There are many different forms of transport in Thailand, they vary in cost roughly in the following order, cheapest first:
- Motor Cycle Taxi. (If you are brave enough to take the risk).
- Open back Pick-Up Truck Taxis. (Fun and cheap, good for shortish journeys).
- Non-Air Conditioned Buses. (no windows either!).
- Mini Buses.
- Air Conditioned Buses/Coaches.
- Taxis. (look for 'Taxi-Meter' on the roof).
- The Sky Train. (In Bangkok, travels above the traffic).
- Non-Air Conditioned Trains.
- Air Conditioned Trains.
- Internal Air Flights.
Thailand’s cultural heritage was influenced by ancient India when the Indian merchants and scholars set foot and gradually settled in Southeast Asia some 2,300 years ago. It continued for several centuries. Buddhist religion and popular myth are the most obvious examples. Much of Thailand’s royal tradition is also rooted in Indian culture.
Buddhism is thought to have first come to Thailand at Nakhon Pathom, While Indian concepts of divine kingship first took root in the Khmer empire. By the 6th century AD, many independent states were flourishing in the region we now know as Thailand. One of these was the Mon’s Dvaravati kingdom. Mon dominance over central Thailand has been diminished by the power of an expanding Khmer empire. Eventually, The Khmer became so powerful that they ruled the entire area. Only the southern isthmus where the Srivijaya civilization had taken root was unaffected.
Towards the end of the 13th century, Khmer power in this area waned and new kingdoms dominated by the Thai race developed, including the northern Lanna kingdom. Beginning by nibbling away at the perimeter of the Khmer empire at Sukhothai and in Lanna some 700 years ago, the Thai race later established the glorious court at Ayutthaya, and eventually Bangkok. Over the past centuries, many peoples, among them the Chinese, Arabs, Malays and Westerners, have contributed to Thailand’s cultural heritage.
Thailand’s majestic cultural heritage inherited over the past centuries was dominated or influenced by many kingdoms encompassing the area including the powerful Khmer. The remains of their cultural heritage can still be seen in many places through out the kingdom.
Due to mutual agreements with Thailand, citizens of Brazil and South Korea get 90 days on arrival, instead of the 30 days issued to almost everyone else. Citizens of countries not on a list of 56 countries will receive a 15 day visa on entry or will have to apply for one.
Until the start of 2001, New Zealand citizens also received 90 days on arrival. Due to new immigration policies in New Zealand which restrict access to Thai, this has since been rescinded and New Zealanders now only receive the 30 days on arrival visa like everyone else.
Even if you are eligible for a visa on arrival, it's possible to apply to the Thai Embassy in your home country for a tourist visa. These are valid for 60 days and are not difficult to obtain. Non-immigrant visas can be applied for if you wish to work in Thailand and/or stay for a prolonged period of time. These are more difficult to get, and are only issued when there is a good reason for doing so.
In future posts we will look at Currency & Shopping, Food & Drink and much more
see part 1 here
see part 3 here
© 2010 – Steve Riches