Bangkok is the capital of Thailand.  It is divided by the Chao Phraya River and is nestled in one of the world's most fertile rice-producing deltas. Bangkok's 579 square miles (1,500 sq km) are surrounded by a series of canals carrying passengers and cargo, its roads clotted with endless traffic jams, while the city sprawls in all directions with a hodgepodge of urban, commercial and industrial buildings. A new overland metropolitan railway speeds above the city, providing visitors with a relaxed and efficient way to observe the hustle and bustle below.

 

Chieng Mai is Thailand's second-largest city and a center for excursions to the region's ancient and beautiful temples, the teak forests and their working elephants, caves and waterfalls, and journeys to visit the northern hill tribes. The main attractions are the Doi Suthep temple and elephant trekking. Doi Suthep is one of the most famous temples in northern Thailand. Perched high on a hilltop, it offers fine views over the city on clear days. The trip up can either be made via a funicular or a grand staircase with 400 steps. The banisters alone are worth a visit: a giant green-and-red glazed serpent winds its way down to end in a magnificent dragon's head. Elephant trekking in the surrounding countryside has become a big tourist buck earner in the last decade, but visitors should beware that some 'authentic' trips turn out to be just the opposite.

 

Climate & Weather

High temperatures and humidity levels are experienced throughout the year. The country is hottest between March and May, and monsoon season runs from June to October. In September and October much of the country suffers from flooding, particularly in the north, north eastern and central regions. The cool season, most favored by visitors, runs from November to February.  Please visit http://www.wunderground.com for more details on weather.
Customs and Formalities

Travelers to Thailand do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 250g tobacco or equivalent amount of cigars; alcohol up to 1 liter; 1 camera with 5 rolls of film or 1 movie camera with 3 rolls of 8 or 16 mm film. Goods to the value of Bt10,000 per person for non-residents with transit visas and Bt20,000 per person for holders of tourist visas.  Prohibited items include firearms and ammunition without licenses, fireworks, and drugs.

What to bring

Lightweights and rainwear as advised with warmer layers from October to March and for highland areas.
 

Currency, Exchange and ATM

Baht (THB; symbol ฿) = 100 satang. Notes are in denominations of ฿1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of ฿10, 5 and 1, and 50 and 25 satang.  Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks (which have the best rates) and hotels (which charge high commissions).   American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. ATMs are found in all major cities and almost all provincial banks.

Heath Requirements

Travelers should take medical advice at least three weeks before traveling to Thailand. Malaria is a risk outside Bangkok and the major tourist resorts, and most physicians will also advise immunization against hepatitis A and typhoid fever.  You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Thailand you should seek immediate medical attention.  Medical facilities are good in major cities, but good medical insurance is vital: without insurance, or cash/credit card, travelers will not be treated. Bangkok has excellent international hospitals.

Airport Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of the air ticket.

Internet

There are plenty of Internet cafes, some even found in remote areas visited by tourists.

Language

Thai is the official language, although English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Local Time and Working Hour

Local Time:  GMT + 7

Banking Hours: Monday – Friday  8:30am – 3:30pm.

Shopping Hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00am – 9:00pm.

Passport and Visa

All nationalities require passports valid for at least six months. Travelers entering Thailand are required to prove they have sufficient funds to cover the length of their stay, and are recommended to hold documentation for return/onward travel.  Visas are not required for travel by Australian passport holders for periods of 30 days or less. Those arriving at overland crossings will only be given visa free entry valid for 15 days.


Food

Thai food is traditionally fairly hot and spicy, but most tourist restaurants tend to tone down the heat for tourists. Most Thai food is prepared with fresh ingredients such as lemon grass and coriander and rice is commonly eaten with most meals.  The national specialties are tom-yam, a light coconut soup prepared with prawns, meat and lemon grass, and pad thai a stir-fried rice noodle served with prawns.  Locally made beer and whiskey are popular.

Post and Telecommunications

Country code: 66.

Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. There is good coverage, especially around main towns.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz.  Both flat and round two-pin plugs are used.

Shopping

Thailand is one of the best places in Asia for bargain hunting and visitors will be spoilt for choice with the huge, glitzy shopping malls, department stores, small shops and bustling street markets. Both Bangkok and Chiang Mai have excellent night markets. 

Bargaining & Tipping

Tipping is not expected, but is becoming more common in places frequented by tourists. A 10% service charge is added to the bill at most hotels and restaurants. Taxi drivers are not tipped.


All of the above information is accurate at the time of publication.

Thailand Classic Tour
 

(Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Lopburi, Phayao, Pitsanuloke, Sukhothai)
Private tour, daily departure
English speaking guide
Meals B&B
Trip code: VI-2203
 

 

 


Day 1: Bangkok—Ayuthaya—Lopburi—Pitsanuloke (no meals)
06:00 Pick up all passengers from major Bangkok hotels.
07:00 Depart from Bangkok to Ayuthaya, former capital of Thailand. The principal sights are the gigantic bronze statues of Wat Mongkol Borpitr, the three ancient pagodas at Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch and Wat Pranangcherng. Continue via Saraburi to Phra Buddha Badh with its shrine of the holy footprint of Lord Buddha. Visit the Prang Sam Yod (Sacred Three-Spired Pagoda), the ruins of Wat Phra Sri Ratana Maha Dhat and the Monkey Temple. Proceed by bus to Pitsanuloke and check in at hotel.
Overnight: Topland Hotel

Day 2: Pitsanuloke—Sukhothai—Sri Satchanalai—Lampang (B)
Breakfast
08:00 Visit Wat Maha Dhat with its revered Buddha statue, Phra Buddha Jinaraj. Depart for Sukhothai, Visit the famous ruins of this first capital of Thailand (1257-1379). See Wat Maha Dhat, Wat Sra Sri and Wat Sri Chum. Continue to Sri Satchanalai, the northern outpost town of the Kingdom of Sukhothai, built by King Ramkamhaeng. Visit Wat Chang Lom, Wat Jedi Jet Thaew, Wat Nang Phya and Wat Phra Sri Ratana Maha Dhat standing on site of the Khmer fort "Chalieng." Proceed to Lampang and check in at hotel.
Overnight: Wiang Lakor Hotel

Day 3: Lampang—Phayao—Chiang Rai (B)
Breakfast
08:00 Drive to Ko Kah to see Wat Phra Dhat Lampang Luang housing the only Emerald Buddha, besides the one at Wat Phra Keo in Bangkok. Depart for Phayao, a unique rural town and former princely state the former glory of which may be seen at Wat Sri Kom Kam. Continue to Chiang Saen, former capital of the first Thai kingdom, situated directly on the Mekong River at the border between Thailand and Laos. Visit Wat Phra Dhat Jom Kitti by climbing 383 steps to top of hill, Wat Chedi Luang and the small museum nearby. Take a boat trip upriver on the Mekong to the Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. Continue to Mae Sai, the northernmost Thai town and on the border with Myanmar. Stroll through and shop at local market. Return to Chiang Rai and check in at hotel.
Overnight: Wiang Inn Hotel

Day 4: Chiang Rai—Chiang Mai (B/D)
Breakfast
08:00 Depart for Ban Lorcha, a Phami Akha hilltribe community center. This community-based tourism development project promotes sustainable, self-reliant development to improve the quality of life of villagers of this Akha Community, and is a model for tourism in Hilltribe villages. Proceed to Chiang Mai. Afternoon visit to Handicraft Villages to observe manufacture of lacquerware, the spinning and weaving of Thai Silk and to watch how paper umbrellas are made. Check in at hotel.
19:15-22:15 Kantoke Dinner. Enjoy a typical Thai dinner with ancient dances from northern Thailand, followed by a performance of dances and songs by various hilltribes.
Accommodations.
Optional: Opportunity to visit the city's night market in search of bargains.
Overnight: Green Lake Resort

Day 5: Chiang Mai—Bangkok by Train (B/D)
Breakfast
08:00 Visit Wat Doi Suthep, tucked away in the mountains at an elevation of 1,056 meters. The temple is reached using a NAGA railing rising along both sides. The monastery was built by King Gue-Na in 1383. The center is a big chedi (spiral pagoda), containing partial relics of Lord Buddha. Continue to visit the elephant camp to watch the elephants taking timber in the forest. Their strength and strategic teamwork will amaze you. Also visit the orchid farm. Return to Chiang Mai. Afternoon visit to a famous Thai wood carving factory with possibility of buying Burmese antiques. Transfer to Chiang Mai Railway Station.
16:40 Depart by second class airconditioned train with sleeping berth. Box dinner and overnight stay on train.
Overnight: Train

Day 6: Bangkok (no meals)
06:00 Arrive Bangkok Railway Station. (No breakfast)
Transfer to your Bangkok hotel.

A:Available - This tour is available for booking.
R:On Request - This tour is on request only
All prices are per person.
If you are interested, please contact your local agent to make the booking or alternatively email us at reservations@toursite.com.au