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Bangkok Local Time
 
 
 
Large sliced bread 420g ฿23
Butter 250g ฿36
Fresh Milk 1 litre ฿30
Coke 2 litres ฿26
100% Fruit juice 1 litre ฿71
Imported Cheese 1 kg ฿350++
Chipolata Sausages 280g ฿58
Sliced bacon 350g ฿50
Potatoes 1 kg ฿25
Campbells condensed soup ฿40
Fresh eggs ฿2
Head & Shoulders shampoo 200ml ฿99
Detergent, Surf 1.5kg ฿62

Eating Out

The choice of restaurants in Thailand is limited except in big cities and tourist areas. In Bangkok, for instance, you will find restaurants of almost every nationality. In the smaller cities you may only find western food in the larger hotels. A lot of Chinese style food has made its way into the Thai diet and you can buy noodles everywhere. Remember that rice is the staple food, so almost every Thai meal is rice plus one or more things to eat with it. The country is known for its variety of sweet desserts and the fruit is delicious. Unless you are going to peel the fruit, you should wash it thoroughly before eating.

Tipping

In hotels you will be charged VAT plus a service charge. Outside leave the coins that comes with the change but with a more expensive meal 20 baht should be adequate on most occasions.

Post

Post offices have the name in English and Thai and mail boxes are red also with English and Thai lettering. Post offices are usually open from 08.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday. Saturday from 09.00 to12.00. The main post office in Bangkok is open 24 hrs. Internal letter rate is 1 baht second class or 2 baht first class. Overseas post is sent by airmail. The clerks are quite good at reading addresses in English so just hand in your letter or parcel and wait to be told the price. If you don't understand, the clerk will write down the price for you.

Telephoning

You can ring any number you like in Thailand or abroad from the blue telephones which take 5 and 10 baht coins. The green ones take phone cards only. The little phones in shops need a five baht coin. It is best to use your country direct service for calling home (find out the number before you come). Inland tariffs are based on the distance of the call and the time of day. Within the local area calls are timed. You can also rent or buy mobile phones - the service is nationwide.

Packing List

Here is a list of items that can be packed for your trip to Thailand.

Necessary Items

  • Passport
  • IAESTE forms
  • Thai visa
  • Money (at least for one month)
  • Traveler's insurance
  • Plane ticket
  • Contact phone numbers and addresses at home in case of emergency
  • Clothes for work
  • Prescription medication - bring enough to last your entire stay in Thailand if necessary
  • Eye glasses and/or contact lenses and supplies, cleaning supplies

Optional Items

  • Malaria pills
  • Travel guidebook
  • Thai phrasebook
  • Mobile phone
  • Backpack, for weekend trips
  • Non-prescription drugs for headaches, colds, stomach/gastric pains, muscle pains, motion sickness, athlete's feet and other conditions
  • Simple first aid supplies like band aids
  • Bath soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush
  • Bag/Organizer for toiletries
  • Personal cosmetic and toiletry items, small travel mirror
    (comb, razor, deodorant, Q-tips, lotion)
  • Paperback books
  • Gifts for your employers, coworkers, and new friends
  • Travel belt for securely carrying your passport
  • Sandals / Flip flops
  • Umbrella and/or rain jacket
  • Alarm clock   
  • Batteries - batteries bought in Thailand might not work with some of your electronics
  • Flashlight
  • CD Player
  • Music
  • Notebook, journal, pens/pencils, envelopes, stationary
  • Credit card
  • Sunglasses
  • Brimmed hat, for sun protection

Cultural Tips

Thai culture can differ in many ways from cultures observed in other parts of the world. While Thai people are very patient and very understanding of those that visit their country, it is still a good idea to learn some Thai practices so as to avoid minor embarrassments during your stay in Thailand.

Do's and Don'ts

This section quoted from the book "I Walked Away" by Michael Ziesing (published by Loom panics Unlimited).

DO

  • Smile a lot.
  • Say good things about Thailand, Buddhism and the Royal Family-- they deserve it.
  • Be patient.
  • Learn to speak a little Thai.
  • Learn to say no-- especially in a polite way.
  • Bargain for prices for everything, but with a happy and friendly attitude.
  • Get off the beaten track to the real Thailand occasionally.
  • Accustom yourself to Thai toilets.                                             
  • Bend down a little bit when walking in front of or between people.
  • Learn to enjoy Thai food.
  • Wear decent clothing in temples, visits to Immigration or other offices, and in the evening.
  • Take your shoes off before going into temples or people's homes.

DO NOT

  • Speak badly of, or make jokes about, Thailand, Buddhism or the royal family.
  • Wai children, bar staff, or service workers. Do not even do it as a joke. These things are a sign of ignorance.
  • Mistake Bangkok, Patong Beach, or Pattaya for Thailand.
  • Give people the finger or otherwise display anger in an aggressive way.
  • Tip cab or tuk-tuk drivers.
  • Count on any "deadline" being met.
  • Be afraid to ask for a better price on anything. Oftentimes, the real price for something (especially in a tourist destination) is one-fourth to one-half of the first price quoted. Paying too much hurts other ex-pats.
  • Touch people on the head, even in a joking manner.
  • Do favors with the expectation that favors will be returned. You do kind things because you want to, and it is you who makes merit.
  • Talk about how much better your home country is than Thailand.
  • Expect people to say "thank you" a lot.
  • Make a scene in public with your friends, shopkeepers, etc.
  • Make a public show of affection-kissing, handholding, etc. (This may not apply in more progressive parts of Bangkok).

Considerations for an IAESTE student

Clothing that you wear to work should be conservative. Guys should wear long pants. Girls can usually wear long pants or a skirt that reaches below the knees.
Unless living in an apartment away from work/campus, it is necessary to follow rules of the accommodations you stay in. For example, it is unacceptable in Thai culture for persons of opposite sex to be allowed into one's living quarters without supervision.

Language

Phrasebook

We recommend a Thai phrasebook published by Lonely Planet (title: "Thai Phrasebook" author: "Joe Cummings"). It contains invaluable information about Thai language as well as Thai customs-- all within a compact, pocket-sized book.

Other Resources

One highly recommended website is www.learningThai.com. This website is especially useful since you can click on Thai words and phrases and actually hear them spoken.

Tones

Thai is a tonal language. This means that your tone of voice will change the meaning of the word you are saying. Thai has five tones: Low, Mid, High, Falling, Rising. You will be glad to know that only a few "words" exist in all five tones. Here is an example for which the basic pronunciation is similar to the English word "my".

mai (high tone) ? (question word)
mai (mid tone) Mile
mai (low tone) New
mai (falling tone) not (negative, like un-)
mai (rising tone) silk

Difficult ? Yes, but knowing a little basic Thai will make life a lot easier. As bargaining is a way of life here, learning the numbers is sure to be a rewarding experience.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Currency

The smallest unit of Thai currency is the satang. 100 satang are in 1 Baht. There are 5 different coins: 25 satang and 50 satang in brass; 1 baht and 5 baht in cupro-nickel on copper and 10 baht in cupro-nickel with a brass insert. Occasionally you might see some of the older and larger coins of 1 and 5 baht (brown); 20 baht (green); 50 baht (blue paper or plastic);100 baht (red); 500 baht (purple) and 1000 baht (white).The baht floats against foreign currencies, but US$1 is generally worth more than 43 baht.

Air Travel

Thai Airways International is the main carrier for internal flights. If you are in Bangkok and want to get to the provinces quickly Thai International have a daily service to major cities in the North, Northeast and South. Inter-province services are almost non-existent.
Bangkok Airways has regular flights to Koh Samui-a quiet Tropical Island in the gulf of Thailand. Lots of sand and sea.
Angel Airlines is a new carrier but its schedules are not yet available.

Toilets

Traditional Thai toilets require you to squat. If you are young and athletic, you may be able to do this. Most toilets do not have toilet paper available and a bowl and water is provided for you to wash yourself and to flush the toilet. So always travel with toilet paper and use the nearest hotel, if possible.

Do's and Don’ts

Thailand is a Buddhist country so don’t climb on statues or be disrespectful to Buddha images. This action is a criminal offence and you are likely to be deported as persona not grata.
The monarchy is held in high regard and you should take care not to insult any member of the Royal Family. Always stand up and keep still when either the National Anthem or Royal Anthem are played: just copy those around you. Resist the temptation to put your foot (the lowest and most disrespectful part of your body) on a bank note that might be blowing away in the wind: banknotes carry a portrait of the King.
The seat just inside the door of buses is reserved for monks. You can sit there, but please stand up if a monk gets on the bus and let him sit there. Girls-it’s a strict NO to touch a monk or his clothes so don’t try and sit next to one. Please take care if you are on a bus when a monk boards and stand well out of his way.
Do take off your shoes when you enter a temple or a private house. The floors are kept clean enough to eat off.
Don’t try to take any Buddhist images or ancient artifacts out of the country when you leave without special permission from the Fine Arts Department.


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