Office hours in Thailand are generally 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., though a large number of people will work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Most people will break for lunch from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
A lot of companies in the larger industrial estates around Bangkok, in an attempt to avoid large traffic jams at the entry and exit points from the estate, will have staggered start and finish times to the day. It is not unusual to find people working from 7:50 a.m. to 4:50 p.m., for example.
Appointments at the beginning and end of the day are best avoided due to clashes with company transport. This is more the case when dealing with middle level management, who may live in Bangkok and use transport provided by the company to travel to and from the office. Most senior executives will have their own car and driver, making this less of an issue.
Making an Appointment
Appointments in Thailand are always best made a few days in advance, and then confirmed again on the day. Being late for a meeting is sometimes unavoidable due to the horrendous traffic [or simply getting lost!] but is best avoided by careful planning. Nevertheless, a quick call to explain you are stuck in traffic is appreciated.
For people dealing with large government offices or the royal family, you can expect to be given a briefing by either your own organisation or that of the host.
Typical Vacation Times
The Thais are quite lucky in terms of public holidays–with a combination of public and company holidays due to the different influences of Thai, Chinese, Western and other cultures. Most staff at international companies will possibly have a few days leave for New Year, all the Thai Buddhist holidays, and the main break in April for Thai New Year, or ‘Songkran.’ It is best to try and avoid business trips to Bangkok during early April, as many staff will be on leave.
To make up for the large number of public holidays it is interesting to note that most employees have only 10 and 15 days of leave included into their employment contract.
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