Interesting Articles - Shopping in Thailand

Shopping in Thailand

All the Stuff That's Fit to Sell Among its countless other joys and wonders, Thailand is a great place to shop -- particularly in Bangkok where the variety of retail outlets and goods is staggering. Often you'll find some good quality products on sale in department stores for half as much as at home. Likewise, there are bargains in more down-to-earth places -- open market stalls.

At the corner of First and Third: From Handicrafts to Fine Watches With Thailand's rapid development over the last 25 years or so, (and endured the socio-economic growing pains that accompany such an explosion) an unusual set of circumstances have emerged. While Bangkok is modern with large factories, tall buildings and an extensive freeway system, much of the countryside looks the same as it has for the last 60 years or so. There are wooden houses, people cooking rice over clay charcoal braziers and harvesting rice by hand.

This polarized economy gives rise to diverse tastes and capabilities. Those at the top of the chain seek out luxury cars, designer clothes and watches, and fine foods, giving rise to countless shops that offer these. As well is a huge number of lower end income people who produce traditional handicrafts in their villages. The government has even launched an economic assistance program to encourage and develop these cottage industries and for the people of Thailand to get back to their cultural roots and purchase these items. This all means the range of goods on sale in Thailand is huge.

The Same All Over Thailand

The entrepreneurial spirit looms large in Thailand. As tourism has grown, vendors all over the country have taken note of what buyers like. Say the necklace you bought from a northern hill tribe village in Chiang Mai might find their way to the souvenir shops in the southern island of Phuket. This is convenient for the visitor who only visits one region of the country. It also means there has been a bit of homogenisation, and in the end, you have craftspeople all over the country copying each others' designs. Don't be surprised to find that what you are buying may not be indigenous to the region.


Bargaining spread eastward from the Middle East centuries ago, so the theory goes. It persists in Thailand in open market places, but unlike in India or the Middle East, the prices start lower and discount less. Unless they've got you pegged for a real greenhorn, most vendors will quote a price about 40% or so higher than what they are willing to settle for.

The Method:

If you see something you like, ask how much (all vendors know this much English). They will usually produce a calculator and punch in the amount they want (feel free to use the calculator to convert into your own currency if you get confused). Hit clear, punch in your counter offer and hand it back. This goes on for a bit until you either reach a mutually agreeable price or a stalemate. Feel free to walk away at any time. Sometimes this gets you a last lower price, sometimes not, but don't feel you are obgligated to buy just because you started the process. Decide what the item is worth to you and if you can get it at that price, then great. If not, say goodbye and try elsewhere. You might find later that you didn't really have anywhere in your house to put that wooden elephant anyway.

Important Note: This is not a time for hostility. Sometimes in the course of bargaining, some people get carried away and get a wee bit aggressive with the vendor, which makes them feel like the customer is accusing them of cheating them. This will not bring a lower price or make for a pleasant experience. The best way to get what you want is to smile and make a game of it you're in holiday and this is part of the fun you don't get to experience in the West. In fact, if you really want to have a good time, hand back the calculator with a lower offer than your last one, with a big smile on your face. This usually engenders a spirit of goodwill and playfulness and can go a long way to lowering the price nothing like laughter to make new friends.


Because Thailand is such a vibrant free market, and regulatory bodies can't really keep up, you do have to keep your eyes open concerning quality. Many street vendors sell 'knock-off' goods -- fake rolexes, designer clothes copies, that sort of thing.

Now, you should be aware that this practice is illegal and there have been ongoing clampdowns in several areas. Whether you choose to buy these products or not, be aware that they are (with the possible exception of T-shirts) of substandard quality. Bit pretentious really, buying a fake Rolex that in the end fools nobody. You have to square it with your own conscience (and your own taste).

If you do choose to break the law and buy knockoffs (and the quality varies enormously), examine the items very closely. Don't be in a hurry and don't be pressured. If the vendor's goods are better quality than average (as they will often claim), they will want you to make a thorough examination. And did we mention that it is illegalω


These shops are in a category by themselves. It is impossible to walk down a major street in Bangkok without passing several tailor shops, with a man out front (usually of Indian origins) trying to persuade you that you need two or three new suits.

Some of the prices seem too good to be true, and they are, in a way. For one thing, the low prices you see on the board outside are usually for a quality of material that you simply wouldn't be caught dead wearing. Also, the man measuring you is not actually a tailor, he is a broker the orders are filled by "sweat shops" nearby, so the quality is not as personalised as you may have been led to believe. So is it worth buying a suite It can be, but you have to keep your eyes open.

Here are a few tips:

  • Give the polyester a miss and go for higher quality material from the outset. Try the flame test on a small sample of the material; if it's 100% wool or cotton, it will burn, not melt. If it melts, it's either synthetic or a synthetic blend.
  • Once you have chosen your material, insist on taking a small sample with you so that when you return you can check to see they haven't substituted a cheaper fabric.
  • Don't go for the 24-hour turnaround. Give yourself and the tailor plenty of time. Come back for a second fitting to make fine adjustments in your suit.
  • Put down as small a deposit as you can bargain so there is a good incentive for the tailor to make you happy before receiving full payment.
  • When you do collect your clothes, examine the jacket closely - these are the hardest items to make so that they hang nicely (trousers are easy). If it doesn't make you look good, politely but firmly insist on further alterations.


Bangkok offers the widest range of shopping options in the country, from market stalls to air-conditioned mega-malls as big as the ones at home.


Many people are surprised at the sheer scope of malls in Bangkok, but in their current form they have been here for decades and are a popular place for Thais to spend their weekends -- you'll see whole families browsing around in air-con comfort. Some of them even have amusement parks or zoos to add to the shopping experience.

You can find pretty much anything you'll find at malls back home, and in many cases, the prices will be lower. Most have a main large store with other shops as part of a shopping complex. All accept major credit cards. Opening hours are usually until 9pm on weekdays and 10pm on weekends, including Sundays. There is usually a fully-fledged mall within a few minute's walk of any major hotel. In fact, you can pick just about any spot in the city of Bangkok.

One thing to note is that you are serviced a bit differently from the west. When you look at an item, a salesperson will appear out of nowhere and begin following you around. This is normal in Thailand -- just like the people hover around putting ice into your drink at Thai restaurants, they are there to assist you. Try not to be annoyed and just ignore the person until you want something.

When you do choose a purchase, you usually don't take it to a counter yourself, but hand it with the charge card or cash to the person who has been trailing you for the last half hour. You can either follow them to the counter, or stay where you are -- they always come back with the right change and your neatly bagged item.

A couple of noteworthy malls near the Siam Skytrain Stop:

Mah Boon Khrong

Also known as MBK, this massive shopping complex consists of the Tokyu department store and more than 1,000 specialised shops -- most of them owner operated -- with stuff ranging from mobile phones, electronic gadgetry, local designer clothing, endless quality knockoffs, old and new camera gear (the best place in the city to get your cameras repaired or to pick up rare equipment) and countless other consumer delights. The complex also houses movie theatres, a bowling alley, and as with most of Bangkok loads of places to eat. At the smaller stalls, be prepared to bargain.

Siam Square

This is Bangkok's pre-mall shopping haven and nearly forty years on, remains popular, especially among young and trendy Thai teens. It is outdoors, a sort of shopping village, consisting of about a dozen narrow streets (some of them pedestrianised) and lined with small shops and restaurants. Many of these are name-brand boutiques (usually with better prices than you would pay at home) and independent clothing and curio designers. This is probably the trendiest spot in town to shop if you want to pick up cutting-edge stuff from America, Europe and Japan.

It is a popular hangout for Thai teens. In any case, it is a great place for a bit of people watching. The place also has loads of ice creams parlours, fast food, Thai treats, a Hard Rock Cafe and three old-style movie theatres -- much more pleasant and grand than modern ciniplexes. A good way to satisfy your consumer desires and take in a little modern-day Thai culture.

Siam Center and Siam Discovery

Across the road from Siam Square, and in some ways an extension of it, this air-conditioned mall has scores of shops in the upper end fashion, including clothes and other trendy youth pursuits like rollerblading and other sporting shops. Alongside this are electronics shops, (genuine) watches, sunglasses, furniture, music shops, and most other things you'd expect to find -- most of it top drawer stuff. Be sure to cross the pedestrian bridge to the attached Siam Discovery Center, a six floor building with a different shopping theme on each floor plus plenty of western and Thai restaurants.

Siam Paragon

Occupying more than 20 acres of land, Siam Paragon is one of the biggest and most elegant shopping centers in Asia. Dubbed as "the Pride of Bangkok", it is the largest upscale shopping mall in Thailand. Historically, the shopping mall is located on the former site of the Siam Intercontinental Hotel whose lease ended in 2002. Open in late 2005, it features a vast range of retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, luxury car showrooms, an opera house, a supermarket and an aquarium.

Bangkok's Open Markets:

Khaosan Road, Banglamphu
Backpacker central has a lot of market-style stalls selling all sorts from beaded necklaces to wooden elephants, to weapons that would frighten a Ninja. In spite of this being the budget traveller's haven, the prices are not necessarily the cheapest in town. Trok Mayom, a small alleyway running parallel to Khaosan is a great place for custom leather crafts for a personalised wallet embossed with your name, or saddlebags for your Harley back home, or anything else your fertile imagination can dream up.

Chatuchak Weekend Market
This massive market, at the end of the northern Skytrain line of Morchit Station, has everything you ever imagined. The creativity of the whole country is distilled here. Leatherwork, lamps, curios, sculptures, furniture, Japanese action figurines - name it and you'll find it here. Such is its fame that you have to bargain hard to get a good price.

Chatuchak is only open on Saturday and Sunday (many of the vendors have regular jobs during the week), it can get pretty hot and crowded here, so pace yourself and don't expect to cover the whole place. To make the most of it, pick up a copy of the Nancy Chandler Shopping Map to Bangkok, which lists off all the sections of the market and what you can expect to find there.

Suan Lum Night Bazaar
This market is similar to Chatuchak (see above), but with less variety as it is still quite new. Nonetheless, it has a wide range of stuff, is conveniently located near the Sala Daeng Skytrain Station, and has a more open and comfortable design, plus a big beer and food garden with entertainment. Opens in the late afternoon, and closes at about 11 pm.

Tucked in on the main road of the city's most famous red-light district, this market has mostly handicrafts and knockoffs in the way of t-shirts, watches, binoculars (not that you need them on this road), luggage, DVDs and more. A novel place to shop and very popular with tourists, but the vendors pitch their prices very high here, so bargain hard -- though the vendors are pretty hard to bend here. If you can't get what you want, clear the way for some other mug -- there are plenty behind you.

Sukhumvit Road
Along the main hotel strip of Sukhumvit Road from soi 11 to soi 21 are countless street stalls (more sparse in the daytime). On sale here are similar items to Patpong (see above), and the prices tend to be a bit more reasonable. A good place to get T-shirts with funny slogans on them.

Around the intersections of Siphon Han and Phahurat roads in Chinatown you'll find a bizarre range of shopping opportunities. It's a joy to poke around in the daytime and see what you can find. Guns, musical equipment, bicycle shops, and just about anything else that can be sold appear in groups of three to ten shops carrying the same items, ensuring you can get the best price going. Nearby are of course loads of Chinese restaurants (most with excellent and cheap seafood). A great way to spend an idle day of discovery.

Story by Cameron Cooper

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Interesting Articles - SEA of Mist : Amazing Wonders in Thailand

SEA of Mist : Amazing Wonders in Thailand

If traveling to discover nature is like taking a journey to fulfill your life, then to witness a natural phenomenon such as the sea of mist would not be different from a reward for the travelers, who only wish to savor its spectacular sight. Seeing the sea of mist is considered a sort of luck, as the weather is unpredictable, there is no guarantee as to what you will get.

Waiting to see the sea of mist in the morning is like waiting for the stage curtain to unveil. As the pale sunlight reveals the vast mass of vapor over the forest, the sun appears over the horizon, then comes the moment you witness the sea of mist in its full splendor.

The sea of mist is extraordinarily beautiful in winter, especially in the North. However, it is also possible to see it in some parts of the North East and Central Thailand as well.

There are many places you can go to see the sea of mist.

The North

Popular spots to see the sea of mist in the North are:

  • Huai Nam Dang National Park, Chiang Mai
    There is no need for trekking to see the sea of mist here. From December to February, you will also get to see blooming Sakura as a bonus.
  • Phu Chi Fa, Chiang Rai
    This is the number one classic spot for sea of mist in Thailand. From the cliff, you can see the breathtaking view of the sea of mist spreading over Laos. In addition, Doi Pha, which is only 20 km. away is another well-known spot to see the sea of mist.
  • Mae Noei National Park, Tak
    It is the perfect spot from October to February. Nearby tourist attractions are Mae Usu Cave and natural hot springs.
  • Mokoju Peak, Mae Wong National Park, Kamphaeng Phet
    With some effort, you will get through a long and difficult trekking to see the picture perfect sea of mist. Peak season is from November to February.
  • Khao Kho, Phetchabun
    The viewpoint is conveniently located in the resort among the mountains.
  • Doi Hua Mot, Amphoe Umphang, Tak
    Namtok Thi Lo Cho (Falling Rain Waterfall) and rafting activities are also a must.
  • Phu Thap Boek, Phetchabun
    Here, you can put up your tents and wait for the sea of mist in the morning and the “stars on earth” at night.
    Other viewpoints in the North are:
  • Doi ,Si Nan National Park, Nan
  • Khun Chae National Park, Chiang Rai
  • Chae Son National Park, Lampang
  • Chiang Dao National Park, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Khun Than National, Lamphun
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park, Nan
  • Doi Luang National Park, Phayao
  • Taksin Maharat National Park, Tak

The North East

  • Pha Nok Aen Cliff, Phu Kradueng National Park, Loei. From October to January.
    See pine woods, waterfalls, and maple leaves changing colors.
  • Phu Reua National Park, Loei. From December to January.
    A natural rock garden and morning dew awaits you.
  • Pha Taem National Park, Ubon Ratchatani. From November to December.
    The place where the sun rises before anywhere else in Thailand.


  • Na Heao National Park, Loei. From November to December.
  • Hin Chang Si Viewpoint, Nam Phong National Park, Khon Kaen. From October to December.
  • Phu Phan National Park, Sakon Nakorn. From November to February.

Central Thailand

  • Kaeng Krachan National Park, Phetchaburi. All year round.
  • Khao Laem National Park, Kanchanaburi. From November to January.
  • Srinagarindra Dam, Kanchanaburi. From September to February.
  • Pang Sida National Park, Sa Kaeo. From October to December.
  • Phu Toei National Park, Suphan Buri. From September to November.
  • Kui Buri National Park, Prachuap Khiri Khan. From October to February.

For more information on the sea of mist at the above national parks,
please visit www.dnp.go.th

Article Source :

Interesting Articles - The Joyous Time in Thailand

The Joyous Time in Thailand

It’s New Year again, the last and perhaps the most joyous time of the year. For many people, December seems to be the month you are most often preoccupied with something else but work. When the date on calendar changes to the first of December, that’s the day you start thinking about your holidays.

In this land of smiles, folks are getting ready to enjoy this year-end long holiday. Like the other two New Year occasions in Thailand – that is, Songkran, the Thai traditional New Year in mid April when people get splashed of water, and the Chinese New Year approximately in early February for Chinese descendants, -- Thai people will take this opportunity to return to their hometowns, spending the valuable time with their loved ones. It is the same tradition many westerners do during Christmas. However, in this part of the world, it is done in the oriental manner.

In a rural area, locals gather together to celebrate by feasting on food, drinking and enjoying folk plays and other fun activities. Some folks might hang out drinking homemade whisky from dusk to dawn. In the mean time, in a more traditional way, elder people will prepare themselves to wake up early to welcome the first day of the brand new year, hoping that it will make a smooth run for the whole year. So they, along with their descendants, will rise before the crack of dawn to prepare tasty foods, which will be offered to monks to mark the auspicious year. After that, they will head to temples near their houses to attend the morning service of monks preaching the sermon and giving blessing.

Back into some crowded cosmopolitans, count down celebrators are predictably going to have fun to their fullest! Certainly, in a never sleeping metropolis like Bangkok, people both Thais and foreigners will flock at landmarks of the city on New Year eve. The Tourism Authority of Thailand organizes the walking streets in front of Central World Plaza all the way through Silom Road and up to Siam Square – another event will be held the platform at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace.

Besides the regular countdown festivities in major attraction sites like Chiang Mai, Phuket or Samui, the Sunrise Delight Festival at the Mekong River’s border provinces is no less interesting! The aforementioned event will be held in the northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani, Amnajcharoen and other provinces along Mekong River. After all, watching the golden glimmer of the bronze sunlight coming up from the horizon of the ancient river might simply be the most joyous activity.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Interesting Articles - Royal Beauty At Doi Angkhang

Royal Beauty At Doi Angkhang

One of the coldest places in Thailand, Doi Angkhang in Chiang Mai, is renowned as a scenic wonderland of orchards, flowers and forests. The area attracts tourists to enjoy the chilly beauty of this picture-perfect valley in the mountains 1,400 metres above sea-level. Here, the ever-present influence of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, can be sensed at the Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang which has done so much to effect the greening of the valley, bringing agricultural affluence and a better quality of life to the ethnic people there.

Please click to view full story with images

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org


Interesting Articles - Vimanmek Palace

Vimanmek Palace

Upon his return from Europe in 1897, King Rama V (1868-1910) used his personal money to purchase orchards and paddy fields between Padung Krungkasem Canal and Samsen Canal for the construction of a royal garden which he named “ the Dusit Garden “

The first permanent residence in Dusit Garden was Vimanmek Mansion, built in 1900 by royal command of King Rama V. The King had the Munthaturattanaroj Residence in Chuthathujrachathan at Koh Sri Chang, Chonburi, dismantled and rebuilt in the Dusit Garden under the supervision of HRH Prince Narissaranuwaddhiwongse. The celebration for the completion of Vimanmek Mansion was held on March 27,1901.King Rama V then moved his residence from the Grand Palace to stay permanently at Vimanmek Mansion for five years unil the completion of Amporn Satan Residence in 1906 where he live until his death in 1910. Vimanmek Mansion was than closed down and members of the royal family moved back to the Grand Palace.

Near the end of his reign, King Rama VI (1910-1925) gave permission to Her Majesty Indharasaksaji to stay at Vimanmek Mansion. After the King’s death, she moved to stay another residence in Suan Hong compound north of Vimanmek Mansion and the Mansion was closed.

King Rama VII (1925-1934) renovated the Mansion several times. For example, he ordered the installation of new eletrical wires and the repair of columns of the main pier at the artificial lake in the garden. But starting in 1932, Vimanmek Mansion was used only as a storage of the Bureau of the Royal Household.

In 1982, on the auspicious occasion of the Bicentennial Anniversary of Bangkok, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who had discovered that Vimanmek Mansion, with its elaborate architectural style was still intact, asked permission of His Majesty King Rama IX to renovate the mansion for use as a museum to commemorate King Rama V by displaying his photographs, personal art and handicrafts, and to serve as a showcase of the Thai national heritage for future generations.

Vimanmek Mansion is the world’s largest golden teakwood mansion with its elaborate architectural style reflecting a western influence. The building has two right-angled wings, each wing is 60 meters long and 20 meters high, and is three-storied except for the part where King Rama V resided, which is octagonal and four-storied. Although the ground floor is brick and cement,the upper floors are built of beautiful golden teakwood. Altogether there are 31 exhibition rooms, with the bedrooms, the throne room and bathrooms maintaining the atmosphere of the Thai past. Some display house exhibitions of Thai art including silverware, ceramics,crystal ware, and ivory.

Besides Vimanmek Mansion and Amporn Satarn Residence in the compound of Dusit Garden( or Dusit Palace as it was later renamed by King Rama VI), King Rama V allocated plots of land for the construction of residences for his consort, princesses, and other wives.

He also named gardens, canals, gates and roads after the ancient Chinese ceramics ( commonly called “ Khrueng kim tung” ), which were very popular at the time. Thus, the residence that belonged to H.M. Queen Savang Vadhana, was named Suen Hong Residence (Swan Garden Residence). The residences in Dusit Palace compound have been turned into exhibition buildings and a hall for royal coaches on show to the public.


TEL. +66 2 628 6300 Ext. 5120-5121
FAX +66 2 628 6300 Ext. 5136

Article Source :http://www.vimanmek.com


Interesting Articles - Siam Cultural Park

Siam Cultural Park

When people think about tourism, most of the time they usually think of beaches, waterfalls, and mountains which are natural tourism. However other than those natural ones, Thailand also house many interest human-made tourist attractions. Like recently in Ratchaburi province, a newly built attraction opened for the public renowned Siam Cultural Park. Siam Cultural Park situates in Wangyen sub - district the district of Bangpae close to the famous Dumnurnsaduak Floating Market just a kilometer from Bangpae intersection on Petkasem road.The park was originated with the aim to conserve Thai traditions, cultures, and arts along with the shady natural park .

The park was originated with the aim to conserve Thai traditions, cultures, and arts along with the shady natural park . The Park is divided into six zones covering area more than 42-rai. The fist zone is housed to the Hall of Fame building which exhibits well-know important persons both Thai and foreign for example, M.L. Pin Malakul, H.E. Professor Dr. Sanya Dhammasak, President Ho Chi Minh, and Mother Terasa. Just a few steps from the Hall of Fame building and right before entering into the second zone, there are amazing and difficult-to-find-one trees in which a sugar palm tree surrounded by a bo tree, the tree the lord Buddha enlightened.

The second zone is called the Terrace of Buddha Image of Three Periods. The Buddha images reproduced from historical parks from three different periods, Ayutthaya , Sukhothai and Chiang Saen also known as Lanna. This zone gives an opportunity to explore three historical park in three different provinces in one place. The third zone is housed to a Jutaka Light and Sound Cave where the story of the Buddhist Saga Vessantara Jutaka is told with the aim to show the result the endless greed of human beings. Next to the cave lies a Herbal Drink house where a tradition refreshment drinks like Chrysanthemum, Rosella, Bael fruit, Lemon Grass, and Longan and Thai tradition sweets are served. The forth zone is exhibited Buddhist Monastic Cells which divided into regional styles where each cell housed two famous monks from the region. Crossing the bridge to the other side of the canal would bring visitors back to the past with the Thai traditional houses style in the fifth zone. This zone is also divided into regional styles where each styles has its uniqueness of architecture and design. Inside each house are artifacts to tell about the way of life of the people in the region. Crossing the second bridge would take visitors to the water-fall front for taking photos and enjoy coffee, tea, Thai sweets, ice-cream, and herbal drinks served by the Coffee House. After enjoy taking photos and the refreshments, walking along the footpath would finally take visitors to the footpath would finally take visitors to the last zone the Terrace of Avalokitasvara where the area is beautifully decorated with trees and flowers for the last shot before leaving the Park.

Siam Cultural Park is a very interesting tourist destination which shouldn’t miss in Ratchaburi province

Operating Hours
Monday -Friday : 9.00-16.30
Saturday -Sunday : 8.30-17.00
Annual holiday : 8.30-17.00

Adult 50 B
Child 20 B

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Interesting Articles - Adventure in Thailand

Adventure in Thailand

Adventure takes many forms :
a new relationship or job, sushi for the first time, or even a walk through an L.A. slum at 2 am on a Saturday night – all qualify.

Webster’s dictionary defines adventure as “an exciting or remarkable experience.” It’s when we break out of our daily routine and dare to take on a new challenge, boldly going into territory that is unfamiliar to us.

But most people, when they think of adventure, think of travel. And though pretty much the whole world has been explored before by other people (with Marco Polo setting the benchmark several hundred years ago), what matters is that it is your discovery. Adventure travel is a highly personal thing and what it teaches you about the vast world that surrounds you and its relationship to you is what makes it both worthwhile and essential.

This is probably why adventure travel keeps growing in popularity. In a world gone wrong, cluttered with technology, self-interested politicians, bureaucracy, greed and numerous other complications, it is crucial to get back to the basics of life and to set personal challenges that bring out the noble savage in us.

So remove yourself to another place, with strange people and customs, follow your nose, trust your instincts, and find a part of yourself you’d almost forgotten.

Thailand is an ideal location to live out these dreams – or alternate realities. With more than 25,000 square kilometers of national park land, islands, mountains, and a welcoming people, new and enlivening experiences are waiting for you to live them out.

Though there are endless adventures available here, two of the more popular possibilities involve going as high and as low as you can.

Scuba Diving : The Amphibian Within

There’s no getting around it. It’s programmed into our DNA that we are creatures of the sea, with a deep-seated desire to return to it. Meander aimlessly on thoughtful walk some lazy Sunday and your feet, of their own accord, will inevitably take you to the water – a lake, a pond, an ocean or a very large puddle – whatever is closest. We look out and yearn to return to our roots. Thanks to Jacques Cousteau, it is now possible, for a short time anyway, to return to the sea completely – for as long as the air in the tank lasts.

Thailand, with its countless beaches, coral reefs and modern dive schools is a popular spot to learn to scuba dive. Thousands of proud new divers earn their PADI international dive certificates every year.

It can be a bit scary at first – our instincts also tell us that we can’t breathe under water – but once you master the basic technicalities, there’s no experience like it. You have freedoms undreamed of by land dwellers. You are weightless, and can go left, right, forward backwards, up and down – and you are surrounded by colourful fish and plants. It’s another world down there.

But like anything worthwhile, it does take a bit of work and discipline to make your first dive. Over the course of a week or so, you take a step by step open water course to ensure maximum safety. You’ll start out in a classroom, studying buoyancy and pressure – you even have homework and exams to do (Whatω Homework at the beachω!!) This is combined with practice, starting in shallow water, learning to use the equipment getting comfortable with the idea – and soon you’re heading off to the open water by boat, working your way up to dives as deep as 18 meters. In less than a week, you are granted your certificate and can dive anywhere in the world unaccompanied – the beginning of a beautiful new friendship with the other two-thirds of the planet.

Where to Go Under

With more than 3,000 km of coastline and countless islands, Thailand has enough dive sites to keep any enthusiast busy for a lifetime. Most divers head out from island and mainland areas on day trips, but it is also possible to explore more remote and less inhabited areas on liveaboard boats, heading out for several days at a time.

All of the places listed have several certified dive schools.

On the Gulf of Thailand side, or east coast of Thailand’s southern peninsula, the main diving area is in and around the Samui Archipelago, which includes the main islands of Koh Pa Ngan, the well-touristed Koh Samui, and Koh Tao, which is the country’s most popular diving island, featuring several coral reefs a short boat ride away.

On the Andaman Sea side, or west coast, are the islands of Phuket (the most popular holiday island in the country), Koh Phi Phi, the Krabi mainland, and the up-and-coming Koh Lanta.

Central Thailand’s south coast also has a few spots. Some divers base themselves in the wild nightlife town of Pattaya, but it’s a bit of a boat ride to the best dive sites. Heading east, almost to the Cambodian border is the Koh Chang National Marine Park, a group of more than 40 protected islands, surrounded by coral reefs.

Trekking : Because it’s there.

Thailand’s north is a gorgeous place where lushly vegetated mountains rise majestically from the earth – the tropical tail end of the Himalayan chain. For some mysterious reason mountains were made to be climbed. There seems to be an innate desire to struggle to peaks and look down on creation as if we were God almighty. When you are at a great height, taking in vast areas of creation in a single glance, the world, for a fleeting moment, belongs to you alone. In Thailand’s north, you can do just that, with the added bonus that along the way, you can rest overnight with Thailand’s hilltribe people. There are several different hilltribes, including the Akha, Meo, Lisu and Lahu – all with their own unique traditional lifestyle. These people migrated from Southern China into what until relatively recently was uninhabited territory less than two centuries ago, and set up shop as subsistence farmers.

Treks can run from two days to a week or more, as you hike through the jungle pathways on foot, by elephant (a daunting prospect at first), and by bamboo river raft, breathing fresh air, watching abundant wildlife and tiring your limbs, until you come upon the welcoming hilltribe village that you will call home for the night.

An evening with a Thai hilltribe is an unforgettable experience. After your hike, the food tastes fantastic, and along with the villagers you settle sit around the fire, singing songs and watching traditional dances – be prepared to do a number or two yourself from your home country.

After a few hours with these charming people, you may find yourself tempted to give up your career in accountancy, or whatever it is you do back home, shed yourself of all your possessions and live the simple life of honest hard work and a bowl of rice at the end of the day. Tempted, yes, but after a little reflection on the labours you have to put in for that rice bowl, you’ll probably opt to take home a few of the colourful handicrafts, and treasure your memories from the land of comfort from whence you came. Really, it’s better this way.

Trekking : Where to Start

Chiang Mai, in Thailand’s mountainous north was the original home of hilltribe trekking, but in recent years a few other places have gotten into the act. Chiang Mai itself is a relaxed city of about one million people, and the springboard to some great trekking locations, including Doi Inthanon National Park, which is the host to Thailand’s tallest peak at 2700 meters. The second city of trekking is the more somnambulant Chiang Rai, a bit further north. Both cities have very good airports and regular flights from Bangkok and elsewhere.

One young upstart in Thailand’s trekking world is Nan, northeast of Chiang Mai, and the coldest spot in Thailand (which is nonetheless pretty darn warm if it snows in your hometown). New luxury hotels have been popping up here recently, yet many of the hilltribes in this area are new to visitors – so it’s possible to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Also becoming popular is the charming little town of Pai, which has developed into a Bohemian arts center for disillusioned hippie folk from both Thailand and abroad. The town is in the valley, surrounded by evergreen and rugged mountains with several trekking trails and hidden waterfalls.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Thailand Activities

Thailand has long been known for the rich diversity of its attractions, but the continuing development of the Kingdom’s tourism product means that there are still more waiting discovery.

A land of golden temples, tropical beaches and forested hills, Thailand is truly a veritable oasis in an increasingly hectic world. Secure in its devotion to the Buddhist faith and to its beloved King, it merges a centuries-old culture with way of life that preserves its identity and gracious natural hospitality.
For sightseeing and travel, Thailand has few equals. From dazzling temples and palaces to awe-inspiring World Heritage Sites; from timeless rural settlements to vibrant resort towns; from idyllic beaches to national parks where wild nature rules, the choice of where to go and what to see is limitless.
Soft adventure options blend with eco-tourism in mountainous jungle terrain, with trekking on foot or elephant back, 4-wheel drive safaris, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and meeting with remote highland communities. Away from the upland forests, the blue watersof Thailand’s extensive coastline beckon, offering the relaxing joys of beach life as well as diving, sailing, windsurfing, and sea canoeing, all with expert tuition provided.

Golfers love Thailand and the feeling is mutual. The Kingdom has more than 100 golf courses, most to international standard and located close to major tourism destinations with first-class facilities and friendly fees.
The Thai secret of relaxation is a secret that can be shared by learning and practicing meditation in Buddhist retreats or training centres. The revitalising Thai massage is an ancient tradition that is another part of the secret visitors like to share, while at the many luxury spas, they can experience the most modern, sensual techniques at the firm but caressing hands of a trained therapist.

Thailand’s cuisine is recognised as one of the world’s healthiest. A profusion of fresh produce, fresh-caught fish and seafood with a balanced complement of aromatic herbs and spices, wok-fried or grilled for a dish that is light, nutritious and bursting with flavour.

Dishes from all of Thailand’s regions can be found in Bangkok, as well as fine dining at sophisticated restaurants of world-class quality. The city is one of Asia’s great shopping experiences, too, with gleaming modern malls and department stores with top international brand and specifically Thai names along with smart boutiques and busy street stalls.

Giant markets like Chatuchak and Suan Lum Night Bazaar also sell international brand names, but their fame rests on their diversity. From local fashions and handicrafts at giveaway prices, the range of discoveries to be made there is quite astounding.

Everywhere in Thailand traditional products are hand made by local artisans: weavers of cotton and silk, wood carvers, potters working in the local clay, silversmiths, basket makers, and cooks making local gourmet specialities.

Even in the remotest villages, these cottage industries are being supported by the government’s One Tambon One Product (OTOP) project, and OTOP products from communities all over the Kingdom are now sold in many stores. At the same time, OTOP villages are being developed so that visitors can go to the source and stay overnight in the artisan villages.

From this profusion of location and activity, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is identifying new attractions and promoting niche markets, special programmes with appeal to special interests and needs: to younger travellers, to families, to honeymoon couples, to cultural travellers, to voyagers seeking health and wellbeing holidays.

And the best part of it is Thailand offers this wealth of diversity with the legendary Thai smile — which is not a legend at all, but one of the genuinev delights of discovering Thailand.
Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org ,www.ezytrip.com


Transport in Thailand is extremely well-organized and makes the whole stay in Thailand comfortable and easy. The air, rail, bus, road and water transport is very competent. The different islands and cities are connected to each other and the tourists can easily move about the country. Bookings and reservations should be done preferably in advance to avoid the rush at the last minute. They are International Airport ,Air ,Rail ,Bus


Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Suvarnabhumi Airport Project is a national priority of the government and is designated to be the aviation hub in Southeast Asian region. Since Bangkok International Airport (BIA) has restrictive development to accommodate the air traffic growth in the future, which is estimated to be up to 58 million passengers per year in 2008 while the full-scale development of provided plot of land at Nong Ngu Hao with its capacity to accommodate 45 million passenger per year, 76 flights per hour and 3 million tons of cargo per year.

Don Mueang International Airport
DonMuang International Airport (BIA) is Thailand’s busiest airport. More than 80 airlines use the airport and over 25,000,000 passengers, 160,000 flights and handling over 38,000,000 passengers and 700,000 tons of cargo in 2005. It was then the 18th busiest airport in the world and 2nd in Asia by passenger volume.

Chiang Mai International Airport

Chiang Mai International Airport is the gateway to Northern Thailand, a land of breathtaking natural attractions and deep-rooted cultural traditions. The Airport has contributed greatly to tourism in the North over the years.

Hat Yai International Airport

Located in Songkhla Province, popularly dubbed the trading centre of the South, Hat Yai International Airport has played a key role in providing services to thousands of Muslims making the pilgrimage to Mecca each year.

Phuket International Airport

Phuket International Airport ranks second in the country in terms of passenger and cargo volume. Thanks to the fascinating tourist attractions including the world famous beaches in Phuket and the nearby provinces coupled with a complete range of tourist services, Phuket International Airport has welcomed millions of passengers each year, most of whom are tourists coming from all over the world.

Chiang Rai International Airport
Chiang Rai International Airport is an international airport located in the north of Thailand. The airport is not only a gateway for tourists to the region but also for business due to its near location to several neighbouring countries in the economic quadrangular zone.


Thai Airways

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited is the national carrier of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Air Asia

Now everyone can fly', Thai AirAsia’s philosophy of low fares is aimed at making flying affordable for everyone.

Bangkok Airways

Flying many routes within Thailand and other Asian countries.


Budget airlines flying domestic in Thailand.

Nok Air

Budget airlines flying domestic in Thailand.


The mission for PB Air was to provide safe, fast, and private flight all over the region.

SGA (Siam General Aviation)

Provides connection and feeder air services to small beautiful towns with low traffic demand.

Orient Thai

AirlineFlying between Bangkok, Hong Kong and Korea.

Executive Wings

Air charter service, business air charter Thailand.

Air Phoenix

The private charter for domestic and neighboring countries in Asia.

Minor Aviation (Private Jet Charters

The private jet charter for Phuket, Chiang Mai, Samui, Songkhla, and other destinations in Asia.


State Railway Of Thailand :

In the eight National Economic and Social Development Plan ( 1997 - 2001 ), development strategies are set for enhancement of the development potential of regions and rural areas by redistributing incomes on a more equitable basis, decentralizing development activities to regional and rural areas supporting and expanding community learning network.

State Railway of Thailand 1 Rongmuang Road, Rongmuang, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Tel : 0-2222-0175, 0-2621-8701, 0-2220-4567 E-mail : info@railway.co.th

Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited :

The BTS is eager to help promote tourism in Bangkok and assist foreign visitors who use our system. Our modern electrified trains transport Bangkok's commuters in wide air-conditioned cars, saving them time with quick, reliable service. The BTS SkyTrain's high-capacity operating system ensures almost no breakdowns and a virtual 100% punctuality. Each train can carry over 1,000 passengers while a similar number of people would use 800 cars, making the BTS Skytrain the most environmentally friendly mass transit system in Thailand.

Currently there are two routes, the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line. They cover much of the central city and its many commercial, residential and tourist areas, with extensions planned to outlying areas. The trains run daily between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight with frequent service throughout the day, increased during rush hours. The fare is based on the distance traveled.

Bangkok Metro :

The First Metro in Thailand Being one of Bangkok’s heavy mass rapid transit, the M.R.T. Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line has become the first metro in Thailand because its initial system section of Hua Lamphong to Bang Sue is the first railway system in Thailand that kept on underground level.

The M.R.T. Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line starts from Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) along Rama 4 road, crosses Samyan intersection, Silom intersection and Wireless intersection, turns left to Ratchadaphisek Road at Rama 4 intersection, passing Queen Sirikit National Convention Center to Asoke-Sukhumvit intersection, Asoke-Phetchaburi intersection, Rama 9 intersection, Huai Khwang intersection, and Sutthisan intersection, then turns left to Lat Phrao road at Ratchada-Lat Phrao intersection, faces to Lat Phrao intersection, Phahon Yothin road, Chatuchak Park, Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal (Old), and turns right to Kamphaeng Phet road, passing The Marketing Organization for Farmers (MOF) market, and finally ends at Bang Sue Railway Station.

Operating Hour

• 06.00 am – midnight daily.

• Frequency

- Less than 5 minutes during the peak hours 06.00 - 09.00 am. and 04.30 – 07.30 pm.

- Less than 10 minutes during the off-peak hours.

• Maximum 18 serviced rolling stocks and 1 reserved.

Orient ExpressOrient :

Express operates the luxury tourist trains within and between countries. It offers many interesting routes such as Bangkok-Singapore, Bangkok-Cambodia and Bangkok-Malaysia.


Bangkok Mass Transit Authority Bus services in Bangkok.

Transport co.,ltd. Line starts from Bangkok.

- Eakamai to West

- Morchit 2 ) to North East

- Shaitaimai to South

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org , www2.airportthai.co.th

Travel Information (2)


Currency and Currency exchange :

The Thai unit of currency is the baht 1 baht is divided into 100 satang. Note are in denominations of 1,000 (brown), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), 20 (green) and 10 (brown) baht. Coins consist of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht.

Major currency bills and travellers cheques are cashed easily at hotels, tourist shops, all provincial banks, shopping centres and money changers. Travellers cheques are best changed in banks (you will need your passport). Rates of exchange at banks or authorized money changers are better than those at hotels and department stores.

Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. Visitors may take foreign currency out of Thailand, but no more than the amount stated in the customs declaration made on arrival. Travellers leaving Thailand may take out no more than 50,000 baht per person in Thai currency.

Currency Notes :

Paper baht comes in denominations of 10 (brown), 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1000 (beige). Currency CoinsThere are 100 satang in one baht; coins include 25-satang and 50-satang pieces and baht in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10. Thai baht is in denominations of: Credit Cards:Credit cards are widely accepted. For lost cards : American Express Tel : (662) 273 5100 or (662) 273 0022 Diners Club Tel : (662) 238 2920 or (662) 238 2680 Master Card Tel : (662) 256 7326-7 Visa Tel : (662) 256 7326-7

Tipping :

Tipping is not a usual practice in Thailand although it is becoming more common. Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but the gesture is appreciated and 10-20 baht is acceptable for porters.

Bargaining :

Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other places bargaining is to be expected. Generally, you can obtain a final figure of between 10-40% lower than the original asking price. Much depends on your skills and the shopkeeper's mood. But remember, Thais appreciate good manners and a sense of humor. With patience and a broad smile, you will not only get a better price, you will also enjoy shopping as an art.

V.A.T. Refunds : Visitors entering the Kingdom on a tourist visa are entitled to refund of the 7%

V.A.T. on goods purchased at registered retail outlets.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Travel Information


Medical Services :

All tourism destinations and provincial capitals have hospitals and clinics staffed by well-trained doctors and nurse. In the case of an emergency, an ambulance can be summoned from any private hospital.

Vaccinations :

As in most other countries, visitors do not require vaccinations unless coming from or passing through a designated contaminated area

Do's and Don't in Thailand

The Monarchy :

Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.

Religion :

Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attireIt is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.

Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.

Social Norms :

Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.

Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.

Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.

Special Advice :

- Beware of unauthorised people who offer their services as guides. For all tourist information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tel : 1672. For information about Bangkok, contact the Bangkok Metropolitan Tourist Bureau, Tel : 0 2225 7612-4.

- Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety, as well as the safety fof your belongings. Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended. Be sure that all your valuables-money, jewellery, and airline tickets are properly protected from loss. Visitors needing assistance relating to safety, unethical practices, or other matters, please call the Tourist Police at Tel: 1155.

- Drop your garbage into a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration id no strictly enforcing the law in an effort to keep the city clean and healthy. The fine will be imposed on a person who spits, discards cigarette stubs, or drops rubbish in public areas.

- Do not get yourself involved with drugs. Penalties for drug offences are very severe in Thailand.

- Do not support any manner of wild animal abuse. Never purchase any products or souvenirs made from wild animals including reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards, and also turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org