Although the Thai culture is quite laid back and friendly, there is a kind of social etiquette that should be followed to avoid misunderstandings or causing offence. It is considered rude to wear revealing clothing, to show anger or impatience, to blow your nose or lick your fingers while eating, to point particularly with your feet or to touch a Thai person, especially on the head. Instead of shaking hands, the customary Thai greeting is the wai, bowing the head while placing your hands together and raising them. Read more on history and culture.
Thailand's culture is an ancient tradition developed over thousands of years and influenced by the principles of ancestor worship and Buddhism. Thai arts and literature ranges from music and dance which is a fusion of early customs and religion and is now also influenced by modern society. Read more on religion.
The official Thai language is characterised by exotic sounds and tones and is the primary language spoken throughout the country. However, there are different local dialects and a number of secondary languages spoken including Chinese, Malay, Lao and English. Yet it is the official language that is taught in schools and it can be difficult to learn, however the Thai people are always helpful. English is also taught in schools but fluent speakers are few and far between, particularly in regional areas. Read more on Thailand Language.
Thailand's currency is the baht which is divided into 100 satang. A baht is worth just over three cents in Australian or US dollars with a typical meal costing approximately 150 baht. Read more on Currency.
ATMs throughout Thailand accept most major International cards however withdrawal fees are quite high. Hotels and retailers offer currency exchange however exchange rates are far better at banks and authorised exchanges. All the major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Diners) are accepted at most retailers and restaurants.
Most resorts offer wireless broadband internet access however there are plenty of Internet Cafés available in the main tourist areas.
Please use 0011 + country code + area code + local number
Thailand Country Dialling Code +66
Phuket's Area Code is 76
Taxis are a popular way to get around Thailand with metred and set rate options available. Metred taxis are generally cheaper than those offering a set rate and should be charged by the distance travelled. Payment is generally negotiable so discuss this with your driver before choosing your taxi.
Tuk tuk's are another way to get around Thailand and are perhaps the most iconic. Generally an open air, three wheeled version of a taxi, it is not uncommon to see small 4 wheeled trucks as well. Tuk tuk's are a traditional part of Thailand holidays however they often charge higher rates and detour to particular shops to earn a commission. Be wary and should you wish to do so, request the driver take you directly to your destination before taking a seat in a tuk tuk. Read more on Transport.
Renting a car or motorbike is also a convenient way of getting around Thailand and quality modern vehicles are readily available at a reasonable rate. All you require is a valid International licence or driver's license in English from your home country. Vehicles drive on the left hand side of the road as in Australia and the UK. Read more on driving in Thailand.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is applied at 7% to the manufacturer price of goods before they are sold in Thailand. When shopping in Thailand and Bangkok, it is recommended to buy in bulk at retailers display the 'VAT Refund for Tourists' sign. Purchases must meet a minimum of 5000 Baht (inc. VAT) and have been purchased from each retailer from a minimum of 2000 Baht per day. The VAT refund will only apply to goods taken out of Thailand within 60 days from date of purchase.
To claim the VAT Refund you will need to keep your receipt and fill out a VAT Refund Application for Tourists Form at time of purchase. Upon departure you will need to keep your purchases separate from your main luggage as your items and receipts will be checked and VAT Refund Form stamped. If you continue through baggage check in first, you will lose your right to the refund.
Travellers with a current Australian passport valid for at least 6 months can travel in Thailand for up to 30 days without requiring a visa. Australian travellers entering Thailand overland from one of its bordering countries can stay for up to 15 days without requiring a visa. If you want to stay longer or intend to work or travel for purposes other than tourism you will require a visa. Visas can be obtained from the closest Embassy or Consulate of Thailand prior to departure. Information regarding visas change frequently so contact an Embassy or Consulate of Thailand to ensure the information you have is correct.
Departure taxes are generally included in airfares however it is advisable to check at the time of booking. Flights with long stopovers will attract a departure tax of approximately 700 Baht to leave the airport. Please note that variations can occur with little or no notice.
We have done the hard work for you and gathered up a collection of travel guides to help you better understand Thailand. Read more about the best times to visit Thailand and what things to do - including fishing, surfing and diving just to name a few. There is also the amazing food, crazy nightlife and stunning events and attractions not to miss out on.