Thailand Practical information, visa requirements, immunization, departure tax, admission charges

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Visas and Passports

Many nationalities , including the citizens of most European countries, Australia and the USA, can enter Thailand for up to 30 day without a pre-arranged visa. Proof of a confirmed return flight or other on-going travel arrangements must be presented upon arrival in Thailand. This 30-day period is not extendible . Nationals of several smaller European countries, such as Andorra, must obtain a visa before travelling. For those wishing to stay longer, a 60-day tourist visa can be arranged from a Thai embassy or consulate period to arrival in Thailand. This usually takes two to three working days to process , but may take longer during busy periods. A 90-day non-immigrant visa must be applied for in your home country and requires a letter of verification from a Thai source giving a valid reason, such as business or study, for spending three months in Thailand.

This visa is slightly more expensive than the 60-day tourist visa. With all visas, entry into Thailand must occur within 90-days of issue. Visa extensions are at the discretion of the Immigration Department in Bangkok or any other immigration office in Thailand. Over-staying a visa carries a fine of 100 baht per day and can result in serious penalties. Re-entry visas, allowing the visitor to leave the country and return within 60 days, can be applied for at the Bangkok Immigration Department.

Proof of funds sufficient to support the traveller while in Thailand may be required in some cases. Strictly speaking , travellers entering Thailand should have at least six months left on their passport. It is best to confirm all such details with a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country before travelling. Crossing the border into neighbouring countries generally depends on the current political situation. A four-week tourist visa for Burma, which costs 250 baht, can be obtained from the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok. A 15-day tourist visa for Laos can be issued by the Laos Embassy, though it is often quicker to apply for it at a travel agency in major cities suchas Bangkok or Chiang Mai . A four-week tourist visa for Cambodia can be issued upon arrival at Phnom Penh airport.


There are no legal immunization requirements unless you are travelling from a country know to be infected with yellow fever. It is recommended that everyone be immunized against polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A. In addition - for those travellers going to remote or rural areas, or who are staying more than two to three weeks - BCG, hapatitis B , rabies, diphtheria, and Japanese encephalitis are advised. For the latest advice, contact a travel clinic or your GP , who will also be able to advise on the current guidelines for malaria prevention, as the drug recommendations change fairly often.

Some vaccines need to be given separately or in stages. Malaria tablets , meanwhile, are started a week before leaving and continued for several weeks after returning . For these reasons it is advisable to contact your doctor at least six weeks before departure.

Customs Information

Customs regulations when entering Thailand are standard. During an inbound flight you will be given a white customs form which must be filled in and hunded over at the customs desk after claiming your baggage. Thai customs restrictions for goods carried into the country are the following : 200 cigarettes, one litre of wine or spirits, one video camera, five dolls or still film, three rolls of video film and one item of electrical goods per person. A car or motorbike can be brought into the country for touring purposes for up to six months but this requires prior arrangement through the Thai embassy in your home country.

The carrying of drugs, firearms or pornography is strictly prohibited. Although there are no restrictions on the maximum amount of money an individual may bring into the country, there is a minimum requirement, which varies according to the type of visa on which you are travelling. Check with your local Thai embassy for current requirements.

Antiques and Buddha images are not allowed out of Thailand without authorization. If you wish to export such items, you must first contact the Fine Arts Department of the National Museumin Bangkok. Authorization involves some minor red tape: a couple of forms accompanied by two frontal photographs of the object being purchased. Some of the more up-market antique shops can organise this for you. Contemporary "works of art", such as paintings bought in markets, can be takenout of the country without permission. It is illegal to leave Thailand with more than 50,000. bath without the correct authorization.

Departure Tax

For International flights out of Thailand there is a departure tax of 250 bath per person. For domestic flights the departure tax is 20 bath. These taxes should be paid at the check-in counters at the relevant airport.

Tourist Information

The many branches of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are vary helpful, offering plenty of practical and background information on sights and festivals, as well as maps, brochures, mini-guides and podters. They also have a useful list of reputable travel agents and hotels. There is a small information kiosk in Don Muang airport. Many of the provincial capitals in Thailand have a TAT office (listed throughout this guide), as do some overseas countries.

Buddha images wrapped and ready for sale

Admission Charges

Admission charges to sights in Thailand are usually nominal, ranging from 10-50 baht for government-run establishments (including most national parks), to 100 baht or more for private museums. Occasionally, foreigners may (legitimately) be charged a higher admission price than locals, on the assumption that they earn more than most Thais. Major tourist wats charge a set fee; in others there is usually a box for donations.

Opening Hours

This guide indicates the days of the week when sights are open. Almost all destinations and sights in Thailand can be visited throughout the year, though accommodation on, and ferries to, some of the southern islands may be limited during the rainy season. In general, major tourist attractions open at 8am or 9am and close any time between 3:30pm and 6pm. A few also shut for lunch between noon and 1pm. Most major sights are open daily, but some national museums close for public holidays and on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Large department stores are usually open daily 10am - 9am, while smaller shops are open 8am - 9pm. In small towns markets are generally held on a daily basis. Commercial offices are invariably open 8am-noon and 1pm-5pm Monday to Friday. Government offices are open 8:30am-noon and 1pm-4:30pm Monday to Friday. During the Chinese New Year, many businesses may close, especially in the South.