The official language spoken in Thailand is Thai, otherwise known as Siamese, but you'll hear plenty of locals speaking fluent English.
Thai Baht (THB). 2.50 Thai Baht is approximately R1.00
UTC +07:00, making Bangkok 5 hours ahead of Johannesburg.
A bottle of local Thai beer from a café or shop can cost as little as 40THB (around R16). A Sangsom and soda bucket can cost between 124THB (about R50) to 300THB (about R120) depending on where you find it, and are so strong they're best shared!
Thai street food can cost as little as 50THB (just over R20) and can be every bit as delicious, if not better, than in some restaurants. For a sit-down meal somewhere midrange, expect to pay between 150THB (R60) to 300TBH (R120).
A basic dorm bed in Bangkok can coast you as little as 125THB (about R50); expect to pay double on the Southern Islands such as Koh Phangan, especially if you're staying there over Full Moon.
For a mid-range room for two people in a hotel or guesthouse, you'll pay upwards of 435THB (R175). Fancier hotels can cost around 1,100THB to 1,775THB (R440 to R710) . Book in advance with STA Travel to bag the cheapest rates; we always have awesome Thailand accomodation on offer!
Taxis cost around 5TBH (R2) per kilometre, after the initial surcharge. A 10km ride should cost you under 150THB (R60), and from the airport to Khao San Road, expect to pay between 350-530THB (R140-R212). Always ask for the meter to switched on; it's fun to haggle a price before you start the journey, and you'll get a better price.
A 10 hour bus journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on a pretty comfy sleeper coach costs around 500-600THB (or anywhere between R200-R240). A 12-15 hour bus journey from Bangkok to Phuket costs 1000THB (just over R400). Boat trips between islands cost around 500THB (R200).
Take a step back as Thailand throws everything it's got at you; friendly people, sacred sites from days gone by and the best beaches...oh, the beaches *sigh*. Laze on pure white sands and dunk yourself in sparkling blue seas on the Thai Islands, explore Chiang Mai or bag yourself a bargain at a Bangkok market...
Don't spend all your time in a Bangkok bar or stuck on an island beach. While both are understandably vital to many who visit this beautiful country, there's also a lot more to see here. Hike through thick jungle and gleaming rice paddies in the northern mountains and learn first-hand about life in a hill tribe, learn how to cook up mouth-watering Thai cuisine or sail the high seas in a catamaran. Check out our top Thailand experiences below...
As long as you’re in possession of a South Africa passport with at least six months validity left on it, you’ll be granted a free visa upon arrival in Thailand. You’re allowed up 30 days in the country; if you'd like to stay longer, you can speak to the Thai embassy in Bangkok, a reputable travel agent, or one of our travel experts.
Another popular way for backpackers to see more of Thailand than 30 days would allow, is to see some of the country, then visit neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam or Malaysia too, before looping back into Thailand for your flight home, seeing more on the way!
Check with your doctor to see which of the following vaccinations you've already had in school, and which ones you might still need, out of Tetanus, Diptheria, Typhoid, and Hepatits B. You can book an appointment at any travel clinic to get these, six weeks before you depart. If you're off to a remote area that's far off of the beaten path, you might need malaria pills.
It's easy to get carried away with your packing list when you're taking a trip to such an exotic country, but if you're planning on travelling to multiple locations, pack light! Don't forget a 220-240 AC voltage, or a universal plug adaptor, mosquito repellent, earplugs, a waterproof and waterproof bag if you're visting during rainy season, and comfortable shoes for all the exploring you'll be doing. Don't, under any circumstances, forget to organise travel insurance before you go!