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Introduction
Bangkok Hotels
Overview 
Facts & Figures 
Geography 
Language 

Overview
 
 


Bangkok

Bangkok is quintessential Asia with the enigmatic Thais at the center of it all. The promise of Asia is the religious and historical insistence on maintaining an even, calm comportment during any situtation - no matter how benign, heated, or even tragic. The Thai's (as opposed to the louder, busier Chinese and Japanese, for example) seem perfectly suited for the task. A soft, disarming charm abounds - you will be seduced. Though Bangkok is anarchy with cars, buses, taxis, tuk-tuks, and two-stroke motorcycles battling it out for space under the perpetual 95 degree sun, the Thai's take it all in and you should, too. But, if it's all a bit much, hop in the new SkyTrain and be above it all - literally. At the end of the day, the food, the people, great prices, and big smiles will keep you coming back again and again. You'll love it! A must Asian destination.


Facts & Figures
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Electricity
Similar to Europe, it is 220 volts and 50 cycles. The United States is 110 volts and 60 cycles. There will be built-in adapters for shavers in almost all hotel rooms. Sockets for 220 volts will accommodate two-pronged or three-pronged plugs, but NOT both - the former is more prevalent. If you intend to get an adapter, its better to see what kind of sockets are in your hotel first. Waiting until you get here to do so not only ensures you get the right one, but it will be much cheaper.

Internet Connections
Internet cafes are EVERWHERE, and filled with the hip and trendy checking their email, listening to Thai pop songs, and chatting non-stop. Connection speeds vary but are generally good.

Newspapers
English language newspapers are readily available throughout Bangkok including local publications the Nation and The Bangkok Post. International offerings include the Asian Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, and USA Today International. Other major European and U.S. city newspapers are also available in many areas, particularly from large news stands and bookstores.

Population
Thailand has a population of about 60 million people of which about 10 million live in sprawling Bangkok. Ethnic Thais form the majority, though the area has historically been a migratory crossroads, and thus strains of Mon, Khmer, Burmese, Lao, Malay, Indian and, most strongly, Chinese stock produce a degree of ethnic diversity. Integration is such, however, that culturally and socially there is enormous unity.

Telephone Information
Country Code
The country code for Thailand is 66.

Dialing Out Code
Dial 001, followed by your country's telephone code, and then the area (or city) code, and then your number. For the U.S., the country code is "1", for the U.K. it is "44" and for Australia, it is "61".

Local Calls
Local calls are free from homes, stores, and businesses but most hotels will charge for this, sometimes a lot. Make sure you check with the hotel beforehand especially if you will be getting on the internet. A local call from a public telephone is a few baht.

Long-distance calls
1.) Though most hotel rooms now have International Dial Direct (IDD) thus saving guests some of the exorbitant charges that used to be levied at all hotels, it's still cheaper to use a phone card at an IDD phone outside your hotel.

Useful Numbers
Police, Fire, or Ambulance - 191

Television
Bangkok is fully served with cable TV (CNN, HBO, ESPN, CNBC, among dozens of others) available almost everywhere.

Time Zone
Bangkok is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). There is no daylight savings time. During summertime in the United States, Bangkok is the same time as: New York City + 11 hours, Chicago + 12 hours, Denver + 13 hours, and Los Angeles +14 hours. In the winter, when daylight savings time, or D.S.T., is in effect in America, simply add one hour to those times. Ex. When it is 7:00 p.m., August 23rd (therefore, no D.S.T. is in effect) in Chicago, it is 7:00 a.m. August 24th in Hong Kong. When it is 7:00 p.m., February 23rd (D.S.T. is in effect) in Chicago, it is then 8:00 a.m., February 24th in Bangkok.

Water
Bottled water is recommended and available everywhere.

The Monarchy
Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should always show tremendous respect for H.M. the King, H.M. the Queen and the Royal Children.

Dress
Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire.
It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.


Geography
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The Kingdom of Thailand, covering an area of 514,000 square kilometres, lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, roughly equidistant between India and China. It shares borders with Myanmar ( Burma ) to the west and north, Laos P.D.R. to the north and northeast, Cambodia to the east and Malaysia to the south. Bangkok occupies a total area of 1,568 square kilometres on a flat alluvial plain divided by the Chao Phaya River. Bangkok, Composed of about 50 districts (khets), it is home to one-sixth of the country's population.

Language
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Thai is the language of Thailand and it is written in a unique script which looks like curly variations of the letters "n" and "u". It is a tonal language, though spoken much more gently than Chinese. Bangkok is an international city. As such, a lot of street signs, directions and bus routes are given both in English and Thai. You will find that most taxi drivers serving the hotels will speak enough English for the tourist. If your destination is fairly popular, this should pose no problem. If not, ask at your hotel if they will write your destination in Thai on a piece of paper for you to give to the driver. Be sure to take a card from the front desk for your return.







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