Bangkok, which became the capital of Thailand in 1782, has a metropolitan population of about 12 million. The city is divided into 50 districts spread out over about 1569 square kilometers. It is situated in central Thailand along the Chao Praya river. The commercial center of Thailand, Bangkok has a thriving import-export business, but agriculture and tourism are also major contributors to the growing local economy. The official language of Thailand is Thai, but in Bangkok many people also speak English. Outside of Bangkok, various Thai dialects are common. Currency is the Thai Baht (THB), which is tied to the US dollar. A baht is divided into 100 satang, with coins for 25 and 50 satang as well as 1, 5 and 10 baht. Baht notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Thailand's VAT is 10%. Tourists may be eligible for a VAT refund.
Located about 30km east of the city, the Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) opened in September 2006. http://www.bangkokairportonline.com/ General information: 02-132-1888 Arrivals: 02-132-9328 or 02-132-9329 Departures: 02-132-9324 or 02-132-9327 Although the original plan was for the city's Don Maung Airport (DMK) to close permanently, the government decided to re-open it in March 2007. It handles domestic flights, and is situated about 24km north of Bangkok. http://www.donmuangairportonline.com/
Public transportation options in Bangkok are extensive and affordable. The BTS Sky Train has two lines, with stops primarily in the Sukhumvit and Silom districts (10-40 baht per trip). The BMCL Subway has numerous stops throughout the city and runs daily from 6am-Midnight (10-15 baht). There are several types of busses running expansive regular routes the open-top style is the least expensive (3.5-5 baht), while the enclosed, air-conditioned versions are the priciest (8-20 baht). Metered automobile taxis are widely available. Motorcycle taxis are also common bargain the rate before embarking on a journey. Tuk-tuks, three-wheeled vehicles, are more common outside the city, although you can still find them in Bangkok; negotiate a fare in advance. Water taxis are quick and reliable if you need to travel along the river, and fares usually run 10-15 baht.
Bangkok has a number of daily newspapers, most of which have an online presence as well. Here are just a few of the larger publications. Bangkok Post http://www.bangkokpost.net/ The Nation http://www.nationmultimedia.com/index.php Asian Tribune http://www.asiantribune.com/ Siamturakij http://www.siamturakij.com/ 2bangkok.com/ http://2bangkok.com/
Conventions & Tourism
Bangkok Tourist Division 17/1 Phra Athit Road Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200 Phone: 0-2225-7612 4 Fax: 0-2225-7615-6 http://www.bangkoktourist.com/ email@example.com In addition to Bangkok's Tourist Division office, the Tourism Authority of Thailand maintains an office at Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue (0-2281-0422) and at two counters at Bangkok International Airport at Terminal 1 (0-2523-8972-3), and at Terminal 2 (0-2535-2669).
In Thailand, the traditional greeting is called the wai. Place your palms together at chest level and bow slightly; the higher your hands, the more respect you are showing. Crossing your legs while seated is considered by many to be an insult. It is not uncommon for Thais to remove their shoes upon entering a home or business. If you see shoes just inside the door, remove yours as well. Images of Buddha are considered sacred refrain from touching them or taking photos unless expressly permitted. Dress in Thailand is fairly conservative. Shorts, tank tops and sleeveless shirts are rarely worn, and guests are usually denied entrance to temples if they are not dressed appropriately. Thais have great respect for the royal family; avoid criticizing them (or the government) at all costs. Tipping is not expected in most cases, although many people do so for exemplary service. Most restaurants and hotels add a service fee of about 10%.