Skip to Main Content
SMU Libraries

Understanding Thailand: Home

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on Thailand.

At A Glance


The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries ( ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.

Thailand is a collage of animated scenes that comprise bustling modern cities crowded with tuk-tuks, Buddhist temples tended by orange-robed monks, hill tribes selling handicrafts, lush landscapes dotted with traditional farming villages and stunning coastlines peppered with gorgeous beaches and blue lagoons. Such a captivating portrait explains why Thailand is Southeast Asia’s most popular travel destination. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Thailand.

  • Demographic Trends
    Learn more about the population distribution 
    and density of Thailand.


Learn more about Thailand provinces and capitals through this educational video.

Get to know the history of Thailand that explained in 5 minutes.

Need To Know

This section helps prepare an individual before embarking to Thailand, such as learning the cultural etiquette, basic conversational phrases, and even some useful local contact numbers.

Cultural Dos and Don’ts

Following a few simple rules of Thailand etiquette will not only prevent you from accidentally offending someone, doing so will set you apart from the tourists. Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” -- but the famous Thai smile has many meanings. Although Thai people are very forgiving of infractions, particularly when committed by farang (foreigners), observing these basic dos and don'ts will keep them smiling.

  • Return a wai: The wai is Thailand's prayer-like gesture with the hands together in front and head slightly bowed. To not return a wai is considered impolite.
  • Show respect to monks: You will encounter many monks in places such as Chiang Mai -- treat them with respect.
  • Remove your shoes: As in many Asian cultures, removing your shoes before entering a temple or visiting someone's home is essential.
  • Don't point: Pointing at someone is considered rude in many cultures, particularly so in Thailand.
  • Don't disrespect the king: Never disrespect the king or images of the king, this includes currency -- his picture appears on the Thai baht.
  • Smile: The "Thai smile" is famous, essential to Thailand etiquette, and Thai show it whenever they can. Always return someone's smile.

Basic Conversational Language

Some phrases in Thai that are handy to know when visiting Thailand.
Remember male need to end the sentence with kráp, and for a female with kâ.

  • sà-wàt-dii (Hello)
  • sà-wàt-dii (Goodbye)
  • sà-baai-dii mǎi (How are you?)
  • khàawp-khun (Thank you)
  • ... yù thîi-nâi (Where is…?)
  • Yin-dii thîi dâi rúu-jàk (Nice to meet you)
  • thâo-rài (How much?)
  • Láaew jooe-gan (See you later)

Phone Apps

    Lessons are broken down into bite-sized chunks and it feels like you’re playing a game. Duolingo is a great introduction, but it can feel like you’re learning a random mix of information, often through repetition. The more you do, the more robust your vocabulary will be.
    The only way to become fluent in a new language is to speak it. Tandem is geared toward conversations with native speakers. The idea is that you can help one another learn new languages via text, audio, and video chat. The app vets you and then helps you to find a partner who shares your interests. They teach you and you teach them.


Thai Baht (THB)

More details on the exchange rate.

Dialing Code


Useful Numbers

  • Police: 191
  • Tourist police: 1155 (Emergency), 1111 (Non-Emergency)
  • Fire: 199
  • Ambulance: 1554
    • Bumrungrad International (emergency): +66 (0)2 667 2999
    • Samitivej Sukhumvit Ambulance Hotline: +66 (0)2 712 7007
    • Bangkok Hospital emergency room: +66 (0)2 310 3102
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Center: 1672
  • Thailand Embassy Hotline: (+66) (2) 348-6700
  • Embassy of Singapore (Bangkok): 001-66-(2) 348-6700 (during office hours)

Additional Video

Learn the top 25 must know Thai phrases which will aid you when travelling around Thailand.

This student shares his experiences living in Laos compared to living in Thailand.

Real local recommended the useful apps for travel to Thailand. 

Local Media Source

This section links to the various local news media in Thailand.

RSS News Feed

Loading ...

What To Look Out

This section informs the common scams and crimes to look out for when visiting Thailand.


Crime & Security


This section lists some recommended readings about Thailand.


Useful Links

This section provides useful links to the Thailand social media.

Social Media

Tourism Authority of Thailand


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand


Punpromotion  Hot deal and promotion in Thailand 


All about food in Bangkok - Thailand

Acceptable Use Policy

Electronic resources (e.g., databases, datasets, e-journals, e-books and streaming audio/video) provided by the SMU Libraries are governed by license agreements that restrict use to current students, faculty and staff of SMU and the Singapore Copyright Act.

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy