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Top Thailand Hotels


Thailand Thailand is one vast holiday buffet, where visitors can gorge to their heart's content on culture, shopping, sun, sand and several other sybaritic recreations. Better still, the Kingdom is refreshingly affordable by any standards, making it a favourite for everyone from parents with children in tow to honeymooning couples to individuals with backpacks. Travelling executives will usually find themselves in Bangkok, where the great majority of hotels blend the Thai tradition of gracious hospitality (served up with the smile that is a national marketing tool) with ultra-modern facilities. Indeed, with properties like the Sukhothai, Amanpuri and the Regent Chiang Mai to conjure with, Thailand can lay claim to hosting some of the world's most stunning hotels. Shaped roughly like an elephant's head and trunk, the country's diverse offerings begin in the north with opportunities to trek in the jungles around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and take a first-hand look at the ethnic tribes who live in the region. Bangkok, known locally as Krung Thep, has been greatly liberated by the introduction of the Skytrain, which when combined with the ferry system is a superb way to get around the awesome temples, palaces, retail areas and restaurants - to say nothing of the nightlife. Pattaya, the resort closest to the capital, remains more attuned to the single male than anyone else. To the south, laid-back Hua Hin has a wealth of golf courses, while the more remote Krabi entices both those who want to scale its picturesque limestone karsts or simply admire them while basking on sugar sand beaches. The less-developed islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan draw the younger party crowd, and Phuket exercises a universal appeal with beaches, nightlife, sports and shopping. Families will welcome the news that children treatment by Thais, who happily drop whatever they are doing to coo over babies and natter to youngsters. Wherever visitors end up, there will be no shortage of reactions and diversions on offer. The worldwide popularity of Thai cuisine has led many hotels to open their kitchens as cooking schools, taking guests into the markets in the morning, showing then how to prepare the food, and finishing off with a gourmet lunch or dinner. Water sports are given at beach resorts, and mountain biking and horse riding provide a new way of exploring the countryside. Massage is an ancient Thai art and most major hotels now sport a spa offering a variety of body scrubs, facials and other similarly rejuvenating treatments. It needs to be said that some independent establishments use 'massage' as cover for more adult-oriented activities and, while official efforts have been made to curb the more outrageous side of red-light areas in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and elsewhere, the sex industry continues to flourish. Personal indulgence remains a matter of choice, but AIDS is an acronym no one can afford to ignore. Thailand's variable geography is mirrored by its three-season climate. The rainy season (June - October) hits Phuket and Krabi especially hard, but not Koh Samui, which faces its own monsoon between October and January. The cool season (November - February) is one of the best times to visit. And between March and May expect the temperature to rise to around 40C. Peak visitor periods (with corresponding accommodation prices) are Christmas and Lunar New Year. The chance to take in one of Thailand's major festivals is real bonus; a free-for-all public water fight celebrates Songkran or Thai New Year in mid-April, an event that attracts particular fervour in Chiang Mai. December 31st is also a signal for a wild party, and Loy Kratong in November is especially picturesque as couples and children launch candle-lit floats into waterways at night. Two Thai words - 'sanuk' and 'sabai' - sum up the main reasons why so many foreigners return to Thailand time and again. Sanuk means having a good time and, whether on a beach holiday or trekking through mall or mountains, it is difficult not to have fun here. Similarly, Thailand emanates a very happy-go-lucky atmosphere. Whether you are lying prone beneath a masseur's fingertips, downing a beer in a plush bar or just watching the sun go down on a deserted beach 'sabai', or taking it easy, is the watchword. More...

Visas

All visitors to Thailand must hold a passport valid for 6 months beyond the duration of their stay. Most nationalities are permitted one month visa-free visits, although citizens of certain countries will need to apply for a visa. If planning a longer stay, a tourist visa valid for 60 days must be obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad. Visitors must enter the country within 90 days of a visa being issued.

Visitors can extend their stay for a period of up to 30 days and applications should be made at the Immigration Department in Bangkok.

Customs

No more than 50,000 Baht in cash can be taken out of the country.

Visitors may take the following into Thailand duty free:

  • Alcohol - 1 litre of wine or spirits
  • Tobacco - 200 cigarettes

Antiques and Buddha images require export licences that may be obtained from the Bangkok Department of Fine Arts.

Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are extremely severe, ranging from long prison sentences to the death penalty.

Time

Thai time: GMT + 7 hours

Currency

  • Baht (B) - Check current exchange rates
  • 100 satang = 1 Baht
  • Notes issued: B1000, B500, B100, B50, B20, B10
  • Coins issued: B10, B5, B1, 50 satang, 25 satang

Language

The national language of Thailand is Thai, however English is widely understood in most tourist areas.

Tipping

Tipping is not standard practice in Thailand, although it is becoming increasingly common. Many larger hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip but the gesture is appreciated and B10-B20 is acceptable for porters.

Banking Hours

Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 3.30 pm

Telephone

The international dialling code for Thailand is 66.

When making international calls from Thailand, first dial 001 + country code + area code + telephone number

If calling Laos or Malaysia there is a special code which is charged at a semi-domestic rate:

When calling Laos, first dial 007 + 856 + area code + telephone number

When calling Malaysia, first dial 09 + 60 + area code + telephone number

Local Telephone Codes

Bangkok 02
Chiang Mai 053
Hua Hin 032
Koh Samui 077
Krabi 075
Pattaya 038
Phuket 076

Electricity

  • 220 Volt AC (50 cycles)
  • Flat and round 2-pin plugs are most common and it is advisable to carry a universal plug adapter.

Water

Stick to bottled water and if taking ice, check whether it has been obtained from a pure source.

Health

Make sure that you have adequate health insurance. Consider inoculations against typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and take advice regarding anti-malarials. It is always best to check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with a doctor when planning your trip.

International Airports

  • Bangkok - Don Muang Airport
  • Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Rai
  • Hat Yai
  • Koh Samui
  • Phuket

International Airport Departure Tax

B500

Domestic Airports

All international airports mentioned above plus the following:

  • Khon Kaen
  • Ranong
  • Sukhothai
  • Surat Thani
  • U Taphao
  • Ubon Ratchathani
  • Udon Thani

Domestic Airport Departure Tax

  • B30 at most domestic airports
  • B100 at Koh Samui

Etiquette/Dress Code

Thai people have a great reverence for their monarchy, therefore visitors should never show disrespect to the Thai Royal Family. It should also be noted that the head is considered to be a special part of the body, so patting/touching someone on the head is not appreciated and it is also considered rude to use your feet to point to a person or object. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.

Try to avoid wearing revealing shorts, short skirts, vests and singlets once away from the beach. If visiting wats (temples), dress neatly as a sign of respect and wear extra modest clothes such as long trousers/skirts, closed in shoes and keep your shoulders covered - if necessary, you can always improvise with a sarong. When visiting the Grand Palace it is possible to borrow clothes (free of charge) if you are inappropriately dressed.

Diplomatic Missions

Many countries have representative offices and consulates in Thailand.

Useful Sources of Information

For further information contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Weather

Thailand's weather is influenced by monsoons that sweep over the country creating three seasons in the north and central areas and two in the south.

North

  • Hot Season - boasts high temperatures and lightweight cotton clothes are best.
  • Cool Season - a few warmer layers are required as temperatures drop at night.
  • Rainy Season - sees heavy rainfall throughout due to the effects of the southwest monsoon.

Central Thailand

  • Hot Season -high temperatures/humidity.
  • Cool Season - remains quite hot but evenings tend to be cooler and a few warm layers are required.
  • Rainy season - most rain tends to fall between August and September - flooding can be common towards the end of this period.

South

Differences in temperature and rainfall occur during both seasons on the east and west coasts.

  • Rainy Season - torrential rain tends to fall in short bursts, usually lasting only a couple of hours each day. Most rain falls between June and November.
  • Hot and Dry Season - is relatively rain-free between January and April.

Flooding on the west coast is commonplace. Travel elsewhere during the rainy season is not necessarily problematic unless visiting areas where roads are unpaved, as rain renders these tracks impassable.

Carry a lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings.

North Thailand

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 21 - 34°C 69mm
Rainy Season (July - September) 23 - 31°C 218mm
Cool Season (October - February) 16 - 30°C 30mm

The climate of Northern Thailand is slightly more pleasant than other parts of the country.

Light cotton clothes are recommended all year round.

  • Hot Season - high temperatures are experienced throughout the day and only drop slightly at night.
  • Rainy Season - heavy rainfall throughout, although temperatures remain quite high. An umbrella is always useful at this time as it is sometimes too warm to consider wearing waterproof clothing.
  • Cool Season - warmer clothes are required during the cooler months when temperatures fall slightly through the day and even more so at night. Very little rain falls during this time.

High humidity is prevalent throughout the year, except in the more mountainous regions.

Best time to visit: During the Cool Season when both rainfall and temperatures are lower. Warmer clothes are essential for the evenings.

Central Thailand

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - May) 25 - 34°C 97mm
Rainy Season (June - October) 24 - 32°C 101mm
Cool Season (November - February) 21 - 32°C 25mm

Central Thailand covers a wide land area and the climate can vary across this expanse. Light, cotton clothing is recommended, especially as humidity levels remain quite high throughout the year.

  • Hot Season - boasts the hottest weather; heat becomes quite oppressive and temperatures can soar above the average. Only a small amount of rain falls during March and April, whilst May begins to see an increase as a prelude to the rainy season.
  • Rainy Season - the timing of this season can vary slightly each year depending on when the monsoon arrives. However, this is usually from June until October, bringing heavy rain and high temperatures.
  • Cool Season - although daytime temperatures remain quite high during the winter months, warmer items of clothing are advisable for the cooler nights.

Best time to visit: The Cool Season when temperatures are high and humidity is relatively low.

Southern Thailand (West Coast)

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot and Dry Season (November - May) 25 - 31°C 125mm
Rainy Season (June - October) 26 - 30°C 315mm

The climate of southern Thailand is influenced by monsoon winds and remains warm and humid throughout the year. Light cotton clothes are recommended at any time of the year and an umbrella is a must during the wet months.

  • Rainy Season - can be a pleasant time of year to visit with occasional heavy rain and long sunny periods between showers. However, September and October tend to exhibit higher rainfall and less in the way of sunny spells.

Best time to visit: During the Hot and Dry Season - as cool sea breezes ease the high temperatures and humidity. November to January experience relatively high rainfall for the season and April and May are the hottest months.

Southern Thailand (East Coast)

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot and Dry Season (January - April) 21 - 32°C 40mm
Rainy Season (May - December) 24 - 31°C 200mm

The climate of southern Thailand is influenced by monsoon winds and remains warm and humid throughout the year. Light cotton clothes are recommended at all times and an umbrella is a must during the wet months.

  • Hot and Dry Season - temperatures remain high, especially during April when they can soar above the average.
  • Rainy Season - rainfall tends to be heaviest towards the end of the year. Rain showers can be short lived and long sunny periods intervene - an umbrella is recommended rather than waterproof clothes due to the heat.

October and November normally see very long periods of rainfall and less in the way of sunshine.

Best time to visit: During the Hot and Dry Season when rainfall is minimal.

Featured Thailand Hotels

3 stars
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Asia Airport Hotel Bangkok

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Amari Boulevard Hotel

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The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok

The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok

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Majestic Suites Bangkok

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Century Park Hotel Bangkok

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Baiyoke Sky Hotel Bangkok

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The Plaza Hotel Bangkok

The Plaza Hotel Bangkok

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Thailand Travellers Tales

nelson rivera (1st call)
9/3/2005

Bangkok is an awesome place to visit. If you are into the touristy thing, go to the Grand Palace complex area...tons of stuff to see there, and tons of temples everywhere. Check out Khao San Road (but BTS Skytrain does NOT get you there) If you are into the street shopping thing, try Pratunam area, lots of good deals there... There are also tons of fancy malls around Siam Square area. Silom Rd area is a good area to hang out...good food joint there, you can also check out the evening market at Patpong for souvenirs shopping. Well, Patpong is also known for the Thai Massage parlors that "go the extra mile" for a few extra Baht. Sukhumvit is very commercial, good tailors there, around some 18-19, there are also several happy bars in the area... but it is definitely a more business atmosphere than Silom Rd. Bumrungrad Hospital is in Sukhumvit, for anyone who needs a medical check up or any dental work, and it is quite inexpensive, by say, USA standards. The food is great in Thailand, and cheap. One thing to watch, though, is for those tuk tuk drivers. It is a fun ride, but avoid the ones that take you on side trips to see tailors, jewelry shops, souvenir shops etc.... Ask before you get on...otherwise, you may be in for an unwanted tourist tour through these expensive shops.


phil hearn
8/16/2005

There are several nice restaurants nearby. The Indian restaurant towards Kata Beach, Dino''s (which looks gimmicky but serves excellent food) and Buffalo Steak House are all good.


leonard lipovich
8/14/2005

Please note that Khao San bars/discos close at 1.30 AM by government order (info current as of 8/05). Also, Khao San is closed to vehicular traffic at night (can be a problem if you carry lots of baggage from your taxi).


Anonymous
8/8/2005

There are a number of decent restaurants close to the Siri Sathorn Apts., including a Jim Thompson cafe down the same block, Anna''s Cafe, an upscale Italian place, etc. The spectacular outdoor rooftop bar/restaurant called Vertigo, on the 61st floor of the nearby Banyon Tree Hotel, is worth visiting for a drink (at 2 or 3 times the price anywhere else), but the food was less than stellar and very expensive by Bangkok standards. The tour to Attaya by bus from the Shangri-La Hotel and then back by boat, with a nice lunch onboard, made an enjoyable day trip. Traffic is so bad in the city (e.g., red lights that literally last for 7 or 8 minutes) that while taxis are very cheap, the skytrain often makes more sense. Tuk-tuks (and even the backs of motorcycles) are for the more adventurous, but can be hair-raising. Jim Thompson''s House is very interesting, and the main Jim Thompson store makes for one-stop gift buying, if one is looking for silk scarves and ties.


Anonymous
7/22/2005

Chiang Mai has lots of beautiful quiet temples. Check out lots of the temples you just stumble on, that are not in guide books. Try and go to a monk chat and learn about the life of a monk and Therevada Buddhism. Wat Doi Suthep is beautiful but the "factory" tours out east of the city are often very overpriced for what it is.


Anonymous
7/21/2005

Phuket, a great holiday, the water trip to James Bond Island is well worth it. The elephant rides a great day out. The night life with a fantastic show at the Moulon Rouge - Bangla St. all in all a great holiday.


Anonymous
7/20/2005

We flew Thai Air to Krabi (check ahead for discounts on air fare as they did a promo for $25 one way; we missed that). Stayed at The Viewpoint Resort in Railey; a great value and great staff. We rockclimbed and CliffsMan is very helpful. Diving with Krabi Divers, good value and Paul was great. Viengtai Hotel in Bangkok, nice and a good location (has a pool)!


Anonymous
7/20/2005

Go to The Cotton House in Oriental Place for superbly tailored clothing. While not the cheapest around, you do get what you pay for...We have a closet full of Thai silk, linen and cotton goods they have made for us over the past seven years, and love all of them. Try Harmonique off New Road for great Thai food at reasonable prices...and they ALWAYS have mango sticky rice for dessert!


tomasz walawender
7/15/2005

Bangkok is the place really worth seeing. Plenty of interesting places for sightseeing, but be careful with taxi drivers. They could take You not to the place You want, but where they are receiving commission. "Seafood Market" at Sukumvit 24 is really perfect place for "seafood lovers"


Anonymous
7/14/2005

Pratunam Plaza was excellent value for lunch meals. Also Thai massages here was extremely cheap (without bargaining too)!


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