Thailand is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, and spectacular islands. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation.
Country: Thailand, the only Southeast Asian nation never to have been colonized by European powers, is a constitutional monarchy whose current head of state is HM BhumibolAdulyadej. A unified Thai kingdom has existed since the mid-14th century, and Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 when it officially became the Kingdom of Thailand.
Geography: Thailand is the 50th largest country in the world; most nearly equal in size to Spain. Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F). Thailand’s largest peak, DoiInthanon, is 2,565 meters (8,415 ft) tall. Thailand covers 510,890 sq km of land and 2,230 sq km of water. The coastline of Thailand is 3,219 km long. Thailand’s longest shared border is with Myanmar (Burma), stretching 1,800 km.
Weather: The weather in Thailand is generally hot and humid: typical of its location within the tropics. Generally speaking, Thailand can be divided into three seasons: “hot” season, rainy season, and “cool” season, though Thailand’s geography allows visitors to find suitable weather somewhere in the country throughout the year.
Population: The population of Thailand comprises of roughly 65 million citizens, the majority of whom are ethnically Thai, though peoples of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Mon, Khmer, Burmese, and Lao origin are also represented to varying degrees. Approximately 7 million citizens live in the capital city, Bangkok, though this number varies seasonally and is otherwise difficult to accurately count.
Area: Thailand has a rough geographical area of 514, 000 sq km (200,000 sq miles). This makes Thailand roughly equivalent in size to France or Texas.
People: The vast majority (roughly 80%) of Thailand’s nearly 65 million citizens are ethnically Thai. The remainder consists primarily of peoples of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Mon, Khmer, Burmese, and Lao decent. Of the 7 million citizens who live in the capital city, Bangkok, there is a greater diversity of ethnicities, including a large number of expatriate residents from across the globe. Other geographic distinctions of the population include a Muslim majority in the south near the Malaysian border, and hill tribe ethnic groups, such as the Hmong and Karen, who live in the northern mountains.
Language: More than 92% of the population speaks Thai or one of it’s regional dialects. While the Thai language is the official language of Thailand, as a result of its cosmopolitan capital city and established tourism infrastructure, English is spoken and understood throughout much of Thailand.
Religion: 94.6% of Thais are Buddhist, 4.6% of Thais are Muslim 0.7% of Thais are Christian
Government: Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, not dissimilar to England’s, whereby an elected Prime Minister is authorized to be the head of government and a hereditary Thai King is head of state. The constitution of Thailand allows for the people of Thailand to democratically elect their leaders in the form of a parliament, with a bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives, and executive authority in the hands of the Prime Minister. A Judiciary, overseen by the Supreme Court, was designed to act independently of the executive and the legislatre.
Temperature: Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F)
Holiday: 1 Jan: New Year’s Day Feb-Mar: MakhaBucha Day: Buddhist holiday on full moon of fourth lunar month. 6 Apr: Chakri Memorial Day: Honoring the dynasty of the reigning royal family. 13-15 April: Songran, Thai new years celebration. May: Royal Ploughing Ceremony: To honor farming season; date determined by royal astrologer May: VisakhaBucha: Buddhist holiday on full moon of the 6th lunar month. 1 May: Labor Day 5 May: Coronation Day: Commemorating the coronation of present King of Thailand. July: AsanhaBucha Day: Buddhist Holiday on full moon of 8th lunar month Vassa: beginning of Buddhist lent on first waning moon of 8th lunar month 12 Aug: Queen’s Birthday-Mothers Day 23 Oct: Chulalongkorn Day: Honoring a former King of Thailand. 5 Dec: King’s Birthday-Father’s Day 10 Dec: Constitution Day: celebrating the kingdom’s first constitution. 31 Dec: New Year’s Eve Other important holidays: Jan: Chinese New Year Nov: Loy Kratong
Economic: The economy of Thailand is reliant on exports, which account for 60% of Thailand’s approximately US$ 200 billion GDP. The economy of Thailand is the 2nd largest in Southeast Asia. Thailand’s exports consist primarily of agricultural products including fish and rice, of which it is the largest exporter in the world, as well as textiles, rubber, automobiles, computers and other electronic appliances, and jewelry. While one of the premier tourist destinations in the world, Thailand relies on tourism to provide only 7 % of its GDP.
Distance: From: Sydney, Australia 4679.57 m. / 7530.84 km Tokyo, Japan 2860.65 m. / 4603.65 km Beijing, China 2294.22 m. / 3692.08 km Hong Kong 1071.22 m. / 1723.91 km New Delhi, India 1811.73 2915.63 km Dubai, UAE 3034.04 m. / 4882.68 km Rome, Italy 4882.68 m. / 8825.12 km Madrid, Spain 6322.51 m. / 10174.82 km Paris, France 5865.21 m. / 9438.89 km Berlin, Germany 5343.29 m. / 8598.95 km Stockholm, Sweden 5135 m. / 8263.76 km London, UK 5919.32 m. / 9525.96 km Moscow, Russia 4387.52 m. / 7060.83 km New York, USA 8651.33 m. / 13922.59 km Los Angeles, USA 8260.17 m. / 13293.1 km Vancouver, Canada 7331.48 m. / 11798.55 km.
Currency: The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht. Baht come in both coin and banknote form. The size of Thai currency, both coins and bills increases with value and varies in color…
Banking: Thai bank hours are generally Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, though certain banks have shorter Saturday hours and currency exchange booths are open considerably longer hours in Bangkok and other tourist destinations.
Post Office: The Thailand postal service is efficient and reliable with branches in most major towns throughout the Kingdom. Thailand post offices are open M-F 8am-4:30pm and Sa-Su 9am-1pm. However, The Central GPO in Bangkok, located on New Road, is open until 6pm M-F and Sa-Su 9am-1pm. All Thai post offices are closed on public holidays, though most major hotels can arrange to mail letters and parcels on your behalf. In addition to domestic and international mail services, both land and air, standard and registered, the Thailand postal service also provide telegram service.
Electrical: Electrical outlets in Thailand are charged to 220v at 50 cycles per second, which is compatible with appliances from the U.K. but not those from the US and many other nations. While most computer cables have adaptors for voltage, visitors from the U.S. and those not on the 220/50 v. will have to bring adapters to run most other appliances. Outlets in Thailand generally feature flat, two pronged plugs, though some feature holes for round plug ends. Few outlets feature three holes (grounded outlets) so it is often necessary to have a three to two prong adapter for using notebook computers in Thailand.
Accommodation: Thailand hotels are some of the finest in the world, whether they are five star luxury spa retreats or quaint family-run beachfront bungalows. There is a hotel in Thailand for every type of traveler on every budget. That said, the best prices are during Thailand’s off-peak season (May – Aug), while the most expensive prices are typically during the cool season (Dec – Feb). Whether your accommodation choice is a homestay with local villagers, a guesthouse in a backpacker district, a beach bungalow, or a five star hotel in Thailand, unless you have booked ahead, settle for nothing less than the warmest “land of smiles” hospitality.
Telephone: The Thai phone system is both modern and widespread, with comprehensive coverage for cell phones and reliable pay phones found throughout the kingdom. Purchasing a second-hand Thai phone is inexpensive and convenient, and calling from Thailand on a public phone is easy with a phone card available at most convenience stores. Emergency numbers are often three or four digit numbers, including Tourist Police, which is 1155.
History Of Thailand
Dating back to the Neolithic civilization situated at the modern-day UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ban Chiang, the history of Thailand is long, proud, and fairly well documented. Over the early centuries of the Common Era, tribes of Mon, Khmer, and Tai peoples established realms within the borders of modern Thailand; the Mon speaking Buddhist civilization of Dvaravati in the first millennium giving way to the Khmer empire of Angkor by the turn of the second millennium.
However, the history of Thailand as we know it began when the kingdoms of Lan Na (Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai) and Sukhothai, the first truly independent Thai Kingdoms, established highly developed societies in the North and Central regions of Thailand in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Kingdom of Ayutthaya, which was heavily influenced by the Khmer’s of Angkor, eventually conquered neighboring Sukhothai and dominated the region for the next several hundred years of Thai history. Unfortunately, first Chaing Mai and then Ayutthaya were overrun by Burmese invaders, who occupied the Lan Na capital for several centuries and sacked Ayutthaya, forcing the central Thai kingdom to relocate farther south, establishing a new capital in Thon Buri near Bangkok. After the short lived Thon Buri Period (1767-1772), the capital was moved across the Chao Phraya River, and the first of the current line of Kings, Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty, established the modern capital of Bangkok to commence the Ratanakosin Period of Thai history. The adroit diplomatic leadership of Kings Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851-1868) and Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868-1910) were responsible for maintaining a remarkable 700 year Thai history during which the kingdom was never officially colonized by foreign powers; a turbulent 20th century witnessed the transition to a system of constitutional monarchy, currently overseen by Head of State, King BumibolAdulyadej (1946- present), is King Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty and a tenuous but functional democracy has existed under the regency of this much beloved king.
Natural Of Thailand
Thailand is a country with abundant natural resources, including a wide variety of flora and fauna, and distinct ecological zones. There are over 100 Thailand national parks, including more than 20 marine parks, and each park features unique attractions, outstanding facilities, and opportunities to see animals in Thailand. Those interested in trekking, mountain biking, photography, birding, camping, scuba diving, or getting up close to exotic animals in Thailand have many options to choose from.
A visit to a Thailand beach or one of the many Thailand islands is an opportunity for visitors to relax, experience exotic marine life, or even learn to scuba dive. However, across Thailand, whether at a beach, island, or Thailand National Park visitors will discover unique flora and fauna and distinct ecological zones, from the temperate forests of the northern mountains and the plains of central Thailand to the savannahs of the northeast and the mangrove forests of the southern coasts. Animals in Thailand include not only elephants and monkeys but also bears and whale sharks, the world’s largest fish.
Picture Of Thailand
Map Of Thailand
Chinese New Year 2015
Chinese Lunar New Year”s Day in Thailand
Chinese New Year is celebrated worldwide to mark the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year and celebrations can last for about 15 days.
The Chinese New Year for 2014 is on January 31 and marks the start of the Year of the Horse.
Picture of a typical long dragon float for the Chinese New Year