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Health & medicine


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City Guide

Political Status

The King of Thailand is Bhumibol Adulyadej who has been reigning since 9th June 1946.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses : the Chamber of Deputies made up of 393 members who are elected by general election for a four year term of office, and the Senate where the members are designated by the government (their number must not exceed two-thirds of the Assembly).

The Prime Minister, Mr Thaksin Sinawatra (since 6th January 2001), rules the country under the King's authority.
The army has a very strong influence.

The constitution dates from 9th December 1991 and has been modified twice since then.

Thailand is an independent country which has never been colonized.

Geographical situation
Thailand has a total surface area of 513,115 square kilometers and lies in the centre of south east Asia.

It has common boundaries with Laos (1756 kms) to the north, Myanmar (ex-Burma) (1800 kms) to the west, Cambodia (803 kms) to the east and Malasia (506 kms) to the south. Its south-eastern coast is washed by the Gulf of Thailand and the south-western by the Sea of Andaman. (see the map on the Summary page).

A central plain, the Chao Phraya fluvial basin, is surrounded by plateaus to the east and mountains to the north, and is extended in the south by a long peninsula edged with beaches and coral islands.

The region next to Myanmar and Laos is the Golden Triangle, famous (or infamous) for its opium production.

The capital is Bangkok (Krung Thep in Thai)

The country is divided up into 76 provinces.


Thailand has been emerging with difficulty from the Asian crisis of July 1997 which came about from the crash of the baht, the national currency, but after two consecutive years of recession it is starting to recover due to exports taking off again.

Thailand's economy has a double velocity, with serious differences in the standard of living. But the risk of political trouble is fairly low in a country in which there are no food shortages and which makes a great display of national unity. The country is one of the most democratic in the region and the economic growth potential remains high, even if production has not yet returned to the level it enjoyed before the crisis.

The economy is dynamic and turned towards exportation, policies of diversification have been successful as manufactured products now represent 80% of the exports. The excellent external trade performance has permitted the current balance of payments to remain with a very comfortable surplus and for the foreign currency reserves to go over 32 billion dollars.

The financial sector needs very in-depth restructuring which will take a lot of time before it is totally cleaned up. The banking restructuring has slowed down after two years of vigorous macro-economic reforms which were encouraged and supported by the IMF.
At the end of 2000 bad debts represented about a third of the total. The stock exchange dropped by 40% over the first nine months of the year and the value of the baht spiralled down again to reach, at the end of October, its lowest level for two years.

The stabilization procedures concerning private debts have not yet given any spectacular results : industrial groups are negotiating revised payment schemes for their debts, in the hope that the situation will improve and the banks have managed to reduce their non-paying loans.

Inflation has been kept in check and the unemployment figures have gone down again. Internal demand remains low, but mainly due to people being cautious rather than to a real purchasing problem, in a period where the return to a lasting growth situation is not yet ensured.

Thailand has actually plenty of liquidity, but the financial structures are reluctant to finance projects which are often not good quality. Investments are being re-orientated towards more productive sectors, like transport : the first part of an elevated railway in Bangkok was opened at the end of 1999, 4000 kms of highway are being built as well as new port equipment in the capital.

Direct foreign investments are continuing at a regular pace. Modernizing and privatizing the private sector via foreign partnerships is continuing, with the priority being given to the sectors of air transport, electricity and water.

The reforms programmed over the last three years following the crisis are being progressively carried out : the econonic laws are being rewritten, the judicial system is being modernized, the central Bank has a new status to guarantee its independence, the banking system is being reformed progressively...

Division of the GDP by activity sector :
agriculture : 11.2%
industry : 32.1%
mining : 9%
services : 47.7%

Main economic indicators


economic growth (%)


inflation (%)


budgetary balance/GDP (%)

- 6.3

unemployment (%)


exports (billions $)


imports (billions $)


balance of trade (billions $)


current balance (billions $)


external debt (billions $)


Imports :
Customs duties remain high on consumer goods. In the latest recovery plan (10th August 1999) the government decided to decrease the customs duties on more than 600 products, mainly intermediary goods and equipment.

The Board of Investment launched a vast reform programme in 1997 to make the customs system clearer and faster. Concerning standards other than tariffs, industrial products have to have a licence and conform to the standards of the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI).

Imports come from the United States (12.1%), Japan (22.8%), the European Union (13.6%), Asia (apart from Japan) (34.1%).

(sources : MOCI, Le Monde)
Thailand is a well irrigated country with a strong agricultural production. Agriculture contributes 20% of the country's exports and has actively participated in its economic recovery. The sales of rice, sugar, fruit (pineapples) and sea food (shrimps) have again progressed during 2000.

Rice, the country's main crop, covers 42% of the farmed land. Thailand is the third biggest producer in the world per capita and the biggest exporter in the world.

Maize is grown on 8% of the farmed land.

Thailand is the biggest producer of rubber in the world and at the end of 1999 it caused the break up of the association of exporting countries (run on the same lines as the OPEP) which it judged to be inefficient, and since then has been leading its own commercial policy on the world market.

Fishing is an important sector for Thailand, 3.49 million tons were fished in 1997 which represents 59 kg per capita (for comparison in France 14 kg per capita are fished). Shrimps are the 5th biggest item exported.

Agriculture in ThailAnd (in millions of tons, head, m3 for timber)








sugar cane

























Thailand is presently, after Japan and South Korea, the third biggest Asian exporter of motor vehicles : General Motors and Ford along with Japanese manufacturers have installations there.

There is lively competition with Malasia and Singapore in the electronics field, but Thailand has managed to attract several assembly factories. 25% of all sales are in this domaine.

Industrial restructuring is advancing : Thai Petrochemicals were legally rectified in March 2000. It is the first major Thai group to be treated in this way, a proof that the authorities really want to go about reforming the sector.

Mining statistics (mining in millions of tons, gas in billions of m3)







Natural gas










There is also the production of precious and semi-precious stones.

Other sectors
The rebound of consumerism, linked to the overall economic situation and the beginning of the recovery from the crisis makes mass distribution a strategical sector (Casino, Carrefour and Auchan are rapidly developing). Household consumption is progressing by 5.4% on average.

Alcatel in partnership with Italthaï has won a 7.6 billion baht contract to install a national telecommunication website in optical fibres (10,000 kms) for the public telephone service TOT (Telephone Organization of Thailand).

The other main developing sectors are tourism, foodstuffs and electronics for exportation.

Tourism is booming due to the government's promotional efforts and to the devaluation of the baht, there were over 10 million visitors in 2000.

More than 350 companies are implanted in Thailand : Danone, Vittel, Total, Elf, Lafarge, Merlin-guerin, Michelin, Thompson, Rhône Poulenc, Alcatel, Bouygues, Accor, Usinor, Casino, Carrefour, Auchan, Alstom.

There are 61,200,000 inhabitants in Thailand and the population density is 120 inhabitants per square km.
0 - 14 year olds : 26.31%
15 - 64 year olds : 68.39%
65 years and over : 5.30%
life expectancy : 72.34 years

The urban population is 20.96%.

Population of working age (15-65 years) : 41 million, of which 36 million are working
GNP per capita : 1,980 dollars (purchasing power parity : 5,500 dollars)
N° of households with a purchasing power :
+ $ 30 000 per annum : 1,020,000 (7.5%)
+ $ 15 000 per annum : 3,670,000 (27%)
- $ 5 000 per annum : 2,990,000 (22%)

Level of developement
(latest available figures)

Demographic growth 1997-2015 (%) ....+0.7
infant mortality (%) ................................... 3.3
energy consumption per capita TOE .............. 1.33
population without drinking water (% pop.) ........ 19
population without sanitary installations (% pop.) ......... 4
n° of doctors per 1,000 inhabitants ............. 0.2
telephone lines per 1,000 inhabitants ....... 80
mobile telephones per 1,000 inhabitants ........ 33
private cars per 1,000 inhabitants ....... 28
n° of computers per 1,000 inhabitants .............. 19.8
adult illiteracy (%) ............ 5
secondary schooling/age group (%) ............. 56
graduates/age group (%) .............. 21

75% of the population belong to the Thai ethnic group and 14% (about 6 million) are of Chinese descent (the emigration started at the end of the 19th century).
There is a large Chinese-Thai middle class in Thailand which is perfectly well integrated.

In the north of the country there are still a lot of separate tribes like the Mons, the Karens, the Kmers and Vietnamese.
In the famous Golden Triangle, where opium is produced, there are still some old Kuomintang soldiers and Burmese rebels.

The official language is Thai.
English is often spoken both in social and professional life.
In Thai, one same word can have five different meanings depending on the intonation given.

Buddhism is widely spread and followed by 94.3% of the population.
The majority of Thai buddhists are Hinayana like in Sri Lanka, whereas in Tibet they are Mahayana.

There are 4% Muslims, 0.5% Christians and 1.2% others.

Religion is very important in the daily life of the Thais and they show it constantly with religious photos,offerings of flowers etc.

Before opening a new store or a new office, it has to be blessed by a monk, Carrefour did this recently.

There is also a widespread belief in spirits, each family has a small 'spirit house' to receive the spirits of the family ancestors.
Weights & Measures
Take an international adaptor with you. The voltage is 220 Volts.

1 baht = 0.1642 FF (1/02/2001)
1 franc = 5.50 baht
US$1 = 37.83 baht
1 euro = 39.95 baht

You can change French francs everywhere, in the airport or in the hotels.
Exchange bureaus stay open late in the streets.
If you take travellers cheques take rather ones in US dollars.
Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, it is advisable to insist that the carbon is destroyed in your presence.

Main towns
: (9 million inhabitants) the capital, with traffic which is a nightmare, wild uncontrolled urbanism and nearly 400 temples...
It stretches down each side of the river over a total surface of 1,500 sq. kms. 50% of the population are under 30 years old.
The royal palace, a city within the city, spreads over 260 hectares behind its walls. Since the beginning of time the Thai capitals have been built around this residence, symbolic seat of power of the 'Lord of Life'.
The administrative services are all in this sector.
To visit : Wat Arun on the Thonburi river, Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple of the emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha, Wat Rajabopit, Wat Traimit and its Buddha made of 5 tons of solid gold, Wat Saket....
The Vimanmek Palace museum ( the biggest teak monument in the world).
The museum of the Royal Barges : eight sumptuous barges, most of which were built in the 18th century. They are used in royal processions.
The house of Jim Thomson, in the middle of a tropical garden, housing a collection of porcelaine and art objects.
The floating markets. Trips on the canals, the 'hang yao' along the klongs. The Thevet flower market on the banks of the Krung Kasem klong, the Wat Rachanada Talat market (lucky talismans) on the other side of the klong.

Chiang Mai, the 'Rose of the North' : centuries old temples, handicraft villages

Pattaya : the oldest seaside resort

Phuket : beautiful white sandy beaches on the Phang Nga bay

Phitsanulok, Songkhla.

Average temperatures


The climate is tropical, hot and pleasant all year round, even during the rainy season when stormy rains alternate with sunny periods. The rainy season is not the same all over the country : on the Andaman Sea (on the west coast) it is from June to October and on the Gulf of Thailand it is from October to January.

The most pleasant months to visit Thailand are from mid-November to mid-February, during the cool season.
The temperatures are high in most of the country going up to 40° in Bangkok during the day (it is hotter in the dry areas to the north-east of the capital)
There are dangerous typhoons on the China Sea in September and October.
The rains only last a few days in the north but on the west coast they are heavier and can last until the month of November.

The sea temperatures go from a minimum of 27° in January to a maximum of 30° in May.
There are a lot of mosquitoes all over the country.

Working in the country
Office opening hours : 8h30 - 18h00

The labour force is flexible and plentiful but under qualified, one of the government priorities is training. There are more and more graduates available who have been trained abroad but the intermediary levels are very hard to find, having no adequate qualifications.
People are rapidly hired but just as rapidly fired.
There are now five head-hunting agencies set up in Thailand.

Two daily papers in English publish job offers.
You can look for offers in the separate ad section of the 'Bangkok Post'.

Your curriculum vitae has to be written in English with the titles underlined. All your diplomas must be mentioned as foreign diplomas are appreciated in Thailand.

The interview is an important moment when the Thailandese employer will evaluate your ability to adapt to the Asian environment and your level of English. Make sure you are sitting at an equal height to the Thai recruiting agent during the interview.

The salaries vary depending on levels of competence from 50,000 to 100,000 bahts a month on average, an engineer can earn 150,000, a computer technician 80,000 bahts in Bangkok.

Health and welfare cover depends on the individual enterprise, it is different from one to another. It could be a private insurance scheme which is very expensive and if that should be the case, negotiate it with the employer.
If you are employed by a French company, you will belong to the Caisse des Français à l'étranger.

Investments :

The legal reforms undertaken by the government are aimed at opening up the market even more to foreigners (ABL - the Alien Business Act) and to facilitate their implantation in the country (laws on acquiring landed property, real estate and commercial property).

The reforms concerning landed property, real estate and commercial property came into force on the 22nd, 28th April and 19th May respectively. These reforms intend to improve the property rights for foreigners and allow them to efficiently use the guarantees offered, to facilitate sales and to attract foreign investors with foreign currency.

The law limits the participation of foreigners in the economic domains which are considered to be of national interest or particularly sensititive : the press, radio, television, agriculture, forestry, fishing, real estate and antique dealing. Foreigners cannot invest either in activitives concerning national security or activities linked to culture, traditions, local and artisanal production or which have an impact on natural resources and the environment.

Since July 1997 the Thailand Central Bank limits credit for non-residents at 50 million bahts. On the other hand, commercial and investment transactions have no ceiling.

The first step for a foreign investor is often to find and select a partner.
Once the decision to move into the Thai market has been taken, the foreign investor has to protect his rights.
-How to protect a trademark?
Registering a trade mark is the most direct way to own and protect the rights to it.
The use of the trade mark in Thailand is not a prerequisite condition in order to register it. A trade mark can be registered for products and/or services.
- How to protect a patent, a design and industrial model or a registered model?
Unlike trade marks, the ownership of these rights is only acquired by registering. The registered model is a new mechanism to protect inventions with registration conditions which are less strict than those required for patents or designs and models.
- How to protect copyrights?
Copyrights are automatically acquired by right of creation. There are no ways of registering them. However it is advisable to notify the creation with the dept of industrial property in Thailand.
New products put on the market are sometimes counterfeited. To avoid this, Thai laws now permit action to be taken against counterfeiters. You have to set up a system to guard the warehouses and investigate 'in the field' to identify the counterfeiters.
(source MOCI)
Non professional journey
You need to have a passport which is valid for 6 months after your return date.
You need a visa if you intend to stay more than 15 days, you can get this at the Embassy.
A visa will enable you to stay up to 2 months in the country.
It only takes 2 or 3 days to get this visa from the Embassy in Paris.
When you apply for it you will need two identity photos, your passport and your return airticket or a travel certificate made by the travel agency.

Going for professional reasons:
To work in Thailand you need a work permit.
It is the employer who deals with these formalities.
A work permit is nominative, both for the person and the company, and differs depending on the job.
Thai companies can only employ foreign personnel if their Thai effective is 7 times superior.
Also the number of work permits a company can have depends on the size of the company's capital, a company with a capital of 50 million bahts has a right to 50 work permits.

There are no obligatory vaccins for visiting the country but if you are staying a long time it is advisable to be vaccinated against rabies, as well as having your polio, tetanos etc up to date, and get a hepatitis B shot. There is a risk of malaria, particularly in the country side and in the north of the country, less in the main towns. The mosquitoes are highly resistant to Nivaquine, get advice from your doctor and tell him the zone you are visiting.

Take a small first aid box with you and any pills that you take on a regular basis. Although hygiene conditions are extremely good, it is better to drink bottled water and to have an insurance which covers repatriation in case of a serious illness or accident.

Air France and Thai Airways International have daily flights to Bangkok from Paris (for about 4500 FF). AOM and Corsair also have flights once a week. There are plenty of other flights with other airlines going from or via other European capitals.

The flight Paris - Bangkok lasts 11 hours.

Internal Transport:
by plane : most of the internal flights are done by Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways also covers some of the tourist destinations
by train : there is a train service between Bangkok and the towns in the north and the north-east, but the trips are long, due to the distance and the slow speed of the trains
by boat : in the south there is a regular ferry service going between the main islands and the mainland
by road: the road network is widespread. There are good bus and minibus services for fairly short range trips.

Time differences
+ 6 hours in winter, + 5 hours in summer (with France).


To phone Thailand : dial 00 66 + the town code + the number of your correspondent

Some town codes : Bangkok = 2, Hua Hin = 32, Kanchaburi = 34, Chiang Mai = 53, Koh Samui = 77
Pattaya = 38, Phuket = 76

The Press in Thailand

Bangkok Metro : English
Bangkok Post : English
Business Day : English
Daily News : Thai
Krungthep Turakij: Thai
Kwanruen Magazine : Thai
Nation (The) : English
Nation Weekender Magazine : Thai
Pattaya Mail : English
Phuket Gazette: English
Siam Business Newspaper : Thai
Thairath Daily : Thai
Thansettakij Newspaper : Thai

French residents have created a paper called "Le Gavroche" which relates what is going on in the francophone community in Bangkok.
20/27 Soi Nailert, Wireless Road.Bangkok 10330
Tel : 253.39.23 or 01-494.34.38 - Fax : 254.61.05

: The Don Muang International airport is 25 kms from the town centre.

Chiang Mai : Chiang Mai International airport is 6 kms from the town centre. Thai Airways has several daily flights going there from Bangkok (1h10 flight time) and a weekly flight from Phuket. There are also 3 flights a week by Singapore Airline (a 3 hour flight).

Changria : flights from Bangkok or from Chiangmai

Kho Samui : daily flights from Bangkok (1h20 flight time) and Phuket (50 mins flight time) with Bangkok Airways

Phuket : Phuket International airport is 32 kms from the town. Thai Airways has about fifteen flights a day from Bangkok (1h20).

Car rental
There are several Avis agencies all over Thailand.
Reservations: tel 662 255 5300 fax 662 254 6719
Bangkok airport bds. 1 and 2 : tel 662 535 4052 - in town : 2/12 Wireless Road, Downtown tel 662 2555300-4 333 Chert Wudthakas Rd (opp Bangkok intl. airport) tel 662 566 1020 - 494 Rajdamri Rd tel 662 254 1234 - 971 Ploenchit Rd, Downtown tel 662 2530444
Cha-Am : 1349 Petchkasem Rd, tel 032 520008
Chiangmai : airport 053 201798-9 - in town : 122 Changkian Rd tel 053 281033-6
Chiangria : 1129 Kraison Rd tel 053 715777 - Chiangai airp. tel 053 793827 - Golden Triangle 053 716678
Haad Yai : airport tel 074 234300-28 - Sanehanusorn Rd tel 074 352239
Hua Hin : 1 Damnemkasem Rd tel 032 512021- airport tel 032 520008-9
Khon Kaen : airport tel 043 344313
Krabi : Tambon Krabinoi, Amphur Mueng, 81130 tel 76 324050-2
Mae Hong Son : Nivestphisal Rd, Chongham, Meng tel 6653 620457
Pattaya : 218/2-4 Moo, 10, Seaside Rd, tel 038 361628 - 240 Pattaya Beach Rd, tel 038 361627-8
Phuket : 29 Moo 4 Srisoontorn Rd, tel 076 340480-5 - 322 Srisoontrorn Rd, Tambon Choeng Talay tel 076 324352 - 33 Moo 4, Srisoontorn Rd, tel 076324374 - 390 Srisoontorn Rd, Tambon Choeng Talay tel 076 324320-32 - 8/5 Moo 1 , Tambon Karon, tel 076 340480-5 - Bangtao Bay tel 076 324101-7 - Kalim Beach Rd, Paton, tel 076342777 - Pansea Beach, Talang, tel 076 324300 - Phuket airport, tel 076 327358
Pitsanoluk : 38 Airport Rd, Arnyik, tel 055 258062
Samui Island : 12/12 Moo 1 Tambon, Maenam, Koh Samul, tel 077 425031-38 - Samui airport : 077 425012 Udon Thani : Liangmuang Rd, Mahkkeng, tel 042 244770

All Avis cars are completely equipped, have done less than 15,000 kms and have an average age of 3 months. The vehicles are carefully prepared and checked between each rental using a procedure containing 7 obligatory control points. The cars are rented with a full tank.
Renting from Avis automatically means that the car passengers, renter and/or driver are covered by a third party insurance as well as an insurance covering repatriation and the immobilization of the vehicule in case of an accident.

You can reserve a car :
- from your travel agent
- from the international reservation centre at 0 820 05 05 05
- or from any Avis agency
Avis has an interactive network worldwide, a client can reserve a car instantly from anywhere in the world.

We recommend that you pay your rental using your accredited Avis card or with another credit card accepted by Avis : American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners.
Through a simple free membership system, Avis gives identity and/or payment cards, which are a real help for a rapid and efficient service.

It is however better and easier to take a chauffeur-guide as the trafic is very difficult and it is not easy to find your way around in Bangkok.


Bangkok has some of the best hotels in the world. The service is classy and friendly, there is always a welcome drink, a flower on the pillow and a smile.

Some hotels :

ORIENTAL, 48 Oriental Ave, New Road, 10500 Bangkok, tel 66 2 236 0400, fax 66 2 236 1937/9
One of the top hotels in Asia, a mixture of tradition and elegance in a beautiful setting on the bank of the Chao Praya.

AMARI WATERGATE, 847 Petchburi Rd, Rajthevi Pratunam, 10400 Bangkok, tel 66 2 653 9000 fax 66 2 653 9045
In the centre of Bangkok near the commercial district of Pratunam and the business centre around the World Trade.

DUSIT THANI, Rama IV Road, 10500 Bangkok, tel 66 2 236 0450/9 fax 66 2 236 6400
Modern and central

MARRIOTT ROYAL GARDEN RIVERSIDE HOTEL, 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Rd, Bookkalo, Thonburi, 10600 Bangkok Tel 66 2 476 0021/2 fax 66 2 460 1805
A charming hotel in a park with elephants and a very pleasant spa.

BEL AIRE PRINCESS, 16 Sukhumuit Soi, 5 Sukhumuit Road, Bangkok, tel : 66 2.253.4300,fax : 66 2 255 8850 A Californian style hotel situated in the residential and business district in Bangkok

LE MERIDIEN PRESIDENT, 135/26 Gaysorn Road - Bangkok Tel : 66 2.253.0444 - Fax : 66 2.253.7565.
In the centre of the business and shopping districts. The staff speak French.

HOLIDAY INN CROWN PLAZA, 981 Silom Road,10500 Bangkok, tel : 66 2.238.4300, Fax : 66 2.238.5289
40 mn from the airport in the centre of the business and shopping district.

Restaurants :

The cuisine is very refined and artistically prepared. Specialities : citronella and shrimp soup, curries made with coconut milk, shrimp salad, chicken and fish cooked in steam in pandanus leaves, exotic fruit ...
You can eat delicious satay kebabs and other local dishes on the street, Thai people don't eat three full meals a day, they eat when they are hungry so there are always street sellers with mouth-watering food stands and as the standards of hygiene are high there is very little risk if you eat from them.

Some restaurant addresses :
*Kaolang, 2 Sriayudhaya Rd, Sisaoteves Dusit : a hangar on the river bank next to the Prince's boats, where you can eat delicious sea food
*Supatra River House, 266 Soï wat Rakhang-Arunamarin Rd, Ta Maharat jetty: an ancient royal house transformed into a restaurant, typical Thai food and sea food.
*Ti Potchana, Patunam crossroads: a local restaurant, quite quaint, where they do an excellent crab curry.

Your suitcase
Take comfortable light cotton clothing.
Thais like dressing up and will appreciate the fact that you make an effort to dress for dinner.
You can buy cheaply very nice cotton and silk clothes in Thailand and even get them made to measure. I would advise taking a nearly empty suitcase and filling it up as you go along!

Take a light sweater for the north, and for evenings in airconditionned hotels and sandals which are easy to slip on and off when you are visiting temples.

Schools and education
90% of the population go to primary school, 28% to secondary school and there are 963 university graduates per 100,000 inhabitants. The school children wear British-type school uniforms.

There is a French school in Bangkok :
29 Thanon Sathorn Taï, Bangkok 10120.
Tel : (662) 287.15.99 - Fax: (662) 287.26.39
which goes from pre-school to secondary 1st and 2nd cycle.
The languages taught are English as first language, German and Spanish as second languages.

Electricity : 220 V., Television : PAL
Time differences (with France) : + 5 hours in summer, + 6 hours in winter
Hot season : from March to May/June
Rainy season : from the beginning of July to mid-October
Cool season : from November to February
Units of measure : decimal system
Driving : on the left
Flight time Paris-Bangkok : 11 hours
Airport tax : international 500 baht (125 FF)
Transport airport -town : bus B25 or B70, taxis B200-500
Tipping : 10% in restaurants and a bit more in night clubs
Tax : 7% on hotel bills, 7% VAT on most purchases

Public holidays :
27th July : Asarnha Bucha Day
28th July : Buddhist Lent
12th August : the Queen's birthday
23rd October : Chulalongkorn Day
5th December : the King's birthday, National Day
10th December : Constitution Day
25th December : Christmas
31st December -1st January : New Year

+ Buddhist holidays which don't always fall on the same date.

Shopping : you can have a suit or a silk dress made up within 24 hours.
Jewels (gold and precious or semi-precious stones), antiques, really cheap imitations of watches and big brand name clothing which you can get from street stands (watch out for the customs when you get back home), handicrafts : lacquerware, silverware, objects in teak, orchids ...

Specialities : Thai boxing is a national sport, it is an ancestral fighting technique where no holds are barred.
The best places to see it : Lumphini, Rama V Avenue or Ratchadamnoen , Ratchadamnoen Nok.
The fights begin at about 3pm and end when there are no competitors left. Sensations guaranteed. Its worth it just to look at what's going on in the house.

There are several French banks in Thailand :
Lyonnaise de Banque, Crédit Lyonnais, Société Générale, BNP, BFCE, PARIBAS, CCF, Crédit Agricole Indosuez.

Crédit Agricole Indosuez.
Indosuez House, 153 Wireless Rd
Bangkok 10330
Tel 66 2 651 45 90 Fax 66 2 651 45 86
'Understanding Thailand' - CFCE (1994) - 132 pages.Price 120 FF

'Thailand' Published by Gallimard

You need a permit to export antiques and art objects.
Attention : French customs can be very strict if you bring counterfeit goods into the country, the tax and/or fine can be way over what you paid for the article.

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