Temples in Lampang Thailand

Useful Info for Thailand

Voltage

The voltage in Thailand is 220v.  

 

In Thailand 2 types of plugs are commonly accepted: 2 flat prong plugs (type A), the 2 round pin plug (type C). To cover all bases, it is best to pack an international travel adaptor!     

 

 

Health

It is recommended that you be vaccinated for Tetanus and Polio, if you haven't had a booster in the last ten years. Food and waterborne diseases are more common, so we recommend vaccinations for typhoid (valid 3 years) and Hepatitis A (validity varies).  

 

If travelling to remote areas, further vaccinations including TB, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Diphtheria and Japanese encephalitis may also be necessary. We recommend you contact a health professional for the most up-to-date immunisation information.  

 

Malaria

Areas with Malaria: Rural only. Including forested areas that border Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia and Laos, and rural, forested areas in the districts of Phang Nga and Phuket. Malaria is not found in the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Pattaya, Phang Nga and Phuket. The risk of contracting Malaria in Thailand is low. Malaria information provided by the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, USA, and is offered as guidance only.  

 

Bilharzia 

May be present in some rivers and lakes and we recommend it best to avoid swimming in untested waterways.  

 

Yellow Fever

 Not present in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Burma however, a Yellow Fever certificate is required for those travelling from an infected area. Vaccination and health information can change so please contact your local health care provider for the most up to date information prior to travelling.  

 

Drugs

Thai law prohibits the possession, sale or purchase of illicit drugs. Charges for possession or purchase can range from 2-15 years in prison and in some cases the death penalty.  

 


 

Climate

The best time to travel to Thailand – central and north including Bangkok, Kanchanaburi and Sukhothai is from November to June, with little rain, if any expected throughout this time. After the cooler winter months, from mid January temperatures start to rise reaching 30 oC and more between March – May. Between May and July the south west monsoons arrive, travel during this time can still be pleasant with the rain coming in the form of short downpours, lasting an hour or two, clearing the way for warm, clear skies.   In August and September the rain continues to fall and temperatures remain high, though by October the mercury has fallen and November marks the start of of the dry season in the central and north once again.  

 

The far north and Chiang Rai are generally cooler than the surrounding regions with an annual average temperature of 25o C and with a lower humidity. The best time to travel is either the ‘cool’ season from Oct – Feb or the wet season (Jun - Sept) when aside from the rain, conditions are mild with temperatures around 25oC. March – May is warmer with temperatures rising to 36oC.  

 

The Gulf of Thailand, including the Hua Hin coastal region has three defined seasons. From December to February you can expect blue skies, plenty of sunshine with refreshing sea breezes to keep temperatures at bay. From March – June there is still plenty of blue sky and temperatures will rise above 30°C. Rain is unlikely till till the end of June when it comes in the form of hour-long afternoon downpours, clearing the way for more blue skies and bright sunshine. In late-August/September the monsoon arrives and you can expect sunny spells interspersed with rainy periods. Rainfall usually peaks between October and November.  

 

Bangkok

 

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Min Temp °C 22 24 26 27 27 27 26 26 25 25 23 21
Max Temp °C 32 32 33 34 33 33 32 32 32 32 31 31
Ave Rainfall (mm) 10 28 30 71 191 152 158 188 320 231 58 10

 

Chiang Mai

 

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Min Temp °C 15 16 20 23 24 24 24 24 23 22 19 16
Max Temp °C 30 33 35 36 34 32 32 32 32 31 30 28
Ave Rainfall (mm) 33 95 177 385 126 105 161 157 157 113 39 12

 

Time Thailand is 7 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight saving.    

 


 

Money

The official currency in Thailand is the Baht (THB).    US, Euro, AUD and GBP can be exchanged for Baht at banks or or at any one on of the numerous exchange booths that line the streets of the big cities. You may also choose to purchase currency in advance, though its possibly not necessary as ATMs can be found everywhere with the exception of the hill tribe areas of Chiang Rai and if enroute between Chiang Rai and Chiang Khong border if crossing to Laos. It is not common to pay with a credit card at restaurants, cafes or shops for small purchases and if you do often there will be a surcharge applied or minimum charge required. We recommend a combination of cash (US, Euro, AUD and GBP) and credit/debit cards.  

 

We recommend you take a mixture of cash (preferably USD) and credit/ debit cards for ATM's.  

 

 

 

Food

Thai food is world renowned and the country itself a food lovers’ paradise. Phat Thai, Green Curry, Som Dtam, Tom Yum Gai… almost certainly everyone has a favourite. Rice and noodles are used as a staple and underlying base for most dishes with various accompaniments, whether it be a broth containing vegetables and, or meat, stir-fry, curry or salad, providing flavour. Thai accompaniments strive to strike a balance between the ‘four flavours‘- sweet, sour, salt & hot. The balance of the four flavours varies from dish to dish to create a varied cuisine full of distinctive flavours – from their celebrated hot & sour soup – Tom Yum Goong, to the milder chicken, peanut & potato Massamum Curry originating in the Muslim South.  

 

Throughout Thailand the food changes depending on where and how it is influenced – the north is heavily influenced by China and Burma, the North-east by Laos and to the South the food is influenced by the abundance of coconut and tamarind.  

 

Omnivores enjoy a plethora of choice and possibilities, though vegetarians need to take heed as often base flavourings often include fish sauce, shrimp paste or dried shrimps.   Traditionally, Thai menus don't offer fancy desserts. The most you'll find are coconut milk-based sweets or a variety of fruit-flavoured custards, but the local fruit is luscious enough for a perfect dessert. Familiar fruits are pineapple (sometimes served with salt and chilli powder), mangoes, bananas, guava, papaya, coconut, and watermelon. The pink litchi, and the smaller tan-skinned longan have very sweet white flesh and come into season during spring. Other unusual fruits include tamarind (a sour, pulpy seed in a pod that you can eat fresh or candied); rambutan (small, red, and hairy with transparent sweet flesh clustered around a woody seed, available May-July); and pomelo (similar to a sweet and thirst-quenching grapefruit, available Aug-Nov). Some of these fruits are served as salads; pomelo and raw green papaya salads, for example, are excellent.  

 

Thailand brews several beers; the best known is Singha, with Leo and Chang being less expensive and more popular with the locals . Imported beers, such as Heineken, are also widely available. Mekong and Sang Som are two of the more popular local ‘whiskeys’, even though the latter is more like rum (fermented from sugarcane).   Fruit juices, freezes, milkshakes of all kinds and coconut water, iced and drunk directly from a fresh coconut are very popular with Thais and visitors alike. Freshly squeezed Thai sweet orange juice and chrysanthemum juice are other favourites. Thais often add salt to their fruit juices or have basil seeds added to in their iced fruit juice - an acquired taste that you might just learn to like.  

 

One of Thailand's most characteristic drinks is Thai iced tea. Instantly identifiable thanks to its lurid orange colour, this is the side effect of adding ground tamarind seed (or, these days, artificial colour) during the curing process. The iced tea is always very strong and very sweet, and usually served with a dash of condensed milk. Coffee is also widely available, and like most of Southeast Asia is served with condensed milk and lots of sugar. The Starbucks phenomenon has also arrived in Thailand, though the local companies Black Canyon Coffee and S&P also offer good blends and a strong brew.  

 

 

 

Shopping

Thailand Search no further! Offering a mix of contemporary and traditional, Thailand has a reputation for providing top quality items at low prices as well as having a notorious trade in ‘copies’ or fake goods. Prices in chain and department stores are fixed, however, in markets bargaining is expected. If bargaining, try first to become aware of what the going rate is so that your starting offer is not embarrassingly low. Once bargaining has started, there is an expectation that you intend to purchase the goods and are not just bargaining for ‘fun’.  

 

Items for which Thailand is famous include Thai silk, tailored clothing, colourful hill-tribe artefacts and finely crafted silver jewellery.   Even the smallest Thai town has a market offering fresh produce with larger ones selling everything from household items to crafts and artefacts. Bangkok itself has several famous markets, including the vast Chatuchak market held each weekend with more than 6000 stalls selling everything from seafood to second-hand jeans to antiques, textiles and food. Take the opportunity to visit the wonderfully aromatic stalls of the Pakklong Talad (Flower) market and visit any one of the many night markets including Khao San, Patpong and Sukhumvit.

 

   

 

Thailand Festivals Loi Krathong & Yi Peng - November 2014

Thailand’s visually stunning Loi Krathong festival is as fascinating as it is beautiful. Celebrated in all areas of Thailand on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, (normally in November), the festival is named after the floating lanterns, boats and ornaments that are set adrift onto rivers during the celebrations. Loi literally means ‘float’ in Thai. Krathongs are lotus-shaped vessels made of elaborated folded banana leaves or bread decorated with flowers, incense sticks, a coin for good luck and tea light candles.  

 

For some, floating a Krathong, especially when lit, are meant to honour Buddha. For most Thais, it’s a way to thank the Hindu Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for her help in providing the most basic of all human necessities. The practise is also associated with creating good luck and ridding oneself of anger and negative thoughts. Some will cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the Krathong, to symbolise the letting go of the bad elements of one's self.  

 

In Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom, Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as ‘Yi Peng’ where a multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns known in Thai as khom loi (literally 'floating lanterns') adorned with good luck wishes and prayer are released into the air where they resemble a colossal flocks of colourful jellyfish gracefully floating across the night sky.   In Chiang Mai, Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are celebrated at the same time resulting in lights floating on the waters, lights hanging from houses, trees and temples and thousands of beautiful lanterns floating by in the sky.  

 

You can join us in celebrating the Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festival in Chang Mai on our Yi Peng Lantern Festival tour - departing 01 Nov 2014.

 


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