Monday, 21 February 2011

Why Travel To Thailand?

There are many countries to visit in the world and each offers its own unique attractions and reasons to be visited. So, why Thailand? What makes this country unique, worthwhile and simply a great place to visit?

With approximately 15 000 000 visitors per annum, and many return visitors from previous years, certainly confirm the popularity of the country, but you are unique and will you find what you are looking for?

Many people have indicated to me that, if you are going to be flying all the way to Thailand, I guess you have to be someone who likes the beach and the ocean.

This indicates the perception of people that Thailand is all about warm weather, islands, blue seas, white beaches and palm trees. While this is certainly part of the allure, it definitely is not all Thailand is about.

The first thing that comes to mind is the price tag for visiting and staying in hotels in Thailand. Whether you are a back packer, 5 star vacationer or somewhere in-between, Thailand remains one of the most affordable travel destinations in the world.

When elements like the quality of hotel establishments in Thailand (which rival the best in the world) the beautiful surroundings, family friendliness and warm tropical weather to name but a few, is also brought into the equation, accommodation in Thailand is an outright bargain.

To add to the attractive hotel accommodation prices in Thailand, this must also be one of the countries in the world, if not the country in the world, where hotels offer the most incredible special deals and money saving packages.

Where else would you find hotels offering deals like "stay 16 nights and pay only 8" or "stay 10 and pay only 5"? It is also not like there is just one or two offering such a deal once in a while. There are a plethora of them, ranging from 3 to 5 star all over Thailand, including destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and basically all the rest.

The next reason on my list is the extremes to which hotels and resorts in Thailand go to create the ultimate family friendly vacation destination.

To start with, it is a known fact that Thais are extremely fond of children, and as an expat Thailand resident, this became very apparent very quickly. Hotels and resorts all over Thailand acknowledges children as their future customers and as such the highly professional kids clubs with an array of educational and other fun and exiting kids activities, creates a haven for children to enjoy their own holiday. At the same time, this creates time for the parents to have time available to them selves.

Many hotels in all price categories also offer ideal family friendly accommodation. From two to five bedroom accommodation and themed children's rooms, small to large families will find suitable accommodation anywhere in Thailand.

Thailand is safe. Even for the single female traveler, this must be one of the safest tourist destinations in the world. It certainly cannot be argued that crime will never take place in Thailand. However, Thais are a non aggressive people and the probability of a tourist falling victim to crime, especially violent crime, remains very low. To maintain this status as a safe tourist destination, The Royal Thai Police have established the Tourist Police Division. These men and women are mostly English capable, unbiased and a tourist's first friend when arriving in the land of smiles.

Referring back to our first point in terms of Thailand not being all sand and surf, the diversity of the country's landscape, history and culture as a tourist attraction, needs special mention.

Thai civilization dates back to 3600 BC, though Thailand first announced independence around 1238 AD. Since then, the city of Sukhothai was taken from the Khmer Empire and placed under Thai rule, the Lanna Kingdom was founded, Ayutthaya was the first capital and later moved to more or less where Bangkok is today and cities and temples, of which the outer walls and ruins can still be visited today, was build. Hence, Thailand with all these heritage sites, palaces and museums, is a history lovers dream and will enrich your knowledge of a very old and very exciting culture. Then many historical and ancient places are actually a must for every tourist.

As said, Thailand's beautiful islands, warm azure oceans, crystal white beaches and warm tropical weather is the primary reasons for many, if not most who come here. However, getting off the beaten track can lead to a very exciting and fulfilling visit.

Venture up north to Places like Chiang Mai (a place they say perfected hospitality), Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son, to experience more typical Thai culture, the friendliness of the people and a jaw dropping landscape. Green forested hills, rivers and waterfalls define the beautiful environment, also rich with history and culture.

A plethora of national parks dot Thailand, especially in the north, criss crossed by hiking trails, waiting to be explored. This is a far cry from sipping cocktails under a palm tree on an island right?

And while you are there, visit the Northern Hill Tribes, descendants of Chinese, Burmese, Laotians & Vietnamese who migrated to Thailand over the centuries. Still dressing in traditional clothing and very much still living the way they always did, these friendly people is an experience not to be missed.

Another highlight of traveling through Thailand is the cost of transport. Certainly, if one is going to travel in private luxury all the time, things can be slightly more expensive, but generally, traveling in Thailand can be dirt cheap and the many colourful transport options make it as much fun as it is budget friendly.

Also, the more authentic and local your mode of transport, and thus also more fun, the cheaper it gets. Swap the fancy speedboat for a longtail boat for instance (not all longtail boats look like a canoe. Some are bigger boats carrying larger cargo, but they are basic). It is much slower, but you get to see so much more and it just feels great.

Take the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani if you are traveling to several islands in The Gulf of Thailand instead of flying. Even with a mini bus from Bangkok to Chumpon and from there by boat to islands in the Gulf will cost you less than 2000 Thai Baht for a 600 kilometer journey. All the while it will be a much bigger adventure and part of your entire vacation experience than just taking the fastest and most expensive option.

In summary, you want to visit Thailand because it is so different. Different to the west, but also different to most other eastern or Asian countries.

A big city like Bangkok aside, Thailand is still very much rural, and even in towns a little more developed like Hua Hin, Thailand still retains a very authentic Thai feel. Life is still simple in many ways with a relaxed, tomorrow will see to itself attitude.

Our advice is to book hotel accommodation in more than one region of Thailand. Spend a week on an island, but then also explore the inner and northern part of Thailand, be surprised and impressed at the same time and start making plans to return as soon as possible.

Tag : Thailand,Thailand Travel,Hotel Thailand,Thailand Spa,Thai Boxing

Monday, 7 February 2011

Hua Hin, Thailand: Leisure Indulgence By The Beach

Are you on the lookout for a holiday by the beach? Do you want a holiday filled with leisure activities ranging from water sports to golf? Then Hua Hin in Thailand is the destination for you! Hua Hin is the elite beach town of Bangkok by the west coast of Gulf of Thailand.

Hua Hin has some of the finest and spectacular hotels and spas. offers the best deals on Hua Hin hotels and provides you the best deal possible. The cool climate and the peaceful atmosphere of Hua Hin attracts many a tourist to its beach, and the long stretch of pure white sand and clear blue seas offers them the most serene visage of Thailand. Most of the hotels are situated on the beach side and the beach is never too crowded for relaxing. It is also one of the favourite shopping destinations for traditional items.

Sights to See and Things to Do in Hua Nin

Hua Hin is traditionally influenced by both the Thai and European culture. There are stunning palaces, temples and magnificent monuments of historical importance situated there. One of the most famous and extravagant monuments is the Victorian-influenced “The Palace of Hope and Love”. A little out of the town is the Kaeng Kranchan Dam and The National Park. It is the largest park in Thailand which is home to many rare species like the Hornbills and Serpent Eagle.

There are many activities you can indulge in, such as horse and elephant rides, sea canoeing, wind surfing, scuba diving and karting. Golf is another important leisure sport played here and Hua Hin has six top quality state-of-the-art golf courses. Many tourists and golf enthusiasts come to Hua Hin only to enjoy the extensive golf facilities provided.

Hua Hin is famous for its glitzy festivals. The Hua Hin International Jazz Festival is a famous music festival held annually in June. International music artists perform on beachside stages, and there are various jazz products sold and workshops held. The Kite Festival is another famous festival which is aided by the offshore breezes. Opening myriad colours, kite flying skills demonstrations and competitions are held.

Over the years Hua Hin has developed from a traditional town to a place that displays luxury or entertainment available. With its unique leisure activities it has now become the best holiday seaside destination in Thailand.

Excite hotels offers a Myriad Hued Path to Hua Hin Hotels

Tag : Thailand,Thailand Travel,Hua Hin,Hotel Thailand

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

How To Get A Non Immigrant Category O Visa For Thailand

The Thailand Visa Application Process

Why is an article like this needed to explain how to get a Non Immigrant Category O Visa for Thailand? Surely the requirements are available on the Thai Embassy and Consulate websites. Well, yes there is a lot of information on the requirements for obtaining a Non Immigrant Category O Visa for Thailand on the Thai Embassy and Consulate websites and also on various third party websites such as Thai legal websites and Thai forums. But those websites have a lot of information and about all types of visa.

This article is specifically about getting a Non Immigrant Category O Visa for Thailand and so the information is much clearer than the other websites. Additionally the language used on the Official' Thai websites is in semi-legal language and being translated from the Thai language it is not always clear what the meaning is. On the other hand, this article is written in clear easy-to-understand English. Also the requirements for a Non Immigrant Category O Visa for Thailand appear to be different according to which website you read and in my experience also according to where you go to get your visa!

All this will be explained in the article along with answers to questions like these:

  • Who Needs A Non Immigrant Category O Visa For Thailand?
  • What Is A Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand?
  • What is A Category "O" Non Immigrant Thai Visa?
  • How Long Does A Category "O" Non Immigrant Thai Visa Last?
  • What Is A Multiple Entry Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand?
  • What Do You Need To Get A Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand?
  • What Other Types Of Visas For Thailand Are There?
  • Where Is The Best Place To Get A Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand?

Who Needs A Non Immigrant Category O Visa For Thailand?

There are ten classifications on Non Immigration Visas for Thailand each for a specific purpose and only one called the Category "O" Visa, "O" standing for "Other". The Non Immigrant Category O Visa for Thailand, by definition is for people and reasons not falling into the other classifications. Typically it is for people who want to stay in Thailand for a longer period than they could with a standard tourist visa which may be valid for just a few weeks. Often people seeking a Non Immigrant Category O Visa for Thailand want to visit their Thai spouse, children, parents or for retirement. They are people who are not planning any type of work or business in Thailand. In addition, with a Non Immigrant Category O Visa you are able to apply to open a Thai Bank Account and to apply for a work permit in Thailand.

How Long Does A Category "O" Non Immigrant Thai Visa Last?

A normal Category "O" Non Immigrant Thai is valid for 90 days (three months) unless otherwise instructed by the Office of Immigration Bureau.

Extending The Period Of Validity

Qualified people can obtain an additional one year stay permit counting from the date of entry in Thailand at the discretion of the Immigration officer. The application has to be made either at the Thai consular mission aboard or at the Office of Immigration Bureau in Bangkok.

What Is A Multiple Entry Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand?

A multiple entry Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa for Thailand is exactly what it says. It is exactly the same as a normal Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa except that multiple entries are permitted. The maximum time you can stay in Thailand with a Thai multiple entry Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa is 90 days. Then you must leave Thailand and go to another country but you can re-enter Thailand the next day. (Or even perhaps the same day, but I have not tried that)

The multiple entry Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa is valid for one year. So you can effectively stay for one year in Thailand with this kind of visa provided that you leave the country every three months. Leaving and re-entering Thailand to authorise the next three month period on your multiple entry visa is not as onerous or expensive as it sounds. You can simply cross the border into Laos or Cambodia to the East to Malaysia to the South.

What Do You Need To Get A Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand?

The requirements to get a Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa is not always clear and it does depend upon where you are getting you visa from.

Royal Thai Embassy Website in London Requirements For A Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand

Below are the requirements as set out on the Royal Thai Embassy Website in London, U.K.

First these are the stated requirements for all categories of Non Immigrant Visa for Thailand:

  1. Visa application form completely filled out
  2. Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months and its copy
  3. Two 4 x 6 cm full-faced, bareheaded photos taken within the past six months
  4. Evidence of adequate finance (20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family)
  5. Letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Alien Occupational Control Division, Department of Employment.

In addition to the above, the following are required for the Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa:

  1. Birth Certificate
  2. Certificate of Marriage or its equivalents
  3. An official recommendation letter from organization perform voluntary job in Thailand

Note also that Additional documents (not specified) may be required.

Royal Thai Consulate, Birmingham (U.K.) Requirements For A Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand

According to the Royal Thai Consulate, Birmingham, U.K. Website some of the requirements listed above are not required if you apply for your Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa at the Consulate, but other requirements are listed.

The following for example, are not listed as being required:

  1. Birth Certificate
  2. Letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Alien Occupational Control Division, Department of Employment.

In fact, my husband got his Multiple Entry Category "O" Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand from Royal Thai Consulate, Birmingham with just our Thai Marriage certificate plus of course his passport, Fee and the completed Form.

Other Types Of Non Immigrant Visas For Thailand There Are

In summary, because the descriptions on the official Thai websites are much longer, these are the different types of Non Immigrant Visas For Thailand there are:

  1. (F) to perform official duties
  2. (B) to do business or to work
  3. (IM) to 'invest with the concurrence of Thai Ministries and Government Departments '
  4. (IB) other investment
  5. (ED) to study, attend seminars etc
  6. (M) to work as a film-producer, journalist or reporter
  7. (R ) to perform missionary work or other religious activities
  8. (RS) to conduct scientific research or training or teaching
  9. (EX) to undertake skilled work or to work as an expert or specialist
  10. (O) other activities

Where To Get A Non Immigrant Visa For Thailand

You can obtain your Non Immigrant Visas For Thailand from either a Royal Thai Consulate Embassy or a Royal Thai Consulate. I have found that (in the U.K.) it is easier and faster to get your Non Immigrant Visas for Thailand from the Royal Thai Consulate in Birmingham rather that the Royal Thai Consulate Embassy in London.

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