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Thailand Facts for the Traveler
Facts for the Traveler

Visas: Most visitors can stay for 30 days without a visa.
Health risks: malaria (This serious and potentially fatal disease is spread by mosquito bites symptoms range from fever, chills and sweating, headache, diarrhoea and abdominal pains to a vague feeling of ill-health. Seek medical help immediately if malaria is suspected. Without treatment malaria can rapidly become more serious and can be fatal. If medical care is not available, malaria tablets can be used for treatment. If you do contract malaria, be sure to be re-tested once you return home as you can harbour malaria parasites even if you are symptom free. Travellers are advised to prevent mosquito bites at all times by sleeping under a mosquito net impregnated with repellent, wearing light-coloured clothing, long trousers and long-sleeved shirts; using mosquito repellents containing the compound DEET on exposed areas and refraining from using perfumes and aftershave. Thailand's high-risk areas for malaria include northern Kanchanaburi Province (especially Thung Yai Naresuan National Park) and parts of Trat Province along the Cambodian border (including Ko Chang)), Japanese B encephalitis (This mosquito-transmitted viral infection of the brain is a risk only in rural, rice-growing areas, and is thought to be a very low risk for travellers. However, it can be fatal, and may cause permanent brain damage in those who recover. There is an effective vaccine, and you should take measures to avoid mosquito bites), rabies (Many animals can be infected with rabies (such as dogs, cats, bats and monkeys) and it's their saliva that is infectious. Any bite, scratch or even lick from a warm-blooded, furry animal should be cleaned immediately and thoroughly. Scrub with soap and running water, and then apply alcohol or iodine solution. Medical help should be sought promptly to receive a course of injections to prevent the onset of symptoms and death), dengue fever (The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, is most active during the day, and is found mainly in urban areas in and around human dwellings. Signs and symptoms of dengue fever include a sudden onset of high fever, headache, joint and muscle pains, nausea and vomiting. A rash of small red spots sometimes appears three to four days after the onset of fever. Severe complications do sometimes occur. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if you think you may be infected. A blood test can indicate the possibility of dengue fever. There is no specific treatment. Aspirin should be avoided, as it increases the risk of haemorrhaging. There is no vaccine against dengue fever)
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +7
Dialling Code: 66
Electricity: 220V ,50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric



When to go

Thailand's monsoons arrive around July and last into November (the 'rainy season') and can be quite uncomfortable to deal with. This is followed by a dry, cool period from November to mid-February, followed by much higher relative temperatures from March to June.

By far the best time to visit is from Febraury to March when the weather is kind and the beaches are at their finest.

The peak seasons are August, November, December, February and March, with secondary peak months in January and July. If your main objective is to avoid crowds and to take advantage of discounted rooms and low-season rates, you should consider travelling during the least crowded months (April, May, June, September and October). On the other hand it's not difficult to leave the crowds behind, even during peak months, if you simply avoid some of the most popular destinations (eg, Chiang Mai and all islands and beaches).


Events

Many festivals are linked to Buddhist or Brahman rituals and follow a lunar calendar. New Year/Songkran, is celebrated in mid-April by 'bathing' Buddha images, paying respects to monks and elders by sprinkling water over their hands, and generally tossing a lot of water in the air for fun. Expect to get soaked, unless you'd prefer to skulk in your room. The sowing and harvesting of rice has given rise to a cycle of festivals. To kick off the official rice-planting season in early May, the king participates in an ancient Brahman ritual in a large field in central Bangkok; a Rocket Festival is held in May in the country's northeast, using a volatile mixture of bamboo and gunpowder to convince the sky to send rain for the new rice season; and the rice harvest from September through to May leads to joyous local celebrations throughout Thailand.

The Vegetarian Festival in Phuket and Trang, during which devout Chinese Buddhists eat only vegetarian food, runs for nine days from late September to early October. Merit-making processions are the most visible expression of this festival, but there are also ceremonies at Chinese temples. The Elephant Roundup in Surin in November is a festival popular with the kind of people who enjoy watching pachyderms play soccer. During the Loi Krathong Festival, held after the rainy season (usually in November), candle-lit floats are cast into waterways to bring good fortune for the coming year.



 

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