Thai people know that foreigners do not understand Thai culture but it doesn't hurt to try because some traditions when broken are offensive.
Temples and their objects are sacred. Often you will read that you should take off your shoes when entering a temple but you should also take off your sunglasses and hats. And ladies, if you want to show some real propriety, wear something white. Most importantly women must not touch a monk, do not offer your hand, or touch his robes. If you wish to give the monk something you must first hand it to a man who can then hand it to the monk or place it on the floor in front of the monk. Taking photos is allowed but not of anyone not fully clothed and this includes the grounds surrounding the temple. Always ask if it is ok to take photos - Khor thailuup khrap or ka. You should also wear suitable attire, shorts, vests, and mini-skirts are ok provided they cover your mid-rift though temple ruins will often have signs forbidding shorts and minis. Monks, Phra, are educated and respectable men, they like to talk to tourists so if one beckons to you, approach the last two paces on your knees. When you stop, bow your head and make the sign of Wai high up with your thumbs below your nose. This isn't crucial for non-Buddhists but it shows respect. If there is a money pot nearby put 50 or a 100Baht in it. You must not climb on any object and if visiting ruins you should ask if you need to remove your shoes or if it is ok to climb steps. Statues on these sites are also sacred and you must not climb on them. If this seems a lot to remember then please do not visit any temples during the morning.
Really importantly - If you buy any Buddhas to take home make sure they are not damaged. It is a criminal offence to smuggle broken Buddhas.
Couples (and that includes short time girlfriends) holding hands in public is ok but no more than that. Kissing, cuddling, walking down the street with arms round each other is taboo. Whilst putting your hand on a girls bum is deemed rude it would be considered amusing compared to touching someone on the top of the head so try not to be overfamiliar with Thais in public.
Thailand does not have nudist or topless beaches and it is not acceptable to go to the shops in a bikini. Be warned, if you overstep the mark you will be arrested and whilst Thais are considerate to tourists the Police are not.
Whilst men will see women use the cubicles in their toilets it is not alright for men to use the ladies. Strangely it is ok for men to urinate in public provided they show a little decorum but it is not ok for women.
Treat women with respect and that includes bargirls, Phuh Ying Baah, hold the door open and give up your seat on a songthaew. Women are the master of their household, they are not, as some tourists seem to think, second class citizens.
Do not lose your temper, ever, it will achieve precisely nothing. Most of all, be polite and show your gratitude.
Thais do not drive like lunatics, they drive differently to us so make sure you understand the rules.
Thailand has a zero tolerance to drug abuse.
Break the law and you will see the inside of Bangkwang.
Do not think you can con' the Police with false insurance claims, they will catch you out and lock you up.
Do not put your wallet in your back pocket or backpack or leave bags unattended.
Do not join in the Muay Thai or dance shows.
When you 'Check bin', Geb Tung, check their figures - this is polite practice.
Always check your change. Always give a gratuity.
Thailand is a safe country but check with your embassy about border disputes etc. before backpacking.
Girls - Do not go to a private party with Thai men.
Men - Do not pick a fight with Thai men.
Thai women ARE NOT prostitutes and you can tell the difference with ladyboys despite your mates claims.
Bar girls are to be found in the bars. Proposition girls on the streets at your peril.
If you pick up a freelancer on the beach you will get a) Robbed while asleep. b) Mugged by her boyfriends mates. c) Herpes.
Keep your valuables with you or locked in a safe.
Aa'naa Jak means sovereign territory. It is not an adjective nor means anything on its own. Jak is pronounced half way between Jack and Chak. When referring to their own country Thais often use the word Thailand but its proper name is ราชอาณาจักรไทย pronounced Ratcha Anachak Thai and meaning Royal Kingdom of Tai people. Thai people usually call their country ประเทศไทย pronounced Prathet Thai which means Thai country, or Thailand.
Although Anachak has some relevance to the name Thailand it doesn't really mean anything at all and the reason I chose the name is because I like the sound of it.
Thank you for reading - anachak
A list of companies and websites that should be avoided because they are not quite right.
| | bangkokscams.com | | SMK Immigration Services | | thai-uk-visa.co.uk | | thaivisa.com/forum | | teakdoor.com | | tripadvisor.co.uk | | uksettlementvisa.co.uk | | visano1.com | | Uk Visa and Immigration | |
www.bangkokscams.com - For not finding many scams so they have resorted to inventing them. Largely written by people who nothing at all about Thailand.
www.thaivisa.com/forum/ - For having amassed the largest community of idiots and boys who have no knowledge at all of Thailand. Joining this forum will guarantee you become as misinformed as they are. The same cannot be said of Thaivisa.com which gets its news items from other reliable sources. It would be a good website if they scrapped the forum.
www.tripadvisor.co.uk - Because it gets infiltrated with people who spend their spare time looking for what is wrong with Thailand. The site also provides misinformation such as the bridge over the river Kwai which marks an important era in the US invasion of Thailand. Contemptuous, uneducated garbage.
www.teakdoor.com - For being the most misinformed pro tourist anti-Thai, misleading, sneering website and forum around. They are self-centered, inconsiderate, scornful of less fortunate people with little or no knowledge about Thailand and is best avoided or they will brainwash you into their ill-educated dogma.
http://www.visano1.com - For publishing "It is virtually impossible now for applicants to obtain an entrance clearance visa to enter your country of residence, due to the new legislation that is in place". This is completely untrue and the new legislation should enhance the possibilities for Thai. Also for claiming to be 'British Embassy approved' which is a lie. The British Embassy does not have an approved list and does not manage the visa application. That is handled by VFS Global whose website says "These agents are in no way connected to the UK Border Agency". visano1 (which reads visa no one) also claim a '100% success', which is impossible.
www.uksettlementvisa.co.uk - For announcing in 2010 the application time is 21 days. Wrong! The waiting time has been reduced from 5 days to 3 days. All delays are caused by the applicants and their agents who are burgeoning the system with poor applications. There is also too many errors in their information pages. The company is Stoneham Properties of Mitcham in Surrey. They do not understand the visa process so avoid them!!!
www.visaworld.co.th - This company has no vested interest in getting your visa and I have heard countless stories of how badly their application was handled from taking 18 months to complete to dismissing the applicant with no refund because they could not complete despite their website claiming a 100% success rate. I am in the process of fixing one of their messes of an applicant who should have been advised their application did not meet UK Visa criteria. nstead they took £1,100 and submitted a non-starter. 18 months later the daughter is now almost 18 years old and ineligible as a child. The company is Visa World Consulting of Regent House, Rajdamri Road, Pathumwan and they should be avoided or it will cost you.
www.thai-uk-visa.co.uk - For charging £19.99 for the information available on the UK Visa .gov website. I am delighted that he obtained his wife Chanchira's visa but I'm afraid that doesn't make him an expert nor does he have any experience of assisting others with their application. To be fair he does post several testemonials and does not try to mediate. The information in his D.I.Y. Visa Pack however, is not his intellectual property right, so if you want your money back write to Richard Day at 5 Primula Road, Bordon, Surrey, GU35 0UB with this explanation. This is not the same as visa companies but what he charges you for, you can get from my visa page for free.
SMK Immigration Services - for joining the ever growing list of Thais who come to the UK on a wife visa and are suddenly experts in the world of visa applications. Their contract stipulates - Complaints Procedure, you can go to the IOM Commissioner. The IOM does not regulate visa agents which makes this contract illegal. Referrals, if we have a problem we may tell you to try someone else. We are regulated and need your permission to divulge your personal details to the IOM. This is completely untrue and your details are strictly private and protected by the DPA. They are SMK, 41 London Road, Coventry. Do not use a company that tells lies.
www.ukvisaandimmigration.co.uk - for being struck off by the OISC. They still have a website and offices which is not illegal as long as they do not provide immigration advice in exchange for payment. What they are doing is not illegal but they are bending the rules in continuing to practice and if they are prepared to do this just imagine what they will do with your visa application. They have a reputation for taking money with a promise of 100% success and then failing to deliver.
www.ukimmigrationbarristers.com - for being the same company as UK Visa and Immigration. Not only do they not have a license to practice as an immigration adviser but there doesn't seem to be a barrister amongst them.
Hotel: Market Motel - 105/30 Radhuthit Road - +66 372 32302 - Kornwipa Land - www.aranyaprathethotel.com
Hotel: Wangprapa Resort - 70/5 Wang Pla Tong Road - +66 818 641459 - Manoon Lohapong
Restaurant: Nopparat Restaurant - 334 Muen Harn Rd, SuphanBuri - +66 355 11708
Boat trips: Chao Praya Express. - 78/24 Maharaj Rd, Phranakorn - +66 262 36143 - www.chaophrayaboat.co.th
Car hire, hotel, tours: Maneeda Tour and Transport - 1890 Lat Krabang Road, Suvarnabhumi - +66 232 745412 - Maneeda Dangjadee - firstname.lastname@example.org
Car hire, hotel, tours: Mr. Khumpun Sungtho - Suvarnabhumi Airport - +66 835 959756 - Mister Long - www.thailandhotelandtravel.com
Hotel (budget): Bang Lumpoo Inn - 162 Khaosan Rd - +66 228 23748 - www.sawasdeebanglumpooinn.com
Hotel (Suvarnabuhmi): Thong Ta Resort And Spa - 1894 Latkrabang Rd - +66 847 129371 - http://www.thongtaresortbangkok.com/
Hotel (Bangkok city): Siam Beverly (Cha-Da) - 188 Ratchadaphisek Rd, Huay Kwang - +66 227 54397 - www.bangkokchada.com
Hotel (five star): Shangri La - 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, Bangrak - +66 223 67777 - www.shangri-la.com/en/property/bangkok/shangrila
Hotel (Phuket): Loveli Guest House - Soi Banzhan Nanai Road, Patong Beach - +66 76 345 326 - loveliguesthousephuket.com
Car hire (Phuket): Phuket Car Rent - Phuket Airport - +66 076 327484 - Sitthichai Saengvichitr - phuketindex.com/airportcarrent/
Car hire (Koh Samui): Aey's Jeep & Motorbike - 135 Moo 3, Tambon Maret - +66 818 914953 - Aey
Portrait Artist: Saifon Gallery - Art Street Road - +66 890 962426 - Tom - email@example.com or yahoo.com
Official Translation: World Linker, 63 Banlao Rd, Markkhaeng - +66 42 325752 - Suebwong Wuthisen - firstname.lastname@example.org
Car hire: Mali Thai Car Rent - Udon Thani Airport - +66 894 195108 - Pavares Kirintrabhanu - email@example.com
Restaurant: American - Harry's Bar & Restaurant on Banliam bypass (western ring-road opposite the boat beer garden).
Restaurant: Chinese - Chiants next to the Ayutthaya Bank in Prajak Road, a Dim Sum restaurant.
Restaurant: English - Kinnaree in Soi Don Udom (close to the airport) provides English and Thai food.
Restaurant: Fish - Nongsai Fishing Park in Ban Nongsai or Ban Hoolee Restaurant.
Restaurant: French - The Factory in Adunyadet Road. Can't say any more, I don't like french food, but others say it is good.
Restaurant: Fusion - Good Everything in Phoniyom Road next to Nong Prajak Park. Mind blowingly good food.
Restaurant: Irish - Irish Clock in Sampantamitr Road behind Lum Udom night market.
Restaurant: Thai & English - Greenleaf Restaurant opposite the train station in Prajak Sillapakom gets rave reviews.
Restaurant: Thai (evening restaurant) - Kalasin Goong Pao, Ban Khao (Route 2021) just outside Udon.
Restaurant: There is a Moo Yang in Kut Chap which is pretty good but again you will need help to find it.
• Everything in Thailand is used for something other than what it was designed for.
• Toilet roll is usually found on the dining table in restaurants.
• Toilet roll is NOT found in the toilets.
• Bread tastes of sugar and a sandwich is a sweet.
• Tea is taken without sugar and breakfast is soup sprinkled with salt.
• Cars do not have to stop at a Zebra Crossing.
• You may be given a fixed penalty if you get run over.
• Exchange Rate
• There must be at least six months on your passport and one empty page.
• Visas are required but from the UK a 30 day visa free permit is issued during the flight.
• On arrival you must have your photograph taken and show customs you have a return ticket or a visa.
• You are not allowed to take in to Thailand, endangered species (dead or alive or specimens or part of), counterfeit goods, pornographic material or recreational drugs including Viagra.
• Restricted items are food, cigarettes (200), alcohol, radio equipment, broken buddha's, antiquities and weapons.
• Failing to declare penalties are fixed at 4 times the goods value and confiscation or up to 10 years imprisonment.
• Drug smuggling carries minimum mandatory terms from 3 years for posession up to the death penalty.
Not as daft as it might sound.
• A folding holdall is a must if you will be shopping. You want one small enough to fit into your suitcase and not so big
that it doesn't pass as hand luggage when you have filled it.
• Mosquito killer, I find the electronic ones best and just leave it on in your hotel room all the time.
• Electrical adapters, Thailand is the US style sockets.
• Duracells, because the ones in Thailand are crap.
• Toothpaste, because Thai toothpaste (yahsefang) has salt (kem) in it.
• Sunscreen, because you need it as soon as you arrive.
• A hat
• An old mobile phone that is unlocked so you can put a Thai sim in it. Thai mobile networks are cheap but the phones are expensive.
• A printout of some useful phrases. Thaiphrases.htm.
• Innoculations. Unless you are planning a months survival in the jungle in which case you need Malaria, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Hepatitis A (Typhoid). If you had them in the last ten years you only require a booster.
• Rabies should be taken seriously and if you are bitten, even by a healthy animal, you must seek immediate medical advice.
• Extra clothing just in case. Nor a raincoat, jumper, suit and tie...
If you look for a flight at least 10 weeks before your departure you will get a much better rate. Dial a Flight have seats for £375 for summer and Cheap Ticket are offering Oman Air for £420 for Spring and October but be aware these sites offer a low price then tell you it's a hundred pounds more when you try to book.
Far and away the worst is sri-lankan. Worst experience of my life and on complaining was told 'No action will be taken'.
Trans Aero quote you one price and then add tax and airport tax after you book without telling you.
Aeroflot are a clueless Russian airline docrinated from communism.
Air China who wouldn't give me a cup of coffee, had no in flight entertainment, and I had to see a doctor
on arrival for food poisoning.
Gulf Air who are ok but don't measure up to all the other middle-east airlines.
Alitalia because they will go bust again and they have yet to re-imburse those who lost their money in 2009.
Air France for being French. Actually they're a terrible service as well.
Etihad for doing everything right and whose economy class is better than BA's club class.
Qatar who are nothing special but probably because you can't find anything wrong with them.
Emirates whose fleet could do with updating but the service is good.
Eva Air for giving me everything I asked for and whose entertainment included 7 new release movies.
Oman Air for being better than everyone else.
Government buses are regular and reliable but slow and uncomfortable. Aircon buses are very good and cheap.
Ayutthaya, Chao Phrom Market, Thanon Naresuan
Bangkok north, Mo Chit
Bangkok south, Ekkamai
Pattaya north, North Road
Pattaya south, terminates on South Pattaya Road in Jomtien