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Khon Kaen, Thailand
13-16 December 2006


Travel Information

This meeting is by invitation only.

Upon Arrival

Upon arrival at Khon Kaen Airport look for Atop's representative/driver who will be holding a sign with the WHO logo on it. They will take you directly to the hotel. Please collect your luggage at Bangkok International airport and clear customs before proceeding to the Bangkok domestic airport.

The Hotel

Sofitel Raja Orchid Khon Kaen, 9/9 Prachasumran road, Nai Muang, Khon Kaen 40000, Thailand. Tel: +6643 322155 Fax: 6643 322218

Departure

For departure, ATOP driver would be ready for transfer three (3) hours prior to your flight departure time. Please note that there is an airport departure tax of Baht 500 at Bangkok International Airport - Suvarnabhumi.

Emergency and immediate changes

Contact ATOP / Event Organizer: Ploenchit Center 7th floor, 2 Sukhumvit road, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. Tel: +662 6568001 Fax: +662 6568002 E-mail: atop@samart.co.th Contact Person: Tum (Sasithorn Nontleeraksa) 24 hours emergency number: +6681 811-5490 and +6681 823-9449

Name Badge

Please wear your name badge at all times. Failure to do so may mean you are prohibited from entering some areas of the hotel. Accompanying persons should also wear their badges all the time.

Registration

Registration will begin from 19:00 on 12 December 2006 at the Secretariat located near the main meeting room. The Secretariat will operate daily from 09:00 to 18:00.

Ticket Reconfirmation

You can contact the concierge of the hotel directly for your flight reconfirmation or reservation

General Information

Time: GMT plus seven hours
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric with local variations
International Outgoing IDD: 001
City Call: please use city code (02)
Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
Indicative Exchange rate Reference: USD 1 : THB 40
Banking Hour: 0900 – 1530 Monday to Friday
Money Changer: available almost at every tourism spot
Banks or legal moneychangers offer the best rates. For buying baht, US dollars are the most readily acceptable currency, though travellers' cheques get a better rate than cash. Credit cards are becoming increasingly acceptable in quality shops, hotels and restaurants. Visa is the most useful, followed by MasterCard. ATMs which accept Visa and other credit cards are easily found in the larger cities, and many exchange booths will give you a cash advance on your credit card.

VISA

Most nationalities can stay for 30 days without a visa, please check for further details at: http://www.mfa.go.th/web/12.php
Nevertheless it is strongly recommended that participants contact directly the nearest Royal Thai Mission to have proper and up-to-date information.
If you require a visa to enter Thailand please present the WHO Official Letter of Invitation, which includes the hotel details, to the Royal Thai Mission. WHO staff should present the official memorandum.
For some nationalities the event organizer will have to apply for the visa for the participants in Thailand and the participants will have to go to nearest country where there is a Royal Thai Mission to have the passport endorsed.
With this regards, your soonest access to proper information from nearest Royal Thai Mission will ensure that the visa can be obtained in time

Climate

Thailand has a tropical monsoon climate. It's warm all year round, but the two periods of April-May and September-October are the hottest. The September - October period is also the wettest.
From November though March, it isn't so humid, and the cool breezes keep things comfortable. The average temperature is around 75ºF to 89ºF (24ºC to 32ºC). Mid May to September it will be rainy, warm, cloudy and monsoon
The hottest time is from April through May, with temperatures ranging from 80ºF to 95ºF (27ºC to 36ºC). There are frequent short heavy thundery showers, offering welcome relief from the temperature and humidity. The Thai New Year occurs on April 13th and everyone sprinkles (or throws) cool water on each other.

Culture

Monarchy and religion are the two sacred cows in Thailand. Thais are tolerant of most behaviour, as long as it doesn't insult one of these. Buddhism is the dominant religion, and orange-robed monks and gold, marble and stone Buddhas are common sights. Make sure you are suitably dressed when visiting a temple - no shorts or singlets.
Thai is a complicated language with its own unique alphabet, but it's fun to try at least a few words. The main complication with Thai is that it is tonal: the same word could be pronounced with a rising, falling, high, low or level tone and could theoretically have five meanings!
Thai art, principally sculpture and architecture, is divided into a number of historical styles beginning with Mon (6th-13thC), Khmer (7th-13th C), Peninsular (until 14th C), Lan Na (13th-14th C), Sukhothai (13th-15th C), Lopburi (10th-13th C), Suphanburi-Sangkhlaburi (13th-15th C), Ayuthaya A (1350-1488), Ayuthaya B (1488-1630), Ayuthaya C (1630-1767) and Ratanakosin (19th C to present). Classical Thai music and theatrical dance are also popular artistic forms.
Thai cuisine is pungent and spicy, seasoned with heaps of garlic and chillies and a characteristic mix of lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander. Galanga root, basil, ground peanuts, tamarind juice, ginger and coconut milk are other common additions. Fish sauce or shrimp paste are mainstays of Thai dishes, and of course rice is eaten with most meals. Main dishes include hot and sour fish ragout, green and red curries, various soups and noodle dishes. Thai food is served with a variety of condiments and dipping sauces. Snacks and appetisers include fried peanuts, chicken, chopped ginger, peppers and slices of lime. There is an incredible variety of fruit available, either fresh or juiced. Sugar-cane juice and, for something stronger, rice whisky are favourite local tipples

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