Russian Thai. How does Thailand meet tourists from Russia?

From 1 July Thailand lifts a number of coronavirus restrictions on entry and abolishes the mandatory mask regime. Russian tour operators have begun offering package tours to the country. The resumption of direct flights is also expected.

An correspondent visited Thailand and tells what this country can now offer a Russian traveler.

Why Thailand?

Thailand — one of those countries that has long been chosen by Russian tourists. In Phuket, the most popular resort in the country, a lot of service oriented our compatriots — Russian restaurants, tours to various sights in Russian and and much more.

An important point now — attitude towards Russians. Thailand is on the other end of Europe, so the Thais have heard little about the conflict in Ukraine and are indifferent to          Therefore, there is little chance of running into hostility from the side of the locals. No establishments with "Closed for Russians" can not be found here.

In addition, the country itself is very cheap. Here you can easily find decent budget vacation options from & nbsp; 20 & nbsp; thousand. rub. for accommodation for a week. The average bills in local restaurants are also quite comparable with Russian and even cheaper. You can have a tasty and satisfying lunch at a restaurant from the  Michelin list for a thousand rubles.

The downside can be called an expensive and & nbsp; long flight. After the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of Western sanctions against the Russian aviation industry, there are no direct flights left in Thailand. A flight from Moscow takes from 16 hours, prices start from 40 thousand. rub. However, this problem is now being solved. Plans have been announced to restore two-way air traffic.

Where and when is the best time to go?

In Thailand, you can find a resort according to your taste.

Bangkok — the country's capital with skyscrapers, Michelin-starred restaurants and bars, contemporary art centers and impressive Buddhist temples.

Pattaya — coastal metropolis with long sandy beaches and nightlife.

Phuket — the most famous beach resort.

Chiang Mai — this is the north of Thailand, the culinary capital of the country, located in the middle of tea plantations, jungles and mountains, in which local tribes preserve the ancient way of life.

Finally, Ko Most — an island in the Gulf of Thailand, an expensive detox resort with yoga, massages and magnificent sunrises and sunsets.

You can travel between resorts. Rail communication in the country is not very developed, so it is best to do it by plane. Reasonable prices — 2-3 thousand rub. per flight. Fly from any end of the country to the other close — an hour or two. There is an option to take a bus, it's cheaper, but longer.

The high season in Thailand is traditionally from November to March. It                    ‐ +30°C. This is the best time to visit Bangkok and Pattaya, Phuket, and also the north of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. From  April to June is the off season. At this time it is very hot and stuffy, but there are not so many tourists. The monsoon season usually comes in July and lasts late September-October.

On Ko Samui the tourist season lasts from January to August. Here it rains when the rest of the country is already bathing in the rays of the sun — in November and December.

How to arrive?

To enter the country, Russians need a passport. A visa is not required if you stay in Thai for less than 30 days.

Quite recently, there were covid restrictions on entry into the country, but since July 1, most of them have been lifted. Now you can enter the country either with a PCR test not older than 72 hours (or a professional antigen test), or with a vaccination certificate — fit «Sputnik V» and "Sputnik Light".

While there are no direct flights, you can transfer in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul or Doha.

How to book a hotel?

Package tours from & nbsp; Russian companies are just beginning to appear. They mainly offer bookings for December — start of the tourist season. If you want to fly to Thai on your own, you can use traditional hotel booking services like Contrary to rumors, Russian tourists can book places of residence through booking. The difficulty is that through the site you can not pay for the hotel with a card of a Russian bank — due to Western sanctions, they are not working almost anywhere abroad.

Many Thai hotels have already reoriented to Russian tourists and on websites you can look for options marked  Payment on on the spot» is possible. In this case, pay cash on onsite. You can use Russian hotel booking services, like ostrovok, where you can pay for the hotel in advance with a Mir card. Finally, some hotels can be paid with a Swift transfer. To do this, contact the hotel and request such an opportunity.

Where to exchange currency?

National currency of Thailand — Thai baht. Its exchange rate to ruble is now approximately 1 THB to 1.5-2 rubles. The problem is that due to the high volatility of the ruble, it is very difficult to find an exchanger where you could exchange rubles.

There are several options. First — take with you the required amount of dollars, which can be found in Russian banks. The rate will be higher than the official one (70-75 ruble for dollar).

Second — take a Russian UniPay card with you. You can pay with it in Thailand, including in some hotels, although not everywhere. However, now the cunning Russian banks that issue UniPay have begun to take a rather large commission for its issue — — from 9.5 thousand to 15 thousand rubles.

The third option — upon arrival, open an account in a Thai bank. To do this, you will need a passport and affidavit of residence and income. You can get it at the consular department at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Bangkok, where they are willing to meet their compatriots. The consular section is open weekdays from 9 to 12. It is better to pre-book an appointment through the embassy website (if the appointment does not work, you can write to the consulate's e-mail), but you can just come without an appointment at the reception time and defend a live queue.

After submitting the documents, you will need to wait an hour or two until it is signed, and go with it to the nearest large branch of Bangkok Bank. For opening an account and the first year of service, you will need to pay 699 baht. At least 500 baht more must be deposited into the account. The card is issued with a validity period of 5 years. Further maintenance will cost 599 baht per year. You can replenish this account with a Swift transfer from any non-sanctioned Russian bank. You will need to report on opening a foreign account to your native tax office.

The subtleties of communication with locals

Thailand — the country is touristic, therefore, they are very tolerant of foreigners and forgive them their ignorance of the intricacies of the local culture. However, there are a few important rules.

Thailand — this is a kingdom. The figure of the monarch is sacred, any insult to it is considered a criminal offense. The image of the king is also on money. Therefore, you can step on banknotes with your feet, for example, if it was torn out of hands by the wind and carried away.

During visits temples museums, dress code should be observed. For men — no shorts or T-shirts, women must also wear clothing that covers ankles and elbows. Before entering the temple, you should take off your shoes.

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