Thai cuisine is normally hot and
spicy; however, most restaurants in tourist areas tone down the food
for Western tastes. Pri-kee-noo, a tiny red or
green pepper, is 1 of the hot ingredients. These are served on
a side plate in a vinaigrette with the primary course. Thai
dishes include tom yam, a coconut-milk
based soup prepared with makroot leaves, ginger, lemon grass, prawns
or chicken; gang pet, hot 'red' curry with coconut
milk, garlic, herbs, chilies, shrimp paste, coriander and seasoning, which is
served with rice; kaeng khiaw, 'green' curry with
baby aubergines, beef or chicken, which is served with rice and gai
yang, barbecued chicken; and kao pat,
fried rice with pieces of chicken, crab meat, pork, onion, egg
and saffron, which is served with onions, cucumber, soy sauce and chilies
Desserts include salim, sweet
noodles in coconut milk; and songkaya pudding
of coconut milk, sugar and eggs
which is frequently
served in a coconut shell. Sticky rice and mangoes, rice cooked
in coconut milk served with slices of fresh mango, is a popular
breakfast dish in the mango harvest season that runs from March
to May. Other
fruits are mangosteens,
papaya, jackfruit, pineapple, pomelos (similar to grapefruits), rambutans, and durians, which foreigners either love or hate. Because durians have strong smell,
most of the hotels do not allow them onto their compounds.
and SamSong, local whisky, are worth trying. The local beer comes
in various strengths and Beer Chang is quite good.
Fruit juices and shakes are always fresh and good. Coconut
milk straight from the shell is available during the harvest
season. Bars usually have counter or table service. There are a
few un enforced licensing laws.
Bangkok has a great number of entertainment spots, from nightclubs,
bars, pubs, cinemas and restaurants
(many of which are open air), to massage parlours,
pool halls and cocktail lounges.
Performances of traditional court
and religious dances are available at the Thai Cultural
The islands are famous for their nightlife, and attendance at
the larger venues is almost
The full moon parties are notorious with the backpackers
and continue well into the following morning.
Great purchases include Thai silks and cottons, batiks,
pottery with celadon green glaze, precious and semiprecious stones,
silver, dolls, masks, lacquerware, pewterware, bamboo artefacts
and bronzeware. The Chatuchuk Weaken Market in Bangkok has a huge area selling varieties of products ranging from
genuine antiques to fighting fish. Tailor-made clothes
can be cheap and can be made in a few days.
Shopping hours: Monday to Sunday 10.00 am to 9.00 pm; department
stores 10.00 am to 10.00 pm daily.
There are a range of festivities in Thailand throughout the year.
For a full list of taking place around the country in 2005-2006,
contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand (see
Thai society is the result of centuries of cultural mixes, especially
with China and India, but
with the West.
Thai is greeted with the traditional closed hands and a slight bow
of the head, known as the Wai. Buddhist monks are normally greeted
in this way.
Thai Royal Family is regarded with an almost religious reverence.
Travellers should always respect this.
is bad manners to make public displays of anger, as Thais regard
such behaviour as a loss of 'face'.
displays of affection are also frowned upon, and it is considered rude to touch
anyone's head or to point one's feet at someone.
should always be removed before entering a temple or someone's home.
dress is acceptable and men are rarely expected to wear
is a custom to arrive a little early if invited out socially.
is not acceptable.
Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge and a 7% government tax into their bill.