From: (soc.culture.thai FAQ maintainer)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.thai,,soc.answers,rec.answers,news.answers
Subject: soc.culture.thai Travel FAQ
Followup-To: soc.culture.thai
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.Edu
Summary: This posting contains Travel information for the
         soc.culture.thai newsgroup.

Archive-name: thai/travel
Soc-culture-thai-archive-name: travel
Version: $Id: sctfaq-travel,v 1.12 1995/03/05 21:44:56 trin Exp trin $

The "soc.culture.thai Frequently Asked Questions" periodic postings are
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Tourism and Travel information

 * Travel information
  T.1)  Royal Thai Embassies
  T.2)  Visa information (revised)
  T.3)  Where to get tourist and travel information?
  T.4)  Which credit cards are accepted in Thailand?
  T.5)  Car rental
  T.6)  General observations and recommendations
  T.7)  North
  T.8)  Northeast/Isan
  T.9)  East/Southeast
  T.10) Greater Bangkok Metropolis
  T.11) Bangkok accommodation



This part of the soc.culture.thai FAQ outlines information and
possible sources of further information pertaining to Thailand
tourism and travel information.


Subject: T.1)  Royal Thai Embassies

Below is a list of the Royal Thai Embassies in various countries:

   11 Empire Circuit Yarraluma          Royal Thai Consulate General
   Canberra, ACT 2600                   3rd Floor, 75-77 Pitt st,
   Tel (071) 731149                     Sydney, NSW 2000
                                        Tel. (071)(02) 241 2542-3

Austria                            Belgium
  Weimarer Strasse 68                   Square Du Val De La Cambre 2
  Vienna 1180,                          Bruxelles 1050,
  Tel. (047)(0222) 348361               Tel. (046) 6406810

Canada                             China
  180 Island Park Drive,                40 Guang Hua Lu,
  Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y OA2,             Beijing,
  Tel. (021)(013) 7224444, 7295235      Tel. (085) 5321903

Egypt                              France
  2 E1 Male El Aldal St,                8 Rue Greaze,
  Zumalet, Cairo, A.R.E.                Paris 75116,
  Tel. (091) 3408356                    Tel. (042) 47278079

  Botschaft des Koenigreichs            Generalkonsulat des Koenigreichs
  Thailand - Kanzlei                    Thailand
  Ubierstr. 65                          Podbielskiallee 1
  D-53173 Bonn                          D-14195 Berlin
  Tel. (0228) 355065/8, 351085          Tel. (030) 8312715, 8314574

  Honorargeneralkonsulat des            Honorargeneralkonsulat des
  Koenigreichs Thailand                 Koenigreichs Thailand
  Koenigsallee 27                       Rossmarkt 14
  D-40212 Duesseldorf                   D-60311 Frankfurt
  Tel. (0211) 8382247                   Tel. (069) 20110

  Honorargeneralkonsulat des            Honorargeneralkonsulat des
  Koenigreichs Thailand                 Koenigreichs Thailand
  An der ALster 85                      Prinzenstr. 13
  D-20099 Hamburg                       D-80639 Muenchen
  Tel. (040) 24839118                   Tel. (089) 1689788

Hongkong                           India
  8 Cotton Tree Dr.,                    56-N Nyaya Marg,
  8th Floor, Fairmont House,            Chanakyapuri,
  Central Hong Kong,                    New Delhi 110021,
  Tel. (0802) (5) 216481-5              Tel (081) 605679

Indonesia                          Japan
  74 Jalan Imam Bonjal,                 14-6 kami-Osaki, 3-chome,
  Jarkarta,                             Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141,
  Tel. (073) 343762                     Tel (072) 44-1386

Malaysia                           New Zealand
  206 Jalan Ampany,                     2 cook st., Karori,
  KL 50450,                             P.O.Box 17-226, Wellington,
  Tel. (0804)(03)2488222                Tel (074) 768618-9

  Buitenrustweg 1,                      Royal Thai Consulate General
  2517 KD Den Haag,                     Emmastraat 40,
  Tel. (070) 345 2088                   1075 HW Amsterdam,
                                        Tel (020) 6799916

Norway                             Saudi Arabia
  Munkedamsveien 5913,                  A1 Maa'ther St.,
  0270 Oslo 2,                          P.O. Box 94359, Riyadh 11693,
                                        Tel. (0495)(01) 4826002

Singapore                          Sweden
  370 Orchard Rd.,                      5th Floor Sandhamnsgatan 36,
  Singapore 0923,                       P.O.Box27065, Stockholm 10251,
  Tel. (087) 7372158                    Tel. (054)(08) 672160

Switzerland                        UK
  3rd Floor, Eigerstrasse 60,           29-30 Queen's Gate,
  Bern 3007,                            London, SW 7 5JB,
  Tel. (045)(031) 462281-2              Tel. (051)(01) 5890173

Switzerland (for french speaking)       (for german speaking)
Consulat de Thailande                   Thailaendisches Konsulat
  R. Jean-Senebier 20                   St. Alban-Graben 8
  1205 Geneve                           4051 Basel
  Tel. (022) 781 33 66                  Tel. (061) 271 68 67

  1024 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.,            Royal Thai Consulate General
  Washington, D.C. 20016,               35 East Wacker Drive,
  Tel.                                  Suite 1834, Chicago,
                                        Tel.(0230)(312) 2362447-8

  Royal Thai Consulate General          Royal Thai Consulate General
  801 N.La Brea Ave.,                   53 Park Place,
  Los Angeles, CA 90038,                New York, NY 10007,
  Tel. (0230)(213) 971834-9             Tel. (0230)(212) 7328166-8

  Royal Thai Consulate
  205 SE Spokane Ave., Suite 350,
  Portland. OR 97228-5516
  Tel. (503) 232-7079


Subject: T.2)  Visa information

1. Requirements to obtain visas

   1.1 Valid passport.
   1.2 One visa application form (duly filled in and signed by applicant).
   1.3 Two passport size photographs (color or b&w), 2"X2", front view.
   1.4 Visa fees (for each entry) are payable in cash or money order only:
        Non-Immigrant Visa...................US$ 20, Maximum stay 90 day.
        Tourist Visa.........................US$ 15, Maximum stay 60 day.
        Transit Visa.........................US$ 10, Maximum stay 30 day and
                                             for transfer to third country
                                             only, a photocopy of confirmed
                                             onward air ticket must be
                                             submitted when applying.
   1.5 The following applicants should call the Thai Embassy for additional
        a) Holders of US passport or Re-Entry Permits and were born in
           Cambodia, Vietnam or Loas
        b) Holders of passport: -Middle East Countries
                                -New Zealand and Sweden
                                -People of Republic of China
                                -Other communist countries

2. Validity of visa for entering Thailand

   2.1 Visa will be utilized upon arrival at port of entry
   2.2 Visa must be utilized within 90 days from the date of issuance;
       6 months in case of 2 or more entries.

   Note: Do not apply for visa more than 3 months before your visit.

3. Long stay: more than 90 days

   Applicant must obtain an approval from the Immigration Division in
   Bangkok, Thailand. Procedures for such a visa can be carried out in 2
   a) Applicant may submit the applications through the Royal Thai Embassy
      or consulate abroad.
   b) Company and firm in Thailand where alien wishes to work may represent
      an alien by applying directly to the Immigration Division in Bangkok,

4. Exchange control

   a) A person travelling to Thailand's bordering countries or to Vietnam
      can take out Thai currency up to 500,000 Baht without authorization.
      Persons travelling to other countries may take out Thai currency up
      to 50,000 Baht without authorization. 

      Foreign visitors or persons in transit may freely take out of the
      country all foreign exchange which they had brought in (and declared)
      without limit.
                      Updated by (Colin Newell)
                       Message-ID: <>
                                    Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 06:55:55 GMT

      These amounts of baht and dollars are *only* for cash. "Currency 
      instruments" like checks are not included -- which means there is no 
      restriction on these.
                           Updated by (Alan Dawson)
                                 Message-ID: <>
                                    Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1995 22:51:00 GMT

   b) To bring foreign exchange into the country, residents are required
      to surrender foreign exchange received to an authorized bank or to
      deposit the same in a foreign currency account within 15 days from
      date of receipt. Residents don't need to surrender the foreign
      exchange if it is "to service external obligations". Foreign visitors
      and persons in transit do not have to do so.

      In addition the total amount of balance in a Thai person's foreign
      currency accounts must not exceed US$500,000 - there is no
      such restriction for non-residents.
                      Updated by (Colin Newell)
                       Message-ID: <>
                                    Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 06:55:55 GMT

5. Citizens of the following countries are exempt from paying visa fees

   Denmark, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, Singapore and

6. Entering Thailand without a visa

   Holder of valid passports from 50 countries listed below with a proof of
   confirmed onward ticket may enter and stay in Thailand within 30 days
   without "visa run", i.e. applying for Transit Visa at Port of Entry once
   entering Thailand.

   Holders of valid Denmark, Finland, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway,
   and Sweden passports are granted with 30-day transit visas. The regulation
   is under re-evaluation process whether 90-day transit visas can be granted.

   Passport holders of another 50 countries are granted with 30-day
   transit visas which can be extended at a maximum of 10 days. These
   countries are:
     Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil,
     Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Djibouti, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany,
     Greece, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya,
     Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mauritania, Myanmar,
     Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar,
     Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa,
     Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United
     Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Yemen.


Subject: T.3)  Where to get tourist and travel information?

Two Gopher servers are now offering travel information. offers travel information related to northern
provinces as well as recent weather forecasts. offers
travel information for northeastern (Isan) provinces.

In the USA, write to:

Thailand (USA,CA)
  Tourism Authority of Thailand
  3440 Wilshire Blvd #1101
  Los Angeles, CA 90010
  213-382-2353;; FAX 213-389-7544
Thailand (USA,IL)
  Tourism Authority of Thailand
  303 E. Wacker Dr #400
  Chicago, IL 60601
  312-819-3990;; FAX 312-565-0355
Thailand (USA,NY)
  Tourism Authority of Thailand
  5 World Trade Center #3443
  New York, NY 10048
  212-432-0433;; FAX 212-912-0920

Subject: T.4)  Which credit cards are accepted in Thailand?

Here's brief information about the system in Thailand

        Plus, Star and Cirrus system cards work. It is also possible to get
        money from Visa, MC, AmEx, JCB, Diners at exchange booths and banks
        with a fee.

    Credit Cards
        Visa, MC, AmEx, JCB, DC at most of the large retail establishments,
        restaurants, hotels and travel agents. A surcharge of between 3 and
        5 percent (sometimes more) is almost universally applied.

    Traveler's Cheques
        There is a fee (7 Baht per cheque) and a tax (3 Baht per cheque).
        Money exchange booths with competitive rates are open at all
        hours, everywhere.

    Change money
        Money exchange booths with competitive rates are open at all
        hours, everywhere. Every major currency is accepted. Most will
        not exchange Baht for other currencies.  Banks will, but only
        during regular banking hours. Some banks have an exchange window
        that is open at other hours.

       (This info. is kindly provided by Khun Ralf Von Gunten)
       With POSTCHEQUES one can get money in every post office. With one
       POSTCHEQUE, one can get up to 5,000 Baths, which is much enough for a
       while. I used successfully POSTCHEQUES (February 92 and July 92)
       in small places like Khun Yuam (near Mae Hong Son) and Si Chiang Mai
       (near Vientiane, Laos). All the small banks there didn't accept my
       VISA Card or something else. What's better, with POSTCHEQUES: It's
       free of any charge and the exchange rate is often more favourable.
       People who wants to use POSTCHEQUES should ask the closest post


Subject: T.5)  Car rental

From: (Eddie Goletz)
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 1994 03:15:06 GMT

I rented a car when I went to Thailand last September and I used it to
drive around the provinces.  Car rental is a little expensive, but it is
fun and it gives you a great deal of freedom.  I think having a car also
impressed some of the people I met there.
I don't think there were any rental places at the Bangkok airport.  I
rented through Hertz, and they delivered the car to the airport for me,
for a 400 Baht charge.  Avis was another company that rents cars there.
I made my reservations through their toll free number while in the US.
I checked the prices with both Hertz and Avis, and found their prices to be
comparable.  Rates from the Hertz brochure are:
                                       |  Self Drive       | Self Drive   |
                                       |  Economy Rates    | Unlimited Km |
Car Group      | Make & Model          |  Daily |  Plus    | Daily        |
               |                       |        |  per Km  |              |
Super Economy  | Mitsubishi Champ 1.3  |  800   |  4       | 1200         |
Economy        | Toyota Corolla 1.3    | 1000   |  4       | 1400         |
Luxury Economy | Mitsubishi Lancer 1.5 | 1100   |  4       | 1500         |
Medium         | Toyota Corona 1.6     | 1200   |  5       | 1600         |
Luxury Medium  | Toyota Corona 2.0     | 1500   |  6       | 2000         |
There are also Executive, Super Luxury, Touring and Truck Car Groups and
Chauffeur rates as well. [........]
Collision Damage Waiver insurance is 150 Baht/day and Personal Accident
Insurance is 100 Baht/day.
A friend read in a guide book about some rental places that were very cheap,
around 500 Baht/day, but that the cars are so old that you spend all your
time worrying about the car breaking down.
My Hertz brochure states that drivers must be between ages 23 and 60 and
have at least one years driving experience, hold a valid driving licence
and an international driving permit if the licence is not in English.
I read in some guide books that the international driving permit is always
I don't know if any insurance is required, but I highly recommend it.  I
found out that the automatic insurance that goes with those gold credit
cards is not valid in Thailand.
I haven't visited the places you mentioned.  I know from experience that
in general Thai drivers are comfortable with, shall we say, a lower margin
of safety in driving that people in America are used to.  I was involved in
or close to what looked to me like some close calls.  However, I never saw
any collisions or even cars with dents in them.
I don't remember the rates, but I recall [gasoline rates] were very
reasonable, on par with US prices.
Manual transmission are the norm.  If you want an automatic, be sure to state
that this is a requirement when you make your reservation.
No maps came with my car, and the airport shop did not have any road maps.
I did purchase a road map at a museum on my second day.  It was a road map
atlas of all of Thailand, written in both English and Thai, published by
the Roads Association of Thailand.  It cost 150 Baht.  The ISBN is
974-7653-31-1.  This map was very helpful to me.  It also made asking
directions much easier because the maps were bilingual.  Perhaps you could
buy one of these maps by mail before you go.  The address and phone number is:
Roads Association of Thailand
Department of Highways HQ.
Si Ayutthaya Rd., Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400
Tel.(02) 246-1971, (02) 246-1122 Ext. 2276
Many of the road signs are in Thai only.  Also, the roads are not marked as
as well as I am used to here in the US.  Highway driving, however, is
generally pretty easy.  You just can't go very fast. 

Subject: T.6)  General observations and recommendations

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 08:59:01 -0800 (PST)
From: Putnam Barber 

> What's the local currency converted to US dollars?

Thai baht are stable at a little over 25 to the US$.

> What's the normal price to pay for a room?

In Thailand, rooms can range from 60 baht to several thousand. 
The key variables are (1) air-con or not, (2) bathroom (and style thereof)
or not.  We have had the best luck staying in 20+ year-old poured concrete
hotels near the centers of towns and taking the non-air-con room with a
private bath. These usually cost 150 to 250 baht per night (outside of
Bangkok) with one bottle of water, two towels (thin) and a roll of toilet
paper, maybe the tiniest bar of soap you ever saw.  You sometimes need to
ask for one or another of these 'amenities'.  The "Lonely Planet Travel
Survival Guide - Thailand" lists one or more of this style hotel in nearly
every city. 

> How's the food? Good/bad, expensive/cheap?

There's every imaginable choice.  Sold from carts.  Sold from 
open-air storefronts.  Sold in outdoor garden restaurants.  Sold in 
air-con restaurants with menus in English, Chinese and Thai.  When you 
feel brave, go to the open-storefront restaurant where police, 
military or bank people are eating.  When you feel cautious, look for a 
food court in a department store -- they serve basically the same food, 
but in a place with much more visible surface sanitation and (usually) 
air conditioning.  The food courts I saw worked with coupons.  You buy 
them at the door and pay the food vendor (there are usually several).  
Any unused coupons can be redeemed where you bought them (I 
think).  Air-con restaurants are cold, and usually quite expensive, and a 
nice break from the hustle of the street.

    The street vendors specialize.  Noodles _or_ rice, seldom both.  One 
kind of meat or fish, sometimes two.  You make your selection by choosing 
which cart to go to depending on the food you prefer.  I recommend chicken 
with noodles in a thin soup and banana fritters.  

    Most things to eat in Thailand are quite inexpensive.  A signal 
exception is beer, which costs 45 baht a (large) bottle in small stores 
and can be up to 100 baht ($4) in restaurants.  I'm amused to say that in 
my notes from our recent trip there are many days where beer is nearly 
half of our total day's expenses -- :-)  .

> Any nice places to stop by on the way? 

Lots.  There are too many wonderful places to have much fun trying to
cover 'all' the territory in a short time.  It depends what you like.  I
suggest the "Lonely Planet" (or another detailed) guide as a good pre-trip
read.  And best is choosing one or two places to stay for 2-3 nights and
days before moving on if you have to.  I love wandering the streets and
markets of Thai cities -- each has a different character which takes a
while to see under the bustle, the 'coke' signs, and the crowds of
minibikes and pickups.  The countryside is harder, there aren't very many
places to stay, transport takes flexibility and creativity (sometimes
something close to courage, too).  The distances can be quite surprisingly
long.  There are though lots and lots of buses and wonderful helpful
people.  Plus taxis are surprisingly cheap and people sometimes use them
for very long trips (I saw one from Bangkok with a couple in the back a
few kilos outside Buriram, nearly 500 K from 'home'!). 

Of course, some people go to Thailand to spend time on beautiful beaches 
at relatively low prices.  That's a very sensible thing to to do.  The 
beaches are beautiful.  The prices are relatively low.  After some time 
there, though, I've come to enjoy the communities more and more.  I guess 
I'd encourage everyone to save a little time for exploring one of the 
cities outside of Bangkok.

From: Alan Cooper (
Date: Unknown

     I recommend avoiding resort/tourist areas during holidays. We visited
     Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan last month during the New
     Year holiday. It was *very* crowded and difficult to find lodging,
     transportation (plane, train, bus or boat). Prices (especially in
     Phuket) were inflated 2-3X. At the dock in Surat tourists were being
     warned not to go to the islands (Koh Samui & Phangan) if they didn't
     have prearranged lodging.

     On the other hand, holidays are a good time to tour Bangkok. Fewer
     people and less traffic.

     Something I've seen no mention of on SCT is drug use in resort areas.
     I realize that this is part of the attraction for some but others are
     looking for places to take families. They should be advised that this
     sort of thing goes on.

     At the resort where we stayed on Koh Phangan an employee was openly
     selling marijuana to mostly young foreign guests. These guests would
     then smoke it every chance they got including in the restaurant during
     breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other Thai and foreign families staying
     there agreed that this made it a not very desirable place for a family
     holiday and would not come back. The owner was aware that there was
     more profit to be had from vacationing families vs. young foreigners,
     but apparently did not see the connection between their promotion of
     marijuana use and discouraging family vacations. I wish they would have
     at least advised discretion and not allowed marijiuana smoking in the

     Only once did I see someone suggest to a tourist that they put out
     their joint. A waiter at a dockside restaurant on Koh Phangan pointed
     out to a table of tourists that a policeman was nearby and smoking
     marijuana was inadvisable. The tourists got the message.

     Towns along he Mekong river between Ubon and Nong Khai have always been
     favorites of mine. Mukdahan has a thriving riverfront tourist market
     with lots of goods from from Laos, China and Vietnam. The (rebuilt)
     temple at That Phanom has a well organized museum with many signs in
     English as well as Thai. I don't remember there being any museum when I
     first visited That in 1973. Nakhon Phanom remains relatively untouched
     by tourism. There is a new tourist-class hotel, the Mae Nam Kong Grand
     View which may mark the beginning of change, but Nakhon Phanom remains
     a great place to sit and watch the river.


Subject: T.7)  North

General travel information on Thailand northern provinces is available
on a Gopher server at Chiangmai University's gopher server.
The consolidates
all known references to information related to Thailand including the
above gopher.

From: (Samart Srijumnong)
Date: 12 Jan 1994 01:47:13 GMT

First of all, one weekend would not be enough for hill tribe village tour. 
The shortest trek tour takes four days. Chiangmai and other areas close
by along should comfortably fill the whole two-day/two-night trip. As MBA
students, they may want to look for some "selling points" from the things
they see, e.g. local arts, tourist attractions, people's attitude and tastes.
If this is the case, it would not matter much where they go anyway.

Concerning the place to stay, here are the places listed by Joe Cummings,
in his tourist guide...THAILAND, (1990), under "top end" category. 

Chiang Inn Hotel, downtown, from 920B
Chiang Mai Hill, 18 Huay Kaew Rd., from 726B
Chiang Mai Orchid, 100 Huay Kaew Rd., from 1210B
Chiang Mai Plaza, 92 Si Donchai Rd., from 950B
Chiang Mai President, 226 Vitchyanon Rd., from 847B
Dusit Inn, downtown, from 1000B
Poy Luang, 146 Superhighway, from 886
Rincome Hotel, 301 Huay Kaew, from 1331B
Suriwong Hotel, downtown, from 1089B

The followings have some rooms with airconditioning (middle class?)

Anodart Hotel, Ratchamankha Rd.,  280-480B
Bualuang Hotel, 16 Huay Kaew Rd., from 350B
Chang Phuak Hotel, 133 Chotana Rd., 250-400B
Chiang COme Hotel, 7/35 Suthep Rd., 300-500B
CHiang Mai Phucome, 21 Huay Kaew Rd., 550-880B
Diamond Hotel, 33/10 Charoen Prathed Rd., 400-930B
Iyara Hotel, 126 Chotana Rd., 450-550B
Little Duck Hotel, 99/9 Huay Kaew Rd., 400-500B
Muang Mai Hotel, 502 Huay Kaew Rd, from 420-480B
Nantana Pension, 72/76 Tipanet Rd., 250-350B
New Asia Hotel, 55 Rachwong Rd., 220-1200B

I also mentioned YMCA in other posting. The price is quite reasonable there.
I have not given the phone as you may only want to use the number to estimate
the trip cost. When you are in Bangkok, you can acquire their number and
contact them. To book room for big group like this should get some discount
which sometime up to 50%. 


Subject: T.8)  Northeast/Isan

General travel information on Thailand northeastern provinces are available
on a Gopher server at Khon Kaen University's gopher server.
The consolidates
all known references to information related to Thailand including the
above gopher.

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 09:04:27 -0800 (PST)
From: Putnam Barber 

Northeast Thailand (Isan)

The roads to northeast Thailand climb through spectacular scenery
on their way to the plateau.  Often the unusual geological
features on these steep climbs have been the focus of temples and
parks -- Wat Thep Pitak Punnaram on route 2 east of Saraburi is
one example, the mountain with a hole through it at Khao Chagan
on route 317 south of Sra Kaeo is another.

Issan itself is largely flat, with an occasional isolated
mountain rising through the plain.  At Prasat Hin Khao Phanom
Rung, southwest of Buriram off route 24, a spectacular 1000+ year
old temple complex has been extensively restored on the top of
one of these mountains, with views across the flat rice-growing
plain in every direction for great distances.  It's a
spectacular, fascinating and beautiful place.

Many Thai people visit Phanom Rung.  There is a large parking lot
with many vendors offering food and souvenirs near the entrance
to the temple complex, which is managed by the Department of Fine
Arts.  There is also a hotel complex with nice looking units
across the road from the entrance, but I have no information on
how to book rooms or what the rates are.  

The Lonely Planet guide has a good introduction to the features
of the temple and recommends buying "The Sanctuary Phanomrung" by
Dr. Sorajet Woragamvijya from one of the vendors outside the gate
(20 baht?).  The museum 'shop' inside the complex has a
disappointing selection of books about other Thai landmarks;
there is very limited signage, almost none in English.  This
ancient and fascinating place is well worth the journey to its
out-of-the way location.

Northeast of Nakorn Ratchasima (Korat) is Prasat Hin Phi Mai,
much more accessible than Phanom Rung but not on top of a
mountain.  The new museum nearby has good exhibits and
informative labels that place the temple complex in the context
of what is known about the history of Issan and the construction
of these Khmer monuments.  There is also a beautiful book of
color photos (240 baht) available from the museum book counter;
its text is in Thai but there are captions in English that are
very helpful.  Prasat Hin Phi Mai is an easy day-trip by public
bus from Korat; the 'ordinary' bus leaves every half hour from
the bus terminal -- it and the one to Bangkok are both labeled in
English.  It stops for a long time at a small market east of the
north city gate -- just south of the city moat.  It's certainly
more efficient to catch it there than to make your way to the bus
station only to be driven back to town to wait while vendors
offer all sorts of goodies and the local people fill the rest of
the seats.

Korat has several fascinating (newer) temple complexes right in
the city, plus the active Thao Suranari Memorial near the east
city gate (which is actually near the center of the present-day
town).  Khun Ying Mo is seen as a patron by many Thais,
especially women, and people with special requests bring them to
her all day and well into the night.  Plus, when these requests
are successful, people hire groups of singers to perform near the
statue as a token of appreciation, which makes for a lively scene
for other on-lookers as well.

They make several distinctive snack foods in this area that are
not easily available (as far as I could tell) in Bangkok.  One,
Khao Deng ('red rice') is a tasty cracker-like food originally
made from rice that stuck to the pan while making other dishes. 
It comes in a square celo bag about the size of a brick, is
yellow-orange in color and quite delicious.  Another is a flat
cake of 'puffed' rice, sesame seeds, and sugar-syrup -- vaguely
reminiscent of cracker-jacks but no-where near as overwhelmingly
sweet.  Both are sold, along with many other treats, by roadside
vendors and small shops near the busstops and elsewhere.


Subject: T.9)  East/Southeast

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 09:03:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Putnam Barber 

Southeast Thailand

The main route to everywhere south of Pattya -- route 3 -- is
under construction for much of the way to Chantaburi.  It's a
strong argument for taking the air-con bus if any part of the
journey will be on that road.

Offshore from Sri Rachaa is the fascinating island Koh Si Chang. 
The town on the island, where the ferry docks, has accomodations
of all sorts, including a new luxury hotel.  We stayed in Benz
Bungalows, closest accomodations to the site of the former palace
at the south end of town, and particularly enjoyed the food at
Wichaira Seafood, just a short walk up the main road.  (Dispite
what the Lonely Planet Guide says, there is no "ring road" on the
island -- many town streets, a single route north and south on
the east side, through town, and an unpaved road across to the
beaches on the west.)  

The tuk tuk drivers will offer a tour of the island, with time to
visit all the attractions, for 150 baht.  We didn't take it,
preferring to walk.  But there are definitely a lot of
interesting places to go, and the swimming from Hat Sai on the
west side is wonderful -- take the dirt road to the right heading
south from town just after an auto repair business and before the
entrance to the research station at the palace site, go up the
steep hill to the second right turn, and across the island
through the mango plantation.  When the road turns to the north
(after passing a sharp turn to the left) watch for paths to the
left that lead down to the beach.  Exploring the fields and rock
formations at the end of the road is also fun -- especially
before a swim.  

Still on Koh Si Chang, there are monkeys that live in the
pavillion housing the Buddha footprint at the top of the Chinese-
style temple at the north end of town -- another reason, in
addition to the spectacular view, for climbing the long flights
of concrete steps leading to it.  And be sure to save energy for
exploring the many shrines in caves throughout the temple
grounds.  Lastly, the newly created gardens in honor of Princess
Sirikit's birthday (just a little way west of this temple, at the
top of a saddle through which a path leads to the sea on the
west, but not beach) are peaceful and very beautiful.

Both Rayong and Chantaburi have streets of wonderful older urban
buildings, lively markets, and lots of good food from street
vendors and noodle shops.  Chantaburi also offers the "largest
Christian church in Thailand" -- an imposing building at the end
of a footbridge across from the heart of town -- and the glamour
of being surrounded by an active trade in sapphires and rubies. 
If you know what you're doing, you can probably do some wonderful
trading yourself -- everyone in town is ready to deal!  

There's a little antique store, with a great collection of
Victorian clocks from all around the world, on Tessaban 3 Road
near the intersection with Sroisuwan[sp?] Road (three blocks from the
market).  I mention it because it's the only antique store I saw
anywhere in Thailand outside of Bangkok.  

Downhill from the antique store on Tessaban 3 Road a couple of
blocks are two or three airconditioned restaurants that aren't
mentioned in the Lonely Planet Guide.  They obviously have
broader menus than the streetside vendors can provide.

Further south, offshore from Trat in the Gulf of Thailand is Koh
Chang which is well worth the difficulty of getting to it.  There
is direct mini-bus service from Bangkok, which we didn't use (and
which is described in guidebooks).  Otherwise, the route is bus
to Trat, song thaew to Laem Ngop, and ferry to your beach of
choice from the pier.  We stayed at Hat Sai Khao (White Sand
Beach) in the Sun-Sai Bungalows -- very well kept and friendly. 
They have bungalows on the beach and across the road on a
hilside.  We paid 200 baht for one with a hong nam but away from
the beach.  There are many other accomodations at widely varying
prices on that beach and others.  People who had been there
before complimented the resorts along Hat Sai Khao for their
daily diligence in clearing away any trash and it certainly
showed.  Less developed beaches, ironically, had more plastic
bags and pop cans drifting around because there's no-one to take
responsibility for policing the area.  

Phlu waterfall, down the road a piece and up the river by a track
and jungle trail, is a wonderful excursion and a great place to
swim in fresh water.  Just outside the gates to the national park
there is the Waterfall Resort, an unlikely place with bungalows
far from any other attraction, and the Waterfall Restaurant,
where I had a very nice meal in short order when I was the only
customer in sight.  No need to carry a picnic.  

The island itself is so beautiful and exotic that's it's hard not
to see it as the set for a movie, instead of what it really is --
the place the set designers study in the faint hope of catching
its special quality.  But a really, really long trip from

From: (Jaray Chomchalao)
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 1994 21:59:13 GMT

The transportation to the East Coast is provided by "BOO- KhOO+
SOO+ at Ekamai. The fare six yrs ago from BKK to Chantaburi 
(about 300 kilometers (200 mi) was B40. You can also take an
airconded-bus costing B150 six yrs agao. There are at least four
air-conded bus lines to choose from. Pick the one with the best
looking hostess and you won't regret it:=) K. Putnam said Chantaburi
and Trat are too far from BKK. Well, 4 hrs to Chantaburi, 6 hrs to Trat,
provided that you take the air conded bus which travels by the "Saai+
mai' road (the new route), or the BKS buses that use the new route.
Make sure that you get on the BKS bus that use "Saai+ mai'" road if
you don't want to spend another two hours detouring to Sattahip. 

Chantaburi and Trat:

Watch out when dealing jewelry in Chantaburi. Take my words for
it (I'm from Chantaburi and Trat and Chonburi, my three homes),
even professionals who deal with ruby every day sometimes fail
to distinghish natural from man-made ruby! Ruby is very expensive.
If you buy a cheap ruby, you are "tuun+"ed definitely. Buying
them at the jewelry stores in Chantaburi is safer. Don't ever
buy from a jewelry market!

Chantaburi is best visited around April-July. In April, mangoes
are very abundant and in variety. Ripe mangoes and cooked
sticky rice with coconut milk is what a taster must not miss.
After April, mangoes are gone. Then in Mid June a variety of 
NgO' (rambutans) and Durians are ripe and appear in the markets
everywhere. Those who can stand the strong smell of durians will
enjoy the fruit, eaten with or without sweet-coconuted milked
sticky rice. Chantaburi is famous for its rambutans and durians.
Especially, during that time, many orchads will offer a "all
you can eat" walk thru event, where you pay a small sum and are
allowed to walk thru the orchads, picking the best rambutans
from the tree and eat all you like, provided that you take none
with you when you leave. The roadside view during that time is
also very pleasant since the trees are full of colorful fruits,
and the fruit trades are everywhere on the roadsides.

The Phlu waterfall is in Chantaburi, about 30 kilometers from the
City along the way to Trat. The description above could very well
fit the attribues of Chantaburi's Phlu waterfall, but I think Put
nam meant to say Thanmayom waterfall on Ko Chang since he's
talking about the island.


Subject: T.10) Greater Bangkok Metropolis

Here are some suggestions:

The main ground ( sa-naam+ luang+ and the nearby area)

1. The Grand Palace.

	There are different types of architectures and structures in the 
Grand Palace ranging from the Dusit Hall which is a pure Thai castle to
the Jakri Hall which is in half Thai half western style, the Dhebidorn Hall 
which is influenced by Khom's arts,  and the Chinese Garden which is 
influenced by the Chinese culture. ( Most of the construction were built in 
the reign of King Rama I upto King Rama V)

	You can also visit the Emerald Budha Temple which is the only 
temple inside the palace.  Inside the temple and on the corridor's wall 
around the temple, you can see the Thai mural paintings and pearl-in- laid 
door which is a kind of popular fine arts in the early Ratanakosin period.

	The entrance fee is around US$ 4 for the non-residence of 
Thailand. The ticket also includes the fee for entering the Wimanmeek 
Hall which is a museum for the gifts that the royal family received from 

2. Wat Prachetuphonwimonmangklararaam (Wat^ phoo-)

	Wat pho was built in the reign of King Rama III and is admired for 
its architecture which is called yoo"mum- maay^ sib' sOOng+. Every 
structure in this temple was built in square form with 12 angles  There is 
also a big statue of the reclining Budha image inside the temple.

	Admission: less than 50 baht.

3. The National Museum

	The National Museum is situated in one part of the Palace (wang-
lang+) A lot of Thai arts are on displayed there.

	Admission fee is required.

4. The National theatre.

	The National theatre was built around 50 years ago. It is a kind of
mixed structure between western arts and Thai arts.

5. Rachadumnern Avenue

	This avenue is one of the best designed avenue in Thailand. All the 
buildings on this Avenue are built in the same style. Some people 
mentioned that it is an imitation of Champ Elise in Paris.

6. The Golden Pagoda

	The Golden Pagoda is in Wat Sra'ket' which is at the entrance of the 
Rachadamnern Avenue. The golden pagoda was built on the man made 
mountain and can be clearly seen from distance. You can climb up to the 
top and see the bird eye view of Bangkok.

7. The Metal castle.

	The Metal Castle or loo-ha'praa-saat' is in the Rachanadda Temple 
near Wat Sraket. It is the replica of the Lohaprasaat that Nang Visakha 
built to honour Lord Budha in India. There are only three of its kind in 
the world: in India, Sri Langa and Thailand.

Amporn Garden Area.

1. Anantasamakom Hall.

	Anantasamakom Hall was built in the reign of King Rama the fifth. 
It was built with  the marble from Italy. The architecture is in 
Renaissance style. It was once used as the Thai Parliament.

2. The Marble Temple.

	The Marble Temple or Wat Benjamarachabopit was also built in 
the reign of King Rama V. The architect is Prince Narisaranuwatiwong 
who was the great architect at that time. The Marble Temple is admired 
as the best designed temple in Ratansakosin period.

	There are a lot of Budha images from different period around the 
Temple corridor. The reflection of religious belief in each period of Thai 
history depicted in these images are worth noticing.

3.Wimarnmeek Hall.

	Wimarnmeek Hall was once the summer palace of King Rama V 
and now was turned into the museum by the kindness of the present 
Queen. The Hall is a  three storey building situated in a pond. English 
guide tour is provided everyday.

4. Pitsanuloke Estate

	This estate was built in the reign of King Rama VI in the western 

The Ancient City

	If you have not much time to visit the important places around 
the country, you can go to one place and see it all. The ancient city is the 
biggest outdoor museum in Thailand. It is in Samutprakarn, the nearby 
province. The replicas of all important places  in Thailand are displayed 
there [...] ranging from the temple in the northern part of Thailand, the
stupa from the South, the Cambodian style castle, the palace both from the
Thonburi and Ratansakosin period and the Thai style house. The admission
is US$ 2 dollar for one person or US$ 8 for the whole car.

Have fun with your travel in Thailand.


Subject: T.11) Bangkok accommodation

Gwyn Williams ( maintains an extensive compilation for
accomodation in Bangkok. Due to the length of the list, it is not included 
in this FAQ but is made available for anonymous FTP at


 This is a compilation of budget and economy hotels in Bangkok for the 
soc.culture.thai FAQ and for general distribution. If you can recommend 
hotels or guesthouses or add information, please send details (hotel name, 
address, tel, fax, telex, price, quality, comments, etc) to:

  Gwyn Williams (


 1. Guide Books to Thailand
 2. Partial List of Bangkok Hotels
     2.1 Economy Class (under 300 Baht - U.S.$12.00)
     2.2 Tourist Class (300-600 Baht - U.S.$12.00-24.00)
     2.3 First Class (600-1500 Baht - U.S.24.00-60.00)
 3. Bangkok Don Muang Airport: Alternative Hotel Accommodation



The original soc.culture.thai FAQ was proposed, put together and initially
maintained by Thanachart Numnonda (

This part of the soc.culture.thai FAQ could not have been completed without
information from the following contributors:
  Alan Cooper ( for T.6;
  Alan Dawson ( for the exchange control part of T.2;
  Brenda Peters ( for T.1 update;
  Busakorn Kakanumpornwong ( for T.10;
  Colin Newell ( for the exchange control part
    of T.2;
  Eddie Goletz ( for T.5;
  Ekkehard Uthke ( for T.1 and T.10 updates;
  Gwyn Williams ( for T.11;
  Jaray Chomchalao ( for T.9;
  Putnam Barber ( for T.6, T.8 and T.9;
  Ralf Von Gunten ( for the postcheques
    part of T.4;
  Samart Srijumnong ( for T.7;
  Sarayuth Kunlong ( for T.1 update;
  Trin Tantsetthi ( for transit visa update in T.2;
  Thinakorn Tabtieng ( for T.2; and
Sincere thanks also go to those who contributed to T.1, T.3 and T.4
whose names were not recorded in the previous versions of the FAQ.