This issue - Thailand
We have received so many requests for the back issue on Thailand that we have decided to update it and issue a new version as a special issue. This issue includes the Thailand information from the 19 May 2002 newsletter, together with new information. As always, we welcome comments and especially personal stories and photos about trips to Asia.
Don't forget you can easily find cheap air fares from any starting point to any destination, using the Travel Select Fare Finder. And even better if your journey happens to start from, or pass through, the UK because there are special offers for flights originating in the UK. For accommodation, you can find real bargains in good hotels if you book with Precision Reservations.
So now, on with our review of the web sites we have reviewed for this issue:
Sukhothai, meaning the "Dawn of Happiness" was the first free Thai city founded in 1238. The story of this "Golden Age" of early Thai history up until the 15th century, when Sukhothai was incorporated into the Ayutthaya kingdom as a province, is clearly presented on this excellent page.
This excellent page from Mahidol University is at:
How Thailand began
As a general guide, aliens visiting Thailand must possess valid passports or acceptable travel documents and appropriate visas before entering the country. Visitors from certain countries are permitted to stay for up to 15 day without visas, provided they possess tickets confirming departure within 15 days, while visitors from several other countries are allowed to apply for tourist visas at all ports of entry. Transit visas are granted for up to 30 days and tourist visas for up to 60 days.
Narcotics and pornographic materials are strictly prohibited. Permits must be obtained for firearms and certain species of animals and plants. The export of Buddha images, images of deities and antiques is strictly forbidden without first obtaining approval from the Fine Arts Department.
Full information can be found on the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs page at:
Visa and Customs Regulations
How many languages are spoken in Thailand? Surprisingly, the answer is 75, and all are living languages. Over 3 million speak Pattani Malay, and just 5 (at the last count!) spoke Mang.
You can find full details and lots of interesting information about all the languages at:
Languages of Thailand
Andy Carvin's marvellous travelogue, photogallery and RealAudio archive of his November 1997 trip to Southeast Asia icludes this lovely page about Bangkok, complete with many photographs and sounds of the city including Weaving through traffic in a Tuk-Tuk, Worshippers chanting at Wat Suthat and Gamblers shouting their bets at Ratchadamnoen Stadium.
Worth looking at:
The sights and sounds of Bangkok
Located on the sunrise side of the Gulf of Thailand, Cha-am and Hua Hin are quiet relaxed coastal towns, perfect for family vacations. These resorts lack the bustle of an international playground and instead offer a quiet escape. Part of the excellent Thailand Travel Guide site, the pages on Cha-am and Hua Hin are full of useful information adn contain enough description and photos to tempt you into sampling the place. For the nature lover it is "a place of wonder where the stunning landscape is a breathtaking blend of forested hills, deep valleys, waterfalls, caves, beaches, mangrove swamps and coves" and if temples are your thing then "This old town has a number of superb temples dating from the late Ayutthaya period, as well as several other important sights such as Khao Luang Cave and Phra Nakhon Khiri, the 19th century hilltop palace of King Mongkut".
Don't forget to take a look at the rest of this interesting site as well, at:
Cha-am and Hua Hin
If it's photos you are looking for, you won't do better than the excellent "Thailand Photo Album" site. It's a bit confusing when you arive at the opening page, but just scroll down to the section of Free Pghoto Albums and you can download the albums by clicking on the arrows at the left hand side. And the site has more than just pictures. There are a whole lot of free "ebooks" to download as well.
You can find all this at:
Thailand Photo Album
For those seriously interested in Thai language and culture, the excellent learning resources from Northern Illinois University are a must. The site is beautifully presented and contains an enormous amount of interesting and scholarly information. A lot of the text is in Thai but there is also much in English. A word of warning; don't assume that when you see something on this site that looks like Thai language, you should ignore it. There are many places where English text is displayed in an artistic font, and looks at first sight like Thai!
You can find the Northern Illinois University site at:
Thai Language and Culture
Thailand On-Line is an excellent source of information on Thailand and includes some nice pictures of the Loi Krathong Festival. Elegantly presented data on northern Thailand and Laos and particularly strong on the tiny town of Pai as well as Chiang Rai.
The Loi Krathong pictures can be found on:
Loi Krathong Festival
SEAEK needs Flash and a fast connection to really enjoy to the full, but the photos are stunning. Eugene Kuo explains "I spent the latter half of 2000 travelling through Southeast Asia. This site is a distillation of my photos, journal entries, and email travelogues. You will need the flash plugin, and the faster your connection, the happier you'll be.
Definitely worth a visit at:
The Photos of Eugene Kuo
For useful books on travel, you will find a comprehensive listing with prices and reviews on my books page (with links to buy direct from Amazon.com) on:
Hotel accommodation in Asia is plentiful and using a reputable agent can secure you substantial discounts. Precision Reservations can usually find you a good deal and you can check their availability here:
Back issues of this newsletter are available. You can find them on:
The countries covered in other issues are:
Far East Air Fare deals from Travel Select
For flights originating anywhere in the world use this Travel Select link
And if your flight originates in the UK there are some special deals on this special UK page
Other Useful Links
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