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The new Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok receives most visitors to the country. Some regional carriers have flights direct to Hat Yai, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. All visitors to Thailand must carry a valid passport with proof of onward passage (either a return or through ticket). Most foreigners do not require a visa if staying less than 30 days (check with your local Thai embassy for designated countries). If you want to stay longer than 30 days, apply at a Thai embassy for a sixty-day tourist visa or a multiple entry visa if you plan on leaving and re-entering. No inoculations or vaccinations are mandatory unless you are coming from or passing through areas infected with yellow fever, in which case, yellow fever certificates are required. Check at the consulate or embassy for up-to-date information about health certificates that may be necessary for entry.
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Thailand's weather is influenced two distinct systems: The dry and relatively cooler northeast monsoon becomes well established from December to March. The wet and humid southwest monsoon is dominant from June through September. The two transitional months either side are punctuated by variable winds, rain and sunny periods. Temperatures during the dry cooler season range from a cool 18? C to 30? C. Mountainous regions will see even lower temperatures at night, while the plains in the northeast will record higher daytime temperatures. Humidity is generally high at 65-80 % depending on the region. The wet season brings higher temperatures, which thankfully, are periodically tempered by the abundant cloud cover.
The Thai baht comes in notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. A baht is divided into 100 satang, however, coins less that one baht are not commonly used as most all prices are in baht. Coins commonly in use: 1, 5, and 10 baht. The 10 baht coin is far more prevalent than the note.
Payments in hotels can be made in cash, traveler's cheques or with credit card. Most major banks throughout the country have automated-teller machines. Most Pattaya hotels will change foreign currency (banks and money changers offer better rates). Major cities have foreign-exchange banks and money changers that are open daily as late as 10pm. Many establishments add a 3% to 5% surcharge for payment by credit card. In smaller towns and remote provinces, the baht will be the only acceptable currency.
UTC or GMT (+ 7 hours) Thailand is 7 hours ahead of London, 12 hours ahead of New York and 15 hours ahead of Los Angeles. Daylight saving time will add 1 hour to the above.
Pattaya Business Hours
Government and administrative offices are open 8:30 - 16:30 from Monday to Friday (some offices close for one hour lunch). Banks close at 15:30. Shops generally operate between 8:00 and 17:00. Major department stores and malls open either 9 or 10 am and close late. Sundays and Monday afternoons find many small shops closed.
Up-to-date technology and international satellite links provide Thailand with a sophisticated communications system. International Direct Dial (IDD) facilities are available at major hotels and resorts. Internet cafes are everywhere. Card phones can be found in most airports, public buildings, and large shopping centers. Cards are widely available and can be purchased in several denominations. Coin operated phones are available but harder to find.
All outlets are 220 volts AC (50 cycles). Outlets accept twin flat or round-pronged plugs, so you may need an adapter.
Thai is the official language and is spoken everywhere. English is commonly used in most resort and urban areas when addressing a foreigner. A Thai phrase book can be very useful to those getting off the beaten track.
Pattaya Dress Code
Light clothing from natural fibres such as cotton is recommended. Important functions or meetings would require more formal attire; otherwise, casual dress is the norm. In town, always wear a shirt or T-shirt. Nudity is frowned upon though some beaches turn a blind eye to women with bared breasts. Thais in general, are conservative-even shy-and though offended, are too polite to show it. Be sensitive to your surroundings.
The tourist resort islands sometimes have their own transfer boats to carry clients. Visitors with confirmed reservations are normally met on arrival at the airport and transferred by car or van to their hotel. The public transport alternatives other than air vary from busses, metered taxis and trains to motorbike taxis, Tuk Tuks (small 3 or 4 wheeled vehicles) and long-tail boats. Ask around, as rates differ widely.
Pattaya Health Facilities
World-class health facilities are to be found in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai as well as a number of other major centers. Efficient and hygienic hospitals and clinics are located in most populated areas. Dental clinics are numerous, provide excellent services and, like health care clinics, are open into the early evening hours. There are excellent drugstores throughout the country stocked with many brand-name medications and toiletries.
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