Thailand

Basic Facts

 

-Officially called the Kingdom of Thailand, it is a country in the South East of Asia.

 

-It shares borders with Laos and Cambodia to the East, Malaysia to the South, and the Andaman Sea and Myanmar to the West.

 

-Thailand was previously known as Siam. This name was changed for the first time in 1939 by Prathet Thai, and then again in 1949 (after being reverted during WWII). Prathet means “country” and the word “thai” means “free” or “freedom” in Thai language.

 

-Around 75% of the ethnic population is Thai, 14% is Chinese, and 3% is Malay. The remaining 22% is made up of minority groups and tribes.

 

-The official language in Thailand is Thai, also known as Siamese.

 

-The most popular religion is Buddhism, practiced by 95% of the population.

Reasons to Visit

 

-Thailand is the most visited country of the South East of Asia. Visitors can find anything here! The greenest jungles, crystal clear waters, amazing food… for every kind of tourist.

 

-In Thailand, there are seven features known as “The Seven Wonders of Thailand” and they include the following: Thainess (people’s hospitality and lifestyle), Treasures and History (historical and heritage sites), Beaches, Thai Nature (green natural parks), Wellness & Happiness (world renowned spas, treatments and relaxation), Trends (hotels, shopping centers, shops), and Festivals!

 

-Thailand’s tropical weather is generally hot and humid in most parts of the country, all year round. Although the Thai seasons are divided into “hot season,” “cold season,” and “rain season,” it is actually relatively warm for most of the year.

Life in Thailand

 

Thai culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism. It is a bit different from other East-Asian countries, because Thai Buddhists follow the Theravada school which is more similar to the Indian tradition. A pre-Buddhist tradition is the spirit house, usually placed at a corner of a building or house, which prevents spirits from entering the house and causing trouble. The bigger the building the larger the spirit house.

 

As regards arts and sport, some traditional arts include Thai dancing and music, inspired by religious customs and rituals. Certainly, the country’s best known traditional sport is Thai Boxing, which has its origins in the military training of Thai warriors.

 

In addition to the Gregorian calendar, Thailand also follows the Thai Solar Calendar. It is 543 years ahead, and Thai dates in English are often written as B.E. which stands for “Buddhist Era.” There are a lot of holidays in Thailand, and most of them are based on Buddhist and the monarchy. Fun fact: nobody celebrates all of these holidays, except for banks, which seem to be closed very often!

 

If you want to travel, you are going to have it easy. There is a huge variety of transport; you can go from one place to another in a lot of different, comfortable and economical options.

 

Our programs in Thailand let our volunteers live and participate in the natives’ daily lives and activities, while helping others to achieve a better quality of life. Our projects focus on the local people and their specific needs. We work along with the local communities, so you can be sure that your work will help them directly. Volunteering is about giving and receiving, and we want to make sure you have an incredible and enriching experience.

 

Top Destinations

 

  • Bangkok: The capital of Thailand. You can visit temples, the Chinese town, the royal palace, the city’s innumerable shopping centers, floating shops, and the river.

 

  • Chiang Mai: The capital in the North. A very relaxing area, where you can visit its ancient buildings or go trekking, among other activities.

 

  • Phuket: This place has some spectacular beaches such as Kamala Beach o Kata Beach among others, and a giant Buddha! You can also visit the different Phi Phi islands from this place.

 

  • Koh Tao: the best island for diving! Crystal-clear water, perfect for diving or snorkeling.

 

  • Ayutthaya: right in the north of Bangkok, this city keeps the ruins of the ancient capitals, one of the most visited ruins.

 

  • Phitsanulok: a historical city on the way from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. here you will be able to see temples, ruins or simply enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the traditional Thai way of living.

Passport/visa requirements

 

When you leave this country, you need an export license for any images of Buddha that are antique reproductions or newly cast representations. You have to submit to the Office of the National Museum 2 front pictures of the object, a photocopy of your passport, and the receipt of purchase of the product. This verification process may take around 4 days.

 

Visas

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs frequently modifies visa regulations so check the website or your local consulate or embassy for application procedures and costs. A monitor website that you can use is Thaivisa (www.thaivisa.com).

 

The non-immigrant visa is valid for 90 days and it is meant for people who enter Thailand to do business, to study or to visit relatives. If you plan to request a Thai work permit, you will have to obtain a non-immigrant visa first.

 

If you want to stay in the country for more than 30 days, you have to request a tourist visa for 60 days before your trip. This visa now allows you to enter the country multiple times within 6-months. However, tourists who visit Thailand can be exepted from it or even request a visa on arrival. There is an agreement with most nations for this, including European countries, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. This means that visitors from these countries do not need to obtain certain documentation before traveling. In any case, you may check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information.

 

Money/Currency

 

  • The local currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB), and its value currently fluctuates around 35 THB per 1 USD (Early 2017).

 

Healthcare

 

Before you travel, it is recommended that you pack label your medications in their original containers and that you ask your doctor to write a letter for you describing all your medical conditions and needs if necessary.

 

  • If you happen to have a heart condition, you should bring a recent copy of your electrocardiogram.

 

  • Bring twice as many medication you need in case you lose it or it is stolen from you. It may be difficult to find the specific medication you need in that case.

 

  • Register your trip at your local Office of Foreign Affairs as a preventive measure in case of a natural disaster.

 

  • Arrange your vaccines 6 to 8 weeks before arriving in Thailand, in case you decide to get multiple-injection vaccines such as Hepatitis A or B. The only legally required vaccine is yellow fever, but it is also recommended that you may take Rabies, Malaria, and Tetanus-Diphtheria –depending on the activities you will undertake.

 

  • Even if you are very fit and healthy, do not travel without a health or travel insurance!

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