The vast majority adhere to Buddhism (Theravada form), 5% are Muslim and there are Christian and Hindu minorities.
Western visitors will generally receive a handshake on meeting. A Thai will be greeted with the traditional closed hands and a slight bow of the head - the wai. Buddhist monks are always greeted in this way.
The Thai Royal Family is regarded with an almost religious reverence. Visitors should respect this. It is very bad manners to make public displays of anger, as Thais regard such behaviour as boorish and a loss of 'face'. Public displays of affection between men and women are also frowned upon, and it is considered rude to touch anyone on the head or to point one's feet at someone. Shoes should be removed before entering someone's home or a temple.
Informal dress is widely acceptable and men are seldom, if ever, expected to wear suits. Beachwear should be confined to the beach and topless sunbathing is frowned upon. Smoking is widely acceptable.
Language in Thailand
Thai is the official language. English is widely spoken, especially in establishments catering for tourists.
If you've ever wanted to study abroad in Thailand, then check out our Semester in Thailand program. Here are a few of the key highlights that make this program unique.
• Study abroad in Salaya, just outside of Bangkok, at one of the most well regarded universities in Asia
• Take classes with Thai and international students
• Life in the Land of Smiles
• Songkran, a nationwide weeklong water fight celebrated in April!
• An abundance of white-sand beaches and clear, warm tropical water
• Opportunities to ride elephants, explore ancient ruins, and venture into the jungles
• Life in a cosmopolitan city with incredible cuisine, shopping, and nightlife
• A jumping-off point for travel destinations in Southeast Asia
• Incredible housing options
One of the hottest tourist destinations in the world, with enough antiquities, palaces, and monuments to keep you busy for a lifetime.
Hotels in Thailand cover every range, from high-end luxury boutiques to fantastic options for the budget traveller. There is cheap accommodation throughout Bangkok but Banglamphu is the main area for budget accommodation. Hotels outside the capital and developed tourist areas are less lavish but are extremely economical and comfortable. Visitors can book hotels on arrival at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and also at some of the provincial airports.
Bangkok and many tourist destinations around Thailand have some of Asia's finest hotels, with thousands of rooms meeting international standards. Many hotels belong to the large international chains. All luxury hotels have swimming pools, 24-hour room service, air conditioning and a high staff-to-guest ratio. There are many online hotel booking sites which are worth checking out, but also check the hotel's own website for special internet offers.
Bed and breakfast:
Guest houses with shared bathrooms and no air conditioning are cheap and popular with tourists, as are bungalows, which often have cafés and English-speaking staff on site. Beach bungalows and huts are particularly popular with backpackers and can be found on many of the beaches and islands around Thailand.
YMCA and YWCA hostels are located in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and small, cheap hotels are available all over the country. Holiday villas and flats can be rented, especially for long-term visitors. For details, look for advertisements in the English-language newspapers or online before travelling.
Interested international candidates may apply 3 times a year through the Admissions Offfice. Applicants must have already completed their high school education or its equivalent as issued by the Ministry of Education, Thailand.
If the school certificate/diploma is not in the English language, a certified English translation of the document must be arranged and forwarded to the Ministry of Education in Thailand to see if it is acceptable.
Candidates who are non-native English speakers have to submit a TOEFL score (IBT score of at least 79 with a score of at least 25 in writing) or IELTS score (6.0 or above with writing 6.0) or a SAT1 score (Critical Reading and Writing) of 1100 or above.
Once candidates are officially accepted as full-time students, they are required to sit for English writing and Math placement tests in order to see which level they can register for.
- IGCSE: Grade C at least 5 subjects.
- GED: Must pass 5 subjects (minimum score of 410 in each subject) with minimum score of 2800
applicants must demonstrate English competence: a TOEFL (IBT) score of 79 or above, an IELTS (academic band) score of 6.0 or above or a SAT1 score (Critical Reading and Writing) of 1100 or above.
One of the most important things to take into account when picking a place to live has to be the cost of living. The most wonderful spot on the planet can only be the place to live if you can afford it. The most essential part of a family’s budget is food. We cannot live without it and, in the Western world, the cost of food has skyrocketed due to rising gas prices, the extremes in weather and the destruction of crops by natural disasters.
Thailand, with its arable land and seasonal weather, abounds with locally grown, fresh food which makes food preparation easy and low in cost. Both Thai and Western foods are available in local, reasonably priced supermarkets, reducing the cost of food preparation and even making eating out affordable. Living quarters are also available at a reasonable cost if that’s what you need or you can find accommodations to match your lifestyle at just about any price. You can live simply and modestly in a lovely, affordable home or you can live the “high life” in a luxurious apartment, condo or house if you have the resources to pay more. Many people find that, for the same amount they paid “back home,” they can rent or own a much bigger, more expensive home, even in the “big city” of Bangkok.
In the U.S., one of the signs of a well-to-do person is a housekeeper or other servant. Most of the middle-class in America or England cannot afford house-servants but in Thailand, you can hire a full-time housekeeper for less than $200 a month. Most people who move to Thailand and manage their resources well find they can afford not only a housekeeper but a gardener and a driver as well. But, with such amenities come problems. Dealing with servants can be difficult in your own native country where you all speak the same language.
In a country like Thailand, where most of the servants will be foreign-speaking to you, it is necessary to learn the language as much as you can so that you are speaking words they understand. Also, you will have to learn the customs of Thailand’s hierarchical society, which keeps the relationship between servants and their employers on a very proper and business-like level. Your house-keeper will not be “one of the family” and would be insulted to be treated as one. As in any country, it is imperative to get good referrals for anyone you hire to work in your home.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO LIVE IN THAILAND
That is the most common question asked on the internet. It is the same as asking how long is a piece of string? Calculate what you can generate each month and then cut your lifestyle according to your cloth. These would be an average expat teacher in Thailand and what they spend their money on. One teacher is better paid than the other so look at their budgets:
To enter Thailand, a passport valid for six months is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.
Travellers coming from or have recently travelled through yellow fever-infected areas may be required to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to enter Thailand.
Visas for Thailand are not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for touristic stays of up to 30 days if entering via an international airport. If entering by land, you will usually be granted a stay of 15 days. All visitors must hold valid passports, sufficient funds and confirmed airline tickets to leave Thailand within the time allowed by their entry stamp. Exceptions to the visa requirements are:
Nationals of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Romania who may apply for visas on arrival for stays of up to 15 days.
Nationals of Croatia, who must apply for a visa in advance from the embassy.
The total duration of stay in Thailand for visitors who enter Thailand without a visa cannot exceed 90 days during any six-month period, counting from the date of first entry.
If you intend on staying for longer than 30 days on any visit you must obtain a tourist visa for stays of up to 60 days or a non-immigrant visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK are also eligible to apply for an ACMECS visa, which is a 90-day joint visa allowing entry to Thailand and Cambodia. It's only really worth obtaining this visa if you're planning on spending more than 30 days in Thailand however.
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.
Types and cost:
Visa on arrival: ฿1,000; transit visa: £20; tourist visa: £25 (per entry).
If you apply for an ACMECS visa from the Thai Embassy, you pay the usual tourist visa fee for Thailand then pay Cambodia's tourist visa fee at the international border.
Visa on arrival: 15 days; transit visa: 30 days; tourist visa: 30 or 60 days.
Transit visas and single-entry tourist visas are valid for three months from the date of issue. Two- or three-entry visas are valid for six months from the date of issue.
The ACMECS visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue, allowing up to 60 days in Thailand and up to 30 days in Cambodia.
Nearest consulate (or consular section at embassy
Visitors to Thailand who wish to conduct business, work or study in the country can apply for a non-immigrant visa. This allows holders a stay for up to 90 days. In addition, to be able to work, visitors must hold a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labour.
Applications to the embassy must be made in person and take two working days to process.
Proof of adequate finances for the duration of your stay in Thailand is required at the point of entry into the country (ie traveller’s cheques and/or cash equivalent to ฿10,000 per person and ฿20,000 per family). In practice, you are unlikely to need to show this, but be prepared nonetheless.
Extension of stay:
Be wary of visa-run or visa extension services offering to renew your visa - these are illegal and each year a number of tourists are jailed, having turned up to border crossings with a fake Thailand visa or entry stamp in their passport.
Thailand visa extensions must be made before the current visa runs out. A lengthy overstay can incur a maximum penalty of a spell in jail before being deported and banned from returning to the country.
Entry with children:
Children travelling with one parent or alone must have a notarised letter of consent from one or both parents.
Most people in senior management speak English apart from in very small companies, or those situated outside the industrial belt of Bangkok, where English is not widely spoken. Most businesses of substantial size prefer visitors to make appointments. Punctuality is advisable (although the visitor is quite often likely to be kept waiting after arrival). In Bangkok, traffic must be taken into consideration when going to appointments.
Deference is always shown to the most senior person in any business situation. The normal business greeting is the handshake, but it is conventional to greet those of the opposite sex with awai, a slight bow with the hands held together at chest height. Business cards should be exchanged at the end of any meeting. Be sure to pass objects with your right hand.
Thai hosts are quite likely to give small gifts to visitors, so it is a good idea to reciprocate with a typical national gift of one's own. Visitors should never get angry or raise their voice if things are not going according to plan, as this will mean a loss of face on both sides. Much more progress will be made by remaining calm.
Meetings often take place over lunch and these are generally held in a Thai restaurant. Thai businesspeople are quite formal in their dress but, because of the extreme heat, it is quite acceptable and practical to dispense with the wearing of a suit jacket.
Office hours are usually Monday to Friday 0830-1630. There is a large expat community in Bangkok, as well as a big after-work drinking scene.