Australians can visit Thailand visa-free for up to 30 days if you arrive through one of the main international airports, or 15 days if you arrive through
border. If you’re keen to stay in terrific Thailand for longer than this, then you’ll need to arrange a visa in advance from the
The tourist visa which you apply for can be valid for either 3 or 6 months. The requirements include;
• Passport or travel document with validity period of at least 6 months following the intended date of departure
• Sufficient travel finances (at least 20,000 baht per person and 40,000 baht per family)
If you overstay your visa, you won't be allowed to leave Thailand until a fine (currently Thai Baht
500 per day) is paid and you can be banned from re-entering Thailand for a period of time. You have been warned!
There are two main airports serving Bangkok the hub of Thailand. The “new” Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnabhumi) and the Don Mueang International Airport. Both airports have good signage written in Thai and English, so it’s fairly straightforward to find your way. The Suvarnabhumi airport is located in Racha Thewa in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province, 30 kilometers
east of Bangkok. There are several ways to get yourself into the city, once you’ve passed through customs, continue outside and proceed to taxi, railway or skytrain
to get into Bangkok.
Note that you will need to pay cash to taxi drivers so remember to have some local currency or get some out from the ATM.
Like everything in Thailand, transportation is cheap. From traditional tuk-tuks to the airconditioned Sky train and everying in between, there are plenty of fun ways to explore Thailand.
Zooming in and around on a jet plane:
Bangkok is a busy hub for Southeast Asia, serving upwards of 70 different airlines. With competition comes budget operators, meaning that zooming to your destination by plane is a real option. With two main airports and several smaller domestic ones, double-check your ticket to make sure you go to the right airport.
If you're city-scaping:
Catching a taxi from a-to-b is a breeze in Bangkok, but if you want to avoid 'special tourist price' be sure to opt for a metered taxi. In smaller cities, a metered service may not be available, so you'll need to agree a set price upfront. Traffic conjestion can be terrible in certain parts, so if you're doing a short trip, you can consider jumping on a motorcycle taxi. A motorcycle taxi is exactly as it sounds. You sit in the saddle behind the motorcycle taxi driver and away you go. But know that you must wear a helmet if you want to be covered by travel insurance.
Due to the over-congested roads in Bangkok, city planners have developed both an overground and underground train network through the city. The BTS Skytrain is an overground railway system comprised of the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line, which stops at popular tourist areas and attractions, making it an efficient way of getting around the city.
If you're island hopping:
Hiring a motorcycle or moped: One of the most popular way for Thai travellers to get around is to hire a moped or Scooter. Whilst it may be fun and free to ride a bike overseas, you should be aware of the dangers. If you haven’t ridden a motorbike or scooter at home… is a country with unfamiliar roads, foreign signs and care-free drivers really the place to start?
At Zoom, you're covered to ride a motorbike or scooter of any engine size provided you are licensed to do so in Australia. If you do not have a valid motorbike license then you can only ride a bike of 50cc using your Australian driver’s license. You must also be wearing a helmet at all times. And certainly don’t drink before you ride, because any injuries sustained while driving and intoxicated would not be covered.
Touring by tuk-tuk: Whether it's three-wheels in Bangkok, or the four-wheeld version in Phuket, a tuk-tuk ride in Thailand is an experience! Tuks or 'sam lor' (three-wheeled) are pick-up trucks with facing benches in the back and a roof overhead. They're one of the most recognised modes of transports associated with Thailand, but be warned, they're renowned as taking tourists for a ride. They're about as comfortable as a ride in the back of a ute but visitors are charged a five-star luxury price for the privilege of being bounced all over the holiday island.
With so many gorgeous tropical islands to choose from, you shoud choose a well connected island hub that offers tours and day trip opportunities as your base. Otherwise much of your time will be spent travelling rather than soaking up the stunning setting of turquoise waters and whitesandy beaches.
Ubering in Thailand: Uber
is undoubtedly the most well-known ride service in the world. It made it to Thailand in 2014 and quickly gained popularity among travellers wanting to avoid communication barriers and have the ability grab a ride when taxis aren't about.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The climate of most of Thailand is governed by three seasons: rainy (roughly May–Oct), caused by the southwest monsoon dumping moisture gathered from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand; cool (Nov–Feb); and hot (March–May). Pack your swimmers in the hot season, when temperatures often rise to 35°C …and the best thing to do is to hit the beach. The cool season is the pleasantest time to visit, although temperatures can still reach a broiling 30°C in the middle of the day.
WHERE TO GO
Thailand is a diverse country with attractions that appeal to all different types of travellers. It’s pretty hard to whittle it down with so many amazing options, but we’ve done our best. Here’s a few of our favourites….
Street food: You shouldn’t pass up on a road-side Pad Thai, made right in front of your eyes for less than a dollar. Street food in Thailand is a cheap, delicious and a quintessential part of the Bangkok experience. Thai street food comes in many guises. It might be a humble cart on the side of the road, or it could be a collection of stalls in a local market. It you are worried about Thai tummy and the freshness of your dish, use common sense and stick to the busiest stalls with the most amount of people.
Cooking classes in Chang Mai: If you fancy doing it yourself, why not learn from the locals – a rite of passage for anyone passing through Chang Mai. You don’t have to be Curtis Stone or Kylie Kwong to sign up. There is a class to suit whatever level you are at.
Diving in Ko Tao: If you’re keen to do your PADI or SSI, then Koh Tao (“Turtle Island”) is no bad choice. With dozens of dive shops to choose from you’ll be spolt for choice. Diving in Ko Tao is one of the most beautiful places to scuba dive on this planet. You’ll see amazing colorful corals and depending on the season, make some very interesting encounters with turtles and Whale sharks. Some months are better than others for the visibility and underwater life in general so do your research before you book.
The Phi Phi Islands: For a tropical paradise, you can’t go wrong with the Phi Phi Islands, some of the loveliest in Southeast Asia. Just a 45 minute speedboat jaunt and a 90 minute ferryboat ride from Phuket, these picture-postcard islands offer the ultimate tropical getaway.
For a kick of culture, The Grand Palace in Bangkok is a must-see, it's dazzling gold exterior undoubtedly being the city's most famous landmark.
MUST KNOW TIPS
You will sweat, a lot. Play it safe by sticking to bottled water throughout your Thai trip. It is cheap and readily available. Mosquito repellent is a friend and can be bought from most supermarkets and chemists. Haggling and bartering is
expected, particularly at markets. Tipping is common but not a must. Keep away from wild and stray animals as rabies and other diseases are a serious risk in Thailand. The legal system may seem confusing and contradictory in parts, but it’s best to just play by their rules. It goes without saying but having anything to do with illicit drugs (and full moon parties) is a bad idea!
Are you planning to zoom somewhere else on your holidays? Whether you're holidaying to brilliant Bali
or sassy Singapore
, we've got plenty of helpful advice on other popular travel destinations
to check out. What are you waiting for? Zoom to it!