Thailand FAQs

Image courtesy of Benh Lieu Song

Do I need a visa to travel to Thailand?

Thailand tends to be very flexible in respect to its entry requirements, and many nationalities are able to enter with no visa for a limited period of time. A full summary of the differing requirements by nationality is available here.


How much money should I prepare?

The high number of ATMs in Bangkok that accept international cards makes it easy to withdraw money in Thai baht at any time. However, you should be aware of possible transaction fees from your bank, as well as a surcharge of approximately USD $5 per transaction. It is recommended that you bring at least some Thai baht in order to avoid the unfavorable exchange rates in the airport. Credit cards are also widely accepted at most shopping malls and larger shops, but be sure to inform the issuing bank of your travel plans to Thailand.


Where should I stay in Bangkok?

Due to NIST’s central location in Asok, one of Bangkok’s business districts, dozens of hotels are available in the area. Hotels on the same street as the school include Mövenpick ($$$), U Sukhumvit ($$), Dream ($$), and S15 ($$). Of these, we recommend U Sukhumvit due to its very close proximity to the school – less than five minutes on foot.

U Hotel Bangkok LogoS15 Hotel Bangkok LogoMovenpick Bangkok LogoDream Hotel Bangkok Logo


How can I travel to my hotel from the airport?

Most international flights to Thailand arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport, and several travel options are available to central Bangkok. It is recommended that travellers either take the Airport Rail Link (6:00 AM – 12:20 AM) or book a taxi from the stands outside on Level 1 (Ground Floor). Have your hotel information printed out and ready—in Thai if possible. Please note that there is a 50 baht surcharge and possibly additional tolls when taking a taxi into the city.


How do I travel around Bangkok?

Despite its size, it’s very easy to travel in and around the city–and even to other locations in Thailand–using public transportation. There are several options available, but taxis, the BTS and the MRT are the easiest. Detailed information is available here. Note that traveling long distances in taxis is not recommended due to the traffic. It is recommended that you ride in a tuk tuk at least once in your life.


How do I reach NIST International School?

Printable directions to the school are available in both English and in Thai. Though it is possible to walk to the school from the entrance to Sukhumvit 15 in about 10 minutes, be warned that the hot weather means you may be covered in sweat when you arrive! Motorbike taxis in the immediate area (recognized by their orange or pink jackets) can bring you directly to the school entrance for 10 to 20 Thai baht. Simply say “NIST school” or show the map in Thai.


How do I set up my mobile phone?

Three options are available in the airport—AISDTAC and True—in the arrivals area of Suvarnabhumi, and all three have numerous shops around Bangkok. Due to their widespread networks and ease of use throughout Thailand, either DTAC or True are recommended. Note that your smartphone must be unlocked in order to use SIM cards.


Who should I contact if there is an emergency?

It is recommended that you save this list of emergency numbers. English-speaking operators can be reached through the Tourist Police or one of the major hospitals—Bumrungrad Hospital, Samitivej Hospital or Sukhumvit Hospital. During regular school days, staff at NIST can be reached at 02 651 2065.


Are there any issues that I should be concerned about related to culture and safety?

Thailand, though generally safe for foreigners, does have some issues of note. Two require particular mention. Firstly, under no circumstances should you become involved in drugs in any way due to the harsh penalties. Secondly, avoid speaking negatively about the royal family, again due to the severe legal consequences. Comprehensive information about Thailand’s culture and behaviours to avoid can be found on Wikitravel.


Where can I learn a few useful Thai phrases?

The following website provides several English transliterations of common phrases, as well as audio for each. If you find yourself in a situation in which you do not understand what is happening, smile in a friendly manner and say “mai khao jai” (I don’t understand). Thailand is a welcoming country, and people are always happy when visitors try to speak the language!