Culture and Etiquette
Thailand is known as the Land of the Smiles with good reason, you will be struck, on arrival, by the friendliness and gentleness of the local Thai populace.
The traditional form of greeting is ‘Wai-ing’ – place the hands together as if about to pray – the height at which the hands are held are a mark of respect; for Royalty the hands would be very much higher than for ones friends. This gesture is generally accompanied with a slight bow. Thai people use this greeting for both locals and visitors alike.
Local customs and traditions are important and there are a few things to be avoided in Thailand. The most important thing, and one which can get you into serious trouble, would be to show a lack of respect to the King.
More unusual things to avoid include pointing at your feet, sun-bathing topless, not removing shoes to go inside, getting irate and shouting, and touching any Thai person on the head.
If you end up in a situation where you seem to be stuck; smile! It can go a very long way to helping you resolve whatever problem you may have as it shows you in a good light.
Drinking water & Ice
Drinking water: This is a vital piece of information for anyone traveling around Asia.
DO NOT drink tap water, even in the most prestigious hotels, it is not recommended at all. Bottled water is cheap and plentifully available. Shops such as Tesco Express, 7-11 and Fuji Supermarkets, not forgetting the plethora of large and small stores in Bangkok stock a wide variety.
Local names, Singha and Chang, and international names such as Coca Cola’s Nam Thip and Nestles’s Pure Life cost from 6 to 10 THB for 600ml (a pint) and 12 to 20 THB for the larger 1.5l bottles. Imported brands such as Perrier are available from bigger stores and, obviously, cost more.
When purchasing water from street vendors, double-check the seal is unbroken before purchase.
Bangkok’s year-round heat can have a negative effect on the traveler, so be sure to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, particularly while sight-seeing.
Ice: Ice is lavishly available and is used not only to keep water and soda bottles etc cold, it is also added into drinks to keep them cold.
Street vendors are not a safe source of ice and if you purchase some from them be sure not to use that in your drinks, unless you are sure of the source of the water. There may not be any problem with the ice, but it is always best not to take chances with your health.
Broadly speaking ice from hotels and restaurants should be safe to eat or drink, but if you have any doubts about the hygiene of the place, it would be better to err on the side of caution.
Electricity & Plugs
Appliances from the UK, Europe, Australian and New Zealand will have no difficulty with the 220v, 50hZ supply found it Bangkok; although the plugs and sockets may differ slightly necessitating the use of an adaptor. 2-pin flat and 3-pin plugs are the norm, most hotels having the 3-pin sockets.
For more information on this visit the following website: http://kropla.com/eletric2.htm . Always check that your electrical items, particularly the high value items such as laptops etc., will not be damaged by incorrect voltage or hertz. Some mobile phones and laptops have built-in converters with the chargers, these should work, but do check before trying.