Practicalities and Visa

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is a modern, cosmopolitan city with many cultural and historic sites, and an abundant choice of dining venues in addition to those in the conference hotels. Here are some key points to keep in mind when traveling in Bangkok in March-April during WCN’23:

Banks 

Banks provide standard services nationwide, Monday through Friday, except public and bank holidays, between 08:30-15:30. Bank currency exchange centers operate from 07:00-21:00 daily, including holidays. Most banks in Thailand also operate sub-branches at major shopping centers, which are usually open from 11:00-18:00. ATM machines are well-placed at central locations and are in service 24 hours a day. 

Business Hours 

Government offices are generally open between 8.30 and 16.30 hrs with a noon–13.00 hrs lunch break, Monday through Friday, except on public holidays. Private businesses maintain similar hours. Department stores are generally open from 10.00-21.00 hrs daily. 

Electricity 

The electrical current is 220 volt AC 50-cycle. Two flat pin-type sockets (sometimes 3-pin sockets) are used, so it is useful to carry a travel plug adapter kit. The better hotels also provide adapters and converters, just ask at the front desk. 

Emergency Numbers

Language 

English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is the major commercial language after Thai. 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. 

Money and Currency 

Thai coins include 1, 2, 5, and 10 Baht and 25 and 50 Satang pieces. There are 100 Satangs in one Baht. Banknotes are available in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Baht. The most commonly used coin is the 10 Baht, and the most commonly used note is the 100 Baht. 

There are numerous kiosks at Suvarnabhumi International Airport for changing money. The rates are competitive. Click here to see the current foreign exchange rates. 

Telephones

As Thailand has a well-developed mobile telecommunications infrastructure, visitors can use their own mobile phone if their service provider has enabled international roaming. However, relying on the international roaming services of your current service provider can be very expensive.  

A prepaid Thai SIM card with an international (GSM) cell phone is generally a less costly alternative while in Thailand. A Thai GSM SIM card allows visitors to make local calls at very low prices. Both Thai SIM cards for purchase and unlocked phones for rent are available at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. 

Thai land-line telephone numbers are composed of nine digits, with the first digit always being zero. When dialing Thai numbers from outside Thailand, the leading zero should be dropped, but within Thailand, all nine numbers should be dialed, even if the call is made in a single area with the same area code. 

Thailand Country Code: +66 

Area code for Bangkok: 2 

Time 

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

Weather 

The weather in Bangkok is very warm in late March-early April, ranging from 28°C to 32°C (82°F to 90°F) and could be up to 35°C (95°F). Days are generally sunny with blue skies.  

What to wear 

Since the weather in Bangkok is year-round hot and in humid conditions, it is advisable to bring comfortable lightweight, loose fitting, cotton clothing and long-sleeved items for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. 

A “Mom & Kids Room” is available at the congress venue, QSNCC. This room, located on LG Level, has 3 private areas for breast-feeding or breast-pumping. A Kids’ Playroom will be available at the congress. Children will only be allowed in this Playroom under parent supervision. Babysitting services are commonly provided by the larger hotels.

Based on local regulations, WCN may allow minors of under 18 years’ old to access the congress, if accompanied by a WCN’23-registered adult.  More information on this access will be available here. For any questions, please contact registrationwcn@theisn.org.

Passport and Visa 

All visitors entering Thailand must possess a valid passport with an expiration date at least 6 months from the date of entry into the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.mfa.go.th oversees immigration and visa issues. Check the website or the nearest Thai embassy or consulate for application procedures and costs.

An ‘Invitation/Visa Letter’ to support the visa application can be downloaded from the WCN Registration Portal. The invitation letters will be available only to the registered delegates who have completed payment of their registration fees.

Tourist Visa Exemption 

Passport holders from the following countries and territories are not required to obtain a visa when entering the Kingdom of Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay for a period not exceeding 30 days per visit. For more information, please see Summary of Countries and Territories entitled for Visa Exemption, or consult http://www.mfa.go.th. 

Visa on Arrival 

Passport holders from the 18 countries, please see Summary of Countries and Territories entitled for Visa Exemption and Visa on Arrival to Thailand, can obtain a visa on arrival in Thailand for a stay of no more than 15 days. Visa on arrival can be obtained at Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) International Airport (BKK), Don Mueang Airport (DMK), Phuket International Airport (HKT), and other international ports or checkpoints. 

For more information, please consult http://www.mfa.go.th, or https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand/visa-on-arrival.php.

  

Bangkok International Airport 

Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) International Airport (BKK) is located 35 kilometers east of Bangkok and about 45-60 minutes via expressway to most hotels. Don Mueang Airport (DMK), located approximately 20 kilometers north of downtown, serves some domestic flights and all of the operations of Thai AirAsia, including its international flights.   

Public Transportation  

One of the easiest and most economical means of travel around Bangkok is via the Skytrain (BTS) or the MRT subway. The BTS network, which has an elevated rail system, has two main lines: the Silom line from Bang Wa to the National Stadium and the longer Sukhumvit line from Khu Khot to Kheha. There is also the Gold Line, opened in December 2020. This connects the Silom line to the Icon Siam shopping mall. 

The two lines connect at Siam Station. The Skytrain operates every day from 06.00 – 24.00 hrs. Tickets are available in all Skytrain stations from a manned window or easy-to-use ticket machines.  

The MRT subway or metro system has two lines: the Blue line from Bang Sue to Lak Song (Service Hours: Everyday 06.00 am to 12.00 pm) and the Purple line from Khlong Bang Phai to Tao Poon (Service Hours: Monday-Friday 05.30 am to 12.00 pm / Saturday-Sunday and Holiday 06.00 am to 12.00 pm) covering the northern and eastern suburbs and central city areas.  

The MRT and BTS Sky Train intersect at the following stations, enabling passengers to connect to the different routes: 

Both are modern transportation systems highly recommended for getting around in Bangkok. Prices for BTS vary between 16 Baht–59 Baht per ride (0.40$ – 1.50$), while prices for MRT vary between 16 Baht–70 Baht (0.40$ – 1.80$) per ride. There are no transfer tickets, so tickets for each system must be purchased separately as needed.

Drinking Water 

It is advisable to drink only bottled water, which is widely available. It is not recommended to consume crushed ice; however, cubed ice is made from purified water and is potable. Avoid purchasing unsealed drinks or ice cream sold by street vendors.  

Greetings

In both a formal and informal situation, Thai people greet each other with the word ‘sawadee’ followed by ‘kah’ for females and ‘kraap’ (soft r) for males. It is normal to refer to someone of a perceived higher status by the title ‘Khun’ (Mr/Ms) followed by their first name. For example, a shop assistant would refer to their customer through the term ‘Khun’. In an international context, a handshake is an acceptable greeting. However, a male may only shake a female’s hand if she extends it to him first.

Greetings are accompanied by the gesture known as a ‘wai’, which is the placing of two palms together, with fingertips touching the nose. The wai gesture dates to the 12th century, where both hands clasped together in front proved that you weren’t holding a weapon. A wai indicates the level of respect for another person and is an acknowledgement of seniority. A person should bow their head with their palms pressed together to indicate respect. The depth of the bow and the level of the hands represents the level of respect.

Health and Medications 

As the climate of Thailand is hot and humid, it is recommended that you use sunscreen, wear a hat, and use mosquito repellent to protect against mosquito bites both during the day and at night. 

The international health and medical insurance should permit a transfer or repatriation in case of emergency. There are modern hospital and emergency facilities in Bangkok and the congress organizers and hotel staff can advise if required. 

If you are on any regular medications, you should bring either your prescription or details of your medication with you to Thailand because brand names and doses may differ. All medications should be kept in their original labelled container to avoid problems with Customs upon arrival at the airport. In Bangkok, pharmacies are plentiful, and most pharmacists can speak English. 

Tipping 

It is customary to tip hotel personnel who have given good personal service. A 10% tip is appreciated in restaurants, particularly where the service charge is waived. When service is included, which it often is, rounding the bill up or leaving a small amount of additional cash is appreciated. 

Treatment of Animals

The mistreatment of animals is a common problem in tourist operations in Thailand. Please do your research before boking activities such as elephant rides or before participating in photo shoots involving wild animals.

In Thailand there is a growing number of centers for rescued working elephants that offer a chance to encounter them, and help to pay for their upkeep, without causing them harm.

THAI Airways is the official travel partner for the World Congress of Nephrology 2023 and offers a special price for delegates participating in WCN’23.

You may book your flight via this link to get a special fare ticket, with the following event code: TG2303007.