Travel Tips to Thailand
If you have a smartphone, try to unlock it (meaning call the carrier to see if they will unlock it) so that you can use the local sim card because it is cheaper. You may want to contact your carrier to add an international plan.
- The basic unit of Thai currency is the baht. There are 100 satang in one baht; coins include 25-satang and 50-satang pieces and baht in 1B, 2B, 5B and 10B coins. Older coins have Thai numerals only, while newer coins have Thai and Arabic numerals. The 2B coin was introduced in 2007 and is confusingly similar in size and design to the 1B coin. The two satang coins are typically only issued at supermarkets where prices aren’t rounded up to the nearest baht, which is the convention elsewhere.
- Paper currency is issued in the following denominations: 20B (green), 50B (blue), 100B (red), 500B (purple) and 1000B (beige). In the 1990s, the 10B bills were phased out in favor of the 10B coin but occasionally you might encounter a paper survivor.
- ATM, it is best to bring an ATM card and get cash from the machine instead of going to an exchange rate/bank. ATMs are widespread and are the easiest ways to get Thai baht.
- Banks or the more rare private moneychangers offer the best foreign-exchange rates. Most banks charge a commission and duty for each travelers check cashed.
- Credit cards are accepted in big cities and resort hotels but not in family-run guesthouses or restaurants. Some credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee so check with your credit card company. It is probably best to use cash. Most places do not accept AMEX.
- Current exchange rates are printed in the Bangkok Post and the Nation every day, or you can walk into any Thai bank and ask to see a daily rate
Make a copy of your passport and carry the copy with you. I would suggest leaving the passport in the safe at the hotel.
- The current is 220, most smart phones, ipad and computers are 110/220 compatible (so no need for a converter). For a blow dryer, razor, flat irons, you will need a converter.
- The plug is the same as the U.S. BUT THE VOLTAGE IS NOT.
- Tipping is not generally expected in Thailand. The exception is loose change from a large restaurant bill; if a meal costs 488B and you pay with a 500B note, some Thais will leave the 12B change. It’s not so much a tip as a way of saying ‘I’m not so money grubbing as to grab every last baht’. Apart from this, it is not customary to leave behind the change if it is less than 10B.
- At many hotel restaurants or other upmarket eateries, a 10% service charge will be added to your bill. When this is the case, tipping is not expected. Bangkok has adopted some standards of tipping, especially in restaurants frequented by foreigners.
Health & Safety
- Bring any medications you might need and specific toiletry items, such as antibacterial cream, antibiotics for skin infections, anti-diarrhea treatments, anti-nausea medicine, antihistamine, DEET-based insect repellents, tampons, Ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory, indigestion medication, laxative, steroid cream for allergic/itchy rashes, sunscreen and hat, throat lozenges
- Pack medications in clearly labeled original containers.
- The hospitals in Bangkok are accredited and the best in Asia. For a pharmacy, go to Watson, or a pharmacy inside a department store for medications. In Thailand you can buy many medications over the counter without a doctor’s prescription, but it can be difficult to find the exact medication you are taking. It is safer to bring adequate supplies from home.
Even if you are fit and healthy, don’t travel without health insurance – accidents do happen. In many countries doctors expect payment in cash. Keep all documentation (medical reports, invoices etc) for claim purposes.
- Contact your doctor, he will take into account factors such as your past vaccination history, the length of your trip, activities you may be undertaking and underlying medical conditions, such as pregnancy, before making their individualized recommendations. Most vaccines don’t produce immunity until around two weeks after they’re given.
The following vaccinations are those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for travelers to Thailand:
Adult Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps & Rubella, Typhoid.
Jet lag & motion sickness
- Jet lag is common when crossing more than five time zones; it results in insomnia, fatigue, malaise or nausea. To avoid jet lag try drinking plenty of fluids (nonalcoholic) and eating light meals. Upon arrival, seek exposure to natural sunlight and readjust your schedule (for meals, sleep etc) as soon as possible.
- Antihistamines such as(Dramamine) and meclizine (Antivert, Bonine) are usually the first choice for treating motion sickness.