English is fairly widely spoken in the popular tourist areas. Elsewhere, sign language, an expression, a calculator and a little patience will work wonders!
Thailand is 5 hours ahead of South African Time
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons:
Hot Season: March – May
Rainy Season: May – October
Cool Season: November – February
The average annual temperature is about 30’C. The northern regions can become slightly colder in the evenings during the cool season, so be sure to bring along a sweater or a light jacket if you intend visiting this area between November and February. During the rainy season, downpours hardly last more than a couple of hours but it can get quite hot and sticky due to the humidity over this period.
The Thai monetary unit is the Baht. There are 100 Satang to one Baht. Coins are used in denominations of 25 Satang, 50 Satang, 1 Baht, 2 Baht, 5 Baht and 10 Baht. Bank note denominations comprise 20 Baht (green), 50 Baht (blue), 100 Baht (red), 500 Baht (purple) and 1000 Baht (gray). Notes are also scaled in size; the larger the denomination, the larger the note.
MONEY EXCHANGE: Money and travelers cheques of all major currencies can be exchanged at hotels, banks, exchange booths and mobile exchange kiosks in tourist areas. Banks usually offer the best rates. During the week, banking hours are 08h30-15h30.
CREDIT CARDS: Credit cards are widely accepted in department stores, major hotels, up-market shops and restaurants. They can also be used for cash advances at banks and exchange counters. Most commonly accepted credit cards are VISA, Master Card, American Express & Diners Club.
Taxi drivers do not expect tips. Hotels and restaurants usually add 10-15% service charge in lieu of a tip.
No vaccinations are currently required unless traveling from/or through contaminated areas. It is recommended to be immunized against polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A and B. Malaria prophylactics are suggested for the Northern areas.
South African passport holders do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. Passports have to be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry. It is also recommended that your valid passport have at least 2 remaining unused pages for any necessary entry and exit stamps that may be issued. On arrival in Thailand, return ticket or onward travel arrangements may need to be presented upon request. These requirements are subject to change & it is therefore recommended to check with the embassy or consulate in your home country prior to departure.
Departure / Arrival Taxes
International Departure tax of Thb700 has now been included in your air ticket costs.