Monks seeking alms in Chang Mai

Monks seeking alms in Chang Mai

People from other parts of the world visiting Thailand tend to have certain questions about the country. They also tend to have certain preconceptions about the country: Thailand being, after all, still a country that is officially classified as a third world country. What many come to realize, though, is that while Thailand may officially be a “third world country”, it is also highly modernized in many ways. All said and done, there are many things in Thailand that work (more or less) the same way as in the west. There are also quite a few things that are unique in Thailand.

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How politically stable is Thailand a country that had a coup only recently?

In a country like Thailand – and perhaps surprising to many people, political stability has little bearing on the general way of life! Thailand is one of those countries where life goes on as usual, even in the midst of political turmoil. The recent coup, for instance, was a bloodless one, and Thai life went on (and is still going on) as usual, without missing a heartbeat.

Of course, it’s always good to check the latest official travel advice from your government:

UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office Thailand travel advice
U.S. State Department Thailand travel advice
Canadian Government’s Thailand advisory

How family-friendly is Thailand as a tourist destination?

People who pose this question tend to be coming from a direction where they have been conditioned to think of Thailand a mainly sex tourism destination. The truth, however, is that Thailand has much more to offer, and it is a very family-friendly destination. The statistics bear this out: with a huge percentage of the tourists who tour Thailand being family groups, and with only a small percentage being that of people who would fit the bill of sex tourists. In any event, Thailand is one of those countries that has managed to establish special zones in cities for sex tourism. This means that if you don’t want anything to do with that type of tourism, you simply have to keep off those zones. As a family-friendly tourism destination, Thailand has much to offer, from sightseeing to elephant riding and onto cultural events and everything in between.

Which places in Thailand would be ideal to visit?

This depends on what you want to partake, as you go through your Thai holiday. You can go to the north of the country, to the Thai’s famed jungles and mountains. You can go to Phuket or to Samui for beach tourism. You can go to Bangkok for a huge variety of attractions packed in together there is much variety and you will be spoilt for choice.

How is Thai cuisine?

Thai cuisine tends to be spicy (as would be expected in this part of the world). Still, there are some non-spicy dishes to be savored, if that is what you prefer. Either way, you will find the food delicious. Then of course, you will find the likes of McDonalds and KFC, well represented in Thailand, if you’d love to enjoy western cuisine in Thailand. One thing you will note, wherever you are in Thailand, is the huge number of restaurants.

How is shopping in Thailand?

There are many places where you can buy things in Thailand, and pretty much everything you could buy back home should be easy to buy in Thailand. What you will find remarkable is the fact that some products that are so expensive back home (like, say, Viagra) are so much cheaper in Thailand!

Are Thailand police as unfriendly as it is sometimes depicted?

Not quite. Of course, if you are on the wrong side of the law, you can expect to be handled in a somewhat rough way especially in a country that values safety and security like Thailand. But so long as you remain on the right side of the law, you will find the police extremely courteous, and even obliging. The measure of what is lawful (and what isn’t) is simple: anything that is viewed as a crime back home is probably a crime in Thailand too.

Is it possible to get around Thailand by renting a car or motorbike?

Yes, there are many car rental and bike rental agencies in Thailand: both the international chains and some that are local Thai chains. Something to say about motorcycles is that riding a motorcycle in Thailand can be a very risky affair, and it is best avoided if you are not familiar with the way things work on the roads in Thailand.

How is the spiritual life in Thailand?

Thailand is one of the most tolerant societies, as far as religion goes. Most of the people here are Buddhists, with quite a number of Muslims. In the areas that are frequented by tourists, there are lots of churches as well.

What common habit would be considered impolite in Thailand?

Raising your soles or showing people the soles of your feet is viewed as a normal thing to do in the west. In Thailand it is extremely impolite. Make a conscious effort to avoid it. Also, everyone stops what they are doing whenever the national anthem is played over loudspeakers. If you see everyone suddenly stop moving and talking you should copy as it is considered rude to ignore the anthem.

Do the Thais who refer to westerners as Farangs/Falangs mean to be impolite?

No, those are common names for westerners in Thailand, and the people who use them don’t really mean to insult.

What is the defining climatic feature of Thailand?

Warmth. Thailand is normally warm and sometimes, temperatures rise to what can be referred to as truly hot. It is also notably humid in most months of the year, with some months being wet.

How can emergency services be contacted in Thailand?

Emergency services in Thailand can be contacted by phone. Like, for instance, while in Bangkok, you can reach the tourist police by dialing 1155. Regular police are on 191. Faced with a medical emergency, the number to call would be 1554.

What are the visa requirements for Thailand?

The requirements will depend on which country you are coming from, and how long you want to stay. If, for instance, you are coming from the United States, the United Kingdom, UAE, Australia and several other countries, you can get a visa on entry. Generally, Thai tourism, visas are easy to obtain for people planning to visit the country.

How is the water in Thailand?

Well, the water from the taps can be used for things like brushing teeth, but for actual drinking, it is recommended that you use bottled water.

How is Internet access in Thailand?

There are lots of Internet cafes from which you can access the Internet. In shopping malls, hotels and other social places, you can find hotspots where you can access the Internet via WIFi

What timezone is Thailand in?

All of Thailand is in the one timezone, UTC + 8, all year round. There is no daylight savings time.


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