4 Tips Before Traveling to Thailand
Thailand is a very popular destination in Asia for tourists. The country is known for its magnificent beaches and crazy nightlife. Thailand trip is a great idea for a vacation with family, friends or your soulmate. Thailand tourism is booming day by day as it encompasses myriad possibilities of exploring various facets of Travel. Be it shopping or island tours, crazy nightlife or exquisite fine dining, gorgeous temples or a dip in Thai culture. Whatever your interests are, Thailand will not leave you unsatisfied.
So, start planning for Thailand soon. But, make sure you read these 4 tips before starting your adventure. I have compiled these from my own experiences.
1) Carrying Cash
While entering Thailand, the Thai immigration authority prefers that you carry at-least 10,000 Baht worth currency with you. You can carry Baht or any other Forex equivalent to 10,000 Baht. However, if you do not carry that much cash, there is no need to tell the Thai immigration officials. In case they ask whether you are carrying that much cash or not, you can humbly say yes.
You can easily withdraw Thai Baht from any ATM in Thailand using your debit cards. If you are carrying VISA card, you will charged 150 Baht for every transaction, irrespective of your transaction amount. If you have Master Card, you will be charged 180 Baht for the same. Hence, plan accordingly.
If you are carrying dollars or any other currency, do not exchange it all at the Airport. You will get a poor conversion rate. You can convert your currency in Baht at any other exchange counters in the city. There are these conversion counters at every nook and corner of any city in Thailand. Also, it is advisable to compare some of the exchange rates as they also vary.
Carry most of your dollars in 50$ or 100$ denominations as they give you the best exchange rate. Lesser the denomination, poor is the exchange rate.
2) Reaching Thailand
For a great Thailand trip, booking flight tickets is obviously the first thing that needs to be done. If your Thailand trip is not more than 2 weeks, you can easily get Thailand Visa on Arrival when you reach Thailand. While booking tickets, you can check Srilankan Airlines, Malaysian Airlines & Bangkok Airways for cheaper options along with Indian carriers.
If you book through Indian carrier, book directly through their website and not any online travel agent. I suggest this because my friend had booked a Spicejet ticket through Goibibo.com for his Thailand trip. Unfortunately, his return flight was preponed and he did not get any intimation. This was because mobile number was communicated falsely to Spicejet by Goibibo.com. As a result, he missed his return flight and had to spend the night at Bangkok airport. However, another morning flight was arranged by Spicejet, but he had to face a lot of inconvenience while waiting for his re-arranged flight. Such incidents can spoil your Thailand trip.
If you want to cover other destinations during your Thailand trip apart from Bangkok, you can also book domestic flights in advance. We wanted to go to Phuket, so we had booked Air Asia flight which was not very expensive. Preferring Flight over train or bus will be quiet convenient and will save substantial time. However, Pattaya is not that far from Bangkok. So, you can choose road transport.
One important point I would like to put across. If you are booking a domestic flight in Air Asia, please pre-book your baggage which is 15 KGs minimum for all passengers. If you pre-book, you will have to pay 300Baht. However, if you don’t pre-book it and you check in directly, you will be charged 900Baht for 15 KGs. You also have options to pre-book baggage up-to 40 KGs. The pre-book charges vary according to the baggage KGs. We ended up paying 1200 Baht extra for baggage as we had not pre-booked it.
3) Acquiring Thailand Visa on Arrival
India has an agreement with Thailand which allows Indian tourists to complete Thailand trip by acquiring the VOA. However, your Thailand trip needs to be shorter than 15 days if you want Thailand Visa on Arrival.
The process of acquiring Thailand Visa on Arrival is as mentioned below.
1) Make sure you have the necessary documents before boarding your Thailand en-route flight. The necessary documents are Passport, Flight Ticket Printouts & 1 Photo for Visa. Your passport should have at least 6 months validity before entering Thailand. If you do not carry printed return ticket, you might be denied admission in Thailand. If you don’t carry 1 photo for Visa, you will have to get it clicked at the airport with a fee to pay. The Visa photo dimension should be 4.5 x 3.5
2) You will be provided an immigration form in the flight which you are supposed to fill
3) Keep your Boarding Pass stub with you which contains the flight number
4) At Bangkok Airport, there are clear directions which will help you reach the Thailand Visa On Arrival (VOA) counter. Similar would be the directions at any other airport.
5) Reach the Visa on Arrival counter and fill the Thailand visa application form. They are available for free.
6) Affix your photo and fill in the details as required. It is important that you know the address of the hotel you would be staying in. You will need that while filling out the Thailand visa application form.
7) Stand in the queue and await your turn so that the Thailand Visa on Arrival can be acquired. There are two queues for the process. The fees for the regular line is 1000 Baht and if you choose the express line, you will have to pay 1200 Baht.
8) Once you have acquired Thailand Visa on Arrival, you can claim your baggage from the counters right behind the Thai Visa on Arrival Counter.
4) Reaching Bangkok City and roaming around
Now, when you visit a new country, you might prefer taking a taxi to reach desired destination. But, Bangkok offers you a very comprehensive service to roam around the city. The interlinked metro services will help you to reach your hotel and also any other destination in Bangkok city conveniently. The express trains from the Airport will take you to the middle of the Bangkok city. From there you can change trains and reach your desired location.
There are information counters and directions which will help you in understanding the Bangkok train maps. Give your 10 minutes to comprehend the labyrinth of trains and you will be equipped to travel across the length and breadth of Bangkok city, like you have been living here.
Now, there are two airports in Bangkok. Swarnabhoomi (BKK) and Don Muang (DMK). While booking tickets, make sure which Bangkok airport you are considering. Also, if you have a connecting flight from another airport, please keep considerable time in between. There is a free shuttle service which you can utilize to reach one airport to another. This shuttle service will take 1 hour to reach your destined airport.
As other modes of road transports in Bangkok, you have Tuk Tuks and cabs available. The fares of both are almost same. However, you can prefer tuk tuk over cabs if you want a local experience. Otherwise, the tuk tuks are far less comfortable than Cabs. Another option is the taxi bikes which you can identify by their orange jackets.
That’s all for this post, hope you find it helpful. If you are planning a trip to Thailand, you can post questions here if any. If you are not planning, well, start planning!