Facts for the visitor

General information for your stay in Bangkok

Business Hours
The private sector operates from 09.00 to 17.00, while the public sector operates from 08.30 to 16.30, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays. General banking hours are Monday to Friday 09.30 to 15.30.
There are no public holidays during the Conference week.

Currency, Credit Cards and Exchange

Currency: Thai currency is called Baht (báat). There are 100 satangs in 1 Baht. Notes are issued in denominations of B1000 (grey), B500 (purple), B100 (red), B50 (blue), B20 (green) and B10 (brown). There are 10, 5 and 1 Baht coins, and 50 and 25 satang. ATMs will issue local currency.

Credit Cards: All major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the Kingdom. Most foreign currencies and travellers cheques can be changed at banks, hotels or money exchanges found in cities.

Tipping: Tipping is not a usual practice in Thailand although it is becoming more common. Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but the gesture is appreciated.

Bargaining: Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other places bargaining is to be expected. Generally, you can obtain a final figure of between 10–40% lower than the original asking price. Much depends on your skills and the shopkeeper’s mood, but remember, Thais appreciate good manners and a sense of humour. With patience and a broad smile, you will not only get a better price, you will also enjoy shopping as an art.

VAT
There is a value added tax of 7% applied to most items and services. Most hotels and restaurants also add a 10% service charge to the bill. Airport tax or departure tax is required to be paid by all international and domestic passengers departing from any Thai airport. The airport tax of a domestic flight ticket bought within Thailand is usually added to the ticket fare automatically. For international flights, the airport tax is 500 Baht per person and 50 Baht per person for domestic flights.

Climate
The climate tends to be humid and hot throughout the year. The average annual temperature is 28 degrees C (83 degrees F). The year is divided into three seasons: Hot (March–May); Rainy (June–October); Cool (November–February).

Drinking Water
Tap water is not recommended for drinking. Drink only bottled water. Most hotels and large restaurants offer bottled water and clean ice.

Electrical Power
The electrical current is 220V; 50Hz. Dual-prong rounded plugs as well as flat-pin plugs can be used in sockets. Adaptors are available at most of the hotels.
For those coming from North America with 110V/60Hz appliances, be sure to bring an appropriate transformer.

Language
Thai is the official language of Thailand. English is understood in most major cities.

Liability and Insurance
The Conference organisers cannot accept liability for personal injuries, loss or damage to property belonging to Conference delegates (or their accompanying persons), either during or as a result of the Conference. Please check the validity of your own insurance.

General Safety Advice for Visitors
Thailand is a safe country, but like anywhere in the world, it is wise to be a little cautious. Simple safety precautions such as ignoring touts, keeping away from trouble areas, not wearing excessive jewellery, being careful when crossing roads (remember: left-hand traffic!) and taking care of valuables will keep you out of trouble. Valuables such as money, traveller’s cheques, passports and flight tickets are best kept in the safe box of your hotel.

Time Zone
Thailand is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 6 hours ahead of Rome, Paris and Vienna, 12 hours ahead of New York and 3 hours behind Sydney. Thailand lies in the same time zone as its neighbours Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Conference Transportation
Transportation will be provided to the IMPACT. This web page will be updated with further information closer to the Conference.

Public Transport and Car Rental
Taxis:
 Metered taxis are available 24 hours in Bangkok. The metered fare is standardised, with the flag down rate being 35 Baht for the first 2 km and around 5 Baht for each km thereafter. Passengers must pay tolls if using the expressways.
If taxis do not have meters, fares must be agreed upon before starting. Average fares in Bangkok are between 50–200 Baht. No tip is expected, but it is a nice gesture.

Tuk-Tuks: The colourful, three-wheeled, open-air “samlor” taxis are renowned for their capability to maneuver into the tightest spots, offering passengers an interesting ride. Accommodating two passengers (three or four in a squeeze), it is best for short trips during off-peak hours. Settle the fare BEFORE proceeding. Normally cheaper than metered taxis, the fare should never exceed 200 Baht per trip.

City Buses: Bangkok has an extensive bus service with routes serving every part of the city, providing an interesting and cheap way to explore the city. There are both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned vehicles. The fare ranges from Baht 3.50–10.

BTS Skytrains: With stations in major commercial areas and departures every 5 minutes, it is an ideal means of transportation to escape the traffic. Running from 06.00 to midnight, the fare depends on distance travelled, ranging from 10–40 Baht per person. Routes and fares are posted at every station, where tickets can be purchased.

Motorcycle Taxis: Unique to Thailand, these taxis emerged in response to needs for faster transportation during traffic jams and access to main roads from remote neighbourhoods and deep sois (alleyways). Drivers wear colourful vests and fares are slightly higher than those of metered taxis. Fares should always be negotiated BEFORE proceeding. Thai laws stipulate helmets must be worn in the use of motorcycles on public roads. Be prepared for an adventurous ride.

River Taxis: Taxis that are even more unusual, though equally convenient, are the river taxis that ply the Chao Phraya river. Some ferry passengers across the river (2 Baht), while others run the route to various landing stages on both banks, going up as far as the northern suburb of Nonthaburi. Fares range from 5–20 Baht per person, depending on distance. Signs at the landing piers are posted in both Thai and English.

Hired Car: If you want to experience driving in Bangkok, there are many car rental firms in Bangkok, including international rental companies such as Hertz, Budget and Avis. The road system is good and well posted with some signs written in English. An international driver’s license is required.