The Kingdom of Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It borders Myanmar (Burma) to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast and Malaysia to the south. The country was known as Siam until 1939. Thailand has 1430 Islands, of which the largest is Phuket. This island sits in southwestern Thailand in the Andaman sea.
Thailand’s first people are the Mon (and Khmer and later came the Tai), who migrated from southern China to Vietnam and then into Laos and northern Thailand. The first Thai kingdom was established in the 14th century. The longest river in Thailand is the Mekong River with 4,350 km/ 2,703 miles and also home to some of the oldest dinosaur fossils that were ever found in Southeast Asia. The country is known for its colorful and vibrant cultural heritage and festivals and its stunning beaches such as Maya Bay on Phi Phi island.
There are over 35,000 temples in Thailand! Among the most well known temples are Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple. Thei staple food is rice (khao), noodles, vegetables, sprouts, seafood and pork. Common foods sold at food stalls include chicken rice, stewed or barbequed pork, and noodles. Visit the country during the Candle Festival or the Flower Alms Offering Festival to partake in this.
What don’t you know:
- Thailand’s shape is said to resemble the shape on an axe.
- The traditional Thai greeting style is called ‘wai’. Younger people greet older people first to show respect.
- The Thai alphabet has 44 symbols for consonants and 16 symbols for vowels.
- In Thailand the head is considered a sacred body part, so don’t touch other people’s heads.
- The most popular sports in Thailand are soccer, volleyball and rugby. Thailand is also known for the Thai Boxing style called Muay Thai.
Must see places:
- Hua Hin is Thailand’s oldest beach resort, discovered by King Rama VII in the 1920s as an ideal getaway from Bangkok.
- Using Chumphon as a gateway, the islands of Ko Tao, Ko Nang Yuan, Ko Phangan and Ko Samui can be reached by high speed catamaran.
- The Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park and the 7-tiered Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi.