Thai is the official language of the country, but has several regional dialects. The northeastern area, commonly called Issan, is also home to a Lao-derived language.
Thailand uses the Thai baht (THB) as its main currency. One, two, five and ten baht coins are used, and notes include 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000. Major airports and cities can exchange foreign money, including banks and stand-alone currency bureaus. Outside the larger concubines, ATMs that accept international cards are quite limited. Credit cards can be used for most hotel, restaurant and shopping purchases unless otherwise stated, but keep in mind this is a cash society so try to use the local currency whenever possible.
Thailand is seven hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (UTC +7).
The country has a voltage network of 220V. Electrical plugs are two pronged, with vertical and flat pins. There is typically no grounded plug on Thai electronics, although modern developments have led to more grounding wires. North American travelers should bring an adaptor and converter.
The international dialing code for Thailand is +66. Buying a mobile phone is not only cheap, but extremely easy as Bangkok’s MBK shopping center is literally home to hundreds. The three major network providers are DTAC, AIS and True Move. When it comes to internet service, most cafés have internet connectivity or WiFi for a fee. Many shopping malls also have internet cafés, although these are usually filled with rowdy teenagers competing against each other in computer games. In hotels and tourist-centric destinations, wireless and landline internet is available, but comparatively expensive.
All of Thailand’s international ports have duty-free stores available for shopping. In addition, Bangkok’s inner-city Kings Power complex is duty-free for shoppers. Unlike western countries, there is no age restriction on tax-free status. Passengers may have 200 cigarettes, 250 grams of tobacco or an equal weight of cigars and one liter of alcohol.
Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangkok: +66-2-250-5500 or http://www.tourismthailand.org.
Embassies in Thailand
US Embassy, Bangkok: +66-2-205-4000 Australian Embassy, Bangkok: +66-2-344-6300 British Embassy, Bangkok: +66-2-305-8333 Dutch Embassy, Bangkok: +66-2-254-7702 New Zealand Embassy, Bangkok: +66-2-254-2530 Embassy of Italy, Bangkok: +66-2-285-4092
Emergency services: 191