Useful facts for your holiday to Thailand
Flight and Transfers
Direct flights from London to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport take approximately 12 hours and available with Thai Airways, Eva Air and Qantas. There are two other direct entry points for Thailand, Phuket and Krabi, whilst travelling to any other destination will require an internal flight to the nearest domestic airport or a train/bus/boat journey.
Starting from December 2017, Qatar Airways will be offering a four-times weekly flight to the city of Chiang Mai, flying from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff. Compatible with other Qatar flights to and from Thailand, this is a wonderful opportunity to indulge in a multi-centre holiday.
Stop-over flights will be longer and are available with Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad Airways (via Abu Dhabi), and Oman Air (via Muscat). These indirect flights are a great way of breaking up your journey and experiencing a different country re-route to Thailand (stop-overs are free).
Your transfers will depend entirely on where you’ll be staying, most involve an internal flight plus a coach journey.
British Citizens travelling to Thailand require a full British passport which must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry into Thailand. All children and infants must also have their own passports for entry into Thailand. A visa is not required - British passport holders may enter Thailand for up to 30 days, without obtaining a visa in advance of arrival. Immigration officials in Thailand may ask you for proof of onward travel (e.g. a return or onward air ticket). Some airlines have refused to board passengers without evidence of onward travel. Please check up to date visa requirements with the Foreign Office.
By law, you must carry your passport with you at all times in Thailand. Make sure you complete the next of kin details section in the back of your passport.
The official language is Thai, although you can hear many languages spoken including Malay, Mon-Khmer, many dialects of Chinese and, of course, English. Those in the tourism industry will have a good grasp of English; in hotels and restaurants you’ll have no problem if you never learn a word of Thai. Outside of the tourist spots younger people will generally be more likely to be able to converse, and most have an understanding of English, but surprisingly few Thais are actually fluent in English.
Your requirements for transportation here will determine the ways that you get around Thailand. If you’re in the country to do a lot of exploring or to go to different areas, it’s worth remembering that Thailand is a huge country and getting from one place to another can be very time consuming. Please look at the individual articles on the different areas of Thailand for the best ways to get around these areas.
Self-Drive: Driving yourself around Thailand is a reasonable idea in principal. Traffic drives on the left, the same as at home, and there are many rental car companies available including all the major brands, and often the prices are relatively reasonable (less than £125 for a week for a car plus insurance). The roads (for a Southeast Asian country) are generally in fairly good condition and road signs are helpfully in both Thai and English, making navigation relatively straightforward.
There are, however, some downsides principally based on the erratic driving styles you’ll find from many Thais. Speeding and reckless driving are worryingly common and drunk driving, drug driving and some bizarre practices such as driving without headlights at night are also prevalent. If you’re going to drive yourself, take things slow and practice the art of defensive driving at all times.
Bus: Travelling by bus is generally a very good option. Using the government’s bus company BKS – often referred to simply as the Transport Company – is usually cheaper, more comfortable and even faster than travelling by train. A bus from Bangkok to Chaing Mai takes approximately 10 hours in generally fairly good conditions.
Do not be swayed by the cheaper prices of the many independent bus companies offering ‘VIP’ services – these are generally cramped minibuses that will drop you off in a highly inconvenient location forcing you to take an expensive taxi into the town centre, meaning your overall journey will have cost more than you would have paid from originally taking a government bus.
Train: As previously stated, trains are slower than buses, but you do have the benefit of not having to worry about the dangers of the road. Trains are generally divided into three classes, with third class being the cheapest and offering zero comforts. Second class trains are sometimes air-conditioned (but not always) and usually comfortable. First class trains are the most comfortable, with sleeping compartments and individually controlled air conditioning. However, first class tickets often cost about as much as budget air fares.
Plane: Flying around Thailand is surprisingly cheap, although the logistics of arranging it can be quite difficult. However, at Tropical Sky, this is something that we specialise in. We can help build you a bespoke itinerary with all of yours flights included, completely removing the hassle from your journey.
The Thai Baht is the official currency. Credit cards are widely accepted, especially in any of the tourist areas.
220V, two or three (grounded) flat or round prongs
Vaccination and Health
As health requirements change please consult with your GP or specialist travel clinic well in advance of your holiday for specific information related to your travel and medical history. Additional information can be found by visiting MASTA Travel health.
Malaria, dengue fever and other tropical diseases are a small risk factor when visiting Thailand. There is only one way to ensure you’ll avoid them – prevent mosquito bites. Cover yourself in mosquito repellent and re-apply after swimming.
For further information visit the Thailand Tourism Board.
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