5 things you need to know before traveling to Bangkok, Thailand from India?
Below are few tips that will help you ease your journey when visiting Bangkok, Thailand & we’ll talk about each aspect one by one.
Visa & Immigration to Thailand
Thailand does provide Visa on Arrival but we recommend getting your Visa secured in India itself so as to avoid standing in long queues at the destination airport in Thailand. You could avail of the facilities at Cox and Kings Global Services for Thailand visa on the ground floor of the Turner Morrison Building, 16, Bank Street, Fort, Mumbai – 400 001. Phone : 022 – 22709100 / 22637500. Thailand has now waived the Visa fee until 31st Aug, 2017 and hence you’d be liable to pay only the taxes which is Rs. 318. (Please note: Visa on Arrival fee has only been reduced to 1000 THB until 31st of August). Once you apply you could expect the Visa to arrive within 2-3 days. The Visa officials will however inform you about the exact dates when you could expect the Visa to reach you.
You could also register online for visa application to Thailand at: http://www.ckgs.com/
When you visit the Visa Application office of Cox & Kings, carry along the following documents.
- Visa Application Form – Download it here
- Passport (Original & Photocopy)
- Flight Tickets inclusive of return (Photocopy)
- Pan Card (Photocopy)
- Credit Card Statement or Bank Statement for past 6 Months (Photocopy)
- 3 Passport Sized Photos (Try wearing a coloured dress and have it shot on a white background – The person at the Photo studio will be aware of this.)
Once you have the above documents and visit the application office, you could take a token, stand in the queue and wait for your turn or reach out to the staff and ask them whom do you co-ordinate with if you are ‘applying directly’ (this applies if you are not a travel agent). Chances are that they might have a staff member around and they will assist you instantly thus speeding up your application process. (You could be out of the office within 20 mins if you do this.) You might need an authority letter if you are doing it on behalf of a family member or a friend but we recommend you clear this information by calling them first in advance on the number given above.
Immigration has to be done at the first point of arrival upon landing in Thailand. For example If you are travelling to Phuket from Mumbai via Bangkok, you will be directed to the transfer counter where you will need to get your immigration done at Bangkok airport. Hence immigration will be at Bangkok not Phuket. You will be given an Arrival & Departure form when flying from India of which the Arrival form will have to be filled and submitted to Immigrations while the Departure form will be required at Immigrations counter when you land back in your host country.
However, you will have to clear customs only at the final Airport.
Avoid buying Forex at the International Airport (Departure). Buy it in advance from Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings etc. Always look up for comparison and competitive pricing when exchanging Forex. USD is acceptable anywhere around the world. The process is simple. Head over to their website or call them and request for currency purchase. Mention what currency you want to buy and which outlet can you collect the money from. They would send you a link if you called them. Make the purchase using the link. They will give you a call back confirming where and what time you could collect the money from at their outlet. Ensure you carry your Visa, Passport & Ticket when you go to collect your money. Make sure the money you collect is free from any form of writing or that the note isn’t torn or soiled. Keep an eye out for this as at your destination port some exchange counters might not accept them. You could also carry your Indian Currency or USD and exchange with any Bank (TMB, Krung Thai, Siam etc) counter at the Airports in Thailand or at any bank exchange counters across Thailand. However you need to show your original passport for the same.
Please note that when heading back from any destination country (in most cases) Exchange offices in the destination country avoid accepting small denominations or coins. Hence before you head to the airport try consuming all small denominations and coins within the country itself. Please note that this varies based on the currency you are converting your money to.
Withdrawing Money or transacting for Shopping in Thailand
Your debit card will not work in Thailand unless you have activated International Banking from your bank here in India. So before you fly to Thailand, ensure you have taken care of this. Additionally please note that Thailand Banks charge 200 Baht per international transaction when you withdraw money from an ATM there. This is roughly about Rs. 400. This is very similar to withdrawing money in India from an ATM using a credit card as there is a service fee involved. For Citibank credit card in India it’s Rs.300/withdrawal at any ATM.
Your back up here in such cases would be your Credit Card as this will work internationally in case of Visa, MasterCard or AMEX
Internet Connectivity across Thailand
We ideally recommend opting for a SIM card in Thailand. You can choose AIS, DTAC or Truemove and they would provide you with a 4G SIM card at an economical price. Topup or refill for SIM card can be done at local convenience stores. All service providers provide for Tourist SIM card which is operational or extendable to the duration of your stay. They are prepaid cards and are rechargeable. How much does it cost? Starts at 299 Baht which is less than Rs.600 for 7 days. Do feel free to check out their plans online before you leave from India. You will require to show your Indian Passport here.
Tip: Once you have bought the SIM card, it isn’t necessary to update your WhatsApp settings or Telegram settings as you will still be logged on to your India number. This makes it convenient to call India via WhatsApp Audio or Video calls over the 4G network. Hence once the Thailand SIM is inserted, ensure you do not allow WhatsApp to update your Thai phone number.
Transportation from the Airport is very convenient. We arrive on the second floor and cabs are available on the first floor, so we need to go one level down. Here’s a link for some more info on the taxi services available from the airport: http://suvarnabhumiairport.com/en/117-taxi. You could also use the guide below for your reference. Besides, commuting via BTS Metro once in Bangkok is also very convenient. This will help you save a lot of money instead of taking the taxi service. If you are travelling in groups, we recommend you use taxi or BTS Metro. If you are traveling single, Bangkok has 2 wheelers taxis as well.
Below is a video to help you understand how to travel using BTS Metro. It’s slightly different from the Metro here in India as you do not always need to stand in a queue. Think of BTS Metro Counters as an exchange for coins. Sometimes they do issue a ticket but in most cases they are self-service kiosks to get your ticket.
Every destination from the BTS Metro is assigned a number. This number is ideally the cost of heading to the BTS Metro. You will get an idea of how to get a ticket at the BTS Metro in the video below.