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Home | Malaysia | Maylaysia Overview
Maylaysia Overview

Malaysia is a tropical paradise endowed with breathtaking natural beauty, exotic cultures and friendly people. Made up of Peninsular Malaysia and the two states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo, it's a destination that offers so much to see, do and experience. Malaysia is easily accessible from the major cities in the region and the rest of the world. The new state-of-the-art KL International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang serves over 40 international airlines and several domestic airlines, while Port Klang, situated about 41 km from Kuala Lumpur, the country's capital, is the main port of call for cruise liners. Malaysia is also accessible by road and rail from Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south. As a visitor to Malaysia, you will have the opportunity to experience and appreciate its rich historic and cultural heritage, exotic culinary delights, shopping splendours, nature-based adventures, and fun-filled activities. The warm and hospitable nature of its people will make your stay in Malaysia both pleasant and enjoyable

The Country

The Kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its shape and geography divide into four natural regions: the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South. The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. 

The Capital City

Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. Among Asian cities, Bangkok is one of the most amazing cities in the world. Bangkok exceeds 1500 square kilometers in area. Its population of over 6 millions means that approximately one in every ten Thais is a Bangkokian. 

Major tourism attractions include glittering Buddhist temples, palaces, timeless "Venice of the East" canal and river scenes. Bangkok is also well known of shopping paradise in Asia. Visitors can find numerous air-conditioned shopping centres selling Thai silks, cotton, gemstones, bronze and pewterware, and many many more internationally admired handicrafts. 

Climate

Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons, hot and dry from February to May (average temperature 34 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity); rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to October (average day temperature 29 degrees Celsius and 87% humidity); and cool from November to January (temperatures range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20 degrees Celsius with a drop in humidity). Much lower temperatures are experienced in the North and Northeast during night time. The South has a tropical rainforest climate with temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius almost all year round. 

Population

Thailand has a population of approximately 62 million people, of which 80% are ethnic Thais, 10% Chinese and 4% Malays, plus Lao, Mon, Khmer, Indian and Burmese minorities. Such diversity reflects the country long history as an important crossroads of Southeast Asia. Thais are a friendly and easy-going people with a great reverence for the Buddhist faith. 

Language

Spoken and written Thai is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language. English and some European languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants in major tourist destinations, and Thai-English road and street signs are found nationwide. 

Religion

The majority of Thais are devout Buddhists. Muslims form the largest of the religious minorities and are located mainly in the four southern provinces. Other minority groups include Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. 

Money, Exchange & Credit Cards

Thai currency is the Baht, divided into 100 Satang. Exchange rate, is about HKD1 to 5 Baht. Thai notes are in denominations of B1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are of B10, 5, 1 and S50 and S25. 
Cash and traveler cheques can be exchanged freely, with banks or money changers giving better rates than hotels. 

Major international credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. 

Customs & Currency Regulations

Visitors are permitted to bring in duty-free 200 cigarettes and one litre of wine or spirits. Strick restrictions apply against the import of weapons, narcotics, pornography etc. Any amount of foreign exchange in travelers cheques or draft may be imported, but cash in excess to US10,000 must be declared on arrival. It is not permitted to export more than 50,000 Baht per person in cash. 
Genuine antiques and Buddha images require export license.

Passports and Visa

All visitors to Thailand require valid passports, but visas are not necessary for most nationalities for a stay of up to 30 days. Other nationalities can obtain 15-day visa on arrival. For a longer visit a tourist visa, issued by overseas Thai consular offices, is valid for a stay of up to 60 days. It must be used within three months from the date of issue and can be extended. 

Health

Certificate of inoculation against cholera and yellow fever are not required, unless arriving from an infected area. Some remote areas of Thailand are still malarial, so visitors should take appropriate facilities and hospitals, the high quality and low cost of which attract many visitors from countries where such amenities are either not available or very costly. 

Electricity

The electricity current is 220 volt AC (50 cycles) throughout the country. Many different types of plugs and sockets are in use. Travellers with electric shavers, hair dryers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug adapter kit. The better hotels will make a available 110-volt transformers. 

Tap Water

Tap water is clean but drinking from it directly should be avoided. Bottled water is recommended. 

Time

The time in Thailand is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 hours GMT). 

Office & Banking Hours

Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5:00 pm. Many stores open seven days a week from 10:00am to 10:00pm. Government offices are generally open between 8:30am and 4:30pm with a noon to 1pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9:30am to 3:30pm except on public holidays. 

Tipping

Tipping is not standard practice in Thailand, although it is becoming increasingly common. Many larger hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip but the gesture is appreciated and 10-20 baht is acceptable for porters.

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