Thailand: detailed travel guide

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Thailand: detailed travel guide

Thailand is a Southeast Asian country located in the southwestern part of the Indochina Peninsula and in the northern part of the Malacca Peninsula. It borders Cambodia and Laos in the east, Myanmar in the west, and Malaysia in the south. Until 1939 it was called Siam; in Thai it means freedom.

“Thailand” is an English version of the name of the country, introduced into everyday life in the 30s. XX century, – means “the country of Thais”, the Thai version sounds like “Muang Thai” or “Prathet Thai”. The name “thai” is interpreted by the Thais as “free”, hence Thailand – “the land of the Thais” or “the country of the free” The name justifies itself: Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that at one time retained its independence.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

The Kingdom of Thailand is a state located in Southeast Asia, on the Indochina and Malacca peninsulas, washed by the Andaman Sea in the west, and the Gulf of Thailand in the South China Sea in the east. The territory of Thailand is stretched from north to south (the distance from the northernmost point to the southernmost point is 1860 km). Due to its central position in Southeast Asia and its length from north to south, Thailand has the most diverse climate in Southeast Asia, so the harvest of the main crops is harvested several times a year, and the tourist season “flows” from one climatic zone to another, making Thailand is one of the few year-round tourist destinations in the world. Forests occupy 10% of the country’s territory: in the north, tropical deciduous, in the more humid southern regions – evergreen tropical.

Geographically, climatically, in terms of natural resources, diversity of landforms and even ethnic composition of the population, Thailand is divided into five main regions: Central, Eastern, Northern, Northeastern and Southern Thailand.

How to get to Thailand

The easiest way (if we are not talking about charter flights) to Thailand is to get through the capital of the state – Bangkok.

There are two large airports in Bangkok – the old Don Muang was once the busiest international airport, but after the opening of the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport it lost its functions. The new airport was opened in 2006 and is currently the largest airport in Thailand and one of the largest on the planet. It is located 25 kilometers east of Bangkok and receives charter and scheduled flights. International flights arrive at terminals BKK-1 and 2.

Of the necessary documents for passing through passport and customs control, the following are required: a foreign passport (valid for at least 6 months), an air ticket, a voucher, an insurance policy. When importing more than $ 10,000 per person – a certificate from the bank.

All arriving tourists are met by representatives of the host country at the exit from the airport building. Transfer from the airport to the city center: by taxi – 180 baht, by the Airport Bus – 100 baht, by Thai Airways limousine – 600 baht, by train – 5 baht (travel time – about 45 minutes). Those continuing to travel on domestic flights should check in with the representatives at Bangkok Airport. A representative will help the tourist to check-in at the airport and arrange a meeting at other local airports. Check-in starts 2 hours before departure.

Climate and weather in Thailand

Phuket SunsetThe climate of Thailand is humid tropical and subtropical. This is due to the location of most of the country in the tropical and subtropical zones and the influence of the southwest and northeast monsoons. The distance between the northernmost and southernmost points of Thailand is 1,860 km, and the latitude difference is about 15. This length from north to south makes Thailand’s climate one of the most diverse in Southeast Asia. The southwest monsoon brings rains and relative coolness in late May – mid July. By November, the rains cease and a “cool dry” season begins until mid-February. At this time, the influence of the northeastern monsoon, which does not affect North, Northeastern and Central Thailand directly, but brings coolness, also affects. After the weakening of the monsoons, in February – May, an intense heat sets in, and the humidity of the air gradually increases until the beginning of the new monsoon season, and then the cycle repeats again.

The length of the rainy season is difficult to determine. It usually starts in May – June and can last until November. In the center of the country and on the east coast, heavy rains occur in August – September. October is usually the last month of the rainy season, when significant volumes of water have already accumulated in irrigation systems and urban drainage, as a result of which, with infrequent and not very heavy rains, quite severe floods occur. In particular, when the Chaopraya River overflows its banks, some quarters of Bangkok are flooded, because about a third of the city is below sea level. The rainy season in Thailand is incomparable with the similar season in other countries of Southeast Asia. Of course, dirt roads are made impassable, and clouds hang over tropical beaches for part of the day, nevertheless, they let in enough ultraviolet rays to warm the air, sea and sand of the beaches.

So in the coldest months (from December to February, when the average temperature ranges from +20°C to +27°C), the night air temperature can drop to zero in the mountains in the north, while in the afternoon it reaches +25°C. In the mornings in Chiang Mai (the capital of Northern Thailand) at this time it is about +10°С, and in other regions above +20°С. The hottest months are April and May, when temperatures above +35°С are the daily norm, and +40°С is not uncommon.

Cities and regions of Thailand for tourist travel

Geographically, climatically, in terms of natural resources, the diversity of landforms and even the ethnic composition of the population, Thailand is divided into five main regions: Central, Eastern, Northern, Northeastern and Southern Thailand.

Central Thailand

Wat Arun, Bangkok

Wat Arun, Bangkok

This is an area of ​​vast fertile plains, lying partially below sea level and formed by the valley of the Chaopraya River, its tributaries and branches, as well as the adjacent foothill belt. The bulk of the population is concentrated here, mainly engaged in agriculture – growing rice and fruits. Central Thailand has become the cradle of the development of the rice-growing civilization. It is here that most of the industrial enterprises are located, up to a third of Thailand’s agricultural products are produced here, there is a well-developed transport network, and one of the largest megacities in the world, the capital of Thailand – Bangkok is located here.

East thailand

It covers several provinces – Trat, Chantburi, Rayong. In the north it reaches hills and mountains, in the west and south it reaches the Gulf of Thailand and in the east it reaches the border with Cambodia. The heavily indented coast of the bay is bordered by rocky islands overgrown with forests, and numerous rivers flowing to the south form mangrove swamps. White sand beaches stretch along the coast. The east coast is popular primarily due to the resort area in Chon Buri province: the most popular tourist city of Pattaya and the island of Ko Samet nearby are located here. In addition, closer to the border with Cambodia is the less popular, but gaining popularity island of Ko Chang. However, in the same region, in Rayong province, one of the largest trade ports in Southeast Asia, Laem Chabang, is located, and a number of “export production zones” – free economic zones in which industry giants such as Michelin “,” Mitsubishi “,” Ford “,” General Motors “and others. All enterprises in this area were initially built with environmental needs in mind, and therefore, the proximity to industrial facilities practically does not affect the resort area.

Northern Thailand

This region of the country with its mountain ranges and fertile mountain plains is still called Lanna after the name of the independent and powerful kingdom that existed here until the second half of the 19th century. Topographically, the north of the country and part of the northeast are mountains (common with China, Myanmar and Laos) and mountain valleys, the southernmost of them is the Korat plateau in the northeast, reaching almost to Bangkok, and accounting for about a third of the territory.

Northeast Thailand

This part of the country is the Korat mountain plateau, located at an altitude of 300 m above sea level, inhabited mainly by ethnic Lao. Due to frequent droughts and floods, as well as a thin layer of fertile soil, this is the poorest region in the country. Nevertheless, it, along with the central plains, is the rice granary of the country, as well as the region that produces the famous “jasmine” rice for export.

Southern thailand

This region is represented by the Malacca Peninsula. The coastal zone is formed by plains, and the axial part is represented by mountains. Small, highly dissected valleys are located between the mountains. The features of the relief, climate, as well as the ethnic composition of the population, the East Coast is very different from the West Coast. It has an almost even and regular outline, there are only a few bays, but there are many beaches stretching over long distances. The main tourist pearl of the region is Phuket Island.

Bangkok

Bangkok is one of the largest and most important cities in Southeast Asia, the capital, as well as the cultural and economic center of Thailand. The city is located on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River, practically on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Fast-growing and developing Bangkok plays an important role in the economy of both the country and the region. It is an independent Thai province and one of two where residents themselves choose the governor. The capital district and five neighboring provinces (Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Samutsakon and Nakonpatom) form the Greater Bangkok agglomeration. Bangkok’s current borders were established in 1972, when the city, one might say, swallowed up the province of Tonburi. Bangkok’s area is 1,568.7 km². Numerous branches at the mouth of the Chao Phrai River, flowing through Bangkok, as well as canals dug in the 19th century, earned the city the nickname “Venice of the East”. The coastal town is only 2 meters above sea level, which causes serious problems during the rainy season.

The city is one of the main tourist centers of the region, which is visited by a huge number of tourists from many countries of the world, primarily from Western Europe and Russia. Bangkok is able to satisfy the most discerning tastes: those who are interested in the unfamiliar mysterious culture of the East, and those who are primarily chasing entertainment. There are several hundred hotels of various levels in the city, so even not the most wealthy people can afford rest here.

Pattaya

Pattaya

Pattaya

Pattaya is a city in Thailand, located on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand, 165 km southeast of the country’s capital, Bangkok. Pattaya is a popular resort known for its bars and go-go dancing with drag shows. However, in addition to men and women of easy virtue, there are also more family-friendly activities and entertainment. Although the sex industry is still thriving in Pattaya, the resort also attracts Thai families and holidaymakers from all over the world. Thanks to the efforts of local authorities, the beaches have improved over the past few years, but they still fall short of the high standards of the rest of Thailand, and the ongoing beautification has robbed the beaches of some of the natural charm they once enjoyed. Despite this, the abundance of hotels and inns, as well as easy accessibility from the capital and the airport, make Pattaya a popular weekend getaway destination. Serving more than 5 million tourists annually, Pattaya has a great choice of food and a wide variety of activities and attractions, and its population is a colorful potpourri of nationalities from all over the world.

Phuket

Phuket Island is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. The neighboring provinces – Phang Nga and Krabi – do not border Phuket due to its island location. In general, Thailand Phuket is an established expression among Russian tourists, which indicates the popularity of this resort among our compatriots.

Phuket Island is the largest among the islands of Thailand, it is almost the same size as Singapore. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is located off the western coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. The region has an area of ​​about 543 km2 and consists of 1 large and 39 small islands. Initially, Phuket grew rich thanks to its reserves of tin and rubber. The island is one of the most important points of the trade route between India and China and is often mentioned in foreign ship magazines. The region receives most of its income from tourism.

Koh Chang

Kae Bae Beach, Koh Chang

Kae Bae Beach, Koh Chang

Koh Chang Island, which means “elephant” in Thai, is majestically located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the easternmost Thai province of Trat, 312 kilometers from Bangkok. It got its name because its outlines resemble the silhouette of a dozing elephant.

As the second largest island in Thailand (after Phuket), Ko Chang is a perfect union of emerald waters, white sandy beaches and virgin jungle. Numerous waterfalls reveal landscapes of amazing beauty to your eyes. Each view is like a revived picture, skillfully created by the Creator and embodying the whole play of colors and light. Amazing nature, practically untouched by man, is one of the main features of the island, which stretches from north to south-east for 30 kilometers.

Koh Samui

Bang Po beach on Koh Samui

Bang Po beach on Koh Samui

Samui is an island in the Surat Thani province, located on the eastern bank of the isthmus in Thailand, near the city of Surat Thani. It is the third largest island in Thailand with a population of over 50,000. It is rich in natural resources, white sand beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees. Historically, the island’s economy was based on fishing and agriculture, with coconuts being the main crop. Since the 1980s, tourism has become an important economic industry, and subsequently a major industry. The island’s climate and accessibility have made it particularly attractive to both international investors and tourists.

Ko Samet

Samet Island is a small Thai island in the Rayong province with an area of ​​about 5 km², located in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is located 6.5 km south of the continent, 200 km from Bangkok and 85 km from Pattaya, and is part of the Khao Laem Ya – Mu Ko Samet National Park, which includes, in addition to Samet, 4 more tropical islands: Ko Kudi, Ko Cruai, Ko Kangkao and Ko Platin. The wet season on the islands lasts from May to July, but the rains are not long here, as is often the case in other parts of Thailand.

What to see in Thailand for tourists

Throughout its history, Thailand has managed to acquire many unique monuments, each of which can be called a separate masterpiece of architecture. Here you will find a huge number of wonderful sculptures, murals and decorations in the unsurpassed Thai style. Thailand is Bangkok’s museums, a huge number of temples – from the smallest, lost in the maze of city streets or jungles and hidden from the eyes of an ordinary tourist, to huge and admirable temple ensembles, such as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok. The sights of Thailand are diverse: here modern buildings are closely intertwined with numerous ancient shrines.

Bangkok landmarks

  • Temple of the Emerald Buddha

    Suan Rot Fai Park, Bangkok

    Suan Rot Fai Park, Bangkok

  • Royal Palace
  • Marble temple
  • Temple of the Morning Dawn
  • Temple Wat Suthat
  • Temple of the Golden Buddha
  • Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm
  • Bangkok National Museum
  • Siam Ocean World Aquarium
  • Dusit Zoo
  • Dream World amusement park
  • Safari World amusement park
  • Patpong Night Market
  • Chatuchak Market

Pattaya landmarks

  • Temple of Truth
  • Walking Street
  • Wat Yan temple
  • Tiffany Show
  • Buddha Hill
  • Buddha on Mount Khao Chi Chan
  • Temple Wat Yanasangwararam Voramhavihan
  • Temple Wat Sattahip
  • Bottle museum
  • Karting Center Bali Hai Pier
  • Floating market
  • Khao Keo Zoo
  • Mini Siam
  • Nong Nooch Garden
  • Aquarium Underwater World
  • Sri Racha Tiger Zoo
  • Million Years Stone Park and Crocodile Farm
  • Siriphon Orchid Farm
  • Elephant village
  • Khao Phra Tam Nak observation deck
  • Three Kingdoms Theme Park
  • Monkey Training Center
  • Turtle Conservation Center

Phuket landmarks

  • Pearl farm

    Big Buddha, Phuket

    Big Buddha, Phuket

  • Butterfly garden and insect world
  • Palace of arts
  • Phuket Pottery
  • Chan Antiques
  • Cabaret Simon
  • Phuket Fantasy Park
  • Phuket Zoo
  • Dino park

Koh Chang landmarks

  • Bang Bao village
  • Salak Pet Bay
  • Chao Po shrine
  • Memorial to the heroes of the naval battle

Koh Chang waterfalls

  • Tan Mayom waterfall
  • Klong Plu waterfall
  • Kiri Pet waterfall
  • Klong Nung waterfall
  • Nang Yom waterfall
  • Klong Nonsi Falls

Samui landmarks

  • Naga pearl farm
  • Snake farm
  • Na Muang Waterfalls
  • Hin Ta Yi Hin Yaai
  • Ang Thong National Park
  • Secret Garden of Buddha

Getting around the country

By plane

Bangkok airport

Bangkok airport

Thailand’s national airline, Thai Airways International, operates five destinations in the north of the country, five in the northeast and seven in the south.

Thai Airways International Bangkok office: 6 Lan Luang Road, tel. + 66 (2) 280 00 70, 280 00 80.

The airline also organizes Royal Orchid Holidays tours to all destinations where it operates. Domestic flights are also operated by Bangkok Airways.

Phones in Bangkok: +66 (2) 523 71 16, 534 01 46, 535-24-97. She flies to Samui Island and Phuket.

Tickets for all flights can be booked from any travel agency in Thailand that is authorized to sell air tickets.

Special collection. Each passenger is required to pay such an airport service fee upon check-in for departure from Bangkok or other airports in the country. This rule applies to all passengers (residents and non-residents) traveling from the country. On international lines the charge is 250 baht per person, on domestic lines 30 baht per person. Tax for domestic flights from Koh Samui – 400 baht.

By rail

The railway network connects the capital with all major cities in the north and northeast of the country. Railways heading south also allow travel to Malaysia and Singapore.

As a rule, high-speed trains have carriages of the first, second and third classes, and passenger trains have only the third class (only seats). Ticket prices are low, but trains are often overcrowded.

The State Railway Company of Thailand organizes discounted one- and two-day tours on holidays and weekends. Tours to Surat Thani, Chumphon and Chiang Mai are also organized.

Tickets for trains in all directions and all classes can be ordered and purchased 90 days before departure and later at all main stations and at pre-sale ticket offices.

Ticket offices are open from 8:30 to 18:00 on weekdays and from 8:30 to 12:00 on weekends and holidays.

Train tickets can be ordered and purchased from most travel agencies in Bangkok.

Train timetable. Tel. + 66 (2) 223 70 10, 223 70 20, Bangkok Railway Station.

Additional information. Tel .: + 66 (2) 223 37 62, 224 77 88.

Taxi

Hotel taxis serve passengers at fixed rates.

Taxi in Thailand

Taxi in Thailand

Taxis plying the streets of Bangkok are conditionally divided into simple taxis, in which payment must be agreed with the driver, and a taxi-meter (Taxi-Meter), where payment is made by the meter, starting from 35 baht for the first kilometer and 5 baht for subsequent.

Taxi fares within Bangkok usually range from 50 to 300 baht.

“Tuk-Tuk” (Tuks-Tuks), or three-wheeled taxi, is very popular among tourists for short trips around Bangkok. The fare is from 30 to 150 baht. It is necessary to agree on a price in advance with taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers. It can be knocked down 2–4 times.
River taxi. Many boats run along the Chao Phraya River and adjacent canals, stopping on opposite banks. Chao Phraya Express boats run up and down the river within Greater Bangkok.
The fare is from 5 to 15 baht.

By bus

There are many bus routes in Bangkok. Non-air-conditioned buses fare from 3.5 to 6 baht on most destinations. The fare on air-conditioned city buses is from 6 to 16 baht.

In minibuses with air conditioning and TV, newspapers and magazines are also offered. There are only seats here. The fare is 30 baht.

A bus map can be purchased from most hotels, bookstores, or the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for 35 baht.

In 2000, special “women only” buses appeared in Bangkok. This is due to complaints from women themselves against whom men in overcrowded buses often behave indecently, harassing them, and sometimes simply rob them.

The system of modern highways allows you to get to any corner of the kingdom. The domestic bus service is a fairly quick means of transportation. Air-conditioned coach buses are more comfortable means of transportation.

Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal: Phahonyothin Road, Tel. + 66 (2) 27 94 48 47 for air-conditioned buses, + 66 (2) 27 10 10 15 for regular buses.

Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal: Pinklao-Nakhon Chaisri Road, tel. + 66 (2) 435 11 90, 435 12 00 for air-conditioned buses, 434 55 58 for regular buses.

Bangkok East Bus Station: Sukhumwit Road, tel. + 66 (2) 392 92 27, 391 98 29 for air-conditioned buses, + 66 (2) 391 25 04, 392 25 21 for regular buses.

Car rental

A passenger car can be rented with an international driving license.

For the convenience of foreign drivers, all road signs and car maps have been translated into English.

The Bangkok Yellow Pages telephone directory lists local dealerships and international car rental offices. Their rental conditions are different. It is useful to bargain when concluding a contract.

In Pattaya, Hat Yai, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, there are offices of the world famous car rental companies AVIS and HERTZ.

On a ferryboat

By ferry from mainland Thailand you can get to Koh Samui, Ko Chang, Ko Tao and some islands near Pattaya.

The crossing from Surattakhani to the cherished Samui does not cause any particular difficulties. Directly upon arrival at the airport, at the corresponding ticket office, purchase a ticket for bus transportation and ferry crossing. Take a bus to the Donsak pier. The ferry’s departure schedule is once an hour, so you won’t have to wait long for the departure. The journey takes about an hour and a half, this time you can spend both on the open deck and on the closed one with air conditioning, so whoever you like best.

From the provincial capital of Trat, you can sail from three piers to Koh Chang. All are located in the Laem Ngob area. You can get to the pier using the services of Songthaew. Open Thai pickups can be found at the city market. The trip will cost about 30 baht. There are no problems with the movement of ferries. They usually leave for the island every hour from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm. Travel time is 40 minutes. The ticket price is 30 baht.

You can get to Koh Tao by ferry from the city of Surat Thani on the mainland – one ferry leaves in the morning and takes about 4 hours, but there is also a night ferry that departs at about 23:00 and arrives at Koh Tao early in the morning (at about 6 a.m. ). In the case of night sailing, it is recommended that you board early to pick up your mattress.

Culture of Thailand

The culture of Thailand has been greatly influenced by India, China, Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia. Thailand’s national religion, Buddhism, is the basis for the identity and self-awareness of Thais. In fact, Thai Buddhism has over time adopted elements of many regional religions derived from Hinduism. There are many representatives of the Islamic religion in the southern part of Thailand.

There are several different ethnic groups in Thailand. Some of them have their roots in Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia and have undergone major changes in traditional culture due to the influence of the Thais themselves and other world cultural flows.

Temple Wat Yai Chai Mongkon

Temple Wat Yai Chai Mongkon

As in other Asian cultures, respect for ancestors is an important part of the spiritual life of Thais. Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a deep awareness of the social hierarchy, an important concept of Thai culture. Traditionally, the elders made family decisions. At the same time, the elders must respect the young.

The traditional Thai greeting, wai, is usually given first by the youngest of the two people in conversation and is followed by a shake of the hand so that the fingers are pointing up at the other person’s face, usually accompanied by the phrase “Sawat-dii khrap” for men and “Sawat-dii ka” for The eldest responds second in the same way.Social status and position also affect who utters wai first.For example, although someone may be much older than a provincial governor, they should say hello first.When children go to school they say wai to their parents to show their respect. They do the same when they return. Wai – a sign of respect and reverence for another person, has the same meaning as namaste in India.

Muay Thai gained worldwide recognition in the 1990s. The film Fight or Flight, which won the Best Foreign Documentary Award at the Long Island Festival, prompted Western journalists to travel to Muay Thai in Thailand.

Thanks to its economy, Thailand is in the world rankings much higher than its neighbors, Cambodia, Laos and Burma are included in the list of the least developed countries of the United Nations. However, football associations gradually began to take the position of Muay Thai as the most popular and favorite sport, and Thais can often be seen closely following the English Premier League. Another popular pastime is flying kite flying.

Among the taboos in Thailand is touching someone’s head or pointing at something with a leg, since the head is considered the most sacred part of the body, and the legs are the dirtiest. If you step on someone or on food, it will be considered an insult. However, some traditional taboos have lost their meaning, as in other Asian cultures, due to the integration of Thailand into the world system.

Books and documents are very important objects. No one should throw or lay on the floor.

Thai society has been heavily influenced by the multilingual press and television in recent years. Newspapers are published in English, Thai and Chinese. The largest Thai newspapers use English headlines – a sign of glamor. Many large companies in Bangkok use both English and other languages. The market for periodicals in Thailand is the largest in Southeast Asia, with daily printed copies exceeding 13 million in 2003. Even outside the cities, newspapers are very popular. For example, according to the PR Department of Thailand in 2003-2004. Nineteen provinces in northeastern Thailand have themselves produced 116 newspapers in addition to radio, TV and cable programs.

Thai cuisine

Thai cuisine is based on five basic tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty.

Thai cuisine is one of the best in the world. First of all, it should be noted that most of the Thai dishes are very spicy. And this is a very serious problem for the European stomach. Drinking hot sauces with water is not recommended; to quench the pungency, it is better to take more rice.

Thai cuisine

Thai cuisine

Rice is the most important food product in the country. There are two varieties and methods of preparation: white friable rice (khao suay), which is especially popular in Central and Southern Thailand, and glutinous rice (khao nieo), which is preferred by residents of the northern and northeastern regions of the country.

It is customary to eat dishes from khao suai with a spoon, putting rice into it with a fork, which is held in the left hand. And sticky rice is eaten with the right hand, rolling small lumps out of it. A knife in a Thai setting is not used, since all the components are cut very finely and can be taken directly with your hands. The secret of the characteristic aroma of many Thai dishes is associated with a favorite seasoning: fresh coriander leaves (phak chee) and lemongrass.

Europeans especially love the slightly less exotic fried rice (khao phat), the only dish that combines rice with other ingredients: fish, crab, vegetables and eggs. All other dishes are prepared separately, and rice is served with them as a side dish. Among the simple and, so to speak, standard dishes, should be called phat phrik bai kraphao – a roast with rice, basil and other spices; prieo waan – sweet and sour rice nam man hoy is a dish with oyster sauce.

Higher class foods include the sour-spicy soups tom yam and tom kha, as well as yam – a cold salad with a sour-hot sauce. Tom soup owes its characteristic aroma to bae makhruut spice leaves, lemongrass (takhrai) stems and kha roots, which are only boiled but not eaten.

An authentic Thai delicacy – all kinds of curry sauces cooked with coconut milk: kaeng karee – with a potato side dish; kaeng massaman – sweet and heavy peanut sauce kaeng phet is a light and hot sauce and kaeng khieo waan is a delicious and very hot sauce with herbs.

Typical glutinous rice dishes are gai yang (fried chicken), laap (spicy fish salad), somtam (spicy papaya salad with crab), and suup naw mai (spicy bamboo salad). Popular dishes: kaeng jeut – a light vegetable soup with meat and khao tom – a thin rice soup with a separate garnish.

Thai cuisine

Thai cuisine

The second staple food is three types of noodles and pasta: thin rice noodles (khqetthieo sen lek), thick and hearty noodles (khqetthieo sen yai), and finally egg yellow noodles (bamee). You can order fried noodles (phat), and boiled with broth (naam), and noodles without broth (haeng). The noodles are served as a side dish with dishes such as luuk jin (meat or fish balls), gieo (meat dumplings), and mu daeng (marinated pork, chicken or duck slices). Young shoots of soybeans and other vegetables are served with the noodles. Khamon jin – long thin rice noodles with meat sauce and salad phat thai are delicious, lightly fried peanut noodles that are simply impossible to resist. And yam wun sen is a very spicy salad with cold noodles.

Among the spices, in addition to chili (hot pepper), vinegar and sugar, is fish sauce, which has a slight fishy flavor and is used in almost all dishes instead of salt. Noodle soups and other noodle dishes are often eaten with chopsticks.

In addition to well-known species such as pineapple, papaya and mango, many other fruits grow in Thailand. These are, first of all, durian – fruits of irregular oval shape with very hard and sharp spines. Under the skin lies a viscous yellow flesh with a unique, strongly pronounced flavor, which is a cross between melted cheese and vanilla pudding with liqueur. Another exotic fruit of mangosteen (mangkut) – purple, the size of a tomato, fruit with a refreshingly juicy white pulp.

Sapodilla (lamut) fruits resemble kiwi in shape and size. In the markets, shoppers can find piles of rambutan (luuk ngaw), plum-sized red fruits with long white thorns, and longan (lamuai), small brownish balls. The large green jackfruit (khanyn) is literally stuffed with blood-red seeds with a strong, slightly unpleasant odor. Pink apples (chomphoo) with their dense pulp resemble European apples and come in white, green, and red, usually, the lighter, the sweeter.

Residents of Thailand do not have a special love for sweets. From a mixture of eggs, bananas, coconuts and glutinous rice, they make all kinds of puddings, pies and ice cream that do not delight foreigners. Two exceptions to this are foy thong, a sweet meringue in the form of balls, brought to this region in the 17th century by the Portuguese, and also khanom luuk chup – a coconut mass with jelly, somewhat reminiscent of marzipan.

The favorite drink of Thais is cold water (naam yen). Coffee (kaafae), tea (naam chaa), various lemonades (naam adlom), beer (bia) and all kinds of brandy (lao) are widely popular. Juices that are drunk both fresh (naam kgan) and with ice and syrup (naam pan) are very popular.

Some dishes are usually prepared only to order. Among them are stewed chicken (khao man kai), pork legs with soy sauce (kha moo), as well as yeast pies (salaphao) with different fillings: both spicy (khem) and sweet (waan), which give them an excellent taste. … Street eateries may seem dubious to you, but the food in them – unlike, by the way, in restaurants – is prepared right in front of your eyes.

Shopping in Thailand

The country’s currency is Thai Baht (THB).

Bangkok is a major shopping center in the region. Low taxes, such as VAT – 8%, which, in addition, can often be refunded upon departure from the country using standard tax free methods, contribute to the activity of trade.

Every tourist wants to bring something from such an exotic country as Thailand. Be careful, there are far more fakes among “antiques” than originals. Genuine things are often stolen. In addition, exporting such items overseas will require permission from the Fine Arts Department, and exporting religious items requires permission from the Department of Religious Affairs. Each reputable antiquarian must have the appropriate documents. When purchasing this or that item, ask for permission to export it. This permission is a kind of guarantee of authenticity, and in order not to run into a fake, ask the seller to show it.

It is better not to buy jewelry made of precious stones on the market. There are many fakes here, so when buying a thing you like, it is better to make sure of its authenticity. The most beautiful items come from Burma. They can be purchased from the border markets at Mae Sai and Tachilek.

Silver items with niello (Niello), a typical Thai craft, will become a worthy souvenir and good memory of Thailand. Silver products are best purchased in Chiang Mai. Here, on Wualai Road, there are silver shops and workshops. In the same city you can buy pottery. Celadon is the famous green porcelain, which is an important export. Back in the Sukhothai era, it was exported to many Asian countries. The best pieces of this style are sold in Chiang Mai.

Floating market in Bangkok

Floating market in Bangkok

Silk items are traditionally exported. The legendary, incredibly expensive silks are especially appreciated in shops on the streets: Jim Thompson, Suriwong Road and Rama IV Road. More reasonable prices in shops on the streets: Suriwong and Silom Road. Amazingly beautiful silks are produced in Korat and Surin.

The best place to buy clothes is in Bangkok. High-quality fashion items can be bought at ridiculously low prices at night markets around Ul. Patrong and Silom, as well as at the top of st. Sukumvit Road. Here you can also find fakes of products of famous companies (Rolex watches, Lacoste shirts, etc.).

It is better to buy European-class products in large department stores. There are especially many retail outlets in the Siam Square area, where a wide variety of shops are concentrated. But the most interesting thing is Mah Boon Krong Center.

Communication

Phone

You can make calls from hotels or from public telephones. The call from the hotel will cost more. Telephone booths work with cards. Red payphones are for local calls, blue for long distance calls within Thailand, green for international calls. The tariffs for telephone calls are quite high; a telephone card costing about 250 baht is enough for 3-4 minutes of a conversation with Russia. The cheapest way to make an international phone call is to call from the government call center, which is usually located inside or near the main post office and is open daily from approximately 7 am to 10 pm (24 hours in Bangkok and Chiang Mai). If you call from 9 pm to 5 am, you will receive a 33 percent discount on basic rates. Mobile phone owners can use them in Thailand if the company they have a contract with provides roaming in that country. The standard is GSM 900 MHz and digital PCN 1800 MHz.

Useful Phones in Thailand

  • Tourist Police 421-281
  • Tourist Information 420-504
  • Immigration Service 421-069
  • If you lose your American Express card 66 (2) 273 00 40
  • In case of loss of Master Card 66 (2) 252 22 12
  • If you lose your Dinners Club 66 (2) 233 56 44 (5)

Cellular

All mobile phones are allocated in a separate zone with the code “1” and all mobile numbers begin with this code, therefore, when calling a regular city number, you need to dial the area code, even if you are in it. When calling from one mobile to another, you do not need to dial the code. GSM-900 and PCN-1800 are considered the standard.

Sport

Thai boxing

Muay Thai is a martial art form practiced in many parts of the world, including Thailand and South Asian countries. It resembles the martial arts of other South Asian countries, has a long history and is considered the national sport of Thailand.

Modern Muay Thai is significantly different from the ancient art of Muay Boran, it is allowed to use the elbows and knees for striking, gloves, similar to Western European ones, are worn on the hands.

Rugby

Rugby is a growing sport in Thailand, the national team is ranked 61st in the world rankings. Thailand hosted the first international welterweight rugby championship in 2005. Thailand Rugby Union (TRU) competition includes games between university and work teams, involving Chulalongkorn University, Mahasarakham University, Kasetsart University, Prince of Songkla University, Thammasat University, Rangsit University, the Thai Police, Thai Army (the Thai Army, the Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force. Local sports clubs are the British Club of Bangkok, the Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok) and the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.

Golf

Thailand has been named the Capital of Golf in Asia as many come here to play golf. In particular, tourists from Japan, Korea, Singapore, South Africa and Western Europe arrive annually. The growing popularity of golf, especially among the middle class and expats, has led to PGA and LPGA tournaments such as Amata Spring Country Club, Alpine Golf & Sports Club, Thai Country Club Country Club and Black Mountain Golf Club.

Other sports

Other sports in Thailand are developing slowly, as the country expands its sports infrastructure and has achieved success in weightlifting and taekwondo at the last two Summer Olympics.

Demographics of Thailand

Language

The official language of Thailand is Thai, and is also spoken by many local dialects and adverbs. Thai is the main language of education and government, and is spoken by almost all residents of the country. The standard Thai language refers to the dialect of the central part of Thailand, which is written in the Thai alphabet, derived from the Sumerian.

There are other dialects, usually corresponding to certain regions. Southern Thai is spoken in the southern provinces, while northern Thai is spoken in the provinces that were part of the independent Kingdom of Lannathai.

Thailand also has many indigenous and tribal languages. English is a compulsory school subject, but the number of people fluent in it is still very small, especially outside the big cities.

Religion

According to the last census (2000) 94.7% of the total population are Buddhists.

The second largest religious group in Thailand is Muslim – 4.6%. In the southern provinces of Thailand – Pattaya, Yala, Narathiwat and partly in Songkhla Champhon – there are more Muslims than Buddhists. Most often, Muslims live in communes, separate from non-Muslims. At the southern end of Thailand, the majority are ethnic Malays, while the majority of Malays are Muslim.

Christians account for 0.5% of the population.

A small but influential Sikh community in Thailand and a few Hindu people live in the country’s cities and are mainly involved in retail trade.

There is a small Jewish commune in Thailand that dates back to the 17th century. Since 2001, Muslim activists have carried out actions against the central government due to increased corruption and bias on the part of the authorities.

Education in Thailand

Thailand has a very high literacy rate, the education system is represented by kindergartens, primary, lower and high schools, many colleges and universities. The private education sector is well developed and takes up a significant share of providing education, while the government is no longer able to offer higher education to everyone. Education is compulsory until grade 9, you can continue to study for free until 12.

Thailand has never been a colony and the education system is based more on memorization than on a student-centered methodology. Education in the modern sense is a recent phenomenon and there are many cultural obstacles to overcome.

Establishing a reliable and consistent learning process for the first and second stages is a subject of such rapid changes that teachers do not always understand what they need to teach, and authors and authors of textbooks are not able to print new editions at such a speed. The question of admission to universities has also been considered for several years. However, education has improved significantly since 2001. Most of today’s pupils and students are computer literate, and the number of people who speak English has also increased.

Safety in Thailand

In hotel

After checking into a hotel, keep valuables, passports and money in a safe. Try not to lose the keys to the safe, as well as the keys to your room (if they are not plastic cards that are easily restored), as in many hotels there is a significant fine for the loss of keys.

When leaving your hotel in the city, do not forget to bring with you the hotel business card, which has the hotel address printed in Thai, for the taxi driver you will be returning. Usually such cards are freely available at the registration control. If there are no cards in sight, ask the manager on duty to give you one or write the hotel’s address in Thai on a piece of paper. If you are traveling without a guide to some unfamiliar place, the name and location of which you approximately know, it would be useful to contact the duty manager with a request to write down the address in Thai from your words. If you make a very likely mistake in pronunciation, the manager will most likely understand you better than the taxi driver.

Currency exchange

We recommend that you never accept spoiled and torn bills with a denomination of more than 20 baht: they will not be taken from you in stores and shops, and you will have to contact the bank to exchange them for whole ones. Unkempt-looking dollars will not be accepted in exchange offices, the only way to change a torn dollar bill is to contact the head office of one of the major banks – Bangkok Bank Limited or Thai Farmers Bank. Do not keep counterfeit dollar bills in your wallet. All exchange offices in the country are equipped with verification equipment and Interpol guidelines for the characteristic features of a particular batch of counterfeit currency. The criminal procedure in Thailand is based on the presumption of guilt and testimony in court, therefore the exchange office employee who determined the falsity of your bill has every right, without telling you anything, to call the police squad by pressing an inconspicuous button. The presumption of guilt is compensated by the opportunity to leave places of pre-trial detention on a large bail, however, only a Thai citizen or the embassy can pay it, even with your money. The Russian Embassy has no funds to deposit collateral for citizens who have fined. In case of an acquittal, the bail is returned in full.

Travel checks are freely accepted in banks and exchange offices upon presentation of a passport. Try to take large checks, as you will pay the fee on each check separately, not on the total amount.

If checks are stolen from you, you must immediately report this to the nearest police or tourist police department, get a copy of the statement protocol, and then start the procedure for canceling and restoring the stolen checks. By the way, it can take several days.

For convenience, we advise you to try to use less credit card and more – cash in Thai money. This will help you plan and control your expenses more clearly. You can withdraw cash from a valid credit card in a certain amount at any bank – only in Thai baht. US dollars are not in circulation in Thailand. Some shops and restaurants accept dollars, but they enter them in their ledgers as baht at a profitable, somewhat overvalued rate (this means that they will still have to exchange your dollars for baht and they are afraid of losses on the baht rate. with you cash dollars not in, but in a bank or exchange office. There are bank exchange offices (they belong to banks, but work until 19.00 – 22.00, while banks close at 15.30) and private. In private exchange offices, usually owned by ethnic Chinese, the exchange rate is almost always the best possible.However, there are not very many of these points, and the difference in the rate when compared with the rate of a bank or bank exchange office is so small that it begins to play a significant role only when exchanging amounts of $ 500 or more.

When you are in a crowd, on a busy street, at a night market, on a crowded regular bus or in a Bangkok elevator car, you should not put your wallet in your back pocket. Try not to forget about the handbag in your hands and do not carry thick wads of money in your pockets.

If you carry your wallet, put your hotel’s business card in there with your last name and room number on it. In case of loss, there is a chance that it will be returned to you with documents and credit cards, but most often without money. Although there are cases of returning wallets with money.

Documents

If you arrived on your own, without resorting to the services of travel companies, it should be borne in mind that when checking into a hotel, renting a car, etc., you will almost certainly be asked for a passport to take a photocopy. Having prepared in advance several photocopies of the first (in new passports – the last) page, on which your name, surname, year of birth, number, place of issue and validity of the passport are printed and your photo is pasted, you will save time and save yourself from unnecessary doubts about what happens to your passport in the wrong hands. Cases when a copy of the first (last) page is not enough: when obtaining a Thai driver’s license and when renewing a visa at the immigration police.

In taxi

Taxi drivers who challenge you may seem overly annoying. If you see a row of parked taxis, and a free car is passing by, it will be cheaper to leave on it, provided the meter is turned on (in English, and in Thai – teeg). Usually the driver turns it on immediately, but if this does not happen, do not hesitate to ask about the meter. If you refuse to turn on the meter, you have every right to get out of the car without paying. If it is not possible to leave “with a counter”, it is necessary to negotiate the cost of the trip before getting into the car.

Health

Cases of tourists with tropical and other infectious diseases in Thailand are extremely rare. In conditions of high standards of sanitation compared to some neighboring countries, it is sufficient to observe the simplest precautions.

It is advisable to have a repellent with you. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are active at night. Mosquitoes that carry dengue fever are active during the day. Particular attention should be paid to countering mosquito attacks on children under seven and older people over sixty.

One should not be too active in showing love for “smaller brothers” – monkeys and other warm-blooded animals, no matter how cute they are.

Burns from communication with a sea urchin or a jellyfish require urgent action, otherwise a significant increase in temperature and many months of severe itching, and sometimes permanent abscesses and abscesses on the affected skin areas are possible. When contacting a doctor, burns will most likely be smeared with prednisolone ointment.