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Thailand

Welcome to Thailand

Explore Our Best Destinations Thailand

Friendly and fun loving, exotic and tropical, cultured and historic, Thailand radiates a golden hue from its glittering temples and tropical beaches through to the ever-comforting Thai smile. Adored around the world, Thai cuisine expresses fundamental aspects of Thai culture: it is generous, warm, refreshing and relaxed.

Thai dishes rely on fresh, local ingredients – pungent lemongrass, searing chilies and plump seafood. A varied national menu is built around the four fundamental flavors: spicy, sweet, salty and sour. In between the cluttered cities and towns is the rural heartland, which is a mix of rice paddies, tropical forests and squat villages tied to the agricultural clock.

In the north, the forests and fields bump up against toothy blue mountains decorated with silvery waterfalls. In the south, scraggy limestone cliffs poke out of the cultivated landscape like prehistoric skyscrapers. The celestial world is a close confidant in this Buddhist nation, and religious devotion is colorful and ubiquitous. Gleaming temples and golden Buddhas frame both the rural and modern landscape. Ancient banyan trees are ceremoniously wrapped in sacred cloth to honour the resident spirits, fortune-bringing shrines decorate humble homes as well as monumental malls, while garland-festooned dashboards ward off traffic accidents.

With a long coastline (actually, two coastlines) and jungle-topped islands anchored in azure waters, Thailand is a tropical getaway for the hedonist and the hermit, the prince and the pauper.

This paradise offers a varied menu: playing in the gentle surf of Ko Lipe, diving with whale sharks off Ko Tao, scaling the sea cliffs of Krabi, kiteboarding in Hua Hin, partying on Ko Phi Phi, recuperating at a health resort on Ko Samui and feasting on the beach wherever sand meets sea.

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Phuket(Discover more Phuket)

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Ko Samui(Discover more Ko Samui)

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Bangkok(Discover more Bangkok)

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Chiang Mai(Discover more Chiang Mai)

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Koh Tao(Discover more Koh Tao)

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Khao Lak(Discover more Khao Lak)

Capital of Thailand: Bangkok

Official language: Thai

The currency: Thai baht

Climate: Thailand’s climate is tropical with a mean annual temperature of 82°F and high humidity. There are three distinct seasons – the hot season from March to May, the cool season from November to February and the rainy season from about June to October.

Population: 68.86 (2016 census)

Parliamentary system: Constitutional monarchy, unitary state, military junta

Prime Minister: Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha

Calling code: The international calling code is +66

The climate in Thailand

Thailand’s climate is tropical with a mean annual temperature of 82°F and high humidity.  There are three distinct seasons – the hot season from March to May, the cool season from November to February and the rainy season from about June to October.

If you’re not a fan of the heat then holiday in Thailand during the cool season – the Thai climate during this time is hardly ‘cool’ in the traditional sense but you’ll find temperatures a lot easier to handle dropping to about 70°F in the central region and 57°F in the north.

Average temperatures

April is the hottest month in Bangkok with an average temperature of 31°C (87°F) and the coldest is December at 26°C (79°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 9 in December. The wettest month is September with an average of 220mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in April when the average sea temperature is 30°C (86°F).

Time Thailand: GMT +7

National Holidays & Celebrations

Here are the main holidays and festivals in Thailand, as they are celebrated by the majority of Thai people (we didn’t include regional festivals or minor Chinese festivals). We have organized the list month by month, so you can easily check what the main celebrations in Thailand are while you are visiting.

Please note:

– Some holidays, especially religious holidays and traditional festivals, are celebrated according to the lunar calendar, so the date changes every year.

– If a public holiday happens on a Saturday or Sunday, the next Monday is a day off in lieu.

– Election days are also public holidays.

– The sale of alcohol is banned on election days and religious holidays, so entertainment venues are usually closed.

Location of Thailand

Located in the continent of Asia, Thailand covers 510,890 square kilometers of land and 2,230 square kilometers of water, making it the 51st largest nation in the world with a total area of 513,120 square kilometers. Thailand was founded as a distinct and original nation in 1769. The population of Thailand is 67,091,089 (2012) and the nation has a density of 131 people per square kilometer.

Exchange Currencies

This Thai Baht and United States Dollar convertor is up to date with exchange rates from December 28, 2017.

Enter the amount to be converted in the box to the left of Thai Baht. Use “Swap currencies” to make United States Dollar the default currency. Click on United States Dollars or Thai Baht to convert between that currency and all other currencies.

The Thai Baht is the currency in Thailand (TH, THA). The United States Dollar is the currency in American Samoa (AS, ASM), British Virgin Islands (VG, VGB, BVI), El Salvador (SV, SLV), Guam (GU, GUM), Marshall Islands (MH, MHL), Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia, FM, FSM), Northern Mariana Islands (MP, MNP), Palau (PW, PLW), Puerto Rico (PR, PRI), United States (United States of America, US, USA), Turks and Caicos Islands (TC, TCA), Virgin Islands (VI, VIR), Timor-Leste, Ecuador (EC, ECU), Johnston Island, Midway Islands, and Wake Island. The Thai Baht is also known as Bahts, and Onshore Baht.

The United States Dollar is also known as the American Dollar, and the US Dollar. The symbol for THB can be written Bht, and Bt. The symbol for USD can be written $. The Thai Baht is divided into 100 stang. The United States Dollar is divided into 100 cents. The exchange rate for the Thai Baht was last updated on December 27, 2017 from The International Monetary Fund. The exchange rate for the United States Dollar was last updated on December 27, 2017 from The International Monetary Fund. The THB conversion factor has 6 significant digits. The USD conversion factor has 6 significant digits.

GEOGRAPHY

Thailand is located in Southeast Asia. The country covers an area of 513,000 square kilometers and, when looking on a map, resembles the shape on an axe. To the north it borders Myanmar and Laos and to the east Laos and Cambodia. The south is next to the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia. Westwards is the Andaman Sea and Myanmar.

Thailand has six different types of terrain.

  1. Mountains and Plains of the North

The North of Thailand has many high mountains and is the source of many rivers that become the Mekong, Chao Phraya, and Salawin Rivers. Notable mountains in the area are Luang Phra Bang, Daen Lao, Thanon Thong Chai, Phee Pun Nam, Khao Khun Tan, and Phetchaburi. The tallest one is Doi Inthanon in Chiangmai, coming in at an incredible 2,565 meters above sea level.

  1. Central Plains

This region is home to the densest and largest sediment plains in Thailand. The most important rivers here are the Chao Phraya, Mae Klong, Tha Jean, Pa Sak, and Bang Pa Kong Rivers. With these river lines and the flatlands of central Thailand, there is no wonder this area is an important agricultural asset to the country.

  1. Northeastern Plateaus

Flanked on the western and southern edges by steep mountain ranges, the center of the region lies the Korat Basin. The Chi and Moon Rivers run through the region and eventually merge into the Mekong River in Ubon Ratchathani. Local mountains are the Phetchaburi, Dong Phaya Yen, San Kampaeng, and Pha Nom Dong Rak.

  1. High Mountains of the West

Sparse narrow plains weave between the dominating mountains of the west. The Thanon Thong Chai and Ta Naw Sri Mountains are the sources of the Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai Rivers, which eventually merge into the Mae Klong River.

  1. Mountains and Coastal Plains of the East

To the north of the region are high mountains and coastal plains, the east is river plains, the middle is a jagged sierra and rolling plains, and the south is coastal plains. Between the Ban Tad and Chanthaburi Mountains is a narrow plain, perfect for growing fruit. The Bang Pa Kong River flows through the region to the Gulf of Thailand. The shoreline is covered with beautiful beaches and offshore sits the islands of Koh Chang, Koh Kood, and Koh Shi Chang.

  1. Mountains, Plateaus, Coastal Plains and Islands of the South

Southern Thailand sits on a narrow peninsula. Two beach plains to the east and the west are divided by tall mountain ranges running through the center of the peninsula. Notable mountains in the area are San Ka Ra Kiri (which borders Malaysia) Phuket, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. There are also many smaller rivers such as the Kra Buri, Trang, Kirirat, Ta Pee, Pak Panang, and Klok. To the east is the island of Phuket and to the west lie Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan.

Knowing Thai geography can be useful in helping you decide where to travel to in Thailand. There are many natural wonders and vistas to visit and each province and region of Thailand has its own unique sights.

History

With long periods of Thailand’s history, according to evidences and studies, Sukhothai was the first kingdom of Thailand.  At that time, an early Thai script was invented by King Ramkhamhaeng, the great king of Sukhothai, and there also were records about events in the king’s reign.  After Sukhothai period, the new kingdoms arose that are Ayuthaya, Thonburi and Rattanakosin which is the present kingdom of Thailand.  Each period owns its important historical events and interesting cultural changes.

In Sukhothai period, King Sri Indraditya founded Sukhothai in 1238 governed by the monarchy system.  The glorious era was in the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great and after his death, it came to the fall of Sukhothai Kingdom.

In Ayuthaya Period, King U Thong founded the kingdom in 1350, and the kingdom then became powerful in politics and economy of Southeast Asia.  Ayuthaya became stronger by firmly gathering groups of Thai and connecting to foreign countries such as Portugal, France, Netherlands, China, and Japan.  In 1569, Ayuthaya’s glories fell to Burmese, then King Naresuan regained the city’s independence and expanded more territories.  In the era of King Narai was the rise of international relations, but later because of the big war, Ayuthaya Kingdom was destroyed by Burmese troops in 1767.  That was the end of Ayuthaya period.

After the destruction of Ayuthaya period, King Taksin collected his troops to defeat Burmese troops and chose Thonburi as the new capital.  After his death, King Yot Fa (Rama I) founded Chakri dynasty and decided to move the capital to Bangkok, so it was beginning of Rattanakosin period.

King Rama I was the first king of Rattanakosin.  In the early period, there was an invasion from Western countries.  The kings at that time solved the problems by trading and making agreements with the Western countries for preserving the independence even the country lost some territories.

In 1932, Thailand had a big change of the country’s government system, from the absolute monarchy system to the present democratic system with the King as the Head of State.

With long periods of Thailand’s history, according to evidences and studies, Sukhothai was the first kingdom of Thailand.  At that time, an early Thai script was invented by King Ramkhamhaeng, the great king of Sukhothai, and there also were records about events in the king’s reign.  After Sukhothai period, the new kingdoms arose that are Ayuthaya, Thonburi and Rattanakosin which is the present kingdom of Thailand.  Each period owns its important historical events and interesting cultural changes.

In Sukhothai period, King Sri Indraditya founded Sukhothai in 1238 governed by the monarchy system.  The glorious era was in the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great and after his death, it came to the fall of Sukhothai Kingdom.

In Ayuthaya Period, King U Thong founded the kingdom in 1350, and the kingdom then became powerful in politics and economy of Southeast Asia.  Ayuthaya became stronger by firmly gathering groups of Thai and connecting to foreign countries such as Portugal, France, Netherlands, China, and Japan.  In 1569, Ayuthaya’s glories fell to Burmese, then King Naresuan regained the city’s independence and expanded more territories.  In the era of King Narai was the rise of international relations, but later because of the big war, Ayuthaya Kingdom was destroyed by Burmese troops in 1767.  That was the end of Ayuthaya period.

After the destruction of Ayuthaya period, King Taksin collected his troops to defeat Burmese troops and chose Thonburi as the new capital.  After his death, King Yot Fa (Rama I) founded Chakri dynasty and decided to move the capital to Bangkok, so it was beginning of Rattanakosin period.

King Rama I was the first king of Rattanakosin.  In the early period, there was an invasion from Western countries.  The kings at that time solved the problems by trading and making agreements with the Western countries for preserving the independence even the country lost some territories.

In 1932, Thailand had a big change of the country’s government system, from the absolute monarchy system to the present democratic system with the King as the Head of State

Civilization

Southeast Asia

As we had stated earlier, the people of the Indus valley Civilization did not live only in the Indus Valley. Rather, the extent of that civilization ranged from the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia. And it is here, in Southeast Asia, that we can perhaps get a glimpse of how these people lived in their “Pure” state.

We will now take a brief look at the poorly researched and little understood “Ancient” civilizations of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Ban Chiang

We begin at Ban Chiang, a little town in northern Thailand. Legend has it that Ban Chiang (the archaeological site), was discovered by a clumsy American college student, who fell in the main road of Ban Chiang and noticed ceramics eroding out of the roadbed. The first excavations at the site were conducted in 1967 by archaeologist Vidya Intakosai, this and subsequent excavations by the Fine Arts Department in Bangkok and the University of Pennsylvania, under the direction of Dr. Chester F. Gorman and Pisit Charoenwongsa, have revealed evidence of a prehistoric occupation beginning possibly as early as 3,600 B.C. and continuing, until about 200 A.D.

What’s really remarkable about Ban Chiang, is that it gives evidence of a people and a culture that was as technologically advanced as any other in the world. Indeed, they had a fully developed Bronze Age metallurgy – But they didn’t use it to make weapons. They knew sophisticated building techniques, but did not build great structures. As a matter of fact, they took on none of the trappings of other advanced cultures with sophisticated technology. Even their social organization was easy, they lived in villages, with little social hierarchy. Question: why did they live like that, so simply?

The answer seems to be:

RELIGION! – Organized, Dogmatic, Religion.

From earliest times, religion was the impetus and driving force for the building of the first large structures – Temples. Around these Temples – homes and businesses were built. Around these Temples, homes and businesses, walls were built – Thus were the first Cities created.

And so it appears that the late ascension of these Southeast Asian people, was due to the lack of this requirement – an all-encompassing, unifying religion.  Because true to form, once the great Indian religions of Buddhism and Hinduism had been introduced to, and accepted by these civilizations, they took off! They were all devotedly religious – and all of their great structures had a religious context. (The preceding is an observation, nothing more.)

The Mani

The Mani have lived in the hilly interior of southern Thailand for thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of years. For the last several thousand years at least, they have done so in close association with a succession of later arrivals, Veddoid, Mon-Khmer, Indian, Malay, Mongolid and other groups. Although the Mani do not seem to have intermarried much with outsiders (who mostly despised them), their contact was still close enough for them to have acquired some cultural traits from their neighbours. Yet these tiny groups have, amazingly, done so without losing their separate identity and tribal character.

The Kingdom of Funan (Cambodia)

Historically the first Great Southeast Asian kingdom, that we know anything about, is the Khmer kingdom of Funan. Funan was a Cambodian kingdom located around the Mekong delta. We know very little about it, except that it was a powerful seafaring and trading state. This is evidenced by the discovery of Roman, Chinese and Indian goods, found there during archaeological excavations. The capital is thought to initially have been located at Vyadhapura, near modern Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The Funanese Empire reached its furthest extent under the rule of one “Fan Shih-man” in the early third century A.D. At this time, Funan extended as far south as Malaysia and as far west as Burma. The Funanese established a strong system of mercantilism and commercial monopolies that would become the pattern for future empires in the region. Fan Shih-man expanded the Funan fleet, and improved the Funanese bureaucracy, establishing a quasi-feudal system that left local customs and identities largely intact, particularly in the empires farthest reaches.

The Funan kingdom is said to have been heavily influenced by Indian culture, Sanskrit was the language at the court, and the Funanese advocated Hinduism. Later, after the fifth century, also Buddhism Records show that taxes were paid in silver, gold, pearls, and perfumed wood. Chinese merchants reported that the Funanese practiced slavery and that justice was rendered through trial by ordeal, including such methods as carrying a red-hot iron chain, and retrieving gold rings and eggs from boiling water.

The Mon of Thailand

In about 600 A.D, the Champa of Vietnam (more about them later), sacked Funan and brought it under vassalage. This turn of events allowed the “Mon” of Thailand to break away from Funanese vassalage and establish their own kingdoms. The most important of these Mon kingdoms was Dvaravati, which dates from approximately the 6th to the 11th century A.D. It was centered at the Chao Phraya River valley in modern-day Thailand, with Nakhon Pathom as the capital.

The Mon were rarely politically dominant, but rather, almost continually under the shadow of their stronger neighbors. Dvaravati was prevented by geo-political barriers from establishing close political ties with other Mon states to the west in southern Myanmar (Burma), and with the Mon state in northern Thailand. Consequently, Dvaravati experienced political domination by neighboring peoples on at least three separate occasions: in the 10th century, the Burmese conquered the Mon state of Thaton, which was west of the Tenasserim Yoma; from 1100 A.D. to the 1300 A.D, the Khmer (in Cambodia) arose in the east and re-established their Empire; and finally, in the late 13th century, when Dvaravati was absorbed by the current inhabitants of Thailand – the Mongol Thai’s.

The Thai were a Mongol people who had already emigrated from southern China during the 9th and 10th century’s, and had at first founded only small settlements which were then under Khmer hegemony. In the beginning of the 13th century, they gradually succeeded in becoming free of the reign of the Khmer, who had previously conquered the Mons.

The first Thai kingdom was Sukothai in the Central Plains of Thailand, from which originated the modern Thai culture, which is a blend of Mongol and Mon. The Thai alphabet and script were developed during this Sukothai period.

Subjugation did not mean immediate extinction for the Mon however; it appears that the Thai allowed the Mon to retain their customs and a relative degree of racial homogeneity for a time. Of course that could not last very long, naturally there would be cross-breeding. And today, it would be very difficult to find a Thai with purely Mongol blood or one with purely Mon blood.

Tourism in Thailand

Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, is a jewel of Southeast Asia. Developed enough to provide most comforts yet still wild enough to offer off-the-beaten path adventure, Thailand is a country ripe with opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. Whether you start with the world-class beaches in the south or the mountain villages in the north, Thailand will not disappoint.

Cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai are bustling hives of activity and commerce, but you haven’t really seen the country until you’ve trekked in the mountains or enjoyed some face-time with elephants or the bold monkeys (who will steal your lunch as soon as look at you). Thailand’s attractions are diverse and each provides a rewarding and memorable experience in its own way.