Thailand's mail service is generally reliable and efficient. It is a good idea—and cheap—to send all packages registered mail. Major hotels provide basic postal services.
If something must get to its destination quickly, send it via FedEx, UPS, or DHL, which have branches in the major tourist centers. "Overnight" shipping time from Thailand to the United States via these international carriers is actually two working days. Expect to pay at least B800 to B1,000 for an "overnight" letter. Major offices of the Thailand Post also offer overseas express mail service (EMS), though it usually takes longer than an international carrier and costs nearly as much.
Letter, packet, and parcel rates through the Thailand Post are low—B30 for a letter to the United States, B25 for a letter to Europe. Allow at least 10 days for your mail to arrive. A sea, air, and land service (SAL) is available for less urgent mail at a much cheaper rate. Note it can take up to three months for packages to reach their destination by this method. Bangkok's central general post office on Charoen Krung (New Road) is open weekdays 8 to 8, weekends and public holidays 8 to 1. Up-country post offices close at 4:30 pm.
Post offices in major towns are often quite crowded. Never go to a post office during lunch hour unless you bring a book and a mountain of patience.
If you need to receive mail in Bangkok, have it sent to you "poste restante" at the following address: Poste Restante, General Post Office, Bangkok, Thailand. There's a small charge for each piece collected. Thais write their last name first, so be sure to have your last name written in capital letters and underlined.
Parcels are easy to send from Thailand via Thai Post. Rates vary according to weight, destination, and shipping style (air or surface). Expect to pay between B700 and B1,100 for a kilo package shipped by sea, which will take up to three months to arrive in the United States and another additional B300 to B350 per additional kilo. Most shops catering to tourists will offer to pack and ship your purchases anywhere in the world, usually at very reasonable rates. If you want to ship a larger piece, most furniture and antiques stores can help with freight shipping.
Although thousands of travelers have had no problems with the Thai Post, there has been at least one major incident of postal larceny in Chiang Mai, so if you're shipping something precious, consider paying the extra money to send it by an international courier like DHL, Federal Express, or UPS.
DHL Worldwide. 22nd fl., Grand Amarin Tower, 1550 Phetburi Tat Mai, Bangkok. 02/207-0600.
Federal Express (8th fl., Green Tower, Rama IV, Bangkok. 1782 Bangkok hotline; 800/236-236 outside Bangkok.)
UPS (16/1 Sukhumvit Soi 44/1, Bangkok. 02/728-9000.)
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