate in Thailand

Thai Money and Exchange Rates

Bangkok

Transport in Bangkok

 

Crime in Bangkok

Nightlife in Bangkok

Map of Bangkok

Places in Bangkok

Thai Language

Thai People and Etiquette





Thailand Travel Guide
 

THAILAND - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

The Kingdom of Thailand (Ratcha Anachak Thai) is an independent country situated at the heart of Southeast Asia (time zone: GMT + 7). It is bordered by Laos, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia, Malaysia, the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Thailand’s total area, roughly equal to Spain, is approximately 198,000 sq mi (513,000 km2) with a growing population of around 64 million people. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% Chinese and 3% Malay; the remainder belong to minority groups including hill tribes, Mons and Khmers. Roughly 95% of the population is Buddhist; the national religion is Theravada Buddhism (see below).

The capital and largest city of Thailand is Krung Thep Mahanakhon, known as Bangkok. It is also the country's political, commercial, industrial and cultural centre. See Bangkok below.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy; the ruling monarch is King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 9th king of the House of Chakri, also known as Rama IX. He has reigned since 9th June 1946, making him the world's longest-serving head of state and the longest-serving monarch in Thai history. He is the Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Defender of the Faith. While he is highly revered and respected, he is protected by lèse majesté law; anyone insulting him can be jailed for up to 15 years.

For reference, the current time in Thailand is .

The Regions - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide


The North

The North is the birthplace of the Thai civilisation and has many sites of cultural and archaeological interest. The people are famous for their courtesy, hospitality and rich cultural traditions. The North comprises two distinct areas, the mountainous and breathtaking upper north adjoining the Burmese and Lao borders, with waterfalls and fast-flowing rivers ideal for rafting, and the plains of the lower north. The influence of Laos and Myanmar can be clearly seen in the architecture, culture and cuisine throughout the North.

Many overseas visitors head for Chiang Mai, which is the northern capital, from where they can take part in rafting, trekking and tours of tribal villages. Further south, the Sukhothai Historical Park is an essential destination to discover more about the fascinating history and culture of Thailand.


The Northeast

The Northeast of Thailand comprises the vast, arid Khorat plateau, also known as Isan, which covers nearly a third of the country. It extends from the Dong Rek mountain range in the south, forming the border with Cambodia, to the mighty Mekong River, the border with Laos, further north. Isan is one of the country’s most intriguing destinations with many Stone Age and Bronze Age remains and a number of khmer temples. The plateau also includes two wonderful national parks, Khao Yai and Phu Rua as well as the villages in Khorat and Khon Kaen where visitors can see beautiful, colourful Thai silk being woven by hand.

The local people have a distinctive character and dialect and an energetic culture. This is a relatively poor region, depending mainly on agriculture and so many younger people have migrated to Bangkok in search of work.


Central Region

This is the heartland of Thailand, which stretches from Lop Buri in the north to the Gulf of Thailand. The region includes the rice bowl of the Central Plains around the Chao Phraya River and is Thailand’s most fertile farming area. The landscape is dominated by orchards, plantations and rice paddies.

This region is steeped in history and visitors are drawn by the wealth of ancient temples, ruins, battlefields and two capitals, Ayutthaya and Bangkok. The coasts in the south of the region also draw thousands of tourists as well as the residents of Bangkok who visit here for weekends.

The west coast resorts of Cha-am and Hua Hin provide a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere for international travellers. On the eastern side, some 400 kilometres of coastline extend from Chon Buri to Rayong and include some of the finest beaches in Asia, including Pattaya at its centre. A little further south Rayong, Ko Samet, and the Ko Chang National Park provide more relaxing destinations.

Kanchanaburi is further inland on the border with Myanmar in the northwest of the region, whose forested mountains, waterfalls, caves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries provide some of Thailand’s most magical scenery.


The South

This region extends from Chumphon southward to the Malaysian border along the 14 provinces of the narrow Thai peninsula that separates the Andaman and South China Seas. It is an area rich in natural resources with fertile soil and a great diversity of population. It has sandy beaches and islands on both coasts and rugged, forested central mountains whose national parks are gaining great popularity with eco-tourists. Because of the central mountains, rain rarely falls on both coastlines at the same time.

The east coast on the Gulf of Thailand enjoys calm seas and wide, sweeping bays. This coast attracts large numbers of tourists to Koh Samui, a laid-back holiday destination with good diving. The northeast monsoon affects the Gulf of Thailand and the east coast form November to March.

The Andaman coast is markedly more rugged, with its extraordinary limestone formations. The west coast offers the island of Phuket, probably Thailand’s prime holiday resort, popular for its diving and sailing. This coast and the Andaman Sea is certainly one of our favourite dive destinations in the worls.

The southwest monsoon sweeps the Andaman Sea and the west coast between May and October.

 

The Andaman Sea - Thailand Travel Guide
Andaman Sea - Photo by Courtney 2009

 

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide




Buddha - Thailand Travel Guide
 

BUDDHISM - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

As it is central to the culture, no Thailand travel guide would be complete without at least a short mention of Buddism. The Thais use the Buddhist calendar, 543 years ahead of the Christian calendar, making it 2552 at the time of writing. The Buddhist era started from the death of the Buddha (although it starts one year earlier in Sri Lanka and Myanmar). Gaudama Buddha is certainly a historical figure, although we cannot place his birth date with any certainty.

We do know that The Buddha was born Prince Siddharta in Lumbini (now in Nepal) in the 5th century B.C. His early life inside the palace grounds was extremely sheltered . At the age of 29, while wandering outside the palace, he finally encountered the sufferings of old age, disease, poverty and human decay in the real world.

He set out on a long, solitary journey, leaving behind all possessions and eventually renouncing all worldly pleasures. By so doing, he intended to discover the Ultimate Truth of the whole of existence and to find a way out of suffering (the Dukkha). He spent much of his time meditating in solitude. He starved and tortured himself until he become weak and thin. After this he finally found ”The Middle Way”, avoiding life's two extremes: self-indulgence and suffering.

Buddhism is a peaceful philosophy, a means of gaining spiritual development leading to insight into the true nature of life. Buddhist meditation is a means of developing awareness, kindness, and wisdom. Because Buddhism does not include the practice of worshipping a specific god, some do not see it as a religion at all, at least not in the traditional, Western sense.

The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching are straightforward and practical: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible. Thus Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, or gender.

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


CLIMATE IN THAILAND - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

The Thais have a saying, 'We have only two seasons, hot and hotter.' Actually, there are really three seasons, determined by the monsoons:

Rainy Season (June to October) - temperatures in the mid twenties with frequent showers, tropical rain and thunder storms.

Cool Season (November to February) - temperatures 25 to 30°C.

Hot Season (March to May) - temperatures remain above 30, often as high as 40°C.

In the South of Thailand and Bangkok it is never really cold, but in the North temperatures can come close to 0°C during the night in the cool season. Throughout the year, humidity is high making the heat less comfortable.

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


THAI MONEY - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

Thailand's currency is the Baht. One Baht is divided into 100 satang, but since a baht is worth less than two pence, the satang is hardly worth bothering with. You might sometimes receive 25 or 50 satang coins in change from taxis (unless you round up - see below) or in shops and supermarkets. There are 3 coins and 6 notes in use:

1 Baht coin

Thai currency: One Baht coin - Thailand Travel Guide

5 Baht coin

Thai currency: 5 Baht coin - Thailand Travel Guide

10 Baht coin

Thai currency: 10 Baht coin - Thailand Travel Guide

10 Baht note (grey & brown)

Thai currency: 10 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide   Thai currency: 10 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide

20 Baht (green)

Thai currency: 20 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide   Thai currency: 20 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide

50 Baht (blue)

Thai currency: 50 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide   Thai currency: 50 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide

100 Baht (red)

Thai currency: 100 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide   Thai currency: 100 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide

500 Baht (purple)

Thai currency: 500 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide  Thai currency: 500 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide

1000 Baht (brown)

Thai currency: 1000 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide   Thai currency: 1000 Baht note - Thailand Travel Guide


It is important to remember that few shops or taxi drivers will have change for 500 or 1000 Baht notes, so make sure you always have smaller 20 and 100 Baht notes in your wallet. If you need change, make a small purchase at a 7-Eleven shop, which are everywhere in town and usually open 24 hours a day.

ATM machines are widely available in Bangkok (and in other main cities) and they accept most debit cards. I believe that this is the best way to take out money, use your own bank debit card to withdraw from an ATM. I don't recommend changing it at your hotel and I never bother with traveller's cheques, which are not widely accepted outside of hotels; if you do use traveller's cheques, you will need to change them for cash at a bank exchange, which you'll find in every tourist destination. If you withdraw an amount ending in 900 Baht, you will get some smaller notes, including 100s, with your money.

Credit cards are widely accepted in many larger stores, but hard cash is the preferred tender almost everywhere. Many shops in Thailand will charge you more for using a credit card, typically 3% for Visa and MasterCard and 5% for American Express. This happens because the credit card companies charge merchants for handling the transaction for them and the merchants passes this on to you - even though they shouldn't. Avoid withdrawing cash on a credit card - you will be charged big interest rates and most companies are rather devious about the way they charge you interest on cash withdrawals. Some banks are now adding a conversion fee onto the Visa or MasterCard currency-exchange commission.

Tipping is not standard practice in Thailand. However, a small tip is always appreciated, although not necessary. If a service charge is included on a bill, no extra tip is expected. In a taxi it usually enough to round the amount to the next 5 or 0; if the meter says 52 Baht it is sufficient to pay 55. Remember never to throw money around or drop it on the floor; the banknotes carry the King's image so this is regarded as extremely offensive - see Thai People and Etiquette below.

It's worth getting to know the notes as there are a lot of counterfeit banknotes in circulation - some fairly obvious, some quite difficult to spot.

World economies are varying wildly these days, but as a rough guide the exchange rates for the Tai Baht against a selection of currencies is shown in the table to the right. For more details you should visit www.currencyconverter.co.uk.


 


Thailand Travel Guide
Exchage Rates.
This widget is supplied
by fx-rate.net

 

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


BANGKOK - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

  กรุงเทพมหานคร

Bangkok's real name is:

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

This translates as:

The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarm.

The city of Bangkok is the capital, largest urban area and primary city of Thailand with a population of nearly 6.5 million. Greater Bangkok has an estimated 15 million residents. It is a cosmopolitan city whose population is a mix of Thai, Western, Indian, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian and Chinese people. It became the capital city of Siam 1768 when the Burmese destroyed Ayutthaya, the former capital.

The Bangkok administrative area covers approximately 1,600 km2 and is one of the largest cities in the World. It sits beside on the Chao Phraya River, which stretches 372 km from the confluence of the Ping and Nan river at Nakhon Sawan to the Gulf of Thailand, south of the city. The river is alive with long-tailed boats, river taxis, rowing boats and ferries; there are also cargo ships and barges, particularly further south.

Bangkok has several large green areas preserved by the Department of National Forestry or designated as 'green zones' including the large forest park between Yannawa and Samut Prakan, which covers over 50 km2.

 

The Seal of Bangkok - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide
The Seal of Bangkok

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok from the Chao Phraya River - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide
Bangkok from the Chao Phraya River
Photo by Courtney 2009

Bangkok is buzzing, sweaty and exotic. The frantic pace of life, traffic, heat, humidity and lack of personal space can be overwhelming for some, but for many others the dynamism is intoxicating. A curious blend of the traditional East and the modern West, every street in Bangkok has a surprise in store for the visitor. Ramshackle buildings squat next to exotic temples and modern, high-rise offices and hotels.

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


TRANSPORT IN BANGKOK - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

In Bangkok's history an elaborate network of canals or khlongs earned the city the nickname Venice of the East. Nearly all of the khlongs have been converted into streets, but a few still exist lined with houses on stilts and markets. Most are quite heavily polluted. Today, Bangkok's traffic is notorious and with good reason; it gridlocks at all times of day or night and never seems to stop. However, with its excellent, modern public transport systems, Bangkok is surprisingly easy to get around.

There are a number of elevated highways, newly built or rebuilt intersections, and many partially finished road and rail projects. The city's traffic jams result from the popularity of private vehicles and extensive consumer credit for car purchases. Weekday peak hours are between 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. Weekends are just constantly busy. The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) runs regular bus services throughout Bangkok as well as to adjoining provinces; the minimum fare is about 7 baht to most destinations in the city. Air-conditioned buses have fares between 11 and 24 baht and air-conditioned micro-buses charge a flat fare of 25 baht on all routes. Most buses might be slow and old, but are a great way to travel with locals and to get a real feel of the city. Another option is motorbike taxis - fast and efficient, but not for everyone. There is, of course, always the humble bicycle too, but perhaps not the safest option.

On 5 December 1999, the birthday of HM King Rama IX, the two-line BTS Skytrain system was opened and in July 2004 the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system was opened. The MRT connects the northern train station of Bang Sue to the city centre railway station at Hua Lamphong; it connects to the BTS system at Mo Chit, Asok, and Sala Daeng (see the map below). Although somewhat limited in its coverage, the BTS and MRT provide excellent ways to travel in Bangkok. The BTS and MRT systems connect the main shopping, entertainment and business areas, while river taxis and express boats can be used to explore many historic sites and attractions near the river - head to Saphan on the Silom Line to catch an express boat.

 

Bangkok's BTS Skytrain System - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

 

Taxis in Bangkok are cheap and plentiful, but make sure they use their meter! Tuk-tuks, once numerous in Bangkok, are slowly disappearing, replaced by more comfortable transport, but are still worth a ride at least once. Our advice is leave the driving and queuing to everyone else and, where possible, take advantage of Bangkok's excellent mass transport systems.

In 2005, more than ninety airlines were using Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), making it the 18th busiest airport in the world. On 28 September 2006, the wonderful Suvarnabhumi Airport was opened as Bangkok's official international airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport is located in Racha Thewa in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province, 30km (18.5 miles) east of Bangkok. The Royal Thai Air Force still uses Don Mueang as an air base and it is also used by a small number of low-cost airlines for internal flights in an effort to ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi until the new terminal is opened. Don Muang Airport, situated 24km (15 miles) north of Bangkok, no longer handles international flights.

 

Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

Diagrams of Bangkok's
domestic airport, Don
Muang (left), and international
airport, Suvarnabhumi (right).

Suvarnabhumi International Airport - Bangkok Airport (BKK) - Project Ocean Vision rough guide to Thailand

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide

CRIME IN BANGKOK - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

Bangkok is generally considered safe from the standpoint of violent crime and armed robbery or violence against tourists. Incidents are rare and most crimes appear to be perpetrated by illegal immigrant workers. Murders involving tourists and long-term foreign residents do occasionally occur, but it seems to me that these are mainly due to foreigners taking liberties. I stress that the rates for violent crimes and muggings are low compared to other large Asian cities.

Elaborate gem store scams have robbed tourists of thousands of dollars and overcharging for gems is a common practice. Every western visitor should be aware of the gem store scams - find out more here.

Despite strict laws, the illegal drug trade is thriving. In Thailand, possession of category one drugs for the purpose of disposal (trafficking or dealing) carries the death penalty, although this has not been used since 2004. Trafficking will certainly earn a life sentence. A prison sentence is highly likely for users caught with lower category drugs.

The police are known close entire areas and take urine samples for drug testing from everyone inside the cordon. The Royal Thai police are not well paid so demanding large bribes from tourists caught in possession is common. There are numerous stories of police stings, where foreigners are offered drugs such as cannabis (a category 5 drug in Thailand). Once bought, the police immediately raid the premises and head straight for the foreigner in question. The police then offer the option to pay a bribe (usually hundreds of pounds) or face arrest and prison. Thai prisons are not nice! The message has to be, if you think Thailand is a good place to take drugs, think again. Their drug laws are strict, the penalties harsh and the Thai drug enforcement agencies make no allowances for foreigners - quite the opposite, in fact.

Click here to learn more about Thai drug laws. If you're interested in Thai law, I recommend Thai Law for Foreigners - The Thai Legal System Easily Explained By Benjawan Poomsan Becker & Roengsak Thongkaew - ISBN-10: 1887521577, ISBN-13: 978-1887521574.

 


Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide

NIGHTLIFE IN BANGKOK - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

In the early morning the saffron-robed monks leave the quiet sanctuary of their wats to receive alms from the people and at night, by contrast, the city comes alive with bars and clubs.

Bangkok is a really big place so you can't easily walk around to find a bar; you need to know where to go. The government places strict regulations on bars and nightlife so most bars close at 1 am. You should consider dressing decently; you can get away with flip-flops and shorts on Khao San, but don't try this in other places or you probably won't get in. If you're planning on going to a Thai bar you need to like whisky and soda or coke, since this is their drink of choice. Bring your passport or a copy of it in case of a police raid - if you cannot present your passport you may spend the night in a Thai jail - not recommended.

Here are some places you might like to try:

Sukhumvit: Sukhumvit is one of the longest streets in Bangkok and is located in the Central Business District; a favourite hangout for ex-pats. Cheap Charlie's, The Bed Supper Club (trendy) and The Q Bar (all on Soi 11).

Khoa San Road: Probably the most famous street in Bangkok located in the old city and popular with backpackers. The Silk Bar, Shamrock Irish Pub, Gullivers and the Lava Club are all good.

Thong Lor: Street connecting with Sukhumvit with some nice, mostly local bars. You might try Escudo (hip hop) or The Liberty Building (popular with Thai students).

Ekamai: Next street after Thong Lor with some decent clubs. Nang Len (Thai) and The Escobar (young and stylish).

Ratchada: Mainly Thai bars. Pump Up (loud), Inch (modern and trendy), Hollywood (dance) and Bali (Thai).

Silom: One of the oldest party areas in Bangkok. Bars here are generally small and please note that Soi 2 and Soi 4 are famous for being gay - not a problem, but some people we know have been surprised. Coyotes (Mexican), King's Castle (Patpong), Tapas and The Irish Exchange.

RCA: Slightly further from the centre of town, but worth the journey. A huge party area with larger, smarter clubs and bars. Club Astra (modern), Route 66 (Thai R&B) and Molly Bar (relaxed).

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


MAP OF BANGKOK - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

Map of Bangkok central - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

Map of central Bangkok, adapted from www.BangkokPicture.com

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


PLACES IN BANGKOK - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo

This landmark is a huge compound on the Na Phra Lan Road near Sanam Luang. It is surrounded by high white walls and occupies an area of about a square mile. The palace, begun in 1782, consists of several buildings with highly detailed, decorative architecture.

The Royal chapel, Wat Phra Kaeo, is in the same compound and houses the famous Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha image in Thailand. Photography inside the building housing the Emerald Buddha is forbidden. Professional video cameras are not permitted into the compound at all and must be left with the guards; small cameras and camcorders are permitted.

The site is open daily from 08.30 to 15.30. Admission costs 125 baht (including entry to the Coin Pavilion & Phra Thi Nang Vimanmek & Abhisek Dust Throne Hall).

The Chang river express boat stop is very near; express boat is our recommended way of getting here.


Wat Phra Kaeo, Babgkok: Temple of the Emerald Bhudda - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide
Wat Phra Kaeo, Bangkok
Photo by Courtney 2009
Markets

Chatuchak Weekend Market (จตุจักร): take the Skytrain to Mo Chit station on the Sukhumvit Line (see below). The market is on the Phaholyothin Road between Soi 18 and Soi 20. The published opening hours are 09.00 to 18.00 on Saturday and Sunday, but most stalls open sometime between 9.00am and 10.00am and close around sunset.

Taling Chan Floating Market is located on the Canal Khlong Chak Phra (คลองชักพระ) in front of the District Office. It is open only on weekends from about 08:30 to 16:00. Fruit, vegetables, and fish are sold from boats, accompanied by live, traditional Thai music from 11:00 to 14:00. The Floating Market is near Pinklao Bridge. Look for Air-con bus No. 79 and Bus 83.



Baiyoke Sky Hotel - Restaurants

This skyscraper is located on the Rajprarop Road and is best reached by taxi. It has a number of facilities open to non-residents:

Sky Coffee Shop, 24 hours service: 18th floor.

Fruit Court - Fruit Buffet: 18th floor.
Service Hours: 09.00 - 24.00.

Tee Off - Coffee: 18th floor.
Service Hours: 06.30 - 21.00.

Bangkok Sky Restaurant: 76th and 78th floor.
International Buffet Lunch: 11.00 - 14.00.
International Buffet Dinner: 17.30 - 22.30.

Stella Palace - Chinese Restaurant: 79th floor.
Service Hours: 18.00 - 23.00.

International and Chinese Buffet Dinner: 18.00 - 23.00.
International and Chinese Buffet Lunch: 11.00 - 14.00.
(Saturday and Sunday)

Crystal Grill - Grilled and Seafood Buffet Restaurant: 82nd floor.
Service Hours: 17.30 - 24.00.

Roof Top Bar and Music: 83rd floor.
Service Hours: 10.00 - 01.00.

222 Rajprarop Road,
Rajthevee,
Bangkok 10400
Thailand

Tel: 66(0) 2656-3000, 2656-3456
E-mail : baiyokesky@baiyoke.co.th
Website : http://www.baiyokehotel.com

 

Baiyoke Tower - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

Wat Manathat

This complex is across the street from Wat Phra Kaew and contains a Buddhist University and a Buddhist meditation centre with instructions in English. Check out the market here for Thai herbal medicines.

 

Wat Traimit

The temple of the golden Buddha with a 3 metre, solid gold Buddha image. Wat Traimit is near the intersection of Charoen Krung and Yaowarat close to Hualompong train station so easy to reach by MRT.

 

Dinner Cruise

A dinner cruise is a really good way to see the city and eat at the same time. Make a reservation before you go; we found the Riverside Company - telephone 024340090. Prices depend on what you include of course, but it's worth considering the buffet option, that way you know how much to pay before you board.

 

The National Museum

This is the largest museum in South-East Asia, it gives visitors an insight into Thai art and how it developed over time. From woodcarving to clothes and English speaking guides and documentation is available.

 

Ancient city

Definitely worth to visit, it shows all the major temples and buildings (build on scale 1:3) in Thailand in one park. The park covers a vast area so it's better to take a car around. The Ancient city is just south of Bangkok and a taxi should cost you around 250 bath to get there.

 

The Snake Farm

On Rama 4. You can see milking sessions from the most dangerous snakes around (King Cobra, Malayan Pit Viper), but go early as these sessions are usually before noon.

 

Lumphini park and Suan Lum Night Bazaar

Lumphini park is the only nature left within Bangkok and is a good place to go jogging. The aerobic sessions that are given here are highly amusing so just take a break and join them. When you finish you can go to Suan Lum Night Bazaar right next to the park to do some shopping or even better have a drink in the Beer garden with live shows and quality beer.

 

Crocodile Farm

Close to the ancient city is the crocodile farm with thousands of crocodiles and crazy Thais sticking their heads inside them. They are bred here for their skin and meat so crocodile burgers are on the menu and if you need a new bag made from one of these guys check out the shops.

 

Jim Thompson's House

Jim Thompson was an American who disappeared mysteriously whilst on holiday in Malaysia in 1964. He left a great legacy in Bangkok including this house and museum and a string of shops bearing his name throughout the city. His love of Thailand, Thai silk industry and his disappearance are well documented, and a visit to his house one of the must do items on the visitors list. Thanks to his efforts, Thai silk is now famous all over the world and justly renowned for its quality, colours and patterns.

This is a great place to visit for architecture and traditional art. Next to Khlong Saen Saep.

 

Dusit Zoo

Really a nice place to go and relax a little bit, the most fun here I think are not the animals but the Thai people as it is fun to watch how they're having a good time. Lots of animals with some rare species and the best part is that the entrance fee is only 30 bath. Don't worry about getting food over there since they have a KFC right in the middle of the park. Visit during a weekday since the weekends can be crowded.

 

Chinatown

Full of small shops from jewellery to hardware and food. During Chinese New Year this is the place to be with thousands of people celebrating in the streets and live performances. Great bargains can be found here, but make sure to bring either your Thai or Chinese phrase book (or someone that speaks either) since few people here speak any English.

 

Muay Thai in Bangkok

Muay Thai is Thai Kick Boxing and is followed all over the country as a sport to be seen live at a stadium or enjoyed with friends watching on one of the local television networks. Derived from similar martial art forms in India and China, kick boxing has been taken up by some foreign participants who have even joined the ranks of professional boxers. Muay Thai is typically Thai, and very different from anything else around. It has been also been exported to Europe and America and there is a World Muay Thai governing body, the WMC, with 109 member countries. It is best seen in the country's capital at a genuine boxing stadium complete with all the musical accompaniments and athletic boxers.

Lumpini Stadium - Rama IV Rd, Lumpini Park. Tel: 02 252 8765.

A ringside seat at Lumpini will cost 1,000 Baht, which is quite expensive; the cheapest ticket is 220 Baht. Fights are on Tuesday and Friday evenings, starting at 6.30pm. Saturday fights start at 5pm.

Ratchadamneon Stadium - Ratchadamneon Nok Avenue. Tel: 02 281 4205.

Ratchadamneon prices are the same, but they have a Sunday discount ticket which offers good value. All the fights here are evening events on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday starting at 6.30pm.

Channel 7 Stadium - Near the old Northern Bus Station, opposite Chatajuk Park, MoChit. Tel: 02 272 0201.

The Channel 7 stadium in MoChit offers the best value – it’s free! Fights are on Sundays at 1.45pm and then once a month on Wednesdays.

Muay Thai: Thai Boxing - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide
Muay Thai - Photo by Courtney 2009
Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


THAI LANGUAGE - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide
Project     Ocean   Vision
วิธีถ่ายแผนที่  มหาสมุทร  ทรรศนะ
Useful Phrases

Chai

Yes

Mi Chai

No

Mai pen rai

No problem/OK

Choke Dee

Good Luck

Khup Kun

Thank you

khop khun mâak

Thank you very much

sabaai-dii rue

How are you?

sabaai-dii

Fine

sabaai-dii láe khun lá, khráp / khâ

Fine, and you?

Phŏm / dì-chăn cheu

My name is… (m/f)

Yin dee tee roo jak

How do you do

laa kon or sa-wat-dii khráp / khâ

Goodbye

Laiw jer gan

See you later

tòk long

OK

a-ròi

Delicious

khǒ tó sǎamràp/sǒng thî khráp/khà

A table for two please

khǒ náam plào kâew nueng

May I have a glass of water

khǒ náam wai daeng kâew nueng

May I have a glass of red wine

khǒ náam wai kăo kâew nueng

May I have a glass of white wine

khǒ wai kăo khûad nueng

May I have a bottle of white wine

khǒ bia khûad nueng

May I have a bottle of beer

man a-ròi mâak

It was delicious

Phŏm/dì-chăn a roi mâak khop khun

I enjoyed it, thank you

kèb ngern dûai

The check, please

Gehp ngern torn ow wai

Keep the change

 
Numbers

suu

0

 

nueng

1

 

song

2

 

saam

3

 

sii

4

 

haa

5

 

hok

6

 

jet

7

 

paet

8

 

kao

9

 

sip

10

๑๐  
 
Days

wanní

today

mûea wan níi or mûea waan

yesterday

phrûng níi

tomorrow

aathít ní

this week

aathít kòn

last week

aathít nâa

next week

wan jan

Monday

wan angkaan

Tuesday

wan phut

Wednesday

wan pharuehat

Thursday

wan suk

Friday

wan sao

Saturday

wan aathit

Sunday

 

Note that that the polite suffix ครับ khráp (for men) and ค่ะ khâ (for women) can and should be attached to all phrases when talking with strangers. The suffix depends solely on your (the speaker's) gender, not that of the person you are addressing. Also note that the pronoun for I is ผม, phǒm for men and ดิฉัน di-chǎn for women.

When addressing people, คุณ khun is a safe, respectful all-purpose equivalent to Mr/Ms/Mrs. People you're familiar with can be addressed as พี่ phii if they are senior or น้อง nong if they are junior. These are always used with first names. All Thais also have short nicknames, but these are only used informally. Courtney is คอร์ทนีย์ or Kho Thani, Carol is คารอน or Kha Ron.

Return to the top of the Thailand Travel Guide


THE THAI PEOPLE AND ETIQUETTE - Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide

The Wai

The ‘Wai’ is the traditional Thai greeting. The hands are placed together and raised upwards towards the face while the head is lowered with a slight bow. The height to which the hands are raised depends on the status of the people involved. In case of monks, higher dignitaries, and elderly, hands are raised to the bridge of the nose, while with equals only as far from the chest. Young people and inferiors are not Wai'd, but a slight nod is acceptable.

In truth, the etiquette surrounding the Wai is complex. However, the Thais are very forgiving and are generally delighted that you try, even if you get it a bit wrong. I tend to wai by raising my hands to a mid position so that the tips of my thumbs are level with my lips - a good mid point - unless it is to a very senior person or monk when my thumbs would come to the bridge of my nose.

The wai is a comfortable and respectful greating. Space is limited in our Thailand Travel Guide and there is a lot more to these cultural topics. You can find out more about the wai and other aspects of Thailand at http://www.kingdom-of-thailand.com


Thai Etiquette

The Thai people are noble, polite and gentle - epitomized by the wai. They do not like raised voices or confrontation; do all you can to avoid these. Usually, misunderstandings and conflicts can be resolved with a smile or "mai pen rai" (it's no problem). That said, I am told that they are gentle, non-confrontational as long as you do not do wrong by them; more westerners (ferang) are murdered by locals in Phuket than most other places in the world. Mind you, this is probably due to foreigners treating the local women badly. Never loose your patience or show your anger now matter how frustrating or desperate the situation because this is considered a weakness in the Thai society. It is important to cultivate and art of diplomacy when traveling in Asia. Be polite and respectful and you will quickly see why Thailand is "The Land of Smiles".

Women should not touch Monks. If a woman wants to hand something to the monks, she must do so indirectly by placing the item within the monks reach. Remove shoes when entering houses and temples. Public display of affection between sexes is frowned upon. Avoid touching people.

The head is the highest part of the body (physically and spiritually), so avoid touching it. The feet are the least sacred, so avoid pointing them at anyone, as it is extremely insulting to do so. Thais usually do not shake hands.

The monarchy is revered by all Thais and people will simply will not tolerate any lack respect towards any members of the royal family – past or present.

Do not blow your nose or lick your fingers while eating. The right hand must be used when picking up food eaten with fingers. When entering a foreign culture for the first time, it is highly likely to make a mistake. If you do so, just smile or ‘Wai’ and you will be forgiven.

Smoking or dropping litter in the street is illegal – you can, apparently, be fined 2,000 Baht.

Thailand’s national religion is Buddhism (although there are significant numbers of Muslims and a minority group of Christians) and it is very important to be respectful as far as the religion is concerned. Always dress ‘politely’ when entering a temple or religious shrine; wear long skirts or long trousers when entering a temple.

Buddha images are sacred, whatever size or condition. Never climb on a Buddha image, and be very careful about taking photos – some images are so sacred photographs are forbidden. Abide by this rule or you may even be asked to leave. If you can’t cross your legs, don’t sit on the floor in front of temple’s Buddha image – in doing so you will point your feet at the Buddha which is an act of sacrilege

Do not wear shoes inside a temple where Buddha images are kept. Take your shoes off before entering someone’s home.

 



FOOTNOTE

Much of our Thailand Travel Guide is based on stuff we wish we'd known before our first visit, but we have kept it (reasonably) brief. If you want to read more, we highly recommend Stickmanbangkok.com, which is a travel guide written in the style of a chatty journal. We'll develop the Project Ocean Vision Thailand Travel Guide as we go along - we want your contributions. Keep an eye on this page and recommend it to anyone that is planning a trip to this magical land...



VIDEO
Expedition Ocean Vision 2 Video Diary - Thailand 2009

LINKS
<<< Previous Article (Thai Elephants) Next article (Red Sea Rules) >>>
Top of this page Project Ocean Vision Articles

  © Project Ocean Vision 2006 - ΩV