ABOUT Thailand travel is convenient for visitors as there are many ways to get to Thailand and even more ways to travel in Thailand, whether your destination is Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, or the most remote provinces. Thailand is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, and spectacular islands. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation. Upon arrival in Thailand, foreign citizens must hold a valid passport with at least six months validity, a valid Thai visa, and proof on onward travel. However, visitors from ASEAN or Western countries, including most European, Commonwealth, and North American citizens, are not required to have a Thai visa for visits less than 30 days in Thailand. Immigration policies are subject to change: check with a Thai Embassy or The Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.mfa.go.th for the latest information. The Thailand Customs Department is responsible for stemming the illegal transport of illicit drugs into and out of Thailand. Consequently, Thailand Customs officials do occasionally ask to search passengers’ bags. If you have nothing to declare, simply walk through the Green Channel, stopping only if asked to do so by a customs agent. If you have goods to declare, you should hand a customs form to the Thailand Customs Department agent at the Red Channel marked “goods to declare”. If you are planning a short holiday in Thailand you may not require a Thailand visa if you are citizen of one of the approximately 40 nations that qualify for a Thai visa waiver or Thai visa exemption. With evidence of onward/return travel, citizens of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the USA, and most European nations may enter Thailand for up to 30 days without a Thai visa.
CLIMATE The Thailand climate is controlled by tropical monsoons and the weather in Thailand is generally hot and humid across most of the country throughout most of the year. While Thailand’s seasons are generally divided into the hot season, cool season, and rainy season, in reality it’s relatively hot most of the year. In December, the weather is pretty dry across all regions of Thailand, so it's an ideal time to explore the whole country. The weather in central, northern, and northeastern Thailand is determined by three seasons, whereas the southern, coastal regions of Thailand feature only two, making the weather in Thailand quite easy to understand and plan a trip around.In Thailand’s inland provinces the seasons are clearly defined: Between November and May the weather is mostly dry and the cool season and hot season occur from November to February and March to May respectively. The other inland season, the rainy season, lasts from May to November and is dominated by the southwest monsoon, during which time rainfall in most of Thailand is at its heaviest. The southern, coastal region of Thailand really has only two seasons – rainy season and dry season. Fortunately, for those planning a beach holiday, Thailand’s two coasts have slightly different rainy seasons, allowing visitors to find sunny beaches nearly year round. On the Andaman or west coast, where Phuket, Krabi, and the Phi Phi Islands lie, the southwest monsoon brings heavy storms from April to October, while on the Gulf of Thailand or east coast, where Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao lie, the most rain falls between September and December.
BEWARE The political situation in Thailand is unpredictable and sometimes volatile. Over recent years there have been instances of civil and political unrest resulting in large-scale demonstrations and, in some cases, violence. You should exercise caution throughout Thailand and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings, which may turn violent. Never become involved with drugs of any kind in Thailand. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment. If you are found guilty of being in possession of marijuana you are likely to receive a long prison sentence and a hefty fine. Amphetamines and Ecstasy are regarded as Class A drugs and possession or trafficking of them carries the same penalties as heroin. If you are found guilty of being in possession of 20 grams of a Class A drug at a point of exit from Thailand you will most likely be sentenced to death. It is a criminal offence to make critical or defamatory comments about the King or other members of the Royal family in Thailand. There is a high threat of terrorism. Bomb and grenade attacks have been indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers. There have been attacks in the past in the main cities of Thailand, including in Chiang Mai in 2010 and in Bangkok in February 2012. You should remain vigilant and keep abreast of local security advice and media reports.