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THAILAND CULINARY TRAVEL INFORMATION

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE INFORMATION

Arrival Airport: You should arrive at Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport (airport abbreviation: BKK). Bangkok is a major international hub that is serviced by most major airlines. Among others, the following airlines fly into Bangkok: United Airlines, Air Canada, Thai Airways, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, and QANTAS.

Departure Airport: You will depart from Chiang Mai International Airport (airport abbreviation: CNX). We intentionally end the tour in Chiang Mai to allow you the flexibility to travel onward in Thailand or to return to Bangkok to connect with your international airline.

Pick-up & Drop-off information: We provide complimentary group airport pick-ups and drop-offs on the first and last day of the tour. We will be waiting for you with a sign saying ‘Access Trips’ as you exit customs at Bangkok’s airport. If you would like to be picked up from or dropped off to somewhere other than the airport, or on a different day, please email us to discuss.

Airlines and Checking Equipment: If you intend to bring any equipment, please check with your airline regarding policies for checking and transporting sports gear and equipment before you book your flight. This includes inquiring as to weight, charges and liability.

Flights: We do not book flights or insurance for our clients. For recommendations, click here


TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

Travel Insurance: Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Please contact your local travel agent to purchase travel insurance. Please find recommendations for insurance providers at:http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/

Passports & Visas: All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months validity). Citizens of some countries will also require a visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Thailand, please check out the US Department of State’s website:
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/thailand.html. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.

Age: Most of our trips do not have any age restrictions. The majority of our clients are between the ages of 28 and 50, but we also have many clients who are older and younger than this.


HEALTH AND SAFETY

Emergency Contact: If you need to contact Access Trips due to an emergency on your tour, please refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific information relevant to your trip.

Health requirements: Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country:http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1040.html. We strongly recommend that you visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. You are responsible for ensuring that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

Fitness requirements: Our cooking trips are open to anyone who wants to learn to cook in a fascinating destination. Nevertheless, many of the countries we operate in do not have adequate facilities for the disabled. The accommodations may not have elevators, the sidewalks may not be even- or even paved!- and we do a fair amount of walking during our sightseeing tours.

Safety & Security: To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, travelers checks and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals. For information on safety and security in Thailand, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1040.html.

Note: As a rule, do not drink tap water or use ice in Thailand, even in hotels. We strongly recommend drinking bottled water. We also strongly recommend avoiding eating unpeeled fruits and vegetables.


CULTURE, CLIMATE, CURRENCY, BANKING & ELECTRICITY

Culture: Thailand is a conservative country. Out of respect for the culture we are visiting, please note:

The king and royal family are revered by most Thai people. You should be respectful whenever mentioning the royal family.

Dress conservatively when visiting temples- women particularly should wear long skirts or pants, have their shoulders and knees covered.

Many temples state as you enter that photography is not allowed. Even if there is no sign, please be respectful and consider whether it is appropriate to be taking flash photography of a place of worship – especially if monks are present.

Remove your shoes when entering temples and do not sit with your feet towards the Buddha – sit either cross-legged, or with your feet tucked behind you.

Women should take care not to touch a monk.

Avoid patting children on the head.

Language: Most people speak Thai or a regional dialect.

Climate: Our Thai cooking tours take us to a variety of Thai cities and villages, including Bangkok in the South Central region, Chiang Mai in the North Central region, and Ban Thaton in the mountains of the Northwest near the Burmese border. All of the locations we visit have warm to hot weather most of the year, with the following variations:

Cool Season
November through February – much of Central and Northern Thailand has moderate weather at this time. Expect warm days with cool nights and little or no rain. Mountainous areas may be cold at night.

Hot Season
March through June – This time of year is hot and dry. April is usually the hottest month.

Wet Season
July through October – this time of year you can expect regular rain periods, mostly in regular short bursts, with the occasional very heavy showers. Many people do travel to Thailand during the rainy season, but be aware that there can occasionally be significant rain.

Island Climates
Our Thai cooking tours do not include any of the islands. However, if you wish to add an island visit to the end of your Thailand tour, you may want to consider the different monsoon patterns that may affect your visit. Typhoons, or major rain storms, occasionally hit the island areas as well, and the typhoon season varies depending on which islands you are visiting.

Currency & Banking: The national currency is the Thai Baht (THB). There are exchange bureaus in airports, certain hotels and most banks. Counters require your passport for the transaction. For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency

ATMs are available in all cities and major towns.

It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.

Electricity: Thailand uses 220V, 50Hz and generally uses flat, two prong plugs.

Internet Access: There is complimentary wifi access in the common areas of all of hotels.


WHAT TO TAKE

Equipment: We provide all the equipment you will need for your cooking classes.

What to bring: Many of our trips require us to move our base several times, so we recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There will not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.

We suggest that you bring the following items:

Clothing & Equipment
* Warm-weather casual clothes
* Sandals with straps and sturdy walking shoes
* A pullover and a pair of trousers because it can get cool in the evenings in the mountains
* Toiletries
* Money belt
* Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
* Dramamine or similar tablets for motion sickness (some roads are very windy and there is a boat ride in Bangkok)
* First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, extra prescription drugs you may be taking

Documents & Money
* Passport (with photocopies)
* Travel insurance (with photocopies)
* Airline tickets (with photocopies)
* Credit and/or debit card and/or travelers cheques and/or cash. You should always advise your bank that you are traveling to Thailand.
* Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Spending Money

Meals:
All breakfasts, seven lunches and two dinners are included in the price. Please plan to bring at least $5-$10 per lunch and $10-$20 per dinner for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks and drinks.

Tipping: Tipping is not compulsory but it is greatly appreciated throughout Southeast Asia, especially in the service industry. For reference, we have provided a general guideline below.

Tour Guide/Drivers
If you are pleased with the services provided by your tour guide and driver, then a tip for their hard work will be very much appreciated. In general, we recommend around US $10 -15 per day, per traveler for guides and US $5-7 per day, per traveler for drivers if less than 4 people in a group. We recommend around US $5-10 per day, per traveler for guides and US $3-5 per day, per traveler for drivers if there are 5 people or more.

Hotel & Restaurant Staff
We recommend 5-10% of the total bill in restaurants. Where you stay a couple of days in the same hotel, a tip to the maid service of $2-3 per day is appreciated. For porters, US $2-3 per use is customary.

Boat Cruise
When you travel on a local basic boat such as on the Chao Praya River, a suggested tip from US$5-10 per boat is appreciated.


USEFUL LINKS
Country Information: For additional information about traveling in Thailand check out:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1040.html

target=”_blank”> http://www.tourismthailand.org/

Currency Exchange: The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht. For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency


FINAL NOTE
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Trips, Ltd.