Thailand

For the nu nomad, few places are as hospitable

and workable as the Kingdom of Thailand or offer such a variety of subcultures and scenery. Bangkok, its cosmopolitan hub, is easily one of Asia’s most exciting and diverse cities. Here, hundred year-old wats (temples) and teakwood dwellings rest between skyscrapers and skytrains; food stalls line up the street before restaurants that offer exquisite local and international cuisine. However, most Thais don’t rely on their capitol to live well—they do quite alright by themselves. There are hill tribe communities in the north which will transport you to a time before electricity. The center and east boast ancient wats and former kingdoms, and, of course, there are the world-famous tropical islands to lose yourself in. Best of all, Thailand is very affordable, safe, has a year-round warm climate, and there are few places in the country where the nu nomad could not access the Web.

Nomadic ratings

A

: Very Good / B

: Good / C

: Just Okay / D

: Poor / E

: Very Poor

 

  • Internet Access for the Nomad (ease in accessing it): A
  • Internet Cost (from public to private service): A
  • Accommodation Cost: B
  • Eating Cost (restaurants and groceries): A
  • Country’s Overall Affordability for the Nomad: A
  • Transportation Access: A
  • Transportation Cost: A

Basic facts about Thailand

  • Language:

    Thai (English is widely understood.)

  • Government:

    Constitutional Monarchy.

  • Population:

    62 million (7 million in Bangkok).

  • Climate:

    Tropical climate with three distinct seasons: Hot and dry, rainy and sunshine, moderately cool.

  • Geography:

    76 Provinces, in an area of 513,115 sq. km. (Yep, it’s big!)

  • Neighboring Countries:

    Myanmar, Lao P.D.R., Cambodia and Malaysia.See map.

  • Electricity:

    220v (50 cycles). See plug type here.

  • Money:

    The Thai Baht (click here to convert your currency).

  • Mobile Phone Frequencies:

    GSM 900/1800 | 3G 2100 | 3G 850.

  • Daylight Savings:

    None.

  • Time Zone:

    GMT/UTC +7 (Current time.)

  • Country Code:

    66

    City Codes:

    (Since virtually everyone uses the mobile phone, the provence codes are of no matter.)

    To Dial Out of the Country:

    001 (009 will get you the discount rate.)

General Travel Information on Thailand

Thailand Visas and Visitation Limits:

Visa on Arrival:

A 30-day visa is available (for most western country passport holders) upon arrival from the airports (15 day stay from neighboring borders).

Tourist Visa:

The standard visa (Tourist Visa) is good for 60 days and must be obtained at a Thai Consulate outside of the Kingdom. The Tourist Visa can be extended in Thailand for another 30 days for 1,900 Thai Baht ($55 USD). And some consulates–usually excluding the consulates in Thai surrounding countries–will allow for multiple entry Tourist Visas which can allow you two entries of 60 days each, with 30 day extensions permitted on each occurrence (totaling 6 months if you play it out correctly.) There are currently few limitations on obtaining fresh Tourist Visas once your last visa has expired.

Non Immigrant B Visa:

This visa may allow a person to visit Thailand for a period of up to 1 year for the purpose of “business opportunity exploration.” One must first, however, obtain a sponsor in Thailand before applying for the visa in their home country (or selected countries that are away from the Thailand boarder.) The law firm of Sunbelt Asia may be able to assist you with this option. For complete information on Thailand visas, visitThaiVisa.com.

Getting Around:

Train:

Thailand has a vast, inexpensive, railway system. Tickets must be purchased at the station or through a travel agency.

Bus

: Thailand has many private and public long-distance bus lines. Local travel agents will handle your arrangements.

Planes

: Air travel in and out of Thailand is about at cheap as it gets. The main domestic airlines are Thai Airways, Air Asia,Tiger Air and Nok Air. These all have great travel bargains-both domestic and throughout Asia. Additionally, STA Travel has some good bargains.

Where to Stay:

Thailand makes it very easy for travelers with a wide range of accommodations and pricing. You can stay in 5-star luxury ($500/night), or in a bamboo hut ($7/night). For NuNomad Guidelines on how to choose your nest, visit the NuNomad Blog.

For current listings on accommodations

(guest houses, room rentals, etc.) visit our Community & Classifieds site now. (Categories > Accommodations)

Planning to stay in Bangkok? Look into the (rather plain) M.N. Residence(part of the M.N. Group). They have 3 locations. The location that is situated near other expats and tourist services is Banglumpoo (2km from Khao San Road). Monthly rent starts at 6,000 Baht (about $190) plus utilities. Though they have a 4 month minimum stay requirement, you can negotiate it down to 3 if you speak to “Ying.” (These studio apartments have AC, and Wifi and television for about $15/mn.) There are other similar serviced apartments in Bangkok, you just need to ask around once you arrive.

For Chaing Mai, there are an abundance of very affordable places for you to call home for awhile. Most places have WiFi and AC. For a temporary stay, look into Imm Eco Chiang Mai. Though their Internet service needs to be upgraded with more power and fewer drop-outs, the grounds of Imm Eco is gorgeous. (A good place to land.)

As for islands, you may wish to try Ko Lanta. Though it’s becoming quickly overruned by Scandinavians making Lanta their second home, there’s good infrastructure on Lanta to keep you on online and comfortable while enjoying a very nice tropical island. (Lanta “Old Town” is a fine place to head to.)

Travel Insurance:

Don’t let your Asia adventure be spoiled. Get Travel Insurance. See our article Coverage Comparison of Travel Insurance.

Mailing in Thailand:

Thailand’s service is pretty fast and efficient. Purchase your stamps at any of the local post office locations. Postal rates and office locations can be found at Thailand Post.

Essential information about Thailand

  • Mobile Phone Providers/SIM Cards:

    Dtac, AIS, True Move, Orange, among others. [Dtac is one of the most popular, but AIS allows for 6 hours of Internet access (via Bluetooth connection) for less than $2.]

  • Internet Access

    : It doesn’t get much easier than Thailand. Dial-up, ADSL, or use your mobile phone via Bluetooth to AIS (GRRS/Edge) account. Internet cafes are everywhere, and many tourist cafes and guest houses have free WiFi.

  • WiFi Hotspots:

    For a comprehensive list of free and paid for hotspot locations.

  • Mobile phone sales and service:

    Try the fourth floor of the MBK shopping mall. It will make you dizzy with all the options.

  • Computer/IT Services:

    IT City has stores in several locations throughout Thailand. HoweverPantip Plaza, in Bangkok’s Pratunam district, is by far the best center for anything computer related.

  • Internet Access via Mobile Phone

    : See NuNo Geek for GPRS info, or the Geekzone.com’s GPRS article, or Ross Barkman’s GPRS info page.

    Also

    , visitThailandGuru.com Internet access page.

Internet and Telephone Communication

International Cell Phones:

While in Thailand the most economical way to place a call is to do so with your unlocked international cell phone, using a Thai SIM card. If you don’t want to spend your travel time searching for a SIM card and don’t mind paying a little more for convenience, we recommend buying one before you go.Telestial is a great source to get your prepaid SIM card delivered to your door before your departure.

If already in Thailand, try the AIS SIM card. This mobile phone service provider allows for inexpensive access to their Internet service (via Bluetooth to computer) for (current promotion price) 40 hours per month at no charge. (The connection speed is only a little slower than that of a landline connection.) If you select another SIM, such as Dtac, you can still access the Internet (via Bluetooth to computer) if you have a separate dial-up account. You can obtain a dial-up account on-line from CS-Lox Info(considered the most reliable national service) and use a landline or mobile phone. Prepaid dial-up cards are widely available in convenience stores such as 7-11.

A more expensive option, but one that offers users up to 2.4MBPS speed is theEV-DO service available through Hutch. (Note: 3G phone service which allows one to access the Internet is now available with most of Thailand’s mobile phone companies. But the prices is steep, and the service area is primaryily in Bangkok.) This service will allow you to get onto the Net as you would using Wi-Fi, but without needing to be in a Hot Spot (just like your mobile phone service). It is suppose to cover most of Thailand and work in other International locations. You would, however, first need to purchase a special network card (Sierra 580 PC card) at 12,900Baht ($380) and then pay 999Baht ($30) month for the unlimited service plan.

  • For more information on International Cell Phone basics, read our article on Cell Phone Basics.
  • For more information on the various methods of connecting to the Internet, visit our Connecting to WWW page.

International Calling

If you don’t have aSkype account yet, get one. You can use “telephony” service with any hi-speed Internet connection, which most Internet Cafés will have. Otherwise, you’ll have to use land-line systems. If you’re staying at a location where you want to use a land line, it may be most economical to purchase an international calling card. These can be purchased at many common locations throughout the country. However, you’ll get a far better rate if you use your mobile phone with a Thailand SIM.

Another alternative is to use International Calling Cards such as “Check Dee.

” You pay 300 Baht (about $10) for a pre-paid card. Then, using your mobile or landline phone, call anywhere in the world. The rates are amazingly cheap!