Website Visitor Questions

Visitor Questions

We always welcome visitor questions !, whether this is your first time to Visit Chiang Mai Online or maybe you’re a returning viewer, you may have some general questions about either our website or any particular aspect about Chiang Mai & surrounding areas.

Please use the following Contact Us form, we will always answer you promptly & honestly.

The visitor questions listed below are just a balanced cross-section of what we have received: 

Received Date: 12/10/09
Question: Hello
Can you give me advice regarding my Thai partner and I building 4 homestay cabins and offering holidays?. 

Would this be encouraged in Thailand? & what are the ups and downs of this?.

Any advice would be most welcome.
Regards David U.K.

Answer: Hi David
Many thanks for your interesting question posted through our website.
 

In terms of the “homestay” market in Thailand, this is a reasonably popular sector of the accommodation market here,more popular in the north & north-east of the country I think rather than the central & southern beach areas.

I have seen homestays in some of the remotest places you could imagine around this area, and could never work out how they could possibly be profitable, as they did not appear to offer any special to enable them to secure bookings.

To my mind, to successfully run a homestay, as they are typically located “off the beaten path”, you have to have a U.S.P. (unique selling proposition), whether it be:

* small lake for fishing holidays
* located near a good quality golf course for golf holidays
* very scenic location for rambling,walking holidays
* offer guided tours to interesting places

Anything that offers uniqueness & value I am sure will do quite well.

In terms of opening such a venture in Thailand, there is very little legislation on this sort of thing currently, you see new mini-resorts being built all over the place.

The three aspects you would need to research thoroughly are: 1/ Thai Visas
2/ Thai Work Permits
2/ Thai Limited Company

Inorder to run a homestay business in Thailand, you would need to have the three above points completely covered.

Thai Visas – if you have a long term desire to live in Thailand, you would need to decide what type of Thai Visa is suitable for you, as each different type has different demands.

Thai Work Permit – so that you can work in Thailand you will need a work permit, this in your case would come through having a Thai Limited Company.

Thai Limited Company – providing you are a minority shareholder & with the majority shareholders being Thai, you will be able to start business, however please do research the costs side, as there are several different types of Thai Limited Companies ,each one with different costs, funding requirements & advantages/disadvantages!.

My own suggestion would be that if you are serious about this as a proposition, you need to visit Thailand & more specifically the area you are thinking about, & spend some time just driving around, looking at existing homestays, what makes them successful, why do they fail.

You might even find an existing one that you could buy – because starting from scratch & running a building project, is a whole new can of worms, that I personally would not recommend you get into!.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 17/09/09
Question: I’m travelling to Thailand shortly and I was wondering if it would be possible to open a Thai bank account whilst there?. Cheers Ali, Canada
Answer: Hi Ali
 

Thanks for your email,

To answer your question: Technically, foreigners are supposed to provide evidence of a work permit to be able to open a bank account.

However, this is Thailand! – the banks serve many tourists who wish to put their money into a local bank and use a local ATM account for their stay here, especially if they’re staying for an extended stay of 1-3 months.

It’s therefore reasonable to expect that a work permit and otherdocumentation are required to open a CHECKING ACCOUNT, but not for aSAVINGS ACCOUNT tied to an ATM card for withdrawals.

I would therefore suggest that you once you arrive in Thailand you visit a branch of a local bank, personally I find both Kasikorn Bank(KB) & Siam Commerial Bank(SCB) to be very responsive towards foreigners, IF one branch refuses you, don’t get disheartened, just go to another branch of the same bank, or alternatively another bank completely, it’s very rare to be rejected more than twice.

Most people are actually successful on their first attempt.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 27/08/09
Question: Hello,your website was very helpful about Thai Visas ,but I still have a question. 

My friends and I came into Thailand on a 30 day tourist visa, but visited Cambodia by land and upon re-entering Thailand now only have a 15 day visa. Our visa runs out on the 30th of August, but our flight out of Bangkok is on the 10th September.

Right now we are in Koh Phi Phi Ley until the 30th August and are wondering what the best way is to renew the visa. The fine is 500 bhat a day if we go over. We are going to be at the airport in Krabi. We were wondering if there is any way to get an extension at the airport, or if it is advisible to drive to malaysian border (i.e. safe) or if it is better to fly to Kuala Lumpar?. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

Jeremiah from USA

Answer:
Hi Jeremiah,many thanks for your question. Ok, understand fully your dilemna, you have a couple of options: 

1/ visit the Phuket/Krabi immigration office as soon as possible , take your passport & travel docs, explain your case, they have the power to grant you an extension, there may however be a fee involved.

2/ do the visa run to the Malaysian border, I did this many times when I lived on Koh Samui, it’s perfectly safe, you will find lots of “visa tours” in both Krabi & Phuket.

DO NOT turn back up at Bangkok Airport, with a visa 10 days out of date, it’s not a smart move if you plan to come back to Thailand at any point, you will get hit with the standard 500thb/day fine, but it could also affect your chances of re-entering Thailand in the future.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 14/08/09
Question: Hi We are planning to go to Chiang Mai during Loy Krathong this year.We do not know exactly the schedule during the 1st and 2nd of November and could not find anything on the Internet.Which night are launched the hot air balloons? When are the best attractions to be seen (1st or 2nd November)? etc. Please could you help us with any information for the festival? Thanks Frederic from Switzerland.
Answer:
Many thanks for your valued enquiry to our website, we hope to be able to help you enjoy your visit to Chiang Mai. 

There is no precise itinery for the Loy Krathong Festival released to the public so far, the festival takes place over the two days 1st-2nd November 2009, the ACTUAL full moon is on the 2nd November. The date for the traditional day for releasing the large volume of “lanterns” at Maejo University will be Saturday 24th October, this is traditionally the Saturday of the week prior to the main Loy Krathong Festival.

On the 1st November you will start to see lanterns & fireworks being released into the night sky & some people will launch the small boats (Loy Krathong) onto the River Ping in Chiang Mai.

The procession of floats & beauty pageant will also take place on 2nd November.

My suggestions would be that you arrive in Chiang Mai on evening of 31st October, take in the highlights of the city & enjoy BOTH days of this lovely festival, everyone who visits during this time is in awe at the beautiful spectacle that is Loy Krathong!!.

If you sign up to our blog, you will automatically receive updates as more information about the festival becomes available.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 18/07/09
Question: We travel to Chiang Mai in August & want to visit the Longneck hill tribes, can you give us information about where to go & how to get there?.Thanks Bob from Australia
Answer:
The largest village that is inhabited by the Karen Pa Dong “Longnecks”is Nai Soi which is around an hours drive from Mae Hong Son in north-west Thailand on the border with Myanmar(Burma). 

I assume you will be travelling to Mae Hong Son from Chiang Mai, there are two different options one is by road(car / bus) the other is by flight.

The car journey takes between 10-12 hours in total, so I would suggest you stay-over in Pai for the night, it’s a lovely town roughly half-way between Chiang Mai & Mae Hong Son.

If you choose to fly Thai Airways operate a single flight per day, Flighttakes just 35 minutes!!.

 

Once you arrive at Mae Hong Son you have the choice of either booking a place that includes the Tours you want to do, or alternatively book theHotel seperately & then look around the town to decide on the tours(there are MANY tour companies) around the town, and you will get exactly what you want by booking it directly this way.

My personal suggestion is that IF you have the time within your itinery to spend 3-4 days visiting the Pai & Mae Hong Son area it is really worthwhile, it’s an incredibly naturally beautiful area, with lots to see & do then DRIVE there, if you are quite tight on time hop on the daily flight, but you will miss all the beauty on the way.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 15/07/09
Question: I am currently touring northern Malaysia & have an international flight home from Bangkok in 25 days, I want to go to Thailand by bus now, but not sure how to manage the Thai visa, can you help?. Nicola U.K.
Answer: Hi Nicola
 

Thanks for your email,ok, when you arrive in Thailand (overland) you will receive a 15 day “Visa on Arrival” ,I would suggest that you spend 10-12 days touring the southern beaches & islands & then travel to Bangkok & up to Chiang Mai .From Chiang Mai you will then need to do a visa run to Myanmar(buses leave Chiang Mai early everyday) to get a further 15 day “Visa on Arrival”(overland), then spend your remaining time exploringChiang Mai & northern Thailand ,you will love it!!.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 12/07/09
Question: Hi, We are visiting northern Thailand later this year & have been told by several friends that Pai is a very lovely place to visit, can you offer any advice?. Sarah from U.S.A.
Answer: Hi Sarah
 

Thanks for your email, Pai is a magical town that lies up in the mountains between Chiang Mai & Mae Hong Son & is very close to the Thai border with Burma(Myanmar).

Pai is a busy town during the tourist season, as it is used as a base for exploring this most beautiful part of Northern Thailand, the locals are really friendly & it’s great value for money!. Please check out the link for much more information.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 21/06/09
Question: Hi, I have booked a trip to Thailand recently, visiting in late July, but realise it’s the rainy season then, can you give me some information about what to expect?. Many thanks Francis from Canada
Answer: Hi Francis
 

Thanks for your email,in terms of the Monsoon/Rainy Season EVERY year is different, and different parts of Thailand suffer to greater or lesser degrees, hopefully the link I have attached will help guide you. Please do not be put off by the label “rainy season” very often the weather is still great & you can get some really good bargains with the hotels as it is the “low season”!!.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 08/06/09
Question: Hi, Can you give us some information about eating real Thai food out in Chiang Mai (not too expensive!)?,Thanks Jane from Australia
Answer: Hi Jane
 

Thanks for your email, DO NOT eat in your hotel in Chiang Mai, the food on the streets & at local restaurants is sooooooo good & cheap, and it’s real Thai, I have added a few links here to help you: Thai Street Food all about eating food sold by street vendors. Chiang Mai Dining Guide a very useful guide to help you find a wide range of excellent value restaurants complete with location maps.

Finally how about trying the classic Lanna(northern Thai) Khan Tok Dinner this is a great evening & includes traditional Thai dancing & music, & can ONLY be found in Chiang Mai.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 31/05/09
Question: We are visiting Chiang Mai in a couple of months and just wondered how best to go about booking tours?. John from U.K.
Answer: Hi John
 

Thanks for your email,DO NOT book anything on the internet or through a travel agent, wait until you are in Chiang Mai, you will get EXACTLY what you want, at the cheapest possible price. Check out this page about halfway down gives help about Tours & Booking ,this particular page is about trekking, but the principles & information are correct for ALL tour bookings.

I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 12/05/09
Question: Hi, I have a holiday booked to visit Thailand (1st time) and just wondered about what is the most cost effective way to keep in touch with family & friends at home whilst I am away?. thanks Nick U.K.
Answer: Hi Nick
 

Thanks for your email, the two cheapest ways of keeping in touch with home whilst in Thailand are:
1/ the internet – most towns in Thailand now have an internet cafe, its cheap & easy.
2/ Thai SIM card – DON’T use your normal SIM card, it will cost you a fortune, just buy a Thai SIM card from any 7/11 store, you can also buy top-up cards from there.

If you have a “swanky” mobile phone, you will be able to both “surf the internet” and make CHEAP international calls !!.I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 23/04/09
Question: I arrive in BKK on 3rd June, and am only staying overnight, as this is how my routing has worked out, do I need to get a Thai Visa or not?. Ramprasad from India
Answer: Hi Ramprasad
 

According to the letter of the Thai Immigration laws, as a visitor from India you are required to follow “Visa on Arrival” rules, for which there is a charge of 1,900thb(approx US$55), but as you are only staying overnight, and have an onward flight ticket, you should not be required to make any payments.

BUT, you will find this is very much up to the Immigration Officers on duty on the day, you best bet is to explain your situation, and HOPE they are understanding!!.I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 22/04/09
Question: I am 60 years old and want to retire to Thailand, can you give me some information about the visa situation?. Ken from USA
Answer: Hi Ken
How to retire to Thailand with a retirement visa is relatively straightforward providing you can meet the Thai Immigrationrequirements. The process can take between 30-60days in total and MUST be done BEFORE you sell up at home!!.I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 21/04/09
Question: Can you tell me what is the best way to get a train ticket to Chiang Mai from Bangkok ?, can I book on the internet or buy when I get to Thailand?. Thanks Andy from Australia
Answer: Hi Andy
How to book train tickets between Bangkok & Chiang Mai is a nice & easy question, just follow this link to the State Railway of Thailand website which is located towards the bottom of the information page on our site.I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 15/04/09
Question: Hi,I am visiting Thailand, Laos & Cambodia in May & just wondered if you could advise me on how long $4,000 will last for food, visas, buses etc (all flights & major stuff excluded). Sam C from USA
Answer: Hi Sam
Wow,thats a great question!, I am assuming you are travelling alone?, if you are then I would suggest that in Thailand if you were to travel around the country, then you should budget on:
accommodation $10/night
food/drink $8-$10/day
travel(buses/trains/songthaews) $30/week

Accommodation:
based upon reasonable quality B&B’s, low grade hotels & homestays, you will be able to save a little money by living in a tent on occasions, but this is pretty much as cheap as it gets.

Food/Drink:
this is based upon 3x meals a day, basic stuff (not all noodles !) + either water, or the luxury of an occasional coke !. Typically would be either Pad Thai, Spicy Pork Salad, Fried Rice, BBQ Chicken & Sticky Rice or similar.

Travel:
based upon you moving location approximately once a week, with local travel only being taken on Songthaews(red/yellow pick-ups with canopies & bench-seats) these are the very cheapest method of getting around, mixed in with lots of walking !!. 

Travelling between the destinations would be by cheapest bus or trains (where possible). Visa runs are NOT included, you would need to ensure you are near relevant border to do as cheaply as possible.

Visas:
If you intend to visit Thailand for longer than 60 days, then you need to get a “Tourist Visa” which will allow 60 days, then you can do a couple of “visa runs” which would give you a further 15days each, so 90 days is relatively easy to achieve. See Thai Visas for detailed information on latest Thai visa information.

If you were in Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia the overall costs would be very similar, as there economies are on a par with that of Thailand, with the exception of the beach areas, which will be cheaper in the other countries as their tourism trade is not as developed as that in Thailand !!.

SO based upon all of the above, I would suggest that your $4,000 budget would stretch as long as 6 months + a little further by saving additionally wherever you can.I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 08/04/09
Question: Hi, My Dad owns an Asian rain drum that he bought in Laos during the 1960’s,I see that you sell reproductions & just wondered the value of the one we have, if it is an original ?. Thanks. Joe from USA
Answer: Hi Joe
Many thanks for your question,I have done a little research for you, and what I have found out is that it is very likely that your Dad’s Asian Rain Drum is authentic, as the popularity of “reproductions” only really started during the 1990’s. The reproductions are very accurate copies, but are generally lighter than the originals, as they have been adapted to make them more manageable for handling & shipping. 

Depending on the actual size & condition of the rain drum your family has, its likely value will be somewhere between $500-$2,000, if it was already an old item when your dad bought it, it could be worth even more, but for an accurate assessement I would suggest you contact an antiques dealer, who will be more qualified to answer you.I hope that this information helps you, and thankyou for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 27/03/09
Question: I am very interested in visiting Chiang Mai later this year, as I have heard wonderful things about the city & its people, I also absolutely ADORE elephants, could you recommend any places to visit during my stay?. Jane from Scotland, UK
Answer: Hi Jane
thanks for your question, firstly yes, Chiang Mai is a very friendly city & lots of Places to Visit. In terms of recommending somewhere to see elephants the Elephant Nature Park is the ideal spot for you to see these grand beasts in their completely natural environment, without having to witness the “tricks” that many unscrupulous owners force them to do to earn money for them.I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website.



Received Date: 23/03/09
Question: I see on your website you are from the UK, can you advise me about what is the best way to take money to Thailand for spending on my holiday ?. Sarah from Brighton, UK
Answer: Hi Sarah
how to get the most easily accessible, yet affordable cash withdrawals whilst in Thailand,is quite an easy one, in my opinion & experience over here the ATM is the most practical way to obtain local Thai currency whilst in Thailand. You will typically pay around 5% charges for the service, but its easy & there are 1,000’s of ATM machine all around the Kingdom. I would also recommend you keep some GB Pounds Sterling with you, as you can always pop into a bank & exchange without the need for any identification. There are many other options, but based upon your question, I think I have suggested the best & most cost effective methods, I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website.

 

Received Date: 20/03/09
Question: I arrive in Bangkok at the end of the month, but my return ticket leaving Bangkok is 6 weeks later. I am planning to visit Cambodia and Vietnam for most of that time. I will be flying back into Thailand from Hanoi, Vietnam but have not arranged any flight\\bus\\train leaving for Cambodia.Do I need a 60 day Tourist Visa, if not, how do I do it ?. Patrick from Ireland
Answer: Hi Patrick
how to understand the Thai Visa system can be quite confusing, but I think your situation is relatively easy.The latest rules for Thai Visasmeans that as you arrive on an International Flight, you automatically get a 30 day “Exemption Visa”, you then leave Thailand via an overland border (make sure you get your passport stamped correctly), and arrive back again at a later date on another International Flight which means you will get another 30day “Exemption Visa”, so you will be able to do all of your travelling without the need for the 60day Tourist Visa,I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website. Kevin – That makes it perfectly clear, again thanks for the very clear explanation, it was really helpful and is much appreciated, Patrick.

 

Received Date: 17/03/09
Question: I want to visit Chiang Mai sometime this year, can you advise me when is the weather the best ?. Holger from Germany,
Answer: Hi Holger
how to find the best time to visit Chiang Mai is covered on our pageChiang Mai Weather there are always slight differences year on year, but this is a fairly accurate guide to help you,thanks for your visit to our website.

 

 

 

Received Date: 16/03/09
Question: I am planning a trip to Thailand later in the year, and just wonder how is the easiest way to travel from Bangkok, or what would be your suggestions, can you help?. Thanks Paul from London, UK
Answer: Hi Paul
how to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai,there are a selection of different ways, please take a look at travelling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai if time is a premium for your visit, then I would suggest flying, if you have the time, and want a cheaper method, then try the buses or trains,I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website

 

 

 

Received Date: 14/03/09
Question: Can you explain to me in simple terms how to convert “rai” into “yards & feet”, I am just looking at some of your beautiful beach land for sale, but cannot get my head around the Thai sizes !!. Thanks Don from New York, USA
Answer: Hi Don
how to convert Thai land measurements of “rai” to “yards, feet & inches” is reasonably straight forward, please take a look at Land Area Conversions so based upon the attached table 1rai = 1,913sq yards, to get to this figure, just divide the equivalent square feet x9, I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website

 

 

 

Received Date: 04/03/09
lovely shop, I could spend a small fortune there !!.
Question: I am interested in several items from your shop, you offer best offer & free shipping, do I need to tell you what I would like & the maximum total price I can afford ?.Gloria from Cairns,Australia
Answer: Hi Gloria
how to get the very best deal is exactly as you have enquired, just confirm to us the correct items numbers you are interested in, and your very best offer for them all, we will then confirm back to you within a couple of days whether we can meet your Best Offer ,and if not what our very lowest total price would be, and yes whatever prices we quote & agree all include Free Shipping to your door!!.I hope this helps, and thanks for your visit & compliments.

 

 

 

Received Date: 25/02/09
Hi, love your site, really informative & friendly. 

Question: I am visiting Northern Thailand in May this year with my boyfriend, and we want to do some trekking, but am struggling to find practical information about trekking in Northern Thailand, can you help ?. Jen from Sydney,Australia

Answer: Hi Jen
how to go about trekking in Northern Thailand is covered on a webpage,if you take a look at Trekking in Northern Thailand which we updated recently, its got loads of tips to help you. Also take a look at Chiang Mai Weather to see what to expect in May & I also added a link to help you on Where to Stay I hope this helps, and thanks for your visit & compliments.

 

 

 

Received Date: 22/02/09
Question: Can you help ?,I want to visit Thailand later in the year, but I am unsure about the visa requirements ?, I am a US citizen. Lisa from Long Beach, California, USA
Answer: Hi Lisa
how to get a Thai visa for US citizens is straight forward,if you take a look at Thai Visa the government made a few minor changes a few months ago, but this is all clearly explained in the link. Basicially as a US citizen if you are travelling to Thailand for tourism purposes, arriving at an international airport within Thailand,and your visit is 30 days or less, you will receive a visa on arrival at the Thai airport. If your arrival is anything different to this, please email me again with your precise circumstances. I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website

 

 

 

Received Date: 16/02/09
great site, very informative !.
Question: I am starting to build an itinery for multi-country tour, and just wondered what areas of Thailand would you recommend to visit, can you help?. Kelly from London, UK.
Answer: Hi Kelly
how to decide which areas to visit in Thailand is a good question !, there is just so much to see in this beautiful country !, I would recommend you take a look at the following links, which hopefully will help you with your planning. Travel to Thailand once you arrive in Bangkok, you then need to decide on whether the beaches of the South or the culture of the North are what really interests you, or have the best of both worlds, and do both !.There are many websites offering information about the beaches of Thailand, I will concentrate on the “culture” side, and would highlt recommend a visit to Chiang Mai , a little bit of background information about Our City , and finally information & suggestions on Places to Visitwhilst in Chiang Mai.I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website.

 

 

 

Received Date: 11/02/09
Question: Can you help me with any information about Thai Massage please?. Justine from France.
Answer: Hi Justine
thanks for your question,I recently built an information page on exactly this very subject!, please check out the couple of links, which I think will be of interest to you Thai Massage also check out the following Thailand Spas.I hope this helps you, and thanks for your visit to our website.

 

 

Recommended Reads....