Thailand – General information
513,115 sq km.
117 per square kilometer.
Bangkok (Krung Thep). Inhabitants: 6,320,174 (2000).
Thailand is bordered to the west by Myanmar and the Indian Ocean, to the south and east by Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand, to the east by Cambodia and to the north and east by Laos. The Chaophraya and its tributaries flow through much of the Thai mainland. In the northeast, the Korat Plateau rises about 300 m above the plateau. This largely barren region accounts for about one-third of the country, the wooded hills in the north cover another third.
Thailand has been a parliamentary monarchy since 1932. The constitution exists since 1997. bicameral parliament: House of Representatives with 500, Senate with 200 members. Head of state is King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX.), Since 1946. Prime Minister: Thaksin Shinawatri, since 2001.
Official language is Thai (Thai). Colloquial languages are u. a. Malay and Chinese. English is a commercial language.
Theravada Buddhists (95%); Christian, Muslim and Hindu minorities.
CET + 6 (UTC + 7).
220 V, 50 Hz. Different sockets, adapters recommended.
GSM 900 and 1800. Network operators, etc.: Advanced Info Service (Internet: http://www.ais900.com/) (GSM 900), Digital Phone Co (GSM 1800) and Total Access Comms. (Internet: http://www.dtac.co.th/) (GSM 1800).
At the Communication Authority of Thailand and larger hotels.
Internet / E-mail
Everywhere in the cities and tourist areas there are numerous Internet cafés with public Internet / e-mail access. Internet service providers are: Internet Thailand (Internet: http://www.inet.co.th/) and: Asia Infonet (Internet: http://www.asianet.co.th/).
Give up at the main post office on New Road, Bangkok, and every telegraph office.
Airmail to Europe takes up to a week. Opening Hours of the Post Offices: The main post office in Bangkok opens Mon-Fri 08.00-20.00 and on weekends and public holidays 08.00-13.00. Post offices in other parts of the country usually open at 08.30-15.30.
The shortwave frequencies change several times over the course of a year It is recommended to request the current frequencies directly from Deutsche Welle Customer Service (Tel: (+49) (0221) 389 32 08. Internet: http://www.dwelle.de/) ,
Thailand and especially Bangkok’s nightlife is world famous; Night clubs, sidewalk cafes, classic dance theaters and cinemas are open until late at night.
Particularly beautiful souvenirs with a memory value are Thai silk and cotton fabrics, leather goods, silver, ceramics with green celadon glaze, dolls, masks, lacquerware and articles made of bamboo and bronze. The weekend market in Bangkok’s Chatuchak Park is great for rummaging and wondering, here is everything from real antiques to fighting fishing available. Bespoke clothing is also recommended and can be made within a few days. Business hours: Mon-Sat 10 am-7 pm (department stores), 8 am to 9 pm (smaller shops). Most shops are also open on Sundays.
Swimming and diving are popular on the sprawling beaches and on the islands. Already with the diving goggles you get a unique insight into the clear, colorful underwater world; Deep-sea diving equipment is available primarily in the holiday areas. Waterskiing is mainly in Pattaya and inland on the Chaophraya at Nonthaburi and Pakred near Bangkok. Jet skis are available for hire in the resorts. In most tourist areas there are also golf courses.
Paragliding is offered on many beaches. Public sports: Boxing matches are held three nights a week and Saturday afternoon at the Lumphini Stadium, four times a week at the Ratchadamnoen Stadium. Horse racing takes place every two weeks on Sundays at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and on Sundays at the Royal Bangkok Turf Club. Kitesurfing is a sport that is only available in Thailand, in Bangkok you can watch the events from late February to early June in Pramane Park (Bangkok’s largest park).
Events and events
In Thailand countless celebrations and festivities take place throughout the year. Some of them, such as Songkran, the old Thai New Year (in April), Visaka Puja, a Buddhist festival (in March) and Loi Krathong (in November) are celebrated nationwide, while others are limited to specific regions only. A detailed calendar of events is available from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (see addresses).
Everybody talks about the fantastic shopping possibilities in Bangkok, Pattaya and Co. The labelware of BOSS, D & G, JOOP etc. is to be treated with care outside the renowned shops.
More precisely, there is not much left over as scrap metal. Real goods are certainly cheaper than in Europe, but it is still quite expensive. Except in the big department stores, trading is a must for any kind of shopping and services. The worthwhile night markets in Patpong and Sukumvith are more for looking than buying. Most things in the markets in the country are much cheaper. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is an absolute must when you are in Bangkok for the weekend.
Thailand – climate
The climate in Thailand is tropical, there are usually temperatures of 30 to 35 degrees with a very high humidity.
Rainy season is from May to October.
When walking through the city, closed shoes should be worn. Always take a (knit) jacket with you and preferably wear a ziphose (sometimes short / long). In this way you can save a cold and prevent any foot diseases.
In addition, with the short shorts that are so often seen, you are not admitted everywhere. Thais attach great importance to a well-groomed clothing. The better the clothes, the higher the social standing. Shorts and washed-out shirts do not fare well with the Thai people. You wonder how the stranger can only afford the flight if he does not even raise the money for decent clothes.
The right travel time
for Thailand is from mid-November to mid-March. Then it’s hot and dry. The rest of the year is either very hot and humid or terribly wet. But that does not apply to the whole of Thailand. In Koh Samui it rains in November without end. While you can go there well in our summertime, you are at this time in Phuket – so not so far away, full in the rain.
Thailand – Fauna
In particular in the wooded areas there is a species-rich fauna. There are many elephants that are often used as pack animals.
Also live here rhinos, tigers, leopards, Gaure and water buffalo. Primates are represented by langurs, macaques and crab monkeys.
Other interesting members of the mammal fauna are tupaias, fruit bats and pangolins.
The diverse birdlife includes hoopoes, black-necked golden oriole, gourias (from the relatives of kingfishers), swallows, hornbills and drongos.
There are more than 50 species of snakes in Thailand, including several poisonous snakes, as well as turtles, agamids (including kites) and crocodiles.
In total, 13.1 percent (1997) of the land area is under protection.
Thailand – Flora
In the southeast of the country and on the Malay Peninsula, tropical rainforest dominates. As evergreen hill forest is called the dense, bushy forests at about 800 m above sea level.
in other regions there are species-rich, moist monsoon forests with foliage-throwing trees, as well as mangrove swamps at the coast and pine stands at higher altitudes.
Water hyacinths were imported from Java to Thailand, where they grew rapidly. For a long time Thailand has tried in vain to prevent the spread of the tough plant. Only recently have their advantages been recognized, because water hyacinths with their roots hanging in the water have the natural effect of a sewage treatment plant.
The woody plants in the area of the coastal regions include Rotangpalmen and ebony plants.
Economically valuable trees of the highlands are teak trees, agarwood and oaks.
In addition, a large variety of tropical plants and fruits thrive, including orchids, gardenias, hibiscus, bananas, mangoes and coconuts.
Thailand – People
The traditional customs in Thailand have been exposed to cultural influences from China, India and, more recently, from the West for centuries.
Western visitors are often greeted by the hand, and Thai people are greeted in the traditional manner, with palms facing one another, fingertips pointing upwards, and bowing slightly.
Western visitors should not be afraid to greet Thai people the traditional way. Buddhist monks are always greeted in this way. The royal family enjoys boundless respect, and their actions are never questioned. Visitors should take this into account and in no way criticize.
In general, Thai people are very reserved people and rarely lose their rest. Western visitors should note that only children express anger and frustration. An adult who behaves “loses his face”. Patience and calm are the order of the day.
Before entering a private house or a temple, the shoes are always removed.
You should never point your finger at people or objects or touch Thai people, especially children, on the head.
Casual wear is acceptable everywhere, men are rarely expected to wear a suit. A traditional Thai shirt is the best clothing for men for special occasions. Swimwear, on the other hand, belongs to the beach by way of exception, but “topless” is not welcome.
is allowed almost everywhere.
Most hotels charge 10% service charge and 11% government tax. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip.
Thailand – wining and dining
There are a myriad of restaurants in Thailand. In the hotels, the food is rather expensive. Therefore, the foreign restaurants are preferable. You will find something for every taste. There are many good Italian restaurants as well as German, American, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and Thai.
Nice, clean and reasonably priced restaurants can also be found at the Lumpini Night Market.
You should definitely try the Thai cuisine once. Incidentally, the Singha beer tastes very good. The water is not drinkable. In all hotels, a free bottle of drinking water is always provided in the bathroom or in the minibar. Drinking water is also available in the restaurants. However, ice cream in drinks should be very careful. We have always refused. Although it is said that the hollowed-out round ice cream is generally okay and everything else should not be taken. To renounce completely is certainly safer.
There are both European and Asian restaurants. Thai food is extremely tasty and spicy; however, most restaurants take into account that Europeans are not used to spicy food. Especially Pri-Kee-Noo, small red or green peppers, are to be eaten by newcomers with the utmost caution. These are usually served in a vinaigrette to the main course. Specialties include Tom Ka (coconut milk soup with makroot leaves, lemon grass, ginger and chicken or crab); Rice with kaeng pet (spicy curry with coconut milk, herbs, garlic, peppers, crab paste, coriander and other spices); Kaeng Khiaw (“green” curry with eggplant, beef or chicken); Gai Yang (grilled chicken) and Kao Pat (rice pan with crab, chicken and pork, onions, eggs and saffron).
These dishes are often served with onions, cucumbers, soy sauce and peppers. Among the desserts Salim (sweet noodles in coconut milk) and Songkaya (coconut milk, egg and sugar pudding, often served in a coconut shell) are especially recommended.
Delicious for breakfast are mangos with sweet rice (cooked in coconut milk), which are only offered during the mango harvest from March to May.
Other exotic fruits include papaya, jackfruit, mangosteen, rambutans, pomelos (sweet grapefruit), and durians in particular, which foreigners (referred to as “farangs”) either hate or hate because of their peculiar scent.
However, it should be noted that many hotels do not allow the storage of Durians in the room. In Thai restaurants one eats with spoon and fork, in Chinese restaurants with chopsticks or on request with knife and fork.
In restaurants, hot or cold towels are usually served before the meal to wipe your hands.
Drinks: Coconut milk is offered directly from the shell. Singha beer and Sang Thip whiskey are worth a taste, as well as many other local drinks.
Thailand – Accommodations
Hotels and other accommodations are available in Thailand in all price ranges. Most hotels have an air conditioning system, which has advantages as well as disadvantages. Firstly, the tropoischen temperatures (at least for the Central Europeans) more bearable, on the other hand, one is quick to catch a cold and because the windows are rarely opened, it often smells unpleasant in the rooms.
Hotels in Bangkok
Bangkok has some of the best hotels in Asia; Over 12,000 of the hotel rooms meet international standards. All luxury hotels have swimming pool and air conditioning, 24-hour room service is available. The hotels on the Chao Phraya River are a bit quieter and the air is better than in the city. The downside is that the paths to the sights continue.
However, the better hotels often offer a shuttle service by bus or boat. In the area around Bang’lampoo the accommodations are cheaper. The hotels outside the capital are less luxurious, but very reasonably priced. Service and hospitality are very important everywhere.
The Thai Hotel Association has a hotel reservation desk at almost all airports and can be reached at: Thai Hotels Association (THA), 203-209 / 3 Rachadamnoen Klang Avenue, Bawonnivet, Bangkok 10200. Tel: (02) 281 94 96. Fax: (02) 281 41 88. (E-Mail: email@example.com, Internet: http://www.thaihotels.org/).
There are no official hotel categories, the room rate is usually based on the standard. The Tourist Office (see addresses) provides information.
The following hotels are especially recommended:
Nai Lert Park
(the former Hilton) is centrally located on Skytrain Ploenchit Road, yet is quiet with its own beautiful park.
at the Patpong is a bit elderly, but has very friendly staff and a good service.
Located on the river and very cheap in the price-performance ratio. The hotel has a free boat shuttle to the skytrain station. The downside is that in the hotel a lot of group travelers, which is associated with significant noise. In addition, the rooms are very small.
One would think that nowhere else in the world is it cheap to stay in an elegant five-star hotel, as in Bangkok. When choosing the hotel you should make sure that you are in a central location and the skytrain or metro station is not far away.
Holiday homes and apartments
Are offered in the advertisement section of English-language newspapers; You can also ask directly in restaurants in holiday areas.
Hostels of the YMCA / YWCA (YMCA) and small budget hotels are located nationwide. For more information, contact Thai Youth Hostels Association, 25/2 Phitsanulok Road, Dusit, Bangkok 10300. Tel: (02) 282 09 50. Fax: (02) 628 74 16. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet:
Most camp sites are located in the National Parks under the administration of the Ministry of Forestry, otherwise there are also campsites in some resorts. In general, tents are not very common as cheap rooms are available everywhere.