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Thailand

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. Thailand adopted its current constitution following an August 19, 2007, referendum. Multi-party elections held on December 23, 2007, under the provisions of the new constitution resulted in the People’s Power Party (PPP) winning a plurality of the seats in the lower house of Parliament and the formation of a coalition government. Most of the population is Buddhist and ethnically Thai. Standard Thai is the official language of Thailand and is spoken in every province, though many areas also have a local dialect. Most Thais working in the tourist industry and in businesses dealing with foreigners can speak at least rudimentary English. Thailand is a popular travel destination, and tourist facilities and services are available throughout the country. At many tourist attractions, including national parks, foreigners are charged admission fees up to ten times higher than those charged to Thais. Read the Department of State  Background Notes on Thailand for additional information.

Thailand

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Thailand
Continent: Asia
Capital City: Bangkok
Boundary Countries:

Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia.

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

DIRECT PAYMENT:  Aek Udon International Hospital (Amphur Muang), Bangkok 9 International Hospital, Bangkok Hospital (Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket), Bangkok Nursing Hospital, Bumrungrad International Hospital (Bangkok), Chao Phya Hospital (Bangkok), Chiangmai Ram Hospital  (Chiangmai), Kasemrad Hospital Prachachuen (Bangkok), Mission Hospital (Bangkok, Phuket), Muengpeth Thornburi Hospital (Petchaburi), Pakkred Vejchakarn Hospital (Nonthaburi), Phuket International Hospital, Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital & Samitivej Srinakarin Children’s Hospital (Bangkok), Samitivej Sriracha Hospital (Chonburi), Samitivej Sukumvit Hospital (Bangkok), Theppanya Hospital (Chiangmai), Theptarin Hospital (Bangkok), Thonburi Hospital (Bangkok)

 

REFERRAL:  Bandon International Clinics & Hospitals (Koh Pha-Ngan, Koh Samui, Muang), Bangkok Hospital- Chanthaburi, Chureevej, Hat Yai, Prapadang, Ratchasima, Rayong, Samui, Trat (Chanthaburi, Roi-Et, Songkhla, Samutprakarn, Nakhon Ratchashima, Rayong, Koh Samui, Trat), International Clinic Koh Chang (Trat), International SOS Clinic- Bangkok, Ko Chang International Clinic (Ko Chang Trat), Krungdhon Hospital (Bangkok), Lanna Hospital (Chiangmai), McCormick Hospital (Chiangmai), Phyathai Hospitals- 1, 2, 3 (Bangkok), Phyathai Sriracha Hospital (Chonburi), Piyavate Hospital (Bangkok), Pratunam Polyclinic (Bangkok), Ramkhamhaeng Hospital (Bangkok), Saint Louis Hospital (Bangkok), Samui International Hospital (Koh Samui), Taksin Chantaburi Hospital (Chantaburi), Thai Nakarin Hospital (Bangkok), Thammasat University Hospital (Pathumthani), Wattana International Clinic (Phuket), Wattanosoth Hospital (Bangkok)

Main Cities: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Si Racha
Country Size: 514,000 sq km
Population: 65,493,296* (refer to mortality statistics)

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), Ethnic and regional dialects.

Currency: Baht (THB)
Predominant Religions:

Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, Other 0.1%

National Holidays: Birthday of King Phumiphon (Bhumibol), 5 December (1927)
Economic Status:

With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand appears to have fully recovered from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. The country was one of East Asia's best performers from 2002-04. Boosted by strong export growth, the Thai economy grew 4.5% in 2007. Bangkok has pursued preferential trade agreements with a variety of partners in an effort to boost exports and to maintain high growth. By 2007, the tourism sector had largely recovered from the major 2004 tsunami.

Security:

Royal Thai Army (RTA), Royal Thai Navy (RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Knogtap Agard Thai, RTAF).

US Presence:

U.S. Embassy Bangkok
95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Telephone: 66-2-205-4049, 02-205-4049 (within Thailand)
Emergency after-hours telephone: 66-2-205-4000, 02-205-4000 (within Thailand)
Facsimile: 66-2-205-4103, 02-205-4103 (within Thailand)

U.S. Consulate Chiang Mai
387 Wichayanond Road, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Telephone: 66-53-107-700, 053-107-700 (within Thailand)
Emergency after-hours telephone: 66-81-881-1878, 081-881-1878 (within Thailand)
Facsimile: 66-53-252-633, 053-252-633 (within Thailand)

Document Requirements:

U.S. citizen tourists staying for fewer than 30 days do not require a visa, but must possess a passport and may be asked to show an onward/return ticket.  Persons entering Thailand by air or via the Thailand-Malaysia border without a visa are allowed to stay in Thailand for 30 days per visit.  Persons entering Thailand by land (except for the Thailand-Malaysia border) without a visa are allowed to stay in Thailand for 15 days per visit. The duration of stay in Thailand for persons who enter Thailand without a visa cannot exceed 90 days during any six-month period, counting from the date of first entry.  After 90 days, travelers must apply for a new visa at a Thai embassy outside of the country.  Travelers must pay a Passenger Service Charge in Thai baht when departing from any of Thailand’s international airports.  This charge is now included in airline ticket prices at Bangkok’s main airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

When a traveler enters the country, Thai Immigration stamps in his or her passport the date on which the traveler’s authorized stay in Thailand will expire.  Any traveler remaining in Thailand beyond this date without having received an official extension will be assessed an immediate cash fine when departing Thailand.  Any foreigner found by police to be out of legal status prior to departure (during a Thai Immigration “sweep” through a guesthouse, for example) will be jailed, fined, and then deported at his or her own expense, and may be barred from re-entering Thailand.

In this regard, American citizens should be aware that private “visa extension services,” even those advertising in major periodicals or located close to Immigration offices or police stations, are illegal.  A number of Americans are arrested at border crossings each year when the visas and entry stamps they have obtained through these illegal services are discovered to be counterfeit.

Thailand’s entry/exit information is subject to change without notice.  For further information on Thailand’s entry/exit requirements, contact the Royal Thai Embassy, 1024 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20007, telephone (202) 944-3600, or contact the Thai consulates in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City.  Visit the Embassy of Thailand web site at http://www.thaiembdc.org for the most current visa information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  106, Airports w/paved runways:  65

Bangkok, International, Thailand, 222 Moo 10 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Srikan Don Muang, Bangkok 10210, THAILAND
Tel: +66 (0)2 535-1111, +66 (0)2 535-1515
Fax: +66 (0)2 535-4061, +66 (0)2 535-1065, +66 (0)2 531-5559
Email: aotpr@airportthai.co.th
Website: 
www.airportthai.co.th
Telex: TH 87424/5 AIRHOTL

 

Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi, Thailand, 999 Moo 7 Racha Thewa, Bangphli District, Samut Prakam 10540, THAILAND
Tel: +66 (0)2 723-0000
Fax: +66 (0)2 723-0010
Email: nbia@bangkokairport.co.th
Website: 
www.suvarnabhumiairport.com

 

Chiang Mai Airport, Thailand, 60 Sanambin Road, Suthep District, Amphoe Muang, Changwat Chiang Mai 50200, THAILAND
Tel: +66 (0)53 270222/33, +66 (0)53 203300/19
Fax: +66 (0)53 277284
Email: usa@airportthai.co.th
Website: 
www.airportthai.co.th

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

US Dept. of State TRAVEL ALERT was updated April 28, 2010
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1998.html

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Thailand of ongoing demonstrations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  Due to escalating violence in central Bangkok, demonstrations in Chiang Mai, and other incidents throughout Thailand, all U.S. citizens should avoid nonessential travel to Thailand. This replaces the Travel Alert dated April 22, 2010, to update information on security concerns and to recommend against nonessential travel to Thailand at this time.  This Travel Alert will expire on July 28, 2010.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (aka UDD or “red-shirts”) continues to demonstrate in central Bangkok.  The UDD may change or expand its demonstration locations at any time.  Various other groups are engaging in pro-government or counter-demonstrations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  There have been several minor clashes between the UDD and other demonstrators.  These clashes may escalate with no warning.  For areas currently affected by demonstrations, please refer to local media.

Political demonstrations by the UDD are expected to continue in Bangkok indefinitely.  As a result, traffic congestion and difficulty of movement is possible throughout Bangkok, and traffic patterns may change unexpectedly as demonstrators block roads.  Other forms of transportation, such as the BTS Skytrain, may close unexpectedly in response to threats or incidents, such as occurred on April 27, when protesters jumped onto the tracks and tried to block the tracks with tires.  

There have been numerous incidents of explosive attacks, including several isolated grenade attacks, in and around Bangkok and Chiang Mai over the past two months.  Additional explosive devices have been discovered before detonation.  Some of these incidents occurred at or near areas frequented by U.S. citizens.  These incidents appear to be motivated by domestic politics and do not appear to be acts of international terrorism.   The possibility of more such attacks cannot be ruled out.  U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise caution and vigilance at all times.  Immediately report to law enforcement or security personnel any unattended packages or bags or suspicious objects in public areas. 

Supporters of a pro-Government movement known as “mixed shirts,” “no color,” or “multi-color” have begun nightly demonstrations in the Nimmanhemin area of Chiang Mai city, near Chiang Mai University, an area frequented by U.S. citizens.  Media report that these supporters intend to repeat these nightly demonstrations indefinitely.  Supporters of the UDD may confront these demonstrations.  In the past, similar confrontations have turned violent.

On Saturday, April 10, UDD and Royal Thai Government security forces clashed in the Phanfa Bridge area, resulting in a number of fatalities.  On April 27, UDD protesters clashed with police near the Thai Air Force headquarters at Don Muang.   The UDD stopped and entered vehicles looking for military and police personnel. Media report that UDD leaders plan to block the movement of security forces from the provinces to Bangkok. 

UDD supporters have threatened demonstrations in the provinces if its current demonstrations in Bangkok are forcibly dispersed, as occurred April 9, 10, and 24.    Therefore, U.S. citizens should monitor public sources of information to stay abreast of the latest information concerning demonstrations and areas to avoid. 

On the evening of April 22, 2010, several explosions occurred in the Silonm/Sala Daeng area at the Sala Daeng BTS Skytrain station causing a number of injuries, including at least one fatality.  The possibility of more such attacks cannot be ruled out.  U.S. citizens should avoid travel to and lodging in this area. 

The Royal Thai Government, under the order of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, is still operating under a State of Emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas, that grants special powers to the Royal Thai Police and Army.  It is unclear what additional steps the Royal Thai Government may take under the State of Emergency.

U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence with little or no warning.  U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas that may be targeted for demonstrations and to exercise caution in their movements around Bangkok.

The Department strongly encourages U.S. citizens in Thailand to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or through the State Department's travel registration website. For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens may also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Thailand and the Worldwide Caution, located at the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.  U.S. citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 from the United States and Canada, or 202-501-4444 from overseas.

The American Citizen Services section of the U.S. Embassy Bangkok is located at 95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.  The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at acsbkk@state.gov.  The emergency after-hours telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.

The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai.  The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling 66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at acschn@state.gov.  The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-81-881-1878.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  18.23 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 72.83 years  (male 70.51/female 75.27)

(*refers to Population) note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Hep A & B, Typhoid, Japanese encephalitis
Boosters: MMR, DPT

Infectious Disease Concerns:

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: leptospirosis, schistosomiasis

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 570,000

 

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical treatment is generally adequate throughout Thailand.  In Bangkok, good facilities exist for routine, long-term and emergency health care.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 50
Referrals: 55
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

HIV and AIDS - Thailand has been experiencing an epidemic of HIV infection and AIDS. Heterosexual transmission accounts for most HIV infections, and HIV is common among prostitutes of both sexes, as well as among injection drug users. HIV infections among men who have sex with other men appear to be on the rise. Additionally, alcoholic beverages, medications and drugs may be more potent or of a different composition than similar ones in the United States. Several US citizen tourists die in Thailand each year of apparent premature heart attacks after drinking alcohol or using drugs.
Avian Influenza - The CDC, WHO, and Thai authorities have confirmed human cases of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, commonly known as the “bird flu.” Travelers to Thailand and other countries affected by the virus are cautioned to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. In addition, the CDC and WHO recommend eating only fully cooked poultry and eggs. For the most current information and links on avian influenza in Thailand, see the Center for Disease Control website regarding Avian Influence and Travel at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/. You can also refer to the Department of State's Avian Influenza Fact Sheet, available at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html.
Polio resurfaced in Indonesia in 2005. Imported cases in neighboring countries have occasionally occurred.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code: +66    
Internet Country Code:  .th

 



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