Thailand is a Southeast Asian, predominantly Buddhist kingdom almost equidistant between India and China. For centuries known by outsiders as Siam, Thailand has been something of a Southeast Asian migratory, cultural and religious crossroads.
With an area of some 510,000 square kilometres and a population of some 60 million, Thailand is approximately the same size as France. Thailand shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the east, and Malaysia to the south.
Geographically speaking, Thailand is divided into six major regions: the mountainous north where elephants work forests and winter temperatures are sufficiently cool to permit cultivation of temperate fruits such as strawberries and peaches; the sprawling northeast plateau, largely bordered by the Mekong River, where the world's oldest Bronze Age civilization flourished some 5,000 years ago, - the central plain, one of the world's most fertile rice and fruit-growing areas; the eastern coastal plain, where fine sandy beaches support the growth of summer resorts, western mountains and valleys, suitable for the development of hydro-electric power; and the peninsular south where arresting scenic beauty complements economically vital tin mining, rubber cultivation and fishing.
Best Time to Visit Thailand Where and When?
No matter where in the world you are going to travel to, you need to find out the answer to these two questions before making the trip. Going to the right place at the right time will make your trip more worthwhile and more impressive.
Generally, the best time to visit Thailand is between November and February, which is the cool season. However, because of the diversity in landscape, tradition and culture, Thailand can be visited at all time of the year if you know where to go and when is the right time for that.
When travelling to each part of Thailand, you should also consider the season and the weather at a particular time of the year for a perfectly enjoyable trip.
The Central and the East
Summer begins in about March or April, during which the weather is quite hot. From the end of May to October is rainy season. November to February is wintertime. Actually the weather is cold only for a few days and it may even be hot for the rest of the time.
The North and the Northeast
There are three seasons at the same period of time as in the Central. However, winter in these two regions is colder than in other parts of the country. On top of the mountains, particularly, may get as cold as 0°C. Winter (November - January) is the best time to visit the North and the Northeast because it is the blooming season and the weather is most beautiful.
Unlike other regions, there are only two seasons in the South - summer and rainy season. There is more rain here during rainy season than in anywhere else in the country.
In the south, the peninsula lays southwards separating the Thai Gulf in the east from the Andaman Sea in the west. The best time for the West Side (Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi) is during November to April. Apart from that is the time of monsoon season that makes it difficult and dangerous to take a boat to visit the islands. The good time for the East Side of the coast (Koh Samui, Hat Yai), on the contrary, is during May to October.
If you want to visit both sides of the coast - the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, we recommend making the trip during March to April.
Holidays and Long Weekends
Visiting Thailand during traditional fairs and events is an opportunity to see and learn about Thai culture and way of life. However, during important festivities with long holidays, people will flux out of Bangkok for vacations. People from other provinces who work in Bangkok also take these times to visit their families back home. Touristy places will be crowded with tourists. Hotels and Resorts will be all taken. Click here to check Thailand's Public Holidays. If you love calm, quiet nature, you should avoid travelling during these times or just change your peaceful schedule to see more in Bangkok instead. (There will be no traffic in Bangkok during these times for sure.)
But if you want to witness traditional festivities, you should depart prior to the holidays and make a reservation for hotels and tickets about a month ahead of time. Click here to make a hotel reservation with us. You will get a great discount here. Also avoid making the trip back to Bangkok on the last day of the holidays or long weekends when a huge number of people is heading back to Bangkok at the same time.
General Information Weather
Temperatures in Thailand vary little outside 25-35 degrees Celsius; however temperatures in the northern provinces can drop much lower during the cool season. The three seasons are: cool season (November to February), hot season (March to June) and rainy season (July to October).
What To Wear
Light, loose cotton clothing is best. Nylon should be avoided. Sweaters are needed during the cool season evenings or if visiting mountainous areas or national parks. Jackets and ties are required in a few restaurants and nightclubs. Neat clothes are required for entering temples or palaces.
The Thai unit of currency is the baht, which is worth a little less than 3 US cents. One US dollar = approximately 40 baht. There are 100 satang in 1 baht. (B=baht) Notes are issued in denominations of 1000 (grey), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), 20 (green), and 10 (brown). There are five coins: 10, 5 and 1 baht coin, and 50 and 25 satang.
Traveller Cheques & Credit Cards
US dollar traveller cheques can be conveniently cashed at all provincial banks and authorized moneychangers. Traveller cheques in other currencies are best changed in Bangkok where better rates prevail. Generally, hotel exchange rates are lower than those offered by banks and authorized moneychangers. Major international credit cards, such as American Express, Diners, Carte Blanche, Master Card and VISA are accepted by major banks, restaurants, hotels and shops.
Thai and foreign banks provide standard services nationwide, Monday through Friday, except public and bank holidays, between 9.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. Major banks such as Bangkok Bank, Thai Danu Bank, Thai Farmers Bank and Siam Commercial Bank operate currency exchange centres in most tourist areas from 7.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays. Many first-class hotels provide 24-hour money exchange services, but only for major currencies such as American dollars, British pounds and Euros. Travellers cheques are generally accepted only from bona fide hotel quests.
Most foreign currencies and traveller cheques are easily changed at banks, hotels or moneychangers. All major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the kingdom.
Most commercial concerns operate a five-day week. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. with a noon to 1.00 p.m. lunch break. General banking hours are Monday to Friday 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Many stores open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Local Time GMT + 7 hours.
The electric system is 220 Volt AC (50 cycles). There are many plugs and sockets in use. Travellers with shavers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug-adapter kit.
The country code for Thailand is +66
The Tourist Police is a unit of English-speaking policemen set up to protect and assist visitors to Thailand. There are branches in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Phuket, Kanchanaburi, Koh Samui. Hot Line: 1155
There are two types of hospital in Thailand for medical emergencies: government public hospitals and private hospitals. Most major provincial cities have international standard private hospitals.