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Thailand Info | Pictures | What To Do There | Where To Stay | Rules | How To Get There | Jet Lag | Pros And Cons | Don't Forget Your Shots

 

The long flight is probably the main reason you see so few Americans in Thailand. Tons of Germans, tons of scantily clad French but relatively few Americans.

From Baltimore the trip is about 28 hours. Mind you this includes layovers, including Narita Airport in Japan. You are not sitting in a 747 seat for 28 hours, but you will leave Maryland and not touch down on the Bangkok runway until 28 hours have passed.

Thailand lies on the exact opposite side of the earth from the American East Coast. When it's 12:00 midnight here, it's noon in Bangkok. The time zones change along the way, and the International Date Line will wreck havoc on anyone trying to decipher their airline tickets.

If you leave early Sunday morning from the Baltimore airport, you'll arrive Monday night at 11:50 PM Bangkok time, and finally get to your hotel Tuesday AM around 1:00 AM. But if you leave Bangkok Sunday morning to return to Maryland, you'll land Sunday afternoon, the same day! I think this "Trans-Pacific Time Formula" is the last question on The Bar Exam.

Figure on $1,000 round trip per person, but you can shop around until you see an $800- $900 deal. Sticking with one airline has its benefits. Just one trip to Asia and you'll accumulate enough frequent flier miles for a free first class ticket anywhere in the US. After two Asia trips, the third trip (basically coach class to anywhere in the world) will be free.

ALWAYS become a frequent Flier no matter what airline you find yourself on. The miles add up quickly on overseas flights.

PASSPORT
The first thing you'll need is a passport. It's more time consuming than it used to be. In 2007 the U.S. added passport requirements to visit our neighboring countries of Canada, Mexico, Bermuda etc. With the sudden onslaught of millions of new passport requests, the government agency was immediately buried with applications.

Funny how one could argue that with or without paperwork in hand, the Canadian and Mexican borders are the easiest in the world to cross unnoticed. Obviously, requiring passports is simply another added U.S. tax on the rich and middle class.

At this time, figure on waiting 10 weeks if you pay the basic $67 and allow four weeks if you pay $127 for Expedited Service.  There are "3 Day Service" companies out there. Up to you, but buyer beware.

Start the Passport process by visiting any One Hour Photo store to get two passport photos taken.  Pick up a passport form at your local post office and then make an appointment or take a number if one day appointments are possible. Be sure to bring your birth certificate, your two stunning looking passport photos, and your social security card.

Your passport will arrive in the mail around the time frames listed above.

VISAS
Thailand* doesn't require you to bring a Visa to visit the country, (they attach a temporary one to your passport when you arrive) nor does Japan* or Hong Kong*.

Other countries, like China, will send you right back on the plane you came in on unless you have a Chinese Visa in hand. Companies will do the leg work for you, but if you live near the embassy, you can apply for a visa there before you go on your trip.

When traveling overseas, often your hotel or trusted travel agent can get a visa of a neighboring country within 24 hours. Only in the U.S. is the process painfully slow.

* Assuming you are a citizen of The United States Of America.

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