Thailand Travel Tips

Thailand offers something for everyone, from beach breaks to adventurous treks and interactions with wildlife, to shopping and dining in buzzing Bangkok. Tourism is well developed in Thailand, but there may be some aspects of travel that are different to what you are used to.
Facilities and accommodation outside the major tourists centers may be more basic, and English less widely spoken. Regardless, Thai people are famed for their warm hospitality, and your interactions with people may be one of the highlights of your trip.
It is important to remain patient and courteous in all your interactions in Thailand, as there is a cultural importance placed on remaining calm and ‘keeping face’.

Health & Fitness
You need to take precautions when visiting Thailand, just as you would in other parts of Asia. Some of the diseases known to exist in Thailand include hepatitis A and B, malaria, dengue fever, diphtheria, polio, tetanus, typhoid, tuberculosis, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and HIV/AIDS. We strongly recommend you seek up-to-date health advice from your doctor, and arrange any necessary vaccinations, at least a month before leaving Australia.
In Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket medical facilities are of an international standard, however in more remote parts of Thailand, facilities can be basic.

Visa Information
+ Arriving by air: Most of passengers do not need a visa to visit Thailand for stays of up to 30 days. However, please have your return travel details ready at immigration in case you are asked to prove that you plan to leave Thailand within 30 days. Check with the Thai embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
+ Overland: If you enter Thailand at a land border your tourist visa will only be valid for up to 15 days. If you wish to stay longer, you should apply for a tourist visa in Australia before you leave; otherwise you will need to leave and re-enter Thailand within15 days.
Note: Thai visa regulations do change from time to time. We strongly advise that you check with your closest Thai consulate or embassy in Australia before you travel. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the appropriate visa for your travels.

Safety & Security
Though Thailand is a relatively safe destination, having your wits about you and using common sense will improve your chances of having a trouble-free holiday. In busy tourist centers, petty theft can sometimes be a problem. It’s a good idea to keep your money secure and close to your body, and keep jewellery to a minimum, when you are out on the street.
In most major centers, taxis are plentiful, metered and inexpensive and a good way to get around, especially at night. Always take a hotel address card with you so you can show the drive where to take you. Often covered in the Australian media, Thailand has extremely strict laws relating to drug use. Use your judgement but as a guideline, it can be a good idea to be vigilant with regards to strangers offering drinks and sweets.
Keep a photocopy of your passport, airline tickets and credit card numbers in a safe place separate from the originals. Most hotels have in-room safes for storing your valuables.
Read our safety guidelines for further information.

Getting Around
Arrival and Departure Transfers
Arrival transfer: If you have booked an arrival transfer for your Thai holiday, you will find your driver waiting for you in a Travel Indochina t-shirt and carrying a signboard with your name on it.
Road: For six travelers or more, air-conditioned Hyundai with 25-40 seats are used. If you are traveling in a smaller group, travel will be by air-conditioned minibus or modern sedan car. Metered taxis are cheap and plentiful in all major tourist centers. Tuk tuks are prevalent and generally a safe and fun way of traveling short distances. Always agree to a price before you travel!
+ Air: You will most likely find yourself traveling on a modern Airbus 320, 321, Boeing 737, 777 or ATR-72 plane if your itinerary includes any domestic flights within Thailand. Schedules have been known to change and your plans will need to be adjusted accordingly.
+ Boat: Your itinerary may include a boat journey along the Chao Praya River, or if you are travelling to Laos, from the Thai/Lao border. There are also long tail ‘speedboats’ that ply the canals around Bangkok – a fun, local way to travel the city.
+ Train: Bangkok’s Sky-train is a clean, efficient way to get around the city. Thailand’s railway network is extensive and overnight journeys make be taken in comfortable, air-conditioned sleeper compartments.
Other: Bicycles, elephants, canoes, and your feet!

+ Internet: Internet is widely available and generally affordable. In larger towns and cities, many cafes, restaurants and hotels may offer Wifi.
+ Phone: Mobile coverage is good in most areas. The cheapest way of calling overseas (or locally) is via a VOIP service such as Skype or Viber. International phone and fax charges are best made from a post office or by using a prepaid card at a Lenso payphone. Reverse charge phone calls can be made for a minimal fee.
+ Mail: Expect your mail to take 7-10 days to reach its destination. Postage rates are slightly cheaper than in Australia.

Food & Drink
The cuisine is likely to be a highlight of your holiday in Thailand, especially if you love spicy and intensely flavoured food! Rice and noodles are a staple and there are distinct variations throughout the country. As well as the established favorites like red curry, Thailand has a plethora of dishes that range from region to region.
In the south, fresh seafood is a feature, whether it be a prawn curry or a whole fried fish. In the north, you are more likely to find sticky rice and other regional specialties such as khao soy, a must-try noodle dish. In the Isaan region in the east of Thailand, the cuisine bears some similarities to that of neighboring Laos.Vegetarian curries, salads and noodle dishes are widely available, but in many cases include fish sauce.
It is best not to drink the tap water. Many hotels provide complimentary bottled water, and it is also cheap and easily purchased in most places.

You should never feel obligated to tip; it is a personal matter. However tipping can be an appropriate way to show your appreciation for great service.
If you are joining one of our small group tours in Thailand, your local guide or will ask for a small sum at the beginning of your stay to cover tips for hotel porters during your trip.
This helps to prevent over-tipping and also saves you from having to keep small change on hand. You may also choose to tip our guides and drivers as a way of showing your appreciation for their services; however, it is not compulsory to do so.